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Institutional Repository Services

Theses & Dissertations

Digital Commons@Georgia Southern is an open-access digital repository that collects, archives, and disseminates the intellectual and creative output of the University’s faculty, staff, students, and community partners. Among its extensive assortment of student works, Digital Commons includes a complete electronic collection of graduate students' theses and dissertations dating back to 1964.

Find your or a family member's thesis or dissertation in Digital Commons by using the search form below. Search by title, year of publication, or the author's name at the time the degree was earned.

Search Georgia Southern University's Electronic Theses and Dissertations

What is an Embargo?

In academia, an "embargo" is a restriction placed on a thesis or dissertation that allows only the title, abstract, and citation information to be released to the public, while the full text of the work is kept hidden for a limited period of time. Embargoes typically last from one to five years following publication of a thesis or dissertation via the college or university's Institutional Repository or some other publishing service (e.g., ProQuest). Colleges and universities have different rules about whether and how theses and dissertations can be embargoed; however, most embargos can be extended under certain circumstances.

Why Embargo a Thesis or Dissertation?

Most theses and dissertations are not embargoed, but are made  publicly available following their formal defense as part of completing a masters or doctoral degree. Some reasons to embargo a thesis or dissertation include:

  • The author wants to patent something described in the work.
  • The author wants to publish the work in whole or in part in the future and is concerned that making the work public will interfere with this.
  • The author has previously published the work in whole or in part, and the publisher is restricting public release of the work in some way.
  • The dissertation includes data covered by a nondisclosure agreement for a specified period of time, including personal information, company secrets, or intellectual property.

Some colleges and universities encourage all authors to embargo their work, while others discourage embargoes except when they are absolutely needed. 

What are Georgia Southern's Embargo Guidelines? 

As a condition of enrollment at Georgia Southern University, each student grants the University a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce and make publicly available the student’s dissertation or thesis, in whole or in part, in electronic format via Digital Commons@Georgia Southern subject to the following voluntary elections:

  • The student may elect to restrict access to the work to the Georgia Southern University campus.
  • The student may embargo the work for a period of one or five years. After the ending date of the initial embargo period, the work will be made publicly available unless the student submits a written request, signed by the major professor, to the College of Graduate Studies for an extension. This request must be received prior to the ending date of the initial embargo period.

Embargoes are intended only for documents that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Includes potential patent pending information
  2. Includes prospective trade secrets
  3. Includes sensitive security information that could be detrimental to the institution, agencies, state, or country if released.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the College of Graduate Studies at or 912-478-2647.

Should I Embargo My Thesis or Dissertation?

Always discuss the pros and cons of embargoing your thesis or dissertation with your graduate committee prior to submitting your work to Digital Commons@Georgia Southern. In addition, to help you with this decision, here are some recent articles that address this question:

How Do I Get Access to an Embargoed Thesis or Dissertation?

If you learn about a thesis or dissertation that you want to read but it currently is embargoed, your best bet is to contact the author. If you are having difficulty finding contact information for the author, try contacting your library or the library at which the author earned his or her degree. 



Pre-2006 Theses & Dissertations

Make Your Pre-2006 Thesis or Dissertation Publicly Available

Authors and copyright holders, the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies and the University Libraries invite you to make your pre-2006 thesis or dissertation publicly available via Digital Commons@Georgia Southern. To do so, you must authorize the University to release a full copy of your thesis or dissertation under the terms of the license available here.

Currently, most theses and dissertations completed since 2006 are publicly available online. However, a majority of these works completed prior to 2006 require that outside researchers either visit the Georgia Southern campus or request a copy through their own libraries. Because these works are not publicly available, many outside researchers are unable to learn or benefit from them. Making all Georgia Southern theses and dissertations available online has numerous benefits for authors and researchers, and helps to share the story of the University and its students worldwide. 

Under this license, the copyright holders (typically, the author or his/her next of kin):

  • Retain all copyright, including the right to share and publish your work as you see fit.
  • Agree to make the work publicly available for others to download, copy, and share; however, any other uses require your permission.
  • Retain the right to remove the work from public access if you decide not to share it later on.

To make your thesis or dissertation publicly available, click here or on the button above. Once we hear from you, the University Libraries will update access to your thesis or dissertation, and let you know when it is available online. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, including whether you have the right to release the work of a family member, please do not hesitate to contact the University Libraries at the information below.


For help, contact the Digital Commons Team at A member of the Digital Commons Team will respond as soon as possible during regular business hours.