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Submitting your thesis to ORA: Information for Supervisors


This page outlines information that the supervisors of thesis authors may wish to know regarding ORA and thesis submission.


Guidance is available for supervisors and doctoral students on the Oxford Centre for Teaching and Learning. IT Services also provides training in using MS Word for long documents such as theses.
Suggested CHECKLIST for supervisors:

  • Check which of your students is required to (D.Phil., M.Litt., or M.Sc.(by Research)) or is invited to deposit a copy of their thesis in ORA and whether deposit is mandatory (see:Who should deposit). 
  • Direct your students to this LibGuide ( so they can familiarise themselves with copyright and other issues associated with e-theses.
  • Encourage students to gather copyright permissions as they compile materials for inclusion in their thesis. Students may find the 'Record of permissions' template helpful (see also: Copyright).
  • Ensure students are aware of any rights associated with their work which may affect the dissemination of their thesis via the Internet (eg commercial sponsors, forthcoming patents). Contact Research Services if you have any questions.
  • Ensure students are aware of any material in the thesis which could be identified as data from, or description of, an individual participant who had not given consent to such information being made publicly available or other material that might form 'sensitive' content (see: Sensitive content). If in doubt contact Research Services.
  • If your students are publishing articles as part of their research programme which they may later wish to include in their thesis, consider requesting that the publisher permit use of the article within the thesis for inclusion in ORA open access archive. The student may choose to amend a copyright transfer agreement (CTA) before signing (it is advised that authors read CTAs carefully before signing). See the SHERPA/Romeo website for summaries of journal publishers' policies for deposit in repositories like ORA.
  • The student should be encouraged to make themselves aware of issues associated with digital production of the thesis including use of Unicode fonts and to consider carefully which application they will use to create the thesis. They may not have considered the preservation problems resulting from digital items created using obscure, outdated or some proprietary software. Have they considered using open source software such as OpenOffice? For help see guidance on "Fonts and Images" or contact

DfC guidance

These guidelines are designed to help faculty boards make decisions when presented with requests for ‘Dispensation from Consultation’ by students so that as few theses as possible are designated restricted access. The aim is to assist the boards to strike a balance between the widest possible dissemination of Oxford research with reasonable limitations on access where absolutely necessary.

Procedure summary

  1. Student identifies content in thesis that should not be made publicly available (either immediately, after a set period, or permanently)
  2. Student applies for dispensation by completing and submitting form GSO.3c 
  3. Dispensation request considered by faculty board (or similar). Dispensation can be for:
    • individual affected content (i.e. individual images or specific chapters)
    • a separate appendix of material
    • the whole thesis
  4. Successful application - details indicated on the student record and checked on submission of thesis to ORA
  5. Access permission set in ORA

Open Access and embargo

Students may request to make their thesis available immediately at deposit (indicated in the deposit forms) or at any point during any embargo period placed on the full text.

Currently depositors have a choice of selecting immediate release for your thesis via ORA, or a choice of a 1 year or 3 year embargo period (starting from the date you were granted leave to supplicate). If the student is in receipt of funding from a sponsor such as the Research Councils UK* (RCUK), the length of the embargo to be applied may be determined by the terms of your funding grant (i.e. for RCUK funded students this is 1 year).

Note: this policy does not apply to hard copies – hard copies will be made available unless restricted using form GSO.3c

Some points to consider when assessing or applying for dispensation is summarised in the attached table.

Thesis process to submission

Oxford Research Archive (ORA)






ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) is the institutional repository for the University of Oxford and is home to the scholarly output of its research members. 

Contact us at:, or via our contact form.