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.

Results, Approval and Degree recommendation (RAD) form

The Approval section of the RAD form indicates that your thesis has been approved by your Supervisor and Graduate Program Chair and is ready for submission to the Library. Your Supervisor and Graduate Program Chair must complete the Approval section of the RAD form after:

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

Following approval by your Supervisor and Graduate Program Chair, your thesis must be submitted to the Library by the term's deadline date and time.


  • Original signatures are preferred. While electronic signatures are permitted, signatures that have been typed using a signature-style font are NOT permitted.

Non-exclusive copyright license

By regulation, SFU students retain the rights to their work and are not required to sign away their patent or copyright to the University. Graduate students are required to submit their thesis/project/essay to the SFU Library.  During the thesis submission process, students will be prompted to review and agree to the non-exclusive copyright license.

The digital copy of a thesis is 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 will 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 Student Lead or been included by name as a co-investigator, collaborator or research assistant in the Principal Investigator's (P.I.'s) approval letter. If you do not have an ethics approval listing your name as attached to the study, contact The Office of Research Ethics at  

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 Declaration of Committee 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, you may need to use openly-licensed works, consider whether fair dealing may apply, or obtain permission from the copyright holder of those works to use their content within your thesis. More information on these options is available here. A copy of each permission or other copyright documentation must be uploaded to the Thesis Registration System.

 The SFU Copyright Office is able to review your thesis for copyright concerns before you submit.

Postponement of publication requests

As per Graduate General Regulation 1.11.3, the results of research conducted at Simon Fraser University should be available freely to the public, and it is expected that theses will be placed in the institutional repository immediately following final revisions. It is the responsibility of graduate students to ensure that this policy is communicated clearly to relevant individuals and organizations outside the university prior to the initiation of any research project.

A postponement will delay the inclusion of a thesis and related supplementary research data files in the institutional repository for a period of 12 months from the end of the term in which the thesis is submitted to the Library, in order to protect confidential commercial information, patentable material, pending application, or where immediate commercial publication in a restrictive venue is anticipated.

A postponement request must be made in writing prior to submission of the thesis to the Library. The submission process and timeline remains the same, however, a copy of the thesis, project, or supplementary files shall not be made available in the Library institutional repository during the restricted period.

In rare and exceptional circumstances a postponement of publication may be extended for an additional 12 month period. Requests for such extensions should be submitted 60 days prior to the expiration of the current postponement.


  • Please complete the Thesis postponement of publication request form  and email it to at least 30 days before the defence date. If approved, this form needs to be included in your submission to the library thesis registration system and “Postponement being requested” must be selected to “yes.”
  • Note: If these steps are not followed, your thesis and related supplementary research data files will be published and accessible online.
  • Once a postponement has been submitted and uploaded to the thesis registration system, the thesis and related supplementary research data files will not be made public until one year from the end of the term in which the thesis is submitted to the Library. Requests for earlier publication will not be granted. If an additional postponement is needed, a request for an extension is required.

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.