Information for universities

We encourage Canadian universities with graduate programs to join Theses Canada. Contact us to find out how.


To take part in the Theses Canada program, your university must sign an agreement with us. Under this agreement, your university agrees to:

  • get students' permission for us to acquire and provide open access to their work
  • inform students of their obligations to respect the privacy rights of third parties. Students must obtain rights holders' permission to use third-party copyrighted content

Normally, universities include these requirements within the licence agreement signed by students. Universities should maintain the student licences according to their internal records management protocols. They should not send them to LAC.

If your university has an open-access institutional repository, LAC can harvest theses and dissertations from it. We use the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). We schedule harvesting in consultation with universities.

If your university does not use an institutional repository, you can submit theses and dissertations to us through a web form. Contact us for log-in details.

We only accept digital formats.

Deletions or replacements, and metadata changes

Contact us to:

  • delete or replace a thesis or dissertation in the collection
  • request changes to the metadata.

Theses Canada only accepts requests approved by the university. Students must contact their universities, not LAC, to request changes to LAC databases and/or collections. LAC will remove the year of birth from the catalogue record if the student contacts us directly.

Submission of older theses

Universities can provide digitized versions of older theses and dissertations. In such cases, student authors must either:

  • have a license with the university allowing LAC to reproduce and share the work as specified in the LAC-university agreement, or
  • have previously signed a LAC non-exclusive licence agreement

File formats

We accept most commonly used file formats. We also accept multiple files per thesis, such as supplementary image and video files. See our Guidelines on File Formats for Transferring Information Resources of Enduring Value for information about files formats likely to remain accessible over time. The guidelines list the preferred formats for various content types.

Private or restricted information

Make sure the theses or dissertations, and their metadata, do not include personal information such as student numbers, birth dates, home addresses, telephone numbers, or original signatures.

Do not submit restricted content or embargoed theses or dissertations to Theses Canada.

Harvesting requirements

LAC uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting version 2 (OAI-PMH v. 2.0) to harvest theses metadata from university repositories. University repositories must support OAI-PMH v. 2.0.

Valuable information on how to implement an OAI data repository is available at:

Please contact Theses Canada if you would like us to do a test harvest of your repository.


We prefer harvesting one set per university. Create one set that includes all non-embargoed graduate-level theses and dissertations. You can split the set into hierarchical subsets to organize your collection.

Do not include restricted content or embargoed theses in the set for LAC.

The set must only include graduate-level theses. We don't acquire undergraduate theses.

Metadata schema

We require metadata in ETD-MS format. ETD-MS is the metadata standard endorsed by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. It's based on Dublin Core with extra fields specific to theses and dissertations. We accept both ETD-MS version 1.0 and ETD-MS version 1.1.

ETD-MS standards

Direct links to full text files

Our harvesting workflow uses a direct link in the ETD-MS identifier field to locate and download the associated files. We can download multiple files per thesis. The identifier URLs must point directly to the files (and not only to a repository landing page). Spaces and special characters in the URLs must be correctly encoded. If the link redirects, the redirected link must also be correctly encoded, without spaces. URLs must end with the file type extension (.pdf, .mp3, etc.).

ETD-MS descriptive metadata

Our application of ETD-MS differs from the standard. Some fields specified as mandatory in the ETD-MS standard are not mandatory for us and vice versa.

Required fields:

  • title
  • creator
  • publisher
  • date
  • language
  • identifier
  • degree name

Recommended fields:

  • abstract
  • subject
  • degree grantor

The following table explains how we use each element. It also provides guidelines for formatting the content. We enhance the metadata before loading it into Aurora, our library catalogue and the Theses Canada database.

Field name Criteria Usage notes
Title Mandatory

The title of the thesis as it appears on the title page, including subtitle. Use sentence-style case, capitalizing the first word in a title. Do not add a period at the end of the title. Do not capitalize the first letter of the subtitle. Separate the main title from the subtitle with space, colon, space ( : ).
<title>Recherches sur le statut social du forgeron dans la littérature grecque : d'Homère à la fin de l'époque</title>
<dc.title>Humour as a political tool : translating stories from Sherman Alexie's Ten little Indians into Turkish</dc.title>

Creator Mandatory

The creator is the author of the thesis. Enter the name in inverse format.
<creator> Zhang, John M. L.</creator>
<dc.creator>Boehm, Sheila Gay Calvert</dc.creator>

Contributor Optional

We do not load this field.

Subjects Recommended

The topic of the content of the thesis. Enter as many subjects as appropriate.
<subject>Lake trout</subject>

Abstract Recommended

A summary of the thesis. We prefer 500 words or less. If the text in the description field is two sentences or longer, the theses harvesting workflow will map it to a MARC 520 field (Abstract).
<description>This study of …</description>
<dc.description.abstract>This dissertation analyzes the … </dc.description.abstract>

Notes Optional

Additional information about the thesis. Could be used for funding or sponsorship notes. If the text in the description field is less than two sentences, the theses harvesting workflow will map it to a MARC 500 field (General Note).
<description>This research was supported by …</description>
<dc.description.note>Funded by contributions from …</dc.description.note>

Publisher Mandatory

The full name of the university that granted the degree. If possible, hard-code or standardize the field to prevent errors and variations in the university name.
<publisher>Simon Fraser University</publisher>
<dc.publisher>Université de Montréal</dc.publisher>

Date on title page Mandatory

Only the year is mandatory: YYYY. If month and day are present, they should be in the format YYYY-MM or YYYY-MM-DD. The harvesting workflow will use the first four characters in the field, and if there are multiple date fields, it will take the earliest chronological date.

Type Optional

We do not load this field. The harvesting workflow replaces any content in the Type field with the default text "Academic theses."

Format Optional

We do not load this field.

Identifier – URI Mandatory

URLs to the full-text documents as well as supplementary files in the repository, and optionally, to the repository record. Spaces and special characters in the URLs must be correctly encoded.

Language Mandatory

Primary language of the thesis. Record using ISO standard 639-3 (three-letter code).



Rights Optional

Statement about various property rights associated with the resource, including copyright.

<rights>This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.</rights>

<dc.rights>All works are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.</dc.rights>

Degree name Mandatory

Name of the degree associated with the thesis. We prefer abbreviations. Separate abbreviated parts consisting of more than a single letter by a space from the preceding or succeeding words or initials.

<degree><name>Ph. D.</name>…</degree>


Degree level Optional

We do not load this field.

Degree discipline Optional

Area of study, usually the program or department name.

<degree>…<discipline>Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences</discipline>…</degree>

Degree grantor Recommended

Name of the institution that awarded the degree. Use the name of the university from the time the degree was granted. If this field is missing, we use the publisher field in its place.

<degree>…<grantor>University of Winnipeg</grantor></degree>