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Dissertations: USC Electronic Submission Process

This guide provides information on locating, borrowing, and purchasing doctoral dissertations. If you are unable to locate dissertations using these instructions, ask a librarian in any USC library for assistance.

Proquest Contact Info

For students who have already submitted a thesis/dissertation to Proquest and need additional information regarding use, publication, or access, call Proquest at 1-800-521-0600.

Electronic Submission Process

The following describes the typical submission process of theses and dissertations to USC Libraries:

Step 1: Student works with Thesis Editor's office ( in the Grad School (or the appropriate coordinator in their school or department) to get a final version of thesis/dissertation/project.

Step 2: Thesis Editor (or appropriate coordinator in another school or department) approves final version.

Step 3: The Thesis Editor (or appropriate coordinator) notifies student via e-mail to submit their PDF to USC Digital Library.

Step 4: Student logs into and electronically agrees to allow USC to store, reproduce, and make the PDF publicly available per the Electronic Theses & Dissertations Digital Repository Agreement.

Step 5: Student inputs metadata including:

  • name & e-mail
  • document title
  • defense date
  • school
  • program
  • abstract
  • advisors' names
  • limited restrictions: selection of  0, 6, 12, 18, or 24 month restriction; students are allowed up to two years of an embargo on their dissertation's/thesis's release by USC to the public

Step 6: Student uploads approved PDF. Approved files in other formats such as .mpeg or .avi may also be uploaded.

Step 7: When the student completes the process, their USC Digital Library submission account is closed and an automated e-mail is sent to librarians to review the submission.

Step 8: Librarians check the validity/completeness of the uploaded file and makes any needed modifications to the metadata (such as spelling corrections, normalization of names, and capitalization). Please note that the PDF must be uploaded by the appropriate submission deadline given at Thesis/Dissertation Submission Deadlines in order to insure the degree is conferred for the specified term.

Step 9: If all is in order, Librarian approves the submission. If there are errors that require additional input from the submitter, the Librarian will contact the student directly. Typically, submissions are approved within one business day, but can be approved more quickly or slowly depending on the time of year. There are often increased numbers of submissions close to the deadline. This will slow approvals down. Note that submissions do not have to be approved by the Librarian prior to the deadline. But they do have to be submitted prior to the deadline.

Step 10: The student and the Thesis Editor's office are sent an automated e-mail indicating the student is clear to receive their degree.

Step 11: At the end of each term, the Library sends the Thesis Editor a list of all students who submitted prior to the deadline.

Step 12: Usually within a week or two of Library approval, the submitted PDF will become publicly available in the USC Digital Library unless a restriction was requested during the submission process.

Step 13: OPTIONAL. Student's may wish to submit their thesis/dissertation to ProQuest if they want to make their submissions available to a broader academic audience, potentially receive royalties on sales, and benefit from other services such as being able to purchase hard bound copies and have their copyright formally registered at U.S. Copyright Office. Note that dissertations/theses are protected by U.S. copyright even if their copyrights are not formally registered at the Copyright Office. Formal registration can be done directly by the author through the U.S. Copyright Office and can provide additional legal protection internationally and in the event of a legal dispute.

Step 14: Within a week or so after the end of each term, the Thesis Editor requests a list from ProQuest of students who have also submitted their dissertations/theses to ProQuest during the previous term. The Thesis Editor validates those submissions for ProQuest. ProQuest then adds those dissertations/theses to their database under the conditions stipulated by the students who submitted them.

If you have any questions regarding these procedures, contact the USC Digital Library at


Electronic Theses & Dissertations Digital Repository Agreement

Each student who submits a thesis or dissertation agrees to the following terms and conditions when uploading their file to USC Libraries. This agreement is intended only to give USC sufficient permission to store, reproduce, and make theses/dissertations publicly available and may involve preparing derivatives as technology changes.


This Digital Repository Agreement is between the University of Southern California on behalf of its USC Libraries (“USC Libraries”) and you the Student (“You”), and covers the terms and conditions for the deposit of your scholarly work (“Work”) in the USC Digital Repository maintained by the USC Libraries. Together, we agree on the following:

* That You accept the following terms and conditions for the Work you are about to upload to the USC Libraries.

* You grant to USC Libraries a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to electronically store, reproduce, prepare derivative works of, and publicly display and distribute the Work. You grant to USC Libraries the right to use your name in connection with the Work.

* USC Libraries will maintain your Work in its USC Digital Repository and/or in other repositories such as it may determine, including ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (see the ProQuest Author Agreement at

* USC Libraries is not liable if someone uses your Work in a way You do not approve. In such an event, you are free to pursue legal remedies against such a third party, but you agree not to seek legal redress against USC Libraries, its Trustees, employees, or agents.

* No intellectual property or any other rights shall be transferred to any third party as a result of this Agreement.

* You affirm that you own the rights to the Work you are about to upload and You obtained the proper clearances to do so. You agree that the Work You are about to upload to the USC Libraries does not violate copyright, trademark, or patent laws, is not pornographic, plagiaristic or defamatory, is not spam, and does not violate anyone’s privacy rights.

* You agree to notify the USC Libraries of any facts or circumstances You become aware of that would make these representations inaccurate in any respect.

* You understand that the Work deposited in the USC Digital Repository will be accessible to a wide variety of people and institutions via the World Wide Web, and by agreeing to place the Work on the USC Digital Repository, you recognize that it may also appear on search engines and in an open media registry, and on other partner institution’s web repositories primarily for researchers and scholars.

* To the maximum extent permitted by law, in no event will either party be responsible for any incidental, consequential, indirect, special, punitive or exemplary damages of any kind, including damages for lost goodwill, lost profits, lost business or other indirect economic damages, whether such claim is based on contract, negligence, tort (including strict liability) or other legal theory, as a result of a breach of any warranty or any other term of the this agreement, and regardless of whether a party was advised or had reason to know of the possibility of such damages in advance.