Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Digital Commons: For Graduate Students

Learn about Sarah Lawrence's online institutional repository, Digital Commons.

Your Thesis and Digital Commons

If you are in one of the following graduate programs at Sarah Lawrence College, you are required to submit your master's thesis or capstone digitally to the Office of Graduate Studies.

  • Child Development
  • Dance
  • Dance/Movement Therapy
  • Human Genetics
  • Women's History
  • Writing

Once your thesis is submitted along with the appropriate permission form, it is sent over to the Library. At that point, the Library adds your thesis to the Library's online catalog as well as Digital Commons. See the Permissions box for information on access options available to you.

Graduate Program Guidelines

For more information about Graduate Studies, please contact Alba Coronel, Office Manager of the Graduate Studies Program.

Guidelines from the Graduate Studies Office:


Digital Commons offers you a selection of access restrictions for submitting your thesis or capstone work:

1. Open Access. Your thesis will be discoverable via Google and other search engines. Open Access serves the scholarly community by sharing your research with others around the world; exemplifying the nature of graduate work done at Sarah Lawrence College.

2. Restricted for one year; then Open Access. Delay release of the entire work for one year from date of graduate for publication or other proprietary purposes. After one year, release for worldwide Internet access.

3. Restricted for two years; then Open Access. Delay release of the entire work for two years from date of graduation for publication or other proprietary purposes. After two years, release for worldwide Internet access.

4. Access restricted to SLC only. Allow access only on the Sarah Lawrence College campus and to current Sarah Lawrence College community members via DigitalCommons@SarahLawrence. Note: Consistent with past practice, the thesis will also be available to other libraries via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Please note: ALL MFA Writing Program theses are, by default, Closed Access. A Closed Access Thesis means that the full-text of your thesis will not be available online. A digital preservation copy will be maintained by the College Archives. Access will not be allowed to your thesis without first requiring written permission from you, the author. Please note, however, that your thesis will still have a metadata record in Digital Commons indicating that a thesis exists for you, but with only your name, year, and title of thesis. Lastly, a catalog record, with the same information, will appear in WorldCat.

Permissions forms can be found here.

Benefits of Digital Commons

  • Makes your work available outside of academia, including to potential employers.
  • Allows prospective students to view past work by graduates of their program.
  • Provides a stable online home for your work, even after you graduate. (When you upload a work to Digital Commons, you'll receive a stable web address that you can add to your CV, résumé, or portfolio. You can log in to the Digital Commons site to see how often your works are being viewed. Once your work is in the site, it's easy for others to find it in Google and other search engines.)

Digital Commons is indexed by Google. The best way to receive more hits on your work, is by writing a thorough abstract and providing a list of keywords for us to use when creating the metadata.


Will this hurt my chance of publication?

Studies have shown that most publishers do not consider online posting to be prior publication,
and some publishers have explicitly stated that making work openly available helps students get discovered.

What if there is more than one author?

All authors are displayed in the metadata record. However, access to the thesis is determined by the individual with the most restrictive access. For example, if three students contributed to the capstone or thesis and two allow for immediate open access, but the third wants an embargo for 2 years, the item will be embargoed for 2 years.

Why isn't my thesis in Digital Commons yet?

While you are submitting your thesis in a digital format, it still requires a person to "catalog" or complete the metadata in preparation for uploading the actual file. Theses designated as immediately Open Access as well as SLC-only, are the first to be uploaded to Digital Commons and will typically be available by the end of the summer. The metadata for all others will be available within one year.