Academic Services

Copyright, Coauthorship, and Reprint Permissions

Reprint Permission

It is the responsibility of the student to determine whether or not reprint permission letters are necessary for the material included in the master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, or DMA supporting document.  This is a good exercise for the student to go through as it is the same law that will apply for publications throughout their professional careers.

If the student has previously published all or parts of his/her thesis/dissertation/supporting document in a journal, the student must check with the journal to find out if permission (in the form of a letter/email or inclusion of a specific citation) to reprint the material is required. This is a common question, so the student should be able to get the answer easily by contacting the journal.

If the student is including material that was created by someone else (images, photos, poems, lyrics) reprint permission in writing (email or hard copy) may be necessary if the work is not open access or in the public domain.

To help determine whether included material needs reprint permission, please consult these resources:

Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities by Kenneth D. Crews, J.D., Ph.D. via ProQuest

Copyright Basics, UCSB Library

Image Resource Center, UCSB Department of History of Art & Architecture, and their "Copyright Guide to Image Use in MA Theses and PhD Dissertations"

Graduate Council Thesis & Dissertation Policies: Coauthorship, Previously Published Material, Copyright, and Acknowledgements

The thesis, dissertation, or equivalent (hereafter called the capstone) may include chapters or other segments that involve co-authored work, if allowed by the department and appropriate for the discipline. In cases of coauthorship, the student’s capstone committee’s approval will be taken as certification that the student’s individual contributions are sufficient for the capstone requirement. The acknowledgements or introductory portion of the capstone should clearly detail the role and contributions of the student in coauthored works.

Published, accepted, or in preparation for publication works are included in this policy. To the extent possible, graduate programs should offer guidance about the expectations for coauthorship or single authorship in formal policies. Whenever conflicts arise over collaborative authorships, Graduate Council urges the parties involved to resolve their conflict on the basis of professional ethics, integrity and fair play.

A capstone is expected to conform to appropriate copyright laws. If portions have already been published or presented in copyrighted form, the student must obtain the appropriate permissions from the copyright holder(s). Previously published material must be acknowledged appropriately, as established by a discipline or by the original publication agreement. Published material included in the capstone should be substantially the product of the student's period of study at UCSB; the student’s capstone committee’s approval will be taken as certification of this requirement.

The acknowledgements portion of the capstone should include acknowledgement of funding sources.

Protecting Your Copyright

The student maintains the copyright to their thesis/dissertation/supporting document and may choose to include a copyright notice on the third page of the document.

The student may also choose to register their copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.  This is optional and ProQuest will offer this as a service during the electronic filing process.  Students may also register it themselves by visiting the U.S. Copyright Office website.  More information can be found on ProQuest’s website here: