Electronic Thesis or Dissertation Submission Process and Copyright Registration

Approval Process

  • Once your Graduate Advisory Committee approves your thesis or dissertation, the GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form must be filled out, dated and signed by your committee and department chair. This form must be turned into the Graduate School by the published deadline of your graduating term and before you submit your thesis or dissertation
  • Note: Ph.D. Students must submit the “Certificate of Completion” for the Survey of Earned Doctorates along with the GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission

Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) Submission Process

  • Convert your thesis or dissertation to a PDF
  • Submit your ETD through the Colorado State University Libraries Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Submission webpage.
  • Your submission will be reviewed for final approval by an administrator at the Graduate School.
  • You will receive an e-mail notification once your submission has been reviewed.
  • Note: The e-mail address requested by ProQuest/UMI in the submission process is the e-mail address you will receive notifications regarding your ETD. Make sure you check the e-mail address you
  • Submission and approval of your ETD must meet the published deadline of your graduating

Publishing fee– electronic submission

When you submit your thesis or dissertation to ProQuest/UMI, your document will be microfilmed, indexed in its Digital Dissertations & Theses database together with research and scholarship of other institutions, and archived at an additional location remote from CSU. If you choose ProQuest/UMI’s Traditional Publishing option, submission is free. ProQuest/UMI theses and dissertations by CSU authors are available via a free download to CSU students and faculty. As an alternative to the Traditional Publishing option, ProQuest/UMI is creating its own open access repository, and for a fee ($95) you may deposit your work there. We expect most students interested in open access to bypass this service, since CSU is providing an identical service at no cost through Mountain Scholar.

LaTex Users

To assist fellow graduate students in the development of their thesis or dissertation, a pilot project was initiated by the Graduate Student Council to create a trial offering of a LaTex template. The The CSU Graduate School and the Morgan Library are unable to provide troubleshooting support for students who opt to use this template. If you opt to use the template, it is your responsibility to ensure your thesis or dissertation meets current Graduate School formatting requirements. Please use only use the template if you are knowledgeable and familiar with the program.

View information on the the Colorado State University LaTeX Thesis/Dissertation Template.

Copyright Registrations (optional)

You, as the author of a completed thesis, automatically own the copyright. It is your option to register the copyright and this may be secured through ProQuest/UMI. Or, you may submit the necessary forms directly to the U.S. Copyright Office. More information may be found at:

The benefits of registering copyright are both cultural and legal. It is a formal and clear statement of a work’s value, and it signals that the thesis or dissertation is important. It is a prerequisite for filing an infringement action against someone in court and serves as a prima facie evidence of copyright validity.

If unusual circumstances surround rights to the material in the thesis, the student should seek the help of the advisor, department head, or dean before proceeding to register a copyright. In complex cases, legal counsel may be appropriate. Copyright questions can be address by the CSU Libraries’ Assistant Dean or the Office of General Counsel at CSU. 

It is the responsibility of the student to secure permission to use copyrighted material in the thesis.

Statement of Copyright Ownership

It is required at CSU that you include a copyright notice in your thesis to remind people of your copyrights. You also have the option to officially register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office; however, this is not required.

Copyright verses Academic Authorship

Authorship as defined under copyright law may be different than authorship norms in academia. To be an “author” under copyright laws, the individual must make a meaningful written contribution to a publication. Providing advice, editing, or access to data or other information does not rise to the level of “authorship.” Additionally, co-authorship for purposes of copyright law can only arise where a joint publication is agreed to at the inception of the work. Thus, even where there is extensive editing by another person of an author’s work, it is unlikely this would qualify as co-authorship.

Advisors/Labs, and Copyright

If a thesis or dissertation has been written based on work performed in an advisor’s laboratory, the student author is the copyright holder even though materials or data from the laboratory form the basis for the thesis or dissertation. However, the materials and data do not become the property of the student just because they are included in a thesis or dissertation. Only the specific language or unique presentation used with respect to the materials and data are covered by the student’s copyright. If an advisor or other faculty member is concerned about this, they can ask that a student share the student’s rights in the copyrighted thesis or dissertation. This can be accomplished by signing this sample Copyright Sharing Agreement. 

