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Confidential material and delays in public availability

Access to your thesis

When examination of your thesis is complete, a copy is required to be lodged with the University Library for public access. However, if your thesis contains confidential or restricted material, you will need to apply for approval for restricted access to your thesis (if the confidential material is only in your appendix, you can apply to include a restricted appendix). This approval will not be given for more than five years, except in exceptional circumstances. Where the confidential information is intellectual property that is: not yet registered; or could be misused by others; or content that might put your interests at risk, approval will not usually be granted for more than 18 months from when you are awarded your degree.

If you think your thesis might contain confidential or restricted material, you should talk to your supervisor early in your candidature, as you need to apply in writing to your dean for any restricted access. The last opportunity for you to indicate if your thesis contains information that may need to have restricted access is when you complete your Notice of Intent to Submit. Changes cannot be made during or after your examination. If you are close to completion, you should start this process as soon as possible.

See also: Submit your thesis

Levels of access

There are two levels of access for your thesis – local access and open access. All unrestricted theses are available for local access, which means they are accessible to staff and students of the University, as well as members of the public who have online access or who visit the library. If your thesis includes any copyright material owned by others, including papers written by you that have been published, you may be able to rely on one of the fair dealing exception provisions of the Copyright Act for local access. However, if your thesis includes copyright material and you want it to be made available via open access, you will need to be sure you have obtained the requisite permissions for the use of any copyright material included in your thesis.

See also: Intellectual property

If you need further advice in this area, SUPRA can assist you through either our Legal Service or our Student Advice and Advocacy Service.


This information is current as at June 2018 and is intended as a guide to the law as it applies to people who live in or are affected by the law as it applies in NSW. It does not constitute legal advice.

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