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Thesis regulations, policies, and forms

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As part of the thesis submission process, the University mandates that you must submit the following forms and be aware of the following regulations:

  1. print and sign, (when applicable), each of these forms
  2. scan each of the signed forms to create a PDF copy
  3. upload the scanned PDF of each signed form to the Thesis Registration System

The forms and regulations outlined here are governed by the University's Graduate general regulations.

Supervisor revision memo

The Supervisor revision memo indicates that your thesis has been approved by your Supervisor and is ready for submission to the Library. Your Supervisor must complete the memo after:

  • any required revisions have been satisfied, OR
  • no revisions were required to your non-defended or defended thesis

Your thesis must be submitted to the Library by the term's deadline date and time—or within 3 weeks of the date on your Supervisor Revision Memo—whichever happens first.


  • Original signatures are preferred. While electronic signatures are permitted, signatures that have been typed using a signature-style font are NOT permitted.
  • If the date signed by a supervisor is older than 3 weeks at submission to the Library or if there is no date, your Graduate Assistant must:
    • sign and date the form with their name, position, and department.
  • It is not necessary to fill out this form:
    • if your thesis has an Approval page with a two-member committee
    • when a "Supervisory Committee" is stated on the signed Approval Page.

Non-exclusive copyright license

Effective 1 May 2015, a single non-exclusive copyright license has replaced the former requirement for students to sign both a Partial Copyright License and a Theses Non-Exclusive License. The new license is required for graduate students submitting theses and dissertations in the Summer 2015 term forward. 

Print, complete, sign, scan as a PDF, and upload the Non-Exclusive Copyright License (NECL) to the Thesis Registration System. A hard copy is not required by the Library. Note: Electronic signatures that have been typed using a signature-style font are NOT permitted.

  • Enter the full name of your degree, e.g. "Master of Arts," not "Master's" or "MA."
  • In the space provided for the "Date Defended/Approved," enter the date that appears on your signed Approval Page.

A digital copy of your thesis will be processed by SFU Library and made available in Summit, the Institutional Repository at SFU. A digital copy will also be sent to Library and Archives Canada and be accessible through the Theses Canada Portal.

Ethics approval

If your thesis involves any work with humans or animals, as defined in SFU Policy R20.01 or R20.03, you are required to obtain Ethics Approval, an ethics exemption or an Animal Care Protocol Approval form. Ethics approval for human research is granted through the SFU Office of Research Ethics. Ethics approval for animal research is granted by the University Animal Care Committee

Whether individual or collaborative research, you must have either applied in advance for individual ethics approval as the Principal Investigator (P.I.) or been included by name as a co-investigator, collaborator or research assistant in the P.I.'s approval letter. If you do not have an ethics approval listing your name as attached to the study, you may need to file an Amendment to Previously Approved Research

In addition, the university's Ethics statement must appear on page iii of your thesis. Approval letters and other documents do not have to be included in the thesis. 

Ethics Statement

If the research for your thesis required ethics approval, an Ethics statement must appear on page iii of your thesis, immediately after the Approval page. The Ethics statement is included in the Word thesis template. If the statement needs to be replaced, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Ethics statement in Word, Select All and Copy
  2. In your thesis document, place your cursor immediately before the "A" of the "Abstract" heading on your abstract's page
  3. Paste the Ethics statement into your thesis
  4. Once pasted into your thesis, click on the Ethics statement heading and ensure the Heading 1_Preliminary style is applied
  5. Regenerate the table of contents

LaTeX users should download the Ethics statement in pdf form to insert on page iii.

Obtaining copyright permissions for works not owned by you

If your thesis incorporates images, photos, maps, diagrams, etc., not created by you, copyright permission must be obtained from the copyright-holder of those works to use their content within your thesis. A copy of each permission must be uploaded to the Thesis Registration System.

See Copyright at SFU for instructions on how to obtain copyright permissions.

Postponement of publication requests

In some instances, a portion of students' thesis or dissertation research might involve sensitive, proprietary, controlled, or classified information. Although some results might need to be summarized in a separate embargoed document, a completely embargoed thesis or dissertation conflicts with scholarly values of peer review and promotion of knowledge and should be avoided. All theses and dissertations produced to meet Simon Fraser University’s degree requirements are subject to open publication and should be capable of standing as academically-complete works.

Students are expected to seek guidance from their supervisory committee whenever there is a possibility that certain findings might be subject to embargo due to fear of persecution, patent pending, or pending publication. In coordination with their committee, students should communicate any anticipated or known restrictions on their research to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies as soon as possible. A pre-publication review should be conducted with the supervisor as early as is prudent to avoid the need for restrictions on publication, including acceptable separation of restricted findings into a separate embargoed document.

A thesis postponement can be requested when:

  • a thesis references a pending patent
  • a thesis is in the process of being published by a publisher
  • persecution may result from immediate publication of the thesis

Complete the Thesis postponement of publication request form to request a thesis postponement. 


  • Submit this form to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval 1 to 1.5 months before submitting your thesis to the SFU Library.
  • There is a 1-year limit on postponements. For a postponement of more than 1 year, you must reapply 1.5 months before the anniversary of your defence date.
  • The public listing of the title and the abstract of your thesis along with your degree credentials will appear in the Library Catalogue and other Library Databases, but the full text of your thesis will not be publicly accessible during the postponement period.

Issues, costs, and benefits associated with the digitization of theses

While not mandatory reading, you are welcome to familiarize yourself with the University's rationale for digitizing theses which is outlined in Digital access to SFU theses: Advantages and issues.