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Graduate Thesis Submission Guidelines

Questions concerning the University policy on graduate theses should be directed to the Office of Research Initiatives (408-551-7041). Questions concerning other aspects of these guidelines should be directed to the University Library Administrative Offices (408-554-6830).

University Policy

Theses completed in partial fulfillment of a graduate degree must be deposited electronically with the University Archives and made publicly available by the Santa Clara University Library. The University has the right to publish the title, author, and abstract of each thesis on the Internet for University Library use. Authors may choose whether or not to embargo their complete thesis from being publicly available via the Internet for a period of six months, one year, or two years.

Students completing a thesis in partial fulfillment of requirements for a graduate degree at Santa Clara University must submit their thesis to their department office for format verification, along with the completed Graduate Student Thesis Publication Agreement

At their option, individual departments may require students to submit a printed copy of a thesis to be retained by the department.

Ph.D. candidates must also submit a copy of their thesis to ProQuest Information and Learning (formerly UMI) for inclusion in Dissertation & Theses Global, with a completed ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Agreement Form. At their option, Ph.D. candidates may have ProQuest register their copyright for the thesis with the Library of Congress Copyright Office; there is an additional fee for this service.

At the end of each quarter, individual department offices will deposit electronic copies of all theses submitted that quarter to the University Library.

An electronic copy of the thesis shall be deposited in the Santa Clara University Library. To create the electronic manuscript, convert the complete thesis to a single PDF document (see below regarding supplementary files). The electronic manuscript should be delivered to the department office in accordance with their submission requirements. Do not include a scanned signature on the title page of the PDF, but do submit one additional printed title page with the thesis advisor's original signature. For Jesuit School of Theology (JST) degrees awarded by Santa Clara University, the SCU Library is responsible for making the electronic copy available. Because of its affiliation with the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), the JST may require that one or more physical copies of the thesis also be deposited in the GTU Library. For JST degrees awarded by the GTU, the thesis depository requirements of the GTU apply.

The electronic copy will be made available through a persistent URL embedded in the online catalog record. Students choosing this option must grant the University a non-exclusive right to provide digital copies of the thesis (see the Graduate Student Thesis Publication Agreement). The student will have the option to delay the release of the electronic copy of the thesis to search engines (outside of the University) and other third-party distributors. Delayed release (embargo) options are: 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years. Under an embargo, the thesis will be available to SCU-authenticated users, but not to readers outside the SCU community. The embargo option may be appropriate for a student who has a patent application in process or wants to delay access to the thesis for a limited amount of time to pursue commercial interests or other publication. Embargoes may be lifted early at the request of the author. If you have any questions about whether you should embargo your thesis, please consult with your advisor.

Format Requirements

Individual programs may establish their own style guidelines for theses, except that each thesis must include a title page and an abstract of 350 words or fewer. In addition to the above requirements, a thesis with accompanying files must include a list of submitted files indicating the file formats and software version used to create each file.

The electronic version of the thesis may be accompanied by supplementary materials. There is no limit on the number of supplemental files that can be submitted. The following table outlines preferred file formats for different content types. If you anticipate needing to submit a file in another format, please check with your department.

Content typeRequired format
Text PDF
Images TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000
Audio WAV
Video MPEG video
Data sets ASCII text

Individual departments may establish their own style guidelines for print theses if they require a printed copy. When the Library required a physical copy, it required that left margins shall not be less than 1.5 inches (to ensure readability when bound), all theses must include a title page and an abstract of 350 words or less, and print copies must be printed or copied single sided onto white, acid-free 20 pound or heavier paper.

Bulletin Entry

All graduate programs that require or allow students the option of completing a thesis will include the following paragraph in their graduate bulletin, modified as appropriate to the program requirements (optional entries are in square brackets, except all Ph.D.-granting programs must include the final bracketed statement regarding ProQuest).

[Statement here about a thesis being required or being an option for the program.] Guidelines for the preparation of theses are available from [name of school or department]. At least XX month(s) prior to the date the degree is to be conferred, the candidate must submit a signed Graduate Student Thesis Publication Agreement and a PDF of their thesis [as well as XX printed copies of the final version of the thesis , including original approval pages], to [name of school or department]. The thesis will be made available, subject to an embargo, on the Internet by the University Library. [Candidates for the Ph.D. will also submit their thesis to ProQuest Information and Learning to be published in Dissertations & Theses Global. There is an additional charge for this service, which ProQuest will collect. At their option, Ph.D. candidates may have ProQuest register their copyright for the thesis with the Library of Congress Copyright Office. There is an additional fee for this service, which ProQuest will collect.]

Steps for Submitting a Graduate Thesis

  1. The student completes his/her thesis and obtains the required signatures, as determined by the student's department.
  2. The student downloads and completes the Graduate Student Thesis Publication Agreement and submits the completed form, along with the PDF of the actual thesis (with any accompanying files) to their department office.
  3. Ph.D. candidates must also submit a PDF to ProQuest and pay any required fees ($25 for Traditional Publishing is the only fee required by Santa Clara University).
  4. The department office submits the thesis (and files) to the University Library. If the department wishes to have one or more printed copies bound, they send those to the Library to be bound. The Library will return the bound copies according to its bindery schedule (currently sent out & received 2-3 times per year).
  5. The Library will make the thesis (i.e. the PDF file) available through a persistent URL embedded in the online catalog record. If the thesis is under embargo, the pdf file will only be available to SCU-authenticated users, but not to readers outside the SCU network. Once the embargo is lifted, all users will have access to the electronic version of the thesis.

Updated November 14, 2016