Copyright Issues for Visual Art and Musical Works

Given the complexity of identifying who needs to give you permission, if you plan to use recordings as part of a work you are creating at the university (or elsewhere), you should start working on permissions a few months in advance of when you plan to make use of such recordings. You should contact all individuals who may have some type of relationship to the music in which you are interested and negotiate any fees and rights that are applicable to your situation. There are a number of websites that contain music that has been made available for use under Creative Commons type licenses. These can be a valuable resource where time or money is tight.

Copyright Issues and Research Data Rights

Please refer to the Office of Policy and Compliance’s CSU Policy on Research Data

Patent Distinctions

CSU Ventures serves to protect, manage and license intellectual property for the Colorado State Univerity System. For questions and assistance visit csuventures.org.

Journal Papers in a Thesis

With the approval of your advisor and Graduate Advisory Committee, you may include manuscripts published in, accepted by, submitted to, and/or prepared for submission to scholarly journals and proceedings (or modified from those versions). As in a traditional thesis, the collection of papers should address related topics. When choosing this option, you must be a primary author of the papers (i.e., a person principally involved in the data selection or collection, the data analysis or interpretation, and the writing of the papers). The content of each paper included may be similar to or the same as what was submitted to the journal/proceedings. The document will follow all of the Graduate School requirements for style, margins, font, text spacing, page numbers, etc. as specified in this guide.

Proper arrangement and construction of the parts of the thesis containing journal papers will likely vary according to the styles adopted by different disciplines. The student’s department will determine the final organization of the thesis. Moreover, previously published work that is included in the thesis or dissertation requires consent from the holder of the copyright to the work – approval or release from the publisher or copyright holder is required.

Any references to journal publications, authors, etc. on your chapter pages or major heading pages should be listed as a footnote.

Request for Embargo (Delay Public Release)

Public access may be delayed up to one year in the event that the thesis contains material to be protected by patent or copyright. A two-year embargo may be requested for MFA in Creative Writing and MA-Creative Nonfiction programs only. This delay is accomplished by the advisor submitting an explanation of the request on the GS 31 – ETD Embargo Restriction Request Form which is submitted along with the GS 30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form to the Graduate School. Extensions are not possible as one of the functions of the University is the generation and dissemination of contributions to knowledge and culture. The fundamental purpose of theses is to make such contributions available for public benefit.

Additional information is available on the Mountain Scholar FAQ page. 

Policy Concerning Publication Rights for Thesis and Dissertation Research

The general policy concerning dissemination of research results is designed to assure that worthwhile and useful results are made available promptly to the scholarly community, and to assure that all those who have contributed to the development of the new knowledge – students and faculty – receive appropriate credit for their role in the work.

The Graduate School recognizes that there may be many special conditions affecting the dissemination of thesis findings, and that students and faculty must adjust to those conditions as they arise. However, in the most common, traditional situations, the following summary of procedures should provide general guidelines.

Thesis results are, by definition, the product of the student’s creative efforts. Hence, a publication that reports only those results should involve the student as sole or senior author. If, however, a publication reports the work of others in addition to the thesis results, the student may be entitled only to joint or even junior authorship, according to the usual standard of relative contribution to the overall project.

Senior authors are expected to play a major role in all of the usual decisions surrounding the publication effort, including choice of publisher and similar matters. However, consultation with junior authors is appropriate.

Since thesis research involves direction and supervision by the advisor and Graduate Advisory Committee, there are occasions in which those persons are rightfully recognized. However, whether or not the advisor or other members of the committee are to be included as co-authors of a publication relating to thesis work will depend on their level of involvement in the research and whether they wish to be named as such. Simple membership on a committee, implying only a typical advisory role, does not normally qualify a person for co-authorship of materials emerging from thesis research.

While the student has the right to publish thesis results, this right may be limited. For example, agencies which provide financial support for research sometimes are able to claim ownership of the results. If research is based on the work of others, it may be necessary to secure their permission. If findings included in the thesis previously appeared elsewhere, copyright may have been assigned to the publisher.

Publication of Thesis

When a thesis or any portion of it is to be published, the following statement should appear as a footnote on the first page, “From a thesis submitted to the Academic Faculty of Colorado State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of                                                            .”