my-cumbria-logo, my-cumbria-logo Toggle navigation

All the information you need about preparing and depositing an electronic version of your thesis should be available on this page. 

To arrange an appointment with the library to discuss completing the Thesis Access Declaration Form , please email 

IMPORTANT: The information on this page is ONLY for students whose PhD is being awarded by the University of Cumbria. 

Students submitting to Lancaster University should visit for more information.

  • Format

    Thesis layout and presentation (electronic and print)

    University guidelines on the layout and presentation of your thesis are available in the University of Cumbria Postgraduate Research Assessment Regulations

    The Graduate School can also advise on the requirements for thesis layout and presentation:

    Please do not sign your name within your thesis, otherwise your signature will be available via the web.


    The electronic version of your thesis should be deposited as a single PDF file.  However, it is acceptable to deposit a small number of individual files if you experience difficulties in producing a single file for conversion to PDF.

    Before converting to PDF you need to ensure that you have incorporated any elements of the thesis created in programs such as Excel, etc. into the main body of the thesis to create a single PDF file.  However, if there are multimedia elements that you are unable to incorporate into the main body of your thesis it may be possible to upload these as a separate file.


    You should save the PDF version of your thesis using the following filename format: yearnamedegree.pdf, eg 2020smithphd.pdf or 2020jonesmphil.pdf

    If you need to deposit two files, one complete and one with third party copyright material edited out you should give them different filenames using the following format:

    • edited (public version): yearnamedegree.pdf, eg 2020smithphd.pdf
    • full (not for public view) version: yearnamedegreeinternal.pdf, eg 2020smithphdinternal.pdf

    If you need to deposit additional multimedia files that cannot be incorporated into the main PDF file you should use the same file name with the addition of information about the type of media being deposited. eg: 2020smithphd_audio.mpeg

    Depositing associated multimedia files 

    The main body of your thesis, including associated images, data, tables etc. must be deposited as a PDF document. However, if your thesis has associated multimedia e.g. audio file or video clips, these can be uploaded separately. No guarantee can be given that such files will continue to be accessible in the future. The relevant software for playing such files will not be provided via the institutional repository. Note that you should only upload multimedia files where you own the copyright, or where you have cleared any necessary rights.

    Creating an edited version of your thesis

    If you have been unable to secure all the necessary third party copyright permissions for your thesis you will not be able to make the full version available online. You will still be required to deposit this copy, and it will be held securely. However, you may wish to make an edited version publicly available. If this is the case you should save an additional copy of your thesis, remove the relevant material and insert a place holder at this point in the document, eg "Figure (Text/Chart/Diagram/image etc) has been removed due to Copyright restrictions".

    Remember that you need to deposit both the full and the edited version of your thesis, and that these should be given different filenames (see above).

  • Copyright


    Copyright law prohibits reusing more than an insubstantial part of third party copyright-protected material unless you have the owner’s permission or your use is permitted by an exception in the legislation (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988).  If you are unsure whether the third party material you have used is copyright protected see the Copyright guide for more information

    Print theses

    An exception permits acknowledged fair dealing for the purpose of illustration for instruction for a non-commercial purpose.  This includes examinations and covers assessed work, dissertations and theses.  You may therefore include extracts of text, maps, photographs, tables, images, providing the use is fair and you include the name of the author and the title of the work.  Use is likely to be considered fair if the amount copied is the minimum necessary and the use does not affect the rights owner’s exploitation of the work.

    Electronic theses

    When the thesis is published online the exception of illustration for instruction no longer applies.  You then need to obtain the copyright owner’s permission to use the material unless your use is covered by another exception.  A further exception permits acknowledged fair dealing for the purposes of criticismreview or quotation.  You may quote from literary and other works (eg musical, artistic, film) provided the work has been made available to the public, the use is fair, the extent of the quotation is no more than absolutely necessary and the use is acknowledged where possible.  You may also copy and reuse portions of works for criticism and review provided that they have been made available to the public and the use is fair. 

