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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

You may use a multi-part presentation format for combining original 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). You should organize the parts or articles into chapters, with well-defined subheadings, including an introduction, methods, results and discussion. Each chapter may contain its own list of references and appendices, or you may list them all at the end, depending on the custom of your discipline.

When using this format, the thesis or dissertation should nonetheless consist of an integrated argument that binds the chapters together. You should include the appropriate preliminary pages, an introduction presenting the general theme of the research, and a conclusion summarizing and integrating the major findings. Any additional appendices related to the dissertation as a whole or any general references from the introduction, conclusion or transitional sections should come at the end of the dissertation. 

Permission to Use Previously Published Material

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. The standard provisions of copyright law regarding quoted and previously published material under copyright apply to the publication of theses and dissertations. 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.

In order to include your own previously published or co-authored material in your thesis or dissertation, you must comply with the following:

  1. You must be the first author, or obtain permission from your committee, to be uploaded as an Administrative file in Vireo.
  2. The article must be based on research completed while you were enrolled at Vanderbilt University.
  3. You must have permission from the publisher to reuse the work, which should be uploaded to VIREO as an Administrative file. The record of permission may take the form of the publishing agreement, a copy of the publisher’s webpage describing reuse rights, or an email approval from the publisher. You should also identify which chapters are associated with which articles when prompted within VIREO.
  4. If there are co-authors, you must obtain the permission of all co-authors to include the work in the thesis or dissertation as a matter of both copyright law and professional courtesy. Include these permissions (email approval is acceptable) as an Administrative file in VIREO.
  5. You must properly acknowledge previously published material and any co-authors within the text of your manuscript. This would typically take the form of a footnote, or, alternately, an italicized statement beneath the relevant chapter heading. The rubric should be: “This chapter is adapted from [Title] published in [Journal] and has been reproduced with the permission of the publisher and my co-authors [List co-authors]” and include the full citation required by the publisher, if any, or appropriate to your discipline.

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.

Inclusion of Third-Party Content

If you are including content in your dissertation not authored or created by you, consider copyright issues. If your use of the content would exceed fair use under the Copyright Act, then you will need to seek the copyright holder’s permission in order to use the material. Obtaining copyright permissions often takes time and should not be left until the last minute.

You should discuss questions about copyrighted material with your dissertation advisor or contact the VU Librarian for Copyright and Scholarly Communications at for help evaluating fair use or obtaining permissions.


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 for a fee of $45.00.

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.