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Submitting Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs)

This guide provides guidance for American University students who are required to submit their theses or dissertations electronically. IMPORTANT NOTE: links to AU's official ETD Submission and Style Guide and templates are located under the HOME tab below

About Embargoes

When you submit your dissertation, you will be given an option to apply an embargo of up to two years for your work.

  • What is an embargo?   In the case of scholarship, an embargo is a period of time during which access to a scholarly work is restricted. Once the embargo period ends, a thesis, dissertation, article preprint, or book manuscript can usually be deposited in an open-access repository. In the case of a book or research article, the publisher places the embargo on the work. In the case of a dissertation or thesis, the author requests an embargo on the work and the institutional repository applies it. If a thesis or dissertation is embargoed at American University, it will be cataloged and basic metadata (including an abstract) will appear in the AU Library Catalog. In the AU Digital Research Archive, the basic metadata will be visible as will the front page of the PDF of the dissertation or thesis.

  • Reasons for an embargo  Your research might be based on collaborative work done in a lab and your faculty mentor may not be ready to share any findings; you may be trying to have your dissertation published as a book or research article; your topic may be politically sensitive and you are concerned it could have personal repercussions. These are just a few possible reasons. It isn't necessary to explain your reason for requesting up to a two-year embargo.

  • Extending an embargo  Embargoes can be extended for up to two additional years. If an extension is needed, please request via the ETD administrator for your college.

  • Permanent embargo  This is an unusual but not unheard of situation. If the author feels it is necessary to permanently prohibit online access to his/her thesis or dissertation, the staff who manage the AU Digital Research Archive do not have the authority to grant that request. An author will need to make an appeal to the dean of her/his school and with their approval a permanent embargo can be applied. Note: A permanent embargo does not erase all evidence that a thesis or dissertation exists, basic metadata and an abstract will still be visible in the library catalog.

  • One more wrinkle  There are some occasions where full open access isn't desired though campus-only access is acceptable. The AU Digital Research Archive has the ability to restrict access to just campus access.