Theses: How to submit your thesis (Additional information)

MySaint tasks and creation of your thesis declaration

There are a set of MySaint tasks that you need to complete both in advance of submission for examination and in advance of submission of your final Library copies.    The online tasks create your title page and your thesis declaration. You will be asked a series of questions about your choices for embargo and about copyright, funder information and research data.    The Guidance for submission of theses document gives detailed help on how to prepare to answer the questions and complete the online tasks. The appendices give you useful templates to use for funder acknowledgements and show how to cite underpinning research data.

Embargo choices and decisions

Before you submit your thesis for examination you need to decide whether or not you need to request an embargo in your declaration. An embargo means that public access to the thesis is restricted for a certain amount of time. You also have the option to apply an embargo to the title and/or abstract of your thesis in addition to the full text.

Make sure you discuss any potential need for an embargo with your supervisor(s) in plenty of time. You can request an embargo on the grounds that publication would: 


  • be commercially damaging to the researcher, or to the supervisor, or the University
  • preclude future publication
  • be in breach of law or ethics

The Guidance for submission of theses document gives examples of the questions you need to prepare to answer about embargo.

It should be noted that initial embargos are normally requested up to a maximum of five years.

Please note that the total period of an embargo, including any continuation is not expected to exceed ten years. 

Please note that the embargo will be lifted automatically at the end of the embargo period, if we do not hear from you before the embargo end date. This means the thesis will become publicly available in the St Andrews Research repository following the embargo end date.


You can read detailed guidance about copyright and theses in the Copyright and theses guidance document

For more information on copyright issues with regard to electronic theses, please also consult the Copyright 101 presentation

Your thesis submitted for examination is an unpublished work and is considered to be an examination script. Copying for the purpose of examination is permitted under ‘Illustration for instruction’ (CDPA s.32, June 2014) and the legislation allows you to include third party copyright material provided it’s accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement and its use is considered ‘fair dealing’, i.e. the amount of the work being copied is reasonable and proportionate for your purposes.     


The Final (Library) version of your thesis will be made available online and is therefore deemed to be published. You will therefore have different responsibilities regarding any third-party copyright material you use, e.g. quotations and extracts from other people’s publications, i.e. books and journals, illustrations, photographs, diagrams, maps, graphs. 


You may still include third-party copyright material in the Final (Library) version of your thesis without the permission of the copyright holder under the ‘Criticism, review, quotation and news reporting (CDPA s.32, June 2014) exception, provided the material:  


  • is already publicly available  

    is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement  

    is being used for the purpose of criticism or review  

    your quotation, (or other extract), is no more than is required for your specific purpose  

    the use is considered ‘Fair Dealing’ (i.e. it does not impinge upon the copyright holder’s ability to commercially exploit their work).  

If your use of third-party copyright material does not meet these criteria, you will need to seek the permission of the copyright holder to include it in the Final (Library) version. 


For example, if you want to include:  

  • a substantial quotation, e.g., a whole poem, a large amount of text, or  

  • a photograph, or other copyright image whose use is unlikely to be considered ‘Fair Dealing’  

you would have to request permission from the copyright holder.


We have a standard letter which you can use to request permissions from copyright holders to use material in Final (Library) version. There is also a permissions letter to use when requesting permission to include journal articles already published by you.


If you need copyright permissions but are unable to obtain them, the Library will accept a redacted version of your electronic thesis with the uncleared material temporarily removed. The Library would also still requires a complete, intact version of your electronic thesis which could be made available once all copyright permissions were obtained, (pending any embargoes requested).

Acknowledging Funders

Most major research funders have requirements for students to acknowledge the source of their funding. For example the UKRI Training Grant Guidance which states that


TGC11 When the thesis is lodged you should ensure that the sponsor name and the name of the funding Council(s) are included in thesis repositories (e.g. AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC or STFC). 


In the case of doctoral theses funded by the Councils, metadata describing the thesis should be lodged in the institution's repository as soon as possible after award and a full text version should be available within a maximum of 12 months following award. It is expected that metadata in
institutional repositories will be compatible with the metadata core set recommended by the ETHOS e-thesis online service

For all funded theses, postgraduate research students must include a sentence in the acknowledgement section of the full text of the thesis to acknowledge that funding, for example,  


This work was supported by the XXXX Research Council [grant number xxxx]. 

This work was supported by the University of St Andrews (School of Biology). 


(The first suggested form for this acknowledgement is taken from the former Research Information Network’s Guidance on the Acknowledgement of Funders in Scholarly Articles)

The statement should be repeated for multiple funders. The Guidance for submission of theses document gives further information and Appendix II provides an example of an acknowledgements page that you can use in your thesis.


In addition, for all funded theses, postgraduate research students should submit funder and grant number information as part of the thesis metadata submission process into the St Andrews Research Repository. 


Digital Preservation

There are now requirements for multiple versions of your final Library copy to be deposited. This helps us to digitally preserve your thesis. In addition to the PDF of your final thesis we also require your files in their original formats.


Two copies of your thesis should be submitted to the Library. An archive version and a dissemination version. The archive version will be kept secure in the university archive for long term preservation and will not be made accessible for general use. The dissemination version is a PDF version of the work that will be made available online once any embargo periods have ended. 


You may deposit the archive version of your thesis in any format. It is expected that most files will have been created using current common or recent software applications such as MS Office, LaTeX, or Open Office. Some older, obsolete or more obscure file formats may present preservation difficulties – please contact if you have concerns about this. 

Fuller information can be found in this E-theses preservation guide.


We also require your supplementary data in separate files and preferably in a zip file if you have more than 10 files of supplementary data. 

Digital Accessibility

Please start to think about Digital Accessiblity in conjunction with Digital Preservation.

This Digital Accessibility Basics course will give you plenty of information.

Ensuring that your final Library PDF and original file format copies comply with this guidance will enhance the accessibility of your work to your readership and will enable longer term preservation of an accessible format.

Which files to upload and how to name them

It is important that a thesis filename contains the author’s name and also effectively distinguishes between different versions of the thesis.

Another consideration is that the filenames should be standardised to suit best practice for the needs of data preservation.

The format for filenames should take the form:

Thesis-First name-Last name-file-description

The filename should contain no spaces, and only ‘Thesis’, first name, and last name should be capitalised.

For example;



Thesis-Jessie-Smith-redacted-version-supplementary data

Alternative method for uploading large files

If you receive an error message whilst trying to upload a file during the submission process, then please upload your file instead to a cloud-based storage application, (e.g.,OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc.), and send a link to the file to the repository email account .

Please complete the rest of your repository submission, and simply skip the file upload page.  The repository e-theses team can attach the files later.

Research data

The University and all major research funders have requirements on the deposit and sharing of research data or research digital outputs that are created or collected as part of any research project, including data or digital objects underpinning your thesis.  You should, therefore, check if specific funders’ requirements apply to your work and what you can do to meet them.  


If your research is subject to requirements to deposit data/digital outputs then, in addition to deciding whether or not you need to request an embargo on the full text of your thesis, you would also have to decide whether or not there is a need to embargo the data/digital outputs.   


As for the full text, the matter of an embargo on data or digital outputs should be discussed with your supervisor(s) as early as possible.  Similarly to the full text, you can request an embargo on the grounds that publication would: 


  • be commercially damaging to the researcher, or to the supervisor, or the University, (for example, intellectual property rights),

  • preclude future publication,

  • be in breach of law or ethics or data protection. 


Deposit of your research data/digital output is via PURE, the institutional research information system and can be deposited before or after submission of your thesis for examination. 

For advice and assistance, please, contact the Research Data Management team ( or visit the research data management website.

Identifiers and citations

When your thesis is approved for final archiving into the St Andrews Research Repository  it is assigned two unique identifiers which you can use to cite your digital thesis. We will notifiy you of these identifiers when we confirm your completed submission.  The identifiers will also be recorded on the cover page which we add to the publicly accessible copy of your thesis.

Your thesis will get a unique Handle identifier, (the URI below), and it will also get a DOI (Digital Object Identifier).

Policy documents and links

Within the University's Policies, procedure and guidance documents, the Assessment of PGRs document provides detailed information. The Academic matters for current postgraduates webpage provides additional help on submission of theses both for pre-examination and for final copies post-examination. See the section headed Theses.

Some background information as to how the current policies and requirements developed is given in the Electronic publication of MPhil and PhD theses letter