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Submitting the Dissertation

Submission of My Dissertation

How do I submit my dissertation?

All dissertations are submitted electronically to Rackham during the post-defense submission. The final digital copy will be the copy of record. To submit your dissertation, you will access the Rackham dissertation online submission website. You will be asked to provide bibliographic keywords, or tags, that describe the content of your dissertation, including subject, concepts, theory, and methods. These will help others to find and retrieve your dissertation. You will copy your abstract to the website and upload a PDF of the final digital copy of your dissertation. The staff of Rackham’s Academic Records and Dissertations will review your submission, and may require you to make final changes before the submission is approved. No further changes will be allowed once the dissertation is approved and submitted. Rackham will hold your dissertation until your degree is conferred (which happens three times a year in April, August, and December). After your degree is conferred, Rackham will forward your dissertation as the copy of record to Deep Blue, the permanent digital repository of the University Library.

What rights do I retain after I submit my dissertation?

Please see the Deep Blue Author’s Deposit Agreement for more information.

What is Deep Blue?

Deep Blue is a digital repository that is part of the University Library. It provides permanent, safe, and accessible digital archiving, preservation, and distribution functions for the University of Michigan. Deep Blue’s primary goal is to provide access to the work that makes Michigan a leader in research, teaching, and creativity.

Will I be able to find my dissertation online when it is made available through Deep Blue?

Yes. It will be available through the University Library’s online catalog about three to four weeks after your degree is conferred. You will be able to find it listed in the University Library’s online catalog and via Google Scholar, a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature.

Do I still need a bound copy for the Library?

No, the University Library no longer accepts printed and bound copies of dissertations. Your committee or department may ask you to provide them with a bound paper copy.

Dissertation Release

Am I required to release my dissertation to the general public?

Yes. From the inception of the modern doctorate in the early 19th century, a central purpose of doctoral education has been to prepare students to make significant scholarly contributions to knowledge. The dissertation is submitted as public evidence of your scholarly accomplishment meriting the conferral of the doctoral degree. In keeping with this long-standing tradition, which is consistent with the university’s public mission, it has always been the university’s expectation that every doctoral dissertation and abstract will be released upon conferral of the degree. Only in specific circumstances may release of a dissertation be deferred, and then only for a limited period of time.

What are my options for restricting release of my dissertation via Deep Blue?

You may choose to delay public release of the dissertation for a period of two years, renewable, to protect intellectual property during the patent application process; to maintain confidentiality agreements protecting third-party proprietary information; to provide sufficient time to publish your dissertation in book form or as journal articles; or to protect informants at risk of identity exposure.

The embargo may be extended for a fifth and final year only for purposes of protecting the ability to publish the dissertation in book form.

You may choose one of two levels for restricting accessibility on Deep Blue during the first two years in which public release is delayed:

  • Complete restriction: the author, title, abstract, and dissertation will not be listed or accessible to anyone.
  • Partial restriction, limited to those with U-M Kerberos access: the author, title, and abstract will be listed; the dissertation will be accessible only with permission of the student.

Only partial restrictions are allowed for extensions of the embargo beyond the initial two years. Students will be contacted via email at least one month before the expiration of the embargo period. The dissertation will be publicly released if the student does not request an extension and provide a reason for this request.

Students may lift an embargo and make their dissertation publicly accessible at any time.

How do I ask that access to my dissertation in Deep Blue be restricted?

We recommend that you confer about dissertation embargo options with your Dissertation Chair and other members of your dissertation committee. If you decide to request an embargo, you will apply for an “Embargo Request.” Your Dissertation Chair (or Co-Chairs) must approve.

Can my advisor restrict access to my dissertation?

No. It is your dissertation and an embargo request must come from you, with the approval of your Dissertation Chair/Co-Chairs.


Am I required to submit my dissertation to ProQuest?

Rackham strongly encourages all doctoral students to submit their dissertations to ProQuest, but does not require it.

Why should I submit my dissertation to ProQuest?

The graduate school strongly encourages doctoral students to submit a digital copy of the final dissertation to ProQuest Dissertation Publishing.

You may digitally submit your dissertation to ProQuest at no cost. By making a copy of your dissertation available through ProQuest, your work will become part of the world’s largest permanent archive of doctoral dissertations. Founded by an alumnus of the University of Michigan, since 1938 ProQuest has been archiving and distributing dissertations from graduate schools around the world, and today manages a database that includes 90 percent of all dissertations from U.S. institutions. Abstracts of dissertations submitted to ProQuest are listed with the Library of Congress collections, and are published in Dissertation Abstracts International. By providing ProQuest with a digital copy of your dissertation, an archived microfilm copy is created and a digital copy is made available through the largest central repository of dissertations in the United States, one that has been designated as an official off-site repository of the Library of Congress. You retain all intellectual property rights to your dissertation, and are free to publish it later in parts or in its entirety. When you submit your dissertation to ProQuest, you will be asked to sign an agreement with ProQuest online. You also may request ProQuest to register the copyright for your dissertation in your name, but you should first discuss this option with your Chair or Co-Chairs.

May I ask ProQuest to delay release of my dissertation?

Yes. You may indicate what kind of embargo you would like on the ProQuest agreement you receive during your post-defense submission. You do not need permission to do this.

Whom should I contact if I have further questions?

You should discuss any questions you may have with your Dissertation Committee Chair or Co-Chairs. You may also email [email protected].

Contact Academic Records and Dissertations

0120 Rackham Building
915 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: 734.763.0171
Fax: 734.936.3335


Academic Records and Dissertations is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The office is closed Saturdays and Sundays and on the following holidays: Thanksgiving (Thursday and the following Friday), Christmas through New Year's, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), and Labor Day.