Rackhams Dissertation

Submission of My Dissertation

How do I submit my dissertation?

Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, all dissertations will be submitted electronically to Rackham during the post-defense meeting. The final digital copy will be the copy of record. To submit your dissertation, you will access the Rackham dissertation online submission website. You will be asked to provide bibliographic keywords, or tags, that describe the content of your dissertation, including subject, concepts, theory and methods. These will help others to find and retrieve your dissertation. You will copy your abstract to the website and upload a PDF of the final digital copy of your dissertation. The staff of Rackham’s Academic Records and Dissertations will review your submission, and may require you to make final changes before the submission is approved. No further changes will be allowed once the dissertation is approved and submitted. Rackham will hold your dissertation until your degree is conferred (which happens three times a year in April, August, and December). After your degree is conferred, Rackham will forward your dissertation as the copy of record to Deep Blue, the permanent digital repository of the University Library.

What is Deep Blue?

Deep Blue is a digital repository that is part of the University Library. It provides permanent, safe and accessible digital archiving, preservation and distribution functions for the University of Michigan. Deep Blue’s primary goal is to provide access to the work that makes Michigan a leader in research, teaching, and creativity.

Will I be able to find my dissertation online when it is made available through Deep Blue?

Yes. It will be available through the University Library’s online catalog about 3-4 weeks after your degree is conferred. You will be able to find it listed in the University Library’s online catalog and via Google Scholar, a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature.

Do I still need a bound copy for the Library?

No. Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, the University Library will no longer accept printed and bound copies of dissertations. Your committee or department may ask you to provide them with a bound paper copy.

Dissertation Release

Am I required to release my dissertation to the general public?

Yes. From the inception of the modern doctorate in the early 19th century, a central purpose of doctoral education has been to prepare students to make significant scholarly contributions to knowledge. The dissertation is submitted as public evidence of your scholarly accomplishment meriting the conferral of the doctoral degree. In keeping with this long-standing tradition, which is consistent with the University’s public mission, it has always been the University’s expectation that every doctoral dissertation and abstract will be released upon conferral of the degree. Only in specific circumstances may release of a dissertation be deferred, and then only for a limited period of time.

What are my options for restricting release of my dissertation via Deep Blue?

You have two options:

  1. You may choose to embargo your dissertation by restricting access to members of the U-M community (those with a uniqname and a Kerberos password) for up to one year from the date of conferral of your degree. The title and abstract will be displayed in online listings of the University Library, but the content of the dissertation will not be available to view or to download.
  2. You may ask permission from the Graduate School to embargo your dissertation by restricting all access for up to one year from the date of degree conferral. Permission will be granted when:
    • You or your collaborators are applying for a patent on research contained in the dissertation and do not wish to make the contents public until the patent application has been filed; or
    • The dissertation includes information that is covered by a confidentiality agreement or contains third-party proprietary information.

How do I ask that access to my dissertation in Deep Blue be restricted?

We recommend that you confer about dissertation embargo options with your Dissertation Chair and other members of your dissertation committee. If you decide to request an embargo, you will apply for an “Embargo Request.” Your Dissertation Chair (or Co-Chairs) must approve

What if I want to restrict access to my dissertation for more than one year?

To extend a U-M-only embargo, you may ask permission of the Graduate School to delay full public release for up to two additional one-year renewals, for a total of three years. Permission will be given only for specific reasons, such as your intention to publish work from the dissertation with a publisher or journal that restricts consideration of manuscripts derived from dissertations which have been made available online. Please note that, at this time, most publishers do not have these restrictive pre-publication policies. You are responsible for requesting renewals. You will also want to notify ProQuest of your desire to extend the embargo if you have restricted access to your dissertation submitted to them.

Requests for full embargo are limited to one year and may not be renewed. At the end of the year, you may request permission for an additional year of U-M-only access by applying for an Embargo Request.

If I restrict access to my dissertation in Deep Blue, what will appear to those searching online?

