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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

How to Submit or Find an SAIC Thesis or Grad Project

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: Answers for Your SAIC Thesis or Graduate Project

Do Flaxman Librarians offer help with thesis research?
Yes. We offer one-on-one research consultations for all your research needs and questions. We also visit Thesis classes in SAIC programs to teach research skills.  We will continue to provide research assistance via email, chat or virtual meetings. Students can use Navigate to find the Flaxman Library and set up a Research Consultation appointment. (Information about Navigate is available here.) Appointments available Monday - Friday during the day and require at least 36 hours in advance notice.

How do I format my thesis/grad project?
Please consult your Thesis/Project Advisor for document and page layout requirements specific to your program, the library does not require a specific format. You can view a generic, sample Thesis Title Page here. If you have questions about creating a bibliography for your thesis, or how to cite a particular source, please see a librarian by emailing or filling out this form to schedule an individual appointment.

How to I make a PDF/A to submit my thesis in the Canvas course?
In Adobe Acrobat Pro select File > Save As Other and choose Archivable PDF (PDF/A). To Access Adobe sign into Creative Cloud through SAIC's license, use '' as the email address--not your email address--then it sends you to the ARTIC login. The school has a walkthrough here:

How do I submit my thesis/grad project to the Library?
As of Spring 2019, all theses or grad projects will be submitted digitally through Canvas. Please see instructions on the Thesis/Grad Projects Submission page. If you need to be added to the Canvas submission course for your degree, please contact the administrative director of your program.

What if I have special materials or objects as part of my thesis? 
Your physical thesis and/or corresponding materials (within size and material guidelines) could be placed in Special Collections, allowing visitors to the special collections reading room the opportunity to see all of the work together. 

Please submit your digital thesis title page + abstract in Canvas (these are required PDFs). To submit a physical object, please follow the directions on the Physical Submissions (p3-4) section of Procedure for Submitting your Thesis or Graduate Project which is also linked to the aforementioned instructions. Contact Flaxman Librarians ( only if you have questions about how your physical materials will be housed. Typically, the library houses thesis objects in standard archival boxes as needed. If your physical objects will be housed in Flaxman Special Collection, you will still need to submit those objects to your department administrators or thesis advisors when they have been approved by your thesis adviser. The library cannot take thesis materials directly from students.

Can my thesis object become part of the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection?
The short answer is no. You can sell or donate a copy of your publication, but you will first need to meet with Special Collections staff; however, this must be a separate object that is not part of your thesis requirement. To set up an appointment to have your work considered for the artists' book collection, please contact:

What happens to my thesis/grad project after it is submitted in Canvas?
1. Your thesis/grad project is approved by your Thesis/Project Advisor and program. A thesis/grad project deposited with the library becomes part of a student's academic record. No changes may be made to a thesis after uploaded into Canvas.
2. Once approved, Flaxman Library staff download your thesis from Canvas. 
3. Within a month, Flaxman Library staff will catalog your thesis in the SAIC Digital Thesis Repository, Flaxman Library catalog, I-Share, and OCLC WorldCat.
4. Your digital thesis will be uploaded to the SAIC Digital Thesis Repository and be discoverable to everyone, although it can only be viewed or read online if you choose ARTIC Log-In as your access option (see last question below).

How long does it take until my thesis is available in the library?
Theses should be available in SAIC Digital Libraries within 4 weeks of submission. Please contact us at if you do not see your thesis there after a month.

Why isn’t my thesis/grad project in the library?
It could be at any of the stages described above.  Please check with your program to verify when they approved your thesis/grad project in Canvas.  That will help us determine where it might be in the process. Digitizing and cataloging your thesis is a high priority for Flaxman Library. We try to process theses immediately but when a great many are received at the same time, the work may take longer to complete. 

How can I get my own copy of my thesis bound?
The bindery that we use, The HF Group, also works with individual customers.  There are other affordable options such as  or FedEx/Kinkos.

Can everyone read my thesis/grad project online? 
Theses/grad projects submitted Spring 2019 or later have the options to choose Open Access which means anyone in the world with an internet connection can read your thesis in our Digital Thesis Repository. You choose the access you want when you submit your thesis. See Choose Access PDF for these options. 

What is the School's policy of intellectual property?
You can readh the School's Policy on Intellectual Property at this link.

FAQ: Finding an SAIC Thesis or Graduate Project

How do I find an SAIC thesis in the Flaxman Library?
Digital Theses + Graduate Projects (November 2013 to the present): Go to the SAIC Thesis Repository or the search box on the library's homepage

Print Theses (2018 or earlier): You can visit these call number areas in the Flaxman Library to browse, or you can use the search box on the library's homepage to look up a thesis in the library catalog. All SAIC theses submitted to Flaxman Library appear in our library catalog whether print or digital. 
Why can’t I check out a thesis?
Theses are one-of-a-kind works and are not easily replaced. We are committed to making sure that our copy of your thesis will be here for future generations to read.
Are SAIC theses available digitally?
Since November 2013, printed theses submitted to the library are digitized for inclusion in SAIC Digital Collections. As of Spring 2019, only digital copies of theses are accepted. Some theses are available on-campus only. Theses submitted prior to November 2013 are available only in physical form in the library.
How can I get a copy of an SAIC thesis? Can I buy a copy? 
The library cannot loan or sell copies of SAIC theses--only the author can do that--but we will direct you to the granting department or program; they can forward your request to the thesis author. If the author has indicated it is Open Access, you will be able to read it online.

Do you have alternative format theses, like DVDs, CDs, etc.?
Yes, we do. They can be discovered by searching the Flaxman Library catalog. They are shelved with the DVDs, CDs, etc.

I found an abstract for an SAIