Submitting the Dissertation
- On this page
- Submitting the Dissertation
- Submitting the Electronic Copy to D-space
- Restricting Access to Graduate Degree Dissertation
Candidates wishing to submit their dissertation to the Student Registry must provide sufficient copies in the appropriate form. Students are advised that before approval, they are required to submit a hard-bound copy to the library. If a dissertation is initially submitted in soft-bound form, there is further guidance on how to submit the final hard-bound (see 'Submitting the Hard-Bound University Library (UL) Dissertation').
If candidates wish to submit their dissertation to the Student Registry for examination (this can be done in person, through a third party or by post) they need to bring the following:
- 2 hard/soft-bound copies of the dissertation with its title and the candidate's name on the outer cover (preferably on the spine of hard-bound copies).
The following needs to be included in the dissertation:
- Title page containing Title, Name, College, Date (optional) and Declaration stating, "This dissertation is submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Science/Master of Letters" as appropriate
- Declaration in Preface stating "This dissertation is the result of my own work and includes nothing which is the outcome of work done in collaboration except where specifically indicated in the text". This declaration should also make clear any parts of the dissertation that have been submitted for any other qualification (see 'Work Submitted for Other Qualifications')
- Where appropriate, a Statement of Length saying the dissertation does not exceed the word limit for the respective Degree Committee (see 'Word Limits and Stylistic Conventions: Requirements of the Degree Committees')
- Summary/Abstract of the dissertation (see 'The Summary')
- Two loose copies of the Title Page
- One loose copy of the statement of length if appropriate
- Three loose copies of the Summary/Abstract bearing the Dissertation Title and candidate's name. These must be identical to the summary in the dissertation itself
- A completed 'Deposit and Copying of Dissertation Declaration Form' (below)
- A signed 'Declaration Form' required under Regulation 8 of the Regulations for the PhD, MSc and MLitt Degrees (below)
- 'Addresses for Examination Purposes Form' (below)
- Deposit and Copying of Dissertation Declaration Form
- Declaration Form
- Addresses for Examination Purposes Form
Candidates will also need to sign a library copy of this declaration when they submit their dissertation to the Board's office. The University Library publishes all graduate research dissertation titles and summaries on the Index to Theses in Great Britain and Ireland. The index is a comprehensive listing of dissertation with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland since 1716. When candidates sign the Deposit and Copying of Dissertation Declaration Form they are formally consenting to this and acknowledging that they are the copyright holder for the dissertation and that they understand the University requires them to deposit one copy of their dissertation and summary in the University Library (the Student Registry deals with the administration for this), although this is subject to conditions. This includes those candidates who have applied for and been granted restricted access to their dissertation.
If candidates are posting their dissertation or arranging for someone to submit it on their behalf, they will need to request a library copy of the form from the Graduate Examinations Team. The library copy of this form cannot be downloaded from the web.
Graduate Examinations Team (email@example.com) or tel: 01223 766302
The Board and other interested parties will need to contact candidates regarding the examination, results, and return of dissertations. Candidates need to let the Board know where they will be living (as best they can) so that the University can contact candidates about their examination over the 12 months following the submission of the dissertation, and, the actual dates they will be living at each of the addresses. Candidates will also need to update their mailing address using their CamSIS Self-Service page.
Please note that candidates are required to complete a Hard-Bound Declaration Form when they are submitting a hard-bound dissertation after having submitted a soft-bound dissertation originally (see 'Submitting the Hard-Bound University Library (UL) Dissertation').
Some degree committees may require candidates to submit a disc containing the text of their dissertation; the degree committee office will advise candidates if this is necessary.
Supervisors are also grateful for a copy of their students' dissertations.
Since the start of Michaelmas Term 2009 it has been possible to access and deposit dissertations in electronic form in DSpace@Cambridge. There are currently two ways of doing this, either as part of the submission process for a new dissertation, or if the dissertation has already been examined, it can be deposited retrospectively.
PhD, MSc and MLitt candidates may in exceptional circumstances, request that access to their dissertation be restricted. There are strict rules concerning restriction of access, which is also affected by legislation.
The University is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
The FOIA gives a general right of access to all information held by the University, including information held in the University Library. As a matter of normal practice the University will only make dissertations available in accordance with the restrictions candidates place. However, if someone specifically asks to see a dissertation, the University must give them access unless the material qualifies for an exemption under the Act.
The most common exemptions relevant to dissertations are:
- it is to be published at some future date and it is reasonable that it should be withheld until that date
- the contents constitute a trade secret, or its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person
- disclosure would be likely to endanger an individual's health or safety
- disclosure would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by the owner of that information; and
- publication would cause the candidate or third parties mentioned in the text to be open to legal challenge or racial, ethnic, political or other persecution.
Limiting the scope for competition from other scholars to publish on the topic concerned is not generally recognised to be a valid reason.
If candidates believe that any of the above categories apply to their dissertation (or if candidates believe they have any other reason for exemption under the Act), they should complete the relevant application form (below) and submit it, together with any supporting documentation, to the Secretary of the Board, before they submit their dissertation for examination.
If someone asks to see a candidate's dissertation, the University will use this information to decide whether or not to refuse the request.
If candidates have signed a confidentiality agreement with a sponsor regarding the research results, candidates should ask their supervisor to check whether it will be necessary to ask the examiners to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding the contents of the dissertation for the period of the examination and for any period thereafter for which restricted access may be granted. If so, the degree committee office will arrange for this to be done.
In most cases the Board will limit the period of restriction to not more than two years from the date of the degree being approved. However, in the converse situation, in which, under the terms of a candidate's contract, they are prevented from making their own work available in the public domain, the Board will not expect this restriction to exceed three months. The Board also recognizes that in some circumstances, access to dissertations and summaries might reasonably be restricted for a longer period of time.
Please note: if degree committees require a second copy of the dissertation to be retained in the department library, candidates need to ask the departmental librarian about restriction of access under the FOIA.
For further information on Intellectual Property rights please see the Research Office website.