    Seeking permission for third party material

    These two exceptions are likely to cover the use of third party material in your thesis, but if you are unsure whether your use is legal, it is best to seek permission.  Bear in mind that the copyright owner may already have given permission for your intended reuse, perhaps through the use of a Creative Commons licence or through a copyright notice attached to the work.

    To seek permission for reuse you need to contact the copyright owner.  This may be the author of a work, a publisher, an illustrator etc. In the case of material from books and journals your first course of action should be to contact the publisher. Many publishers give details on their Website of how to seek permission and who to contact. Look for information on rights/permissions/copyright clearance. If the publisher does not hold the rights to the work they should forward your enquiry to whoever does.  Once you have established who to contact you can use the template below to form the basis of a letter or e-mail to the rights holder asking permission to include the material in the electronic version of your thesis.

    If the rights holder does not reply immediately you may choose to contact them again. However, note that it is not safe to assume a lack of response as permission to go ahead.

    What to do if permission is granted

    If a copyright holder indicates that permission has been granted you should indicate this at the appropriate point in your thesis, eg 'Permission to reproduce this ... has been granted by...'. You should keep a copy of any letters or e-mails you received from rights holders.

    What to do if permission is not granted

    If you need to include third party copyright material in your thesis and are unable to obtain permission or are asked to pay to do this you will not be able to make the full version of the thesis publicly available online. You need to select the option on the Thesis Access Declaration form to restrict access to the electronic version of your thesis because of copyright restrictions. However, you are still required to deposit an electronic copy of your thesis which will be held securely.

    When you come to deposit your thesis you have two options:

    1. Deposit two copies
    i) The full version with all third party copyright material retained. This version will not be made publicly available; and
    ii) An edited version excluding the third party copyright material for which you do not have permission. This will be made publicly available.


    2. Deposit just the unedited version

    Please note that the print version of your thesis will be the full, unedited version. This will be available for consultation in the Library unless you specify that the print should be restricted for any other reason. For more information please see our guidance on ‌. 

    See thesis Format section for information on how to create an edited version of your thesis.

  • Embargoes

    Restricting Access to your Thesis

    There may be a valid reason why you need to restrict access to your thesis. In most cases this will be for a limited period of time.

    Because theses can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, grounds for embargoing access to a thesis need to relate to one of the exemptions provided for by the Act. The most common reasons why you might need to embargo access are listed below:

    • Your thesis is due for publication, either as a series of articles or as a monograph
    • Your thesis has been commercially sponsored and you may have signed a agreement which does not permit you to make it publicly available
    • Your thesis contains commercially sensitive information, the release of which might prejudice the commercial interests of any person including the author, the University or an external company
    • Your thesis includes material that was obtained under a promise of confidentiality
    • The release of your thesis might endanger the physical or mental health or the safety of an individual

    detailed list and guidance on the scope of exemptions is available from the Information Commissioner's Office.

    Theses may also be requested under the Environmental Information Regulations. If you think you may need to restrict access to your thesis in relation to environmental information you may need to specify an EIRs exception rather than an FoI exemption.

    You should talk to your supervisor when establishing if there is a need to restrict access to your thesis. They will be able to advise if one of the exemptions permitted under the Act is applicable.

    Requests for embargoes should be made on the Thesis Access Declaration form. You must indicate in the space provided in the form which exemption you are claiming, and why you feel an exemption is necessary. It is important that you hand this form in to the Graduate School when you are ready to deposit the final version of your thesis so that there is time for your request to be considered. ??????? is required to sign the Thesis Access Declaration form to indicate that he/she agrees with your decision on restricting access to your thesis. The restriction will then be approved by the Graduate School on receipt of the form.

    If requests are approved, theses will normally be embargoed for up to a maximum of five years.

    At the end of the embargo period, the restrictions on access will be removed automatically. It is your responsibility to contact the Graduate School well in advance if you need to extend the embargo. You will have to make a written case to the Graduate School for the extension.

    If you are granted an embargo but decide it is no longer necessary, contact us. We will contact ???????? to confirm that it is appropriate to make the thesis available earlier.

  • Your Thesis and Creative Commons

    What are Creative Commons licences?

