Thesis & Dissertation
As a graduation requirement, all graduate theses and dissertations must be electronically submitted to the Jerry Falwell Library. Graduate thesis and dissertation requirements will not be considered complete until receipt of an acceptable copy of the approved thesis or dissertation is confirmed by the library. The library no longer requires a bound copy of the thesis or dissertation.
We encourage you to watch our instructional video on Submitting Your Thesis or Dissertation to the Library to help you avoid some common mistakes.
Thesis and Dissertation Submission Guidelines
- Graduate students are required to submit their thesis or dissertation to the library in order to receive their degree.
- All submissions must be digital. Print copies will not be accepted.
- Submission should occur only after successful defense of the thesis or dissertation.
- Prior to submission, students must fill out a Thesis and Dissertation Deposit Form. On that form, students may request a delay of one year before their thesis or dissertation is published in the LU Digital Commons.*
- Supplementary files (graphics, audio, video, software, etc.) are permissible.
- Students must hold the copyright to the materials in their thesis or dissertation. If a student wishes to include an item (such as an image or survey) to which he or she does not hold the copyright, then the author must demonstrate that the item is rights-free or that he or she has acquired permission from the copyright-holder to reproduce and distribute the material.
- After reviewing the submission, the library will send either a request for corrections or an acceptance email to the student. The student must forward the acceptance email to his or her committee chair or mentor in order to receive a final grade.
- The library’s review of the thesis or dissertation will occur within seven business days after submission.
- Students may not directly request changes to a thesis or dissertation once it has been delivered to ProQuest and uploaded to the Digital Commons unless those changes are for a small number of scribal or citation errors. If substantial changes are needed, the student must first acquire the approval of his or her committee chair or mentor before resubmitting the document to the library.
- The Dean of the Graduate School must approve any exceptions to these policies. The request must be made in writing and signed by the committee chair or mentor and the Dean.
* Liberty University’s Digital Commons is an online repository for capturing, preserving, and freely distributing the scholarship of our community. Theses and dissertations produced by Liberty students are placed in this repository.
Things to Check before Submitting…
Signatures. Please block or remove all signatures. We require this so that we can protect identities.
Copyright. Because the Digital Commons is an “open access” repository that will make your thesis or dissertation easily discoverable and accessible on the internet, we have to be extra careful about reproducing copyrighted images and surveys. In order to reproduce a copyrighted item like that, you need to acquire the copyright-holder’s permission.
Please keep in mind that permission to “use” is different from permission to “reproduce” or “distribute.” Many LU students do a great job acquiring permission to use a survey to perform their research. When an author gives you permission to use his or her survey, however, you do not automatically have authority to reproduce that survey in your thesis or dissertation and distribute it on the internet – even if other people have done that. So, what can you do if you have a copyrighted image or survey in your thesis or dissertation? You have three options:
- Track down the copyright-holder and request permission to reproduce a copy of the item in your thesis or dissertation. If you receive permission, please provide a copy of that permission in an additional appendix, and add a clear citation to the image or survey giving attribution to the original source and saying, “Reproduced with permission.”
- If the image or survey has been legally reproduced somewhere else on the internet, you can replace the item with a link that will take your readers to that website. While that link might not remain stable forever, we are allowed to provide such links without acquiring the permission of the copyright-holder.
- Block or remove the image or survey from your thesis or dissertation.
Table of contents. After all changes are made, please double-check your table of contents to make sure the titles and page numbers there reflect the exact titles and page numbers in your text.
Submit and Publish Process - Step by Step
Each graduate program has deadlines to submit this receipt. The Library cannot guarantee that the review and approval process will be completed before the deadline is reached if the deposit occurs within two weeks of the program deadline.
- Student writes and successfully defends graduate thesis or dissertation.
- After all revisions have been completed, student submits the online Thesis and Dissertation Deposit Form.
- Student creates a PDF version of the approved thesis/dissertation and opens an account at the Liberty University Dissertation/Thesis Submission Site. A PDF conversion utility is available at the site.
- Student follows the step-by-step process on the submission site. Please keep the following in mind as you proceed:
- On the page titled “Register U.S. Copyright,” select “Do not file for copyright” under item #2. This will keep Proquest from charging you an additional fee. As the author and with your work safely deposited in the Digital Commons, you automatically hold the copyright.
- On the page titled “Order Copies,” do not request copies of your work from Proquest. If you need copies, we recommend using the bindery suggested in step #10 below.
- The student receives an email acknowledging the submission of the work but not its acceptance.
- The library checks for a completed Deposit Form and reviews the submitted work for legibility and completeness.
- The library either requests additional information or submits the work to ProQuest/UMI Publishing Services.
- The student receives an email receipt verifying the acceptance of the work.
- The student forwards the email confirming that he/she has successfully completed the submission process to his/her committee chair.
- If applicable, student submits an electronic PDF-formatted version of the thesis or dissertation to the bindery. The bindery will complete the binding and return the bound copies to the student for distribution to his/her academic program.
- It is important that the student does not submit his/her thesis or dissertation to the bindery until he/she has received an email confirmation from the Library because he/she may need to make suggested changes.
Search for resources in specific fields and access research resources in the Dissertations and Theses Research Guide.
Copyright and Citing Sources
Students writing a thesis/dissertation should be extremely conscientious in their use of sources since the work will be publicly accessible upon completion. The burden for adhering to copyright law and fair use falls almost entirely on the student.
Permission must be obtained for non-text media, such as:
Note: Each graduate program has unique requirements with regard to format and citation style. Consult the graduate handbook for your program. Additionally, you are required to submit an electronic copy of your final thesis/dissertation to the library.