Electronic Theses & Dissertations (ETDs)

Electronic copies of dissertations and masters’ theses are held in Libra as a replacement for paper copies. There are many benefits to submitting your work to Libra, and, for most graduate students, doing so is a graduation requirement.

Before you upload your thesis or dissertation, be sure you’ve reviewed the Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) Submission Requirements Checklist.

Graduation Requirement

Most University of Virginia graduate students are required to submit their ETDs to Libra to fulfill their graduation requirements.

ETD submission is currently available for students in the following schools:

If your school does not yet participate in Libra ETD deposits, you may contact libra@virginia.edu to learn about future plans.

Publishing Considerations

Recent research on publishers in Humanities and Social Sciences, and Sciences confirms that most publishers will generally not reject a submission based on prior publication as an ETD.

Be aware that policies vary from publisher to publisher.  If in doubt, you may want to consider an embargo period, during which your dissertation is saved in Libra but not available for public view.  An embargo may be used to balance publishers’ interests in being the first to publish scholarly books or articles, while also ensuring that scholarship is accessible to the general public within a reasonable period of time.

Published Works

If parts of your dissertation have previously been published, such as in a journal article or book, you will need to check the copyright transfer agreement that you signed at the time of publication. The agreement may make explicit reference to your right to deposit in your institution’s digital repository, along with any specific guidelines to follow.

You can also check the publisher’s website.  Many major publishers now have clear statements about Author’s Rights on their websites, and are generous in allowing their authors to deposit a version of a work in a repository.

We strongly recommend you discuss publishing considerations with your advisor since many are discipline-specific.

Additional Resources


Copyright Considerations

Please reference Copyright Essentials for Graduate Students for information on determining whether and how to seek permission for any copyrighted material such as images, charts, graphs, media, etc. that you wish to include in your dissertation.

You should also review whether any permission you obtained is sufficient to put your work online for open access in Libra.  If you are concerned that third-party material exceeds Fair Use parameters, you may need to remove such material from the deposited work.

If you must remove copyrighted material, one option is to provide a complete description of the deleted item and a link to the work (image, sound file, video, etc.)  in one of the library’s databases or another licensed campus resource.  These links will be accessible to U.Va. users and to readers at other institutions with the same licensed database access.  Please contact libra@virginia.edu for assistance in determining these links.

Older Dissertation Formats

CD Format

All dissertations submitted to the U.Va. Library in CD format were deposited into Libra in early 2014. Access to these items is U.Va.-only, replicating the accessibility level of the originally deposited CDs.

If you are the author of one of these dissertations and would like to change the access level to be world-wide open access, please contact us.

Paper Copies

We will no longer accept paper copies for the Library shelves.  If you would like to ensure wider dissemination of your work, consider submitting it to ProQuest in addition to Libra.

If your dissertation was published in paper previously and you would like it to be added to Libra, please contact us.

Submitting to ProQuest

ProQuest is a commercial vendor of databases and other information products.  Their Dissertations and Theses Full Text database contains dissertations published in the U.S. and is used by scholars worldwide whose institutions opt to provide paid access to the database.

ProQuest also sells full-text copies of dissertations directly to the public.  ProQuest allows authors to make specific choices about how their work will be distributed, including allowing embargoes, or allowing the dissertation to be made freely available to users worldwide through the author’s payment of an additional fee upon deposit.  Please see the ProQuest website for more information.

ProQuest charges fees for submission, and they have particular formatting and copyright requirements.  Please see their submission instructions for details.

Formatting Guidelines

  • Libra requires that documents be submitted in PDF format, but beyond that, Libra does not set formatting requirements such as paper size, margins, fonts, etc.
  • Files up to 100 MB may be deposited directly by students. For larger files, please contact us for assistance.
  • You may deposit as many supplemental files as you choose.  Supplemental files may be in any format, but we recommend using common file formats which are more likely to be usable in the future. If you have any questions about file formats, please contact us at libra@virginia.edu.

Some schools or departments may still use formatting guidelines, so please check with yours to be sure.