Quality Manual

Applications for a restriction to be placed on a thesis

This page contains information in relation to restrictions being placed upon a thesis containing politically, commercially or industrially sensitive content. This information may be of interest to staff and students from across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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1. Policy

Includes: scope; external funding considerations; Thesis restriction application form

If a thesis includes work which is politically, commercially* or industrially sensitive, it is possible for a student to apply for access either to the printed copy held in the University, or to the electronic copy held in Nottingham eTheses, or both, to be restricted. In such a case an application for restriction should be included when the student submits their thesis.

* To include cases where a student wishes to publish their work in another format before it becomes more widely available via the British Library Catalogue.

Some research projects are funded, partly or wholly, by outside agencies and a restriction may be stipulated in the contract which is drawn up with the University. If no contract exists, it is the responsibility of the student to put together a structured case to support their application for a restriction.

The University's Quality and Standards Committee (QSC) can grant a restriction of access to a thesis for a period not exceeding 2 years in the first instance with the possibility of an extension of that period up to a maximum of 5 years.

A restriction to a thesis does not affect the award of the degree in any way.

An application form is available here:

As part of the application the student's supervisor is responsible for providing a statement regarding the research being undertaken, comments on the need for a restriction and the current research project number.


2. Procedure

Includes: application; submission; decision; extension; retrospective application

The student concerned completes an 'Application for a Restriction to be placed on a Thesis' form (provided in the previous section, 1. Policy) ensuring all boxes have been completed. Although the student may not know the relevant research project number, it is important that the student's supervisor provides this piece of information.

The form is then submitted by the student, with their thesis, to Student Services for processing.

Once Quality and Standards Committee (QSC) has made a decision about whether or not the restriction has been granted, the student will receive formal notification of the decision from Student Services. A copy of this notification is sent to Information Services, which will implement the restriction in the University Library, or in Nottingham eTheses, or both, as required; and to the student's supervisor and Student Services.

A final decision on an application can be expected within approximately 6 weeks of receipt of the form by Student Services.

It is possible to apply for an extension to the period of restriction once the initial period has lapsed and this is done by completing another copy of the original form which is available from Student Services.

In the case of a retrospective application, the printed copy or the electronic copy or both may already be accessible. In this case the form may be copied by the student or School to Information Services to request immediate restriction as a temporary measure until the Committee's final decision is notified.  

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please contact:

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Student Services

This content was last modified on 06 April 2022

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