There may be a valid reason why you need to restrict access to your thesis. In most cases this will be for a limited period of time

Restricting Access to your Thesis

There are a range of reasons why it may be necessary to restrict access to your thesis. Because theses can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, grounds for embargoing access to a thesis need to relate to one of the exemptions provided for by the Act. The most common reasons why you might need to embargo access are listed below:

  • Your thesis is due for publication, either as a series of articles or as a monograph
  • your thesis has been commercially sponsored and you may have signed a agreement which does not permit you to make it publicly available
  • Your thesis contains commercially sensitive information, the release of which might prejudice the commercial interests of any person including the author, the University or an external company
  • Your thesis includes material that was obtained under a promise of confidentiality
  • The release of your thesis might endanger the physical or mental health or the safety of an individual

A detailed list and guidance on the scope of exemptions is available from the Information Commissioner's Office.

Theses may also be requested under the Environmental Information Regulations. If you think you may need to restrict access to your thesis in relation to environmental information you may need to specify an EIRs exception rather than an FoI exemption.

You should talk to your supervisor when establishing if there is a need to restrict access to your thesis. They will be able to advise if one of the exemptions permitted under the Act is applicable.

Requests for embargoes should be made on the Thesis Access Declaration form. You must indicate in the space provided in the form which exemption you are claiming, and why you feel an exemption is necessary. It is important that you hand this form in to the Student Registry when you are ready to deposit the final version of your thesis so that there is time for your request to be considered. Your Head of Department is required to sign the Thesis Access Declaration form to indicate that he/she agrees with your decision on restricting access to your thesis. The restriction will then be approved by the Student Registry on receipt of the form.

If requests are approved, theses will normally be embargoed for up to a maximum of five years.

At the end of the embargo period, the restrictions on access will be removed automatically. It is your responsibility to contact the Student Registry well in advance if you need to extend the embargo. You will have to make a written case to the Student Registry for the extension.

If you are granted an embargo but decide it is no longer necessary, contact us. We will contact your Head of Department to confirm that it is appropriate to make the thesis available earlier.