    Creative Commons licences are a series of easy-to-use copyright licences designed to encourage the creation of content that can be copied, distributed, and re-used, without infringing the creator’s copyright.  Each licence has three parts: legal code defining the licence terms, a translation of the legal code into easy-to-understand layman’s terms, and a machine-readable version which search engines and other software systems can understand.

    Which Creative Commons licence will be applied to my thesis?

    The University of Cumbria requires that a CC BY-NC-ND licence be applied when you deposit your thesis in the Institional Repository called Insight. This will happen automatically. 

    Types of Creative Commons licence

    There are six different Creative Commons licences, permitting different types of reuse. 

      CC BY

    The basic Creative Commons licence is the Creative Commons Attribution licence, or CC-BY licence.  Under a CC-BY licence, users are free to copy, redistribute, and reuse the work for any purpose, including commercial purposes, but must attribute the creator of the work.  The remaining licences are made up of the basic Creative Commons Attribution licence, and one or more of the following elements:


    Users can only use the work for non-commercial purposes.


    Users cannot share adaptations or derivatives of the work.


    Users can share adaptations of the work but must use the same licence terms.

    These elements can be combined; for example, the most restrictive Creative Commons licence is CC BY-NC-ND under which users can copy and redistribute the work but cannot alter it in any way, or use it commercially.

    What if I want to apply a different Creative Commons licence to my work?

    The University requires that a CC BY-NC-ND licence be applied when you deposit your thesis in Insight. This will happen automatically. If you wish to make your thesis availble elsewhere under a different licence you are free to do so. You could use the Creative Commons licence chooser to help you pick an appropriate licence.  It will also generate the relevant licence icons and descriptive text for you.

    If you want your thesis to be included in the ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis Global database then you will need to apply a CC-BY licence.

    What do I do if my work has third-party content?

    You must have permission to reuse the third-party content. This permission might be granted by a licence on the third-party content: for example, if the third-party work itself uses a CC BY licence you can reproduce it in your own work as long as you attribute it properly.  

    If you have permission to reuse the third-party content, you can apply a Creative Commons licence to your work but you must clearly mark the third party content within your work and indicate the terms of use for these elements.



  • Thesis Deposit Instructions

    Depositing your electronic thesis 

    Before depositing the final version of your thesis you should ensure that you do the following:

    • Ensure that you have made best efforts to seek permission to include any third party copyright material in the electronic version of your thesis. If you have been unable to gain all necessary permissions, decide if you want to make an edited version publicly available.
    • Discuss with your supervisor whether or not there is a reason for restricting access to your thesis. If you do wish to restrict access to your thesis you will need the signature of your Director of Institute on the Thesis Access Declaration Form .  
    • Complete the Thesis Access Declaration Form . This should be sent to the Graduate School and to when you are ready to deposit the final version of your print copy and deposit your electronic version in Insight.

    Send your completed form to the Graduate School and the Insight Administrator by email: & 

    Instructions for electronic theses that are to be made available immediately (no embargoes, no copyright restrictions):

    • You need to send the final PDF electronic version of your thesis as an email attachment to 
    • The Insight administrator will deposit your thesis in Insight and apply the relevant metadata to make it discoverable
    • You should have the final version of your thesis as a single PDF file
    • Ensure that your file is named according to the format yearnamedegree.pdf (eg 2020smithphd.pdf)
    • Once your thesis has been uploaded to Insight, the Graduate School will be informed that you have complied with University regulations

    Instructions for electronic theses where access is to be restricted, either due to an embargo or due to the inclusion of third party copyright material

    If you have been granted an embargo or if your thesis contains third party copyright material you do not have permission to include within the electronic version, access to the full text of the thesis will be restricted. In the case of embargoed or restricted theses, the access restriction will be dependent on the length of time for which restriction has been granted (up to a maximum of 5 years).

    Embargoed theses

    • The instructions for depositing your thesis in Insight are as above. You will need to include details of the length of restriction, e.g. restricted until 2025, in the appropriate section of the Insight screen.
    • The Insight administrator will verify the embargo details with the Graduate School before restricting access to the thesis. Please make sure you have returned the Thesis Access Declaration Form to the Graduate School containing the required authorisation for the restriction.
    • Once your thesis has been uploaded and validated, the Graduate School will be informed.

