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Language Other Than English

Students in foreign language departments may submit manuscripts in a language other than English. The abstract, however, must be in English.

Multi-Part and Journal Article Format

A multi-part presentation format may be used for combining research that has been conducted in two or more related or non-related areas, or for presentation of combined journal articles (published or submitted for publication). Organization of the parts or articles into chapters is recommended. Each “chapter” may contain its own list of references and appendices. Each dissertation should include the appropriate preliminary pages, an introduction presenting the general theme of the research and literature review, and a conclusion summarizing and integrating the major findings. Each “chapter” should consist of well-defined “subheadings,” such as introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

Permission to Use Previously Published Material

The standard provisions of copyright law regarding quoted and previously published material under copyright apply to the publication of theses and dissertations. When you have previously published portions of your thesis or dissertation as an article or book chapter, you must ensure the work may also be published as part of the dissertation or thesis. Many publishers provide exceptions to work published as part of graduation requirements and this is often clearly outlined as part of the publication agreement signed by the author. You must properly acknowledge previously published material within the text of your manuscript.

If this exception does not exist or is not specified, you must obtain approval or rely on Fair Use to publish your dissertation or thesis with the copyrighted material. Emailed approvals from the journals are acceptable and should be uploaded into the submission system as “Administrative Files.” You should discuss questions about copyrighted material with your dissertation advisor or contact the VU Librarian for Copyright and Scholarly Communications.

If the work is submitted to the ProQuest database, ProQuest will scan the document to ensure it contains no copyrighted material without consent and proper citation.


Your thesis or dissertation is automatically protected by copyright as soon as it is fixed in a tangible form, such as being saved as an electronic file.

Although not required, it is good practice to include the copyright symbol, your name, and the year on the title page of your work (© 2017 by [your name]).

You also may choose to register your copyright, which will gain you additional protections in case of litigation for copyright infringement. You can file a copyright registration online directly with the U.S. Copyright Office. The U.S. Copyright Office charges a fee of $35.00.

Publishing Agreements

You will be asked to agree to the license to deposit your submission to the Vanderbilt Institutional Repository.  The Library, with the Vanderbilt Institutional Repository, enhances the metadata provided with your dissertation and adds your record to discovery tools like the Library Catalog and WorldCat, making it easily findable for scholars worldwide. The library also maintains the technical infrastructure of the repository.  If you plan to make your dissertation open access, we can assist you in understanding the options for licensing. If your dissertation makes use of copyrighted content, you will want to think early on about whether you may rely on fair use or need to acquire licenses. We will be glad to meet with you to discuss the requirements of your particular project.

PhD students also have the option to request deposit of your submission with ProQuest, at no additional cost to you. If you elect to deposit your submission with ProQuest, you must also agree to the ProQuest license. This agreement is entirely between you and ProQuest.  Vanderbilt’s sole responsibility is to pass on the license agreement and your work to ProQuest.  Please contact ProQuest Dissertation Publishing, at 1(800) 521-0600 or with any questions.


The expectation of the Graduate School is that all theses and dissertations will be made publicly available absent these limited circumstances.  You have the option to make your submission available immediately or to temporarily embargo its release for a limited period of time. Students may elect to embargo their work if they anticipate publication, are making a patent application, have restrictions imposed by sponsors, or privacy concerns.  Metadata, including the abstract, about your submission will still be visible in the Vanderbilt Institutional Repository, thereby indicating that your submission was accepted.  You should discuss any anticipated hold on publication with your advisor. If selecting the ProQuest publishing option, be sure that you make the same embargo selection under the Vanderbilt options. Once your submission has been released to ProQuest, we have no ability to retract it.

If, after consultation with your advisor, you would like to request a temporary embargo, you can elect from the following:

  • No embargo and release immediately for worldwide access
  • Six (6) month embargo
  • Twelve (12) month embargo
  • Twenty-four (24) month embargo

If you, after consultation with your advisor, determine that you need to extend your embargo beyond your initial selection, you can only do so with permission from the Graduate School. If you have questions about your embargo, you may email

Extra Copies

The Graduate School recommends Campus Copy for procuring bound copies of theses and dissertations. You may contact them directly at 615-936-4544, or online at Printing Services.