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Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs)

Information sessions for thesis authors are held regularly every semester, as advertised through the Graduate School. These sessions provide information on copyright, University policies, and submission procedures. If you cannot attend the session in person, you may want to look at an online summary.

Who is responsible for ETDs at Georgetown?

  • The submission process for Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) is administered by the Graduate school. PhD candidates should review its guidelines and policies before they begin to write their thesis. All documentation relating to theses is kept in on file in the office of the current Academic Coordinator.
  • The actual submission process is operated by ProQuest/UMI, a third party vendor, which will retain the file in its database. During the submission process, thesis authors may grant ProQuest/UMI important rights relating to the the distribution and use of the thesis (see below "Who owns copyright?" and "What publication options are available?")
  • The Library receives a copy of all files submitted to the Graduate School. Library staff will create an entry in the Library Catalog for each thesis. Pursuant to the Graduate School's policy that all theses are public documents, the Library will also make the file(s) freely available through Georgetown's Institutional Repository, unless authors request an embargo.

Who owns copyright?

  • Thesis authors own copyright to their thesis. It is important to note that registration is NOT necessary, despite the fact that ProQuest/UMI offers copyright registration for a fee.
  • During the submission process, authors will NOT be required to sign away their rights. However, they will be required to extend a license to Georgetown and/or ProQuest to use their thesis. To do so, authors must complete two release forms. The first form releases the thesis for publication in the University's Institutional Repository, while the second form governs the use of the thesis by ProQuest. Note that ProQuest offers various publishing options (see below). Copies of both forms are kept on file in the Graduate School, for later reference.

What publication options are available?

There are three basic options:

  • free distribution: free, worldwide access
  • commercial distribution via ProQuest and its affiliates
  • an embargo of up to two years

The implications of each of these options are laid out in the online summary.

Where can I get help?

If you have questions about copyright and your thesis, please contact Meg Oakley, Interm Director, Copyright & Scholarly Communication, at meg.oakley@georgetown.edu.