Theses and dissertations


All graduate students are required to:

  • submit a copy of their thesis or dissertation to the university's institutional repository (UVicSpace).
  • sign a non-exclusive license (Library and Archives Canada form), giving UVic the right to make the thesis/dissertation available to the public, immediately or after a set withholding period (approval is required by Graduate Admissions and Records).
  • clear permissions for all third party content (images, photos, tables, figues, etc.) used in your thesis or dissertation before submitting to UVicSpace. It is best to request permissions early because copyright clearance can take time.

Do I own copyright in my thesis?

Yes. However, when submitting your thesis to UVic and Library and Archives Canada, you will be required to grant a partial copyright license allowing the University to post your thesis in the University’s digital research repository (UVicSpace), and allowing Library and Archives Canada to make your thesis available on the Internet and in searchable databases. These licenses clearly stipulate that you own the copyright to your thesis.

Can I include articles in my thesis that I have already published?

It depends on the wording of the Author/Publisher Agreement, sometimes called a Copyright Transfer Agreement, that you signed with the publisher of your work. Usually, these agreements transfer copyright in your work to the publisher, leaving you with very few rights to the work. If you plan to submit work for publication, that you may later want to include in your thesis, ensure that you get wording in the Publisher Agreement that allows you to do so.

You can see examples of author addendums for this purpose at SPARC Canadian Author Addendum.

If the Author/Publisher Agreement does not allow for you to re-publish the material in your thesis, you will need to contact the publisher and ask them for permission to use the work.

Do I need to obtain permission to include images, maps or photos in my thesis?

If the thesis includes reproductions of copyrighted images, including but not limited to, figures, drawings, paintings, photographs, logos, maps, diagrams, tables, or charts, then the author of the thesis must obtain written authorization from the copyright holder in order to include this material. See the copying guidelines for more information.

The request for permission from the copyright holder must state that the thesis will be available on the internet and accessible via the university's online research repository (UVicSpace). The Copyright Office has created a template letter for you to use when requesting permissions.

What is Fair Dealing and can I use it for my thesis?

Fair dealing is an exception in the Copyright Act that allows any person to make a copy of a short excerpt of a copyrighted work without permission. The fair dealing exception allows copying only if:

  • the copying is for one or more of the following purposes: research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review, or news reporting, and
  • the copying is fair.

See UVic's copying guidelines for more information.

How do I get permission to use someone else's work?

Your request for permission from the copyright holder must state that your thesis will be available in open-access full-text format on the internet, and that the electronic version of your thesis will be accessible through the university's online research repository (UVicSpace), and through the Library’s online catalogue. For use in theses and dissertations, the letter also needs to state that Library and Archives Canada will be granted a non-exclusive license to reproduce, loan, or distribute single copies of the thesis by any means and in any format.

Remember that you may want to use portions of your thesis in a future publication, article or book. Any permission obtained from third-party copyright holders for your thesis does NOT transfer to other publications or uses, unless specifically stated in your agreement. Therefore, consider future potential uses when wording your copyright permission requests.

The Copyright Office has create a template letter for you to use when requesting permissions. Email correspondence is also an acceptible form of permission, provided it takes into consideration all the points above.

Unable to get permission?

When you can't obtain permission, you must either:

  1. remove the copyrighted material and insert text with the following information
    • A statement that the material has been removed because of copyright restrictions
    • A description of the material and the information it contained, with a link to an online source if one is available
    • A full citation of the original source of the material, or
  2. replace the material with a different work for which permission is either obtainable or not required (e.g., work in the public domain or covered by a Creative Commons license).

See also:




(Adapted from Copyright at SFU and Copyright at UBC)



Should you have any questions please contact the Copyright Office.

The Copyright Office makes every effort to provide accurate information but does not offer it as counsel or legal advice.