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Theses, Capstones, and Dissertations in CUNY Academic Works

Associate Librarian for Subject Specialists and Scholarly Communication

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Nancy Foasberg
Queens College Rosenthal Library

What to Know about CUNY Academic Works

What is CUNY Academic Works?

CUNY Academic Works is an online repository of research, scholarship, and creative work created by the CUNY community.  All content in CUNY Academic Works is freely available to everyone, and if anyone searches for your topic in a search engine like Google Scholar, there’s a good chance your thesis will come up! You will also be able to easily link to your thesis on your CV, your website, or your social media feed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to post my thesis?

Inclusion in Academic Works is voluntary. It is not a requirement for graduation.

If you do choose to post your thesis or capstone in Academic Works, a wider audience will be able to access your work, including colleagues, students, and potential collaborators.

Who will be able to see my work in Academic Works?

Works posted in Academic Works will be made publicly available on the internet. Anyone can see them.

When you upload your work, you can set an embargo to delay the date when your work is made available.  This may be helpful, for instance, if you are publishing part of your thesis elsewhere.

If I post my work, can I still publish it?

Inclusion in CUNY Academic Works does not preclude the publication of that work elsewhere.

However, some publishers have policies against publishing work that is already publicly available (for instance, in a repository like Academic Works). Please check with your advisor if you think this may be an issue.

Can I remove/revise something I have posted in Academic Works?

Once a work is posted to Academic Works, it cannot be changed or removed, so please check with your advisor to see if there are any issues with sharing your work publicly. 

I'm doing social science research. Is participant privacy an issue for making my work available?

Please consider participant privacy as part of your research process. I am unable to assess whether submitted work adheres to best practices for protecting the privacy of participants. If you need help, please talk to your advisor, or consult:

I'm doing humanities research. Is copyright an issue for making my work available?

Please see the Copyright section of this guide, below.

Can I see other theses in Academic Works?

While the QC collection of electronic theses is currently very tiny, you can read theses from across CUNY in Academic Works. Note that some may still be embargoed and will become available when their embargoes expire.

How to Deposit Your Thesis, Capstone or Dissertation

How to Deposit

  1. Request that your advisor send an email to confirming that your thesis has been accepted.
  2. Visit the Queens College Student Theses series. Select “My Account” from the top menu bar, then create a new account or log in using existing credentials. Ideally you should use an email account that you will continue to access after graduation.
  3. Select "Submit Research" in the Author Corner section on the left side of the page.
  4. Read the Submission Agreement, click the checkbox if you agree, and select “Continue.” This agreement does not alter your copyright or any other rights you have to your work. 
  5. Enter all required fields, following the onscreen instructions. For the "date of award," please select June if you’re submitting for Spring or December if you're submitting for Fall.
  6. You could set an embargo if you don’t want your thesis to become publicly available right away. You will have several options: no embargo (available immediately), 6 months, 12 months, or 24 months. If you choose to put an embargo on your work, a record that the work is in the repository will be visible, but the full text won’t become available until the embargo ends.
  7. Add keywords describing your thesis to improve discoverability.
  8. Choose subject categories, selecting the discipline that best describes your work, for example, Arts and Humanities -> History -> United States History. 
  9. After you have entered your information and selected your file, double-check your entries and click “Submit” at the bottom of the page.

That’s it! You should receive an email confirmation that your submission was received. 

 If you have questions at any point in the process, please email me!

Copyright and Fair Use


For scholars in the humanities, including art history, literature, and similar disciplines, it is often essential to include examples of the work you are analyzing in your own work. This may raise copyright concerns if you are making your work public (including in Academic Works).

Note, however, that many such uses are permissible under fair use.

For detailed information on copyright, please see:

Fair Use

Fair use is an essential part of US copyright law. It allows the reuse of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair use exists to enable commentary, criticism, scholarship, and reporting, without requiring the permission of the creators. Thus, the types of work you are doing are often allowed under fair use.

However, you need to do the analysis to ensure that your use is fair. The four factors in a fair use analysis are:

  1. the purpose and character of the use
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market

You can find more information on fair use at:

I strongly recommend considering the standards in your field when making a fair use determination.


If you do not believe that your use falls under fair use, you will need to seek permissions. You can find more information about seeking permissions here:

This guide draws significantly from Roxanne Shirazi's guide to copyright for dissertations and theses. Thanks to Roxanne for her help.