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Copyright and Your Thesis or Dissertation

This guide answers common copyright questions related to theses and dissertations, including reusing your own and others' content.

Copyright and Your Thesis or Dissertation

Welcome to the Copyright and Your Thesis or Dissertation guide from Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright at the Penn State Libraries. This guide addresses copyright questions specific to Penn State thesis and dissertation authors. It covers the following topics:

  • Using Others' Work
  • Reusing Your Published Work
  • Your Copyright
  • Publishing Your Thesis or Dissertation
  • FAQ and Resources

Your committee, advisors, and other mentors in your field can help you understand your field’s publishing norms, such as how to select and assess third party material and how to attribute that material properly.

Services from the Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright

The Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office at the Penn State Libraries supports faculty, staff, and students in making informed and ethical decisions about copyright and the use of copyrighted materials in support of education and scholarly communications. The University Libraries supports teaching, learning, and scholarship at Penn State as an active participant in the open access ecosystem, raising discoverability and visibility of Penn State scholarship and resources.

We are available to answer your questions. Contact us with your questions and requests for a customized presentation for your classes, groups, and departments. Submit a request to the Office of Scholarly Communications & Copyright.


  • Consultations
  • Workshops
  • Customized Presentations
  • Resources & Information

We Support

  • Affordable Course Content and Open Educational Resources (OERs)
  • Copyright Education and Training
  • Scholarly and Open Access Publishing


This guide is based in part on Copyright for Dissertations, a guide from the University of Michigan Library Copyright Office, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.