    Edited versions of theses with third party copyright removed

    • If you have created an edited version of your thesis to remove third party copyright, you may deposit this for public access in addition to the restricted unedited version.  
    • You should give the versions different filenames using the following format.  
      Edited (public view) version - yearnamedegree.pdf (e.g. 2020smithphd.pdf).
      Unedited (not for public view) version - yearnamedegreeinternal.pdf (e.g. 2020smithphdinternal.pdf)
    • Please note that the print copy you deposit will be the unedited version
    • Once your thesis has been uploaded and validated, the Graduate School will be informed.

    Depositing your print thesis 

    You need to follow the specifications stated in the University of Cumbria Postgraduate Research Assessment Regulations 

    What happens after you have deposited your thesis?


    The Insight administrator will check the information you have provided and add further details.

    If you have chosen to make your thesis available immediately with no embargoes it will be available in Insight shortly after deposit (assuming there are no problems with the file you have deposited - if there are we will contact you).

    If you have been granted an embargo, the full text of your thesis will not appear publicly until after this period has elapsed. However, the details about your thesis, e.g. author, title etc. will be made publicly available at the point of deposit. If access to your thesis has been restricted for copyright reasons it will not appear in the repository at all unless you have also provided an edited version.


    When the thesis has been bound it will be added to the thesis collection in the University Library.  Details about your thesis will be available via OneSearch.

  • FAQs

    All the information you need about preparing and depositing an electronic version of your thesis should be available on this site. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions.

    What are the advantages to me of making my thesis available electronically?

    Your work is much more visible, so it is likely to be better known and more highly cited. It is a flexible format, ideal if your work includes videos or graphics. You can include links to supplementary material too.

    Won’t the University of Cumbria be at a disadvantage if it makes its students publish their doctoral theses on the web? Will it affect applications?

    On the contrary, most UK universities already require electronic submission of theses and there is no sign of this affecting their student applications. In fact it makes the University's research output more visible to potential applicants.

    I'm worried about plagiarism. Won't this make it easier for someone to pass off my work as their own?

    In fact the reverse is true! Making your thesis available electronically means that powerful online plagiarism detection services can quickly establish if someone else is using your material. Depositing your e-thesis makes it easier for other researchers to use and cite your work legitimately, using the accepted academic conventions.

    I want to publish my thesis as a book; won’t this put a stop to my discussions with a publisher?

    You may put an embargo on access to your thesis of up to five years. If this is not sufficient you will need to make a formal written case towards the end of that period to show why the embargo should be extended. However an extension beyond five year would only be made in exceptional circumstances.

    My thesis takes the form of a novel I want to publish.

    Again, you should apply for a five-year embargo in the first place.

    How will people find my thesis?

    The thesis can be searched locally from OneSearch, but it is also harvested by major search engines such as Google and Google Scholar. There are links to it from UK-wide theses services such as EThOS.

    I did my thesis at another university but I would like to deposit a copy here. May I?

    Certainly, you may deposit your thesis electronically if you wish. Before you deposit your thesis, please complete the Thesis Deposit Form and then follow the instructions in this guide.

    What will happen if I fail to deposit an electronic version of my thesis?

    You will not be permitted to graduate until you have deposited an electronic version of your thesis.

    Can I restrict access to my thesis?

    For information on the options that may be open to you see the Embargoes section above.

    How does the Freedom of Information Act 2000 affect access to my thesis?

    For information on this see the Embargoes section above.

    What do I do if my thesis contains third party copyright material?

    For information on this see the Copyright section above.

    What do I do if I want to include works I have already published?

    For details of what do do see the Copyright section above.

    What format does my thesis need to be in?

    See the Format section above.

    How do I convert my thesis to PDF format?

    See the Format section above.

    What do I do if I cannot produce a single PDF file of my thesis?

    If you are experiencing major difficulties in creating a single PDF file it is acceptable to upload a small number of separate PDF files, eg main thesis and appendices.

Edit page