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Open Access & the Dissertation
This is the "PhD & Master's Deposit" page of the "Dissertations & Theses" guide.
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Dissertations & Theses  

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

PhD & Master's Deposit Print Page

The Grad Center Dissertation Assistant

Judy Waldman

Room 2304, Graduate Center Library


Deposit Your Dissertation

  • UMI ETD Administrator
    login to deposit your dissertation and supplementary files in any format, and to monitor or amend your publication options

Deposit Clearance Form


Online/Digital Components

Does your dissertation/thesis include a significant digital component ? Do you want the library to archive the digital component in addition to your text?

If so, fill out our brief Digital Component Submission Form.

Suggested Reading

Some titles may require GC network userid/pwd login through proxy server


Deposit Your Thesis or Dissertation

Every PhD and many Master's graduates are required to publish a dissertation or thesis to be preserved by the Graduate Center Library. Graduates must schedule a meeting with the Dissertation Assistant during a deposit period and (suggested minimum) five days after the PhD defense or MA advisor review to allow time for revisions. A preliminary review meeting prior to defense is optional. See Format for Deposit guidelines for specifications about electronic depositing in any file format, adding supplementary files, and pagination, paper stock, signatures required for the paper copy. 

Prior to the final deposit meeting:

Go to UMI ETD Administrator to submit your dissertation, thesis, or supplementary files. Multiple file formats can be submitted. Also find instructions, tips for converting a work to PDF, and additional information about these and other topics. Create an account to deposit, monitor, and revise your submission if there are errors. ProQuest/UMI transfers the digital copy (plus metadata) back to the GC for the GC AcademicWorks repository. Capstone projects are deposited in paper format and on disc without using the UMI ETD Administrator.


Unlike most other traditional academic publishers, neither ProQuest nor the Graduate Center requires transfer of copyright in order to publish a work. Authors retain sole ownership of and copyright to all published work; authors may also select to assign Creative Commons licenses to graduate work. ProQuest is licensed to distribute work as authors specify (see below). Copyright protection is secured when a work is published or when it appears online. For an additional optional $55 fee to ProQuest, authors may hire ProQuest to file a copy of the work with the US Library of Congress. Authors may also file works in the US Library of Congress for $35 without ProQuest assistance. This registration may make it easier for authors to establish the fact of publication and therefore claim violation of their own work and to obtain compensation in the unlikely event of copyright infringement. 

Select ProQuest publishing options

Traditional publishing authorizes ProQuest to post a work in its Digital Dissertations subscription database and sell the work in electronic, print, and microformats, for which the author receives a 10% net revenue royalty for no more than 25 years, payable once a $25 threshold is reached. The Graduate Center launched its own electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) repository in 2014 with open access publishing and embargo options available. ProQuest ingests GC dissertations and theses, and returns them to the GC for free deposit in the GC repository.  

Search engines crawl the ProQuest database and with author's permission allow citations and abstracts to be discovered by Google, Google Scholar, Google Books, Yahoo, and other engines. Citations and abstracts for works distributed by traditional publishing may be discovered by search engines, but full-text is available to online searchers with access to ProQuest's licensed database or to those who purchase a copy from ProQuest. See also ProQuest's Third Party Discovery and Access statement. Works in the GC Academic Works institutional repository will be discoverable by search engines; the GC offers no option to suppress. GC Academic Works discovery leads to citation, abstract, and full text display unless authors choose to embargo the full-text display of their work. (Do not confuse this with "Third Party Sales," another option ProQuest offered in the past, but has discontinued.) 

Embargo or delayed release prohibits ProQuest from selling or licensing a work for distribution in any format. Authors may opt for no embargo, or a a 6-month, 1-year, or 2-year embargo at the point of deposit. See also ProQuest's Embargoes & Restrictions. At any point after the Graduate Center Library's Dissertation Assistant has submitted the work to ProQuest, authors may alter, extend, or retract an embargo with ProQuest by contacting ProQuest/UMI. Alternately email, or from North America call 800.521.0600 ext. 77020. Include your ISBN number; available only to dissertation authors, not their representatives. Delayed release allows authors extra time to obtain copyright permission, see ProQuest/UMI's Sample Permission Letter and instructions, or to negotiate with publishers in the unlikely event that they may object to a work's prior, unrevised release, before accepting contract. If an embargoed ProQuest published work is requested by a reader, neither ProQuest/UMI nor the library may contact the author due to ProQuest/UMI's privacy policy. The Graduate Center Library copies (in print, microfilm, or digital formats) are not subject to complete invisibility even if embargoed by an author. The Graduate Center copies of record may be displayed in the library and CUNY IP-space in the GC Academic Works institutional repository, copied by users in that space, and loaned by the GC library via Interlibrary Loan. The library intends not to share embargoed works in Open Access contexts, but the library reserves the right to offer on-site viewing and title-by-title distribution of embargoed theses and dissertations. Author, title, abstracts, and metadata will be displayed, even if an author chooses to embargo. Public access to a work is a condition of the degree.  

Select CUNY Institutional Repository (IR) publishing options

Read the CUNY IR Publishing Agreement authorizing the GC Library to archive graduate work in electronic format in the GC Academic Works institutional repository. Select embargo options, if any, that delay open access publication of a work in the repository. Embargo extensions or revocations must be requested of the Graduate Center Library dissertation assistant and of ProQuest, separately, after deposit. Copies (in print, microfilm, or digital formats) of CUNY graduate works are not subject to total sequestration even if embargoed by an author. CUNY copies may be displayed in CUNY libraries and in CUNY IP-space, copied by users in that space, and loaned by the GC Library via Interlibrary Loan. The library intends not to share embargoed theses in Open Access contexts, but the Library reserves the right to offer CUNY on-site viewing and title-by-title distribution of graduate works, in any format, even if they are embargoed by the author. 


  • Upload a copy of the dissertation file(s), most often in PDF format. See the ProQuest/UMI PDF FAQ for instruction.
  • ProQuest will transfer the electronic file and accompanying description and metadata, for subsequent deposit in the GC Academic Works institutional repository. 

The final thesis or dissertation deposit meeting requires:

  • thesis approval page with two required signatures, those of the Chair of the Examining Committee and of the program's Executive Officer, plus typed names of faculty members who supervised the writing (see sample page)
  • one print copy of the thesis or dissertation, in specified format on specified paper, identical to the PDF file submitted prior
  • Graduate School Exit Survey completed online (PhD grads only login with Banner ID/pwd, search under "Student Services" tab)
  • NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates completed online (PhD grads only login with Banner ID/pwd, search under "Student Services" tab)
  • CUNY Graduate Center Exit Questionnaire for Graduating MA Students completed online (Master's grads only)
  • Deposit Clearance Form print and complete 
    • Obtain Registrar signature on the Deposit Clearance Form on the day of, just prior to the deposit meeting. The Registrar does not have the information to issue approval until the day of deposit. Obtain Bursar, Financial Aid, and Circulation Manager signatures shortly before the deposit. Financial Aid may require completion of an additional exit survey prior to signature. All CUNY bills must be paid; all CUNY library books returned & fines paid.

During the final deposit meeting, the Dissertation Assistant assesses a bill for deposit. After the meeting, take the bill to the Bursar's window (8th floor) to make payment (by cash or check only - no credit cards accepted at the window) and receive a receipt. Online payment with Electronic Funds Transfer or with American Express, Discover, or MasterCard is possible with the assessed bill using the Grad Center Banner Web portal (select “Dissertation Fee”). If you have made online payment, bring printed receipts to the Bursar's window for verification after your bill is assessed. Deliver the verified receipts, then, back to the Registrar. The Registrar supplies an Application for Degree form with your full name (as it will appear on the Diploma), address, and signature. The Registrar issues a letter with the university seal certifying your deposit and the date of award, which is the date of deposit. The Registrar also issues instructions for commencement ceremony attendance. For graduates depositing while out-of-town, the Registrar will mail the certifying letter. Graduates obtain a GC Alumni photo ID card from the Office of Public Safety (rm. 9123) upon presentation of the deposit receipt for continued Graduate Center Library privileges. Diplomas are available from the Registrar after commencement.

Authors are responsible for the accuracy of deposited work. Final copies must be free of typographical error and correct in every detail of style and format. If typos or formatting errors are present in the deposit PDF, re-submission of a corrected file is possible in consultation with the Dissertation Assistant. Print copies must be unbound, unmarked, and free of hole-punches and correcting fluid. Please submit print copies in paper boxes or in envelopes.

Recipients of Perkins or Federal Direct Student Loan must arrange for an exit interview with the Office of Financial Aid. Make an appointment with the Graduate Center's Office of Financial Aid (212-817-7460) at least five business days before deposit.

A print deposit copy of each thesis and dissertation will be bound and shelved in the CUNY Graduate Center Library. Additional copies may be required by individual departments.

Personal bound copies of non-embargoed deposited works may be ordered online from ProQuest/UMI. The Dissertation Assistant will provide a copy of the bindery packing slip should an author wish to purchase additional bound copies for personal use.

Recipients of certain purblic and private awards in support of doctoral degrees may be required to deposit selecting Open Access Publishing, or provide a print copy of a completed work. Consult the SHERPA-JULIET Directory for funder policies; verify with any sponsoring organization prior to deposit.

rev 9/1/14


Dissertation Publishing Options Explained


Schedule & Fees

Schedule your defense at least five (5) business days prior to your deposit date to allow time for corrections and account clearances.

A dissertation or thesis may be deposited anytime; deadlines below:

For Degree Enrollment Required Deposit Required By
February 1 Preceding Fall term Last day in January
Spring Commencement Spring term May 1
October 1 Preceding Spring term

September 15

2015 Capstone Projects

Audiology deposits by April 30, 2015

The Dissertation Assistant calculates the fees at the final deposit meeting. Fees are based on formats required and services selected. Depositors take the assessed bill to the Bursar's window to pay fees by check or cash. Online payment with Electronic Funds Transfer or with American Express, Discover, or MasterCard is possible using the Graduate Center Banner Web portal (select “Dissertation Fee”).

Fees Dissertations Theses Capstone 
Deposit (binding) $9.00 $9.00 $18.00
PQ Copyright (optional) $55.00 $55.00 n/a


To Embargo or Not to Embargo?

Hear and read some key thoughts from the GC event “Share It Now or Save It For Later: Making Choices about Dissertations and Publishing,” featuring the MLA's Director of Scholarly Communications, two university press editors, and two recent alumni.

Also, see background information and related readings.


RCR Training

All CUNY scholars involved in research must complete CITI Responsible Conduct of Research training within 6 weeks of initiating research. Contact Adrienne Klein, the Graduate Center's Research Integrity Officer, with questions..

Online CITI RCR training


Human Participants Clearance

Well before deposit, level 3 doctoral students must submit the Dissertation Proposal Clearance: Human Participants Form, signed by the author(s) and the advisor and including the project abstract, to the Graduate Center' s Office of Sponsored Research (Kay Powell, room 8309). All doctoral dissertations and capstone projects in all programs require this clearance.

Required Surveys

PhD depositors only login with Banner ID/pwd, search under "Student Services"

Master's depositors welcome to complete; MALS and MES graduates required to complete


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