If you limit access to your dissertation to those in the U-M community, someone outside the University community will find only your name, dissertation title and abstract, while those within the U-M community will have access to the dissertation itself. If you restrict all online access to your dissertation in Deep Blue, there will be no listing of your name, dissertation title and abstract online until the end of the embargo when your dissertation will become searchable online and fully available.

Can my advisor restrict access to my dissertation?

No. It is your dissertation and an embargo request must come from you, with the approval of your Dissertation Chair/Co-Chairs.


Am I required to submit my dissertation to ProQuest?

Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, the Graduate School strongly encourages all doctoral students to submit their dissertations to ProQuest, but does not require it.

Why should I submit my dissertation to ProQuest?

The Graduate School strongly encourages doctoral students to submit a digital copy of the final dissertation to ProQuest Dissertation Publishing.

Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, you may digitally submit your dissertation to ProQuest at no cost. By making a copy of your dissertation available through ProQuest, your work will become part of the world’s largest permanent archive of doctoral dissertations. Founded by an alumnus of the University of Michigan, since 1938 ProQuest has been archiving and distributing dissertations from graduate schools around the world, and today manages a database that includes 90 percent of all dissertations from U.S. institutions. Abstracts of dissertations submitted to ProQuest are listed with the Library of Congress collections, and are published in Dissertation Abstracts International. By providing ProQuest with a digital copy of your dissertation, an archived microfilm copy is created and a digital copy is made available through the largest central repository of dissertations in the U.S., one that has been designated as an official off-site repository of the Library of Congress. You retain all intellectual property rights to your dissertation, and are free to publish it later in parts or in its entirety. When you submit your dissertation to ProQuest, you will be asked to sign an agreement with ProQuest online. You also may request ProQuest to register the copyright for your dissertation in your name, but you should first discuss this option with your Chair or Co-Chairs.

May I ask ProQuest to delay release of my dissertation?

Yes. You may indicate what kind of embargo you would like on the ProQuest agreement you receive during your post-defense meeting. You do not need permission to do this.

Whom should I contact if I have further questions?

You should discuss any questions you may have with your Dissertation Committee Chair or Co-Chairs. You may also e-mail OARD.questions@umich.edu.

Rackham One-Term Dissertation Fellowships are intended to speed the process of completing the dissertation. Except in unusual cases, they should be awarded to students who are at the writing stage of the dissertation. This will permit candidates to work full-time on the final stages of their dissertations.


A student must have achieved candidacy prior to the beginning of the term in which he or she receives a Rackham One-Term Dissertation Fellowship. The student must have established a dissertation committee and submitted the Nomination of Dissertation Committee form to the Rackham Academic Records and Dissertation Office prior to the beginning of the term in which he or she receives this fellowship. Recipients of this award may not be employed more than ten hours a week during the tenure of the fellowship. Recipients may not hold this award in conjunction with another award.

Selection Criteria

Students are selected by their program for this award and may ask the graduate program coordinator if the program has an allocation of these awards. Allocations may not be deferred outside of current academic year.


  • Winter, December 1, 2018
  • Spring/Summer, April 1, 2018
  • Fall, August 1, 2018

Award Description

A Rackham One-Term Dissertation Fellowship consists of candidacy tuition and registration fee plus a stipend of $10,200 (currently) for one term. Recipients will be eligible for GradCare health and dental insurance coverage provided by the Graduate School during the term of their award. A student may receive only one Rackham One-Term Dissertation Fellowship. The fellowship may not be divided into smaller awards.

Nomination Procedure

Rackham One-Term Dissertation Fellowships are distributed to graduate programs on a Block Grant basis. Recipients are selected by the graduate programs who inform the Rackham Fellowship Office by completing the nomination form. The Rackham Office of Financial Aid and Fellowships acknowledges the appointment in writing to the student with a copy to the program. The Rackham Office of Financial Aid and Fellowships will process the award payment.

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