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Study Skills

Research skills

Online course for Cambridge researchers about publishing, managing data, finding and disseminating research.

Depositing your electronic thesis

Welcome to this module on depositing your electronic thesis into the Apollo Repository.

The module covers the key things you need to know when depositing your electronic thesis to Apollo

  • How to ensure you meet all the requirements for submission,
  • How to decide on the access level for your thesis
  • A demonstration of successfully depositing your work using Symplectic Elements.

PhD students are required to deposit both a hard copy and electronic copy of their thesis to the University Library in order to graduate. This is a requirement of the university in order for your PhD to be awarded. There is more information in the statutes of the university.

To complete this section, you will need:


  • Approximately 45 minutes.
  • Access to the internet. All the resources used here are available freely.
  • Some equipment for jotting down your thoughts, a pen and paper will do, or your phone or another electronic device.

What to include (and not) in your electronic submission

  • A completed thesis access confirmation form, signed by yourself and your supervisor. 
  • A PDF copy of your electronic thesis
  • Any relevant copyright permissions documents

Do not include: 

  • The depositing and copying form containing signatures, and any other signatures throughout your thesis.

Access Levels

There are a number of access levels you can choose for your thesis: 

  • Open Access: free to download from Apollo, all rights reserved or under license.
  • Embargoed: closed for a specific time, can be requested from author, all rights reserved license. 
  • Controlled: permanently closed, can be requested from library for private study – unpublished.
  • Restricted (time limited): closed for a specific time, cannot be requested.
  • Restricted (indefinitely): closed permanently, cannot be requested. 

Quick Quiz - choosing theses access levels

Based on the information above, choose the appropriate theses acces levels for three different scenarios in our Quick Quiz

Third party copyright

Open Access/Embargoed = published work. ​You will need to ensure that you have permission for any third party copyright material which you include.

​You need permission to reuse materials published elsewhere.​

​Redrawing is not sufficient.

​Permission is needed to adapt or modify​.

​No permission? You will need to redact​ anything you do not have permission to use.

You may be finding images through ​Wiki commons – you should check the terms of use, although they state images are free to use, some images may require you to gain permission. If you are uncertain, it is best to seek permission for intended use.​

Information on your digital thesis and third party copyright.​

Reusing content

If you are planning to reuse content in your thesis you may need to consider getting permission.

  • Start requesting permissions early.
  • Look for online reuse forms, sometimes you may need to write directly to the owner of the image you are trying to use.
  • Request more permission than you think you need.
  • Keep records of all correspondence.
  • People may ask for money

It is important to gain written permission – verbal permission is not enough.


Quick Quiz - reusing content

Based on the information above, think about what the researcher would need to do to reuse content in three different scenarios in our Quick Quiz

Funder Requirements

Many funders will have different requirements in relation to theses. Here are just a few examples of what your funder may require: 

UKRI – permits a maximum 12 month embargo​

Submitting your work for publication? Check if your funding body has any specific guidance regarding choosing your access level.​

  • Cambridge University Press (CUP) – no specific requirements​

  • Oxford University Press (OUP) – no specific requirements 

Ultimately it is best to check with your funder if you are considering submitting for publication.

More information on our thesis page - funder requirements.

Step by Step guide

The following video guides you through the process of depositing your thesis through Symplectic Elements.

Please note we no longer charge £15 for controlled access theses

Further Resources

Throughout this guide there are a number of areas which you may wish to read further about. The following links are provided as a starting point.

Read more about the University Statutes for depositing your thesis.

Information on the requirements to deposit your thesis

Student registry information on depositing your hardbound and electronic copy

Copyright information from the Legal Admin Department (Raven login required) and further information on our Research Skills - Copyright and Licenses Guide.

Contact Us

If you have any further questions please email

Did you know?

You can self-report that you have completed this module to have it added to your training record. Simply visit the booking page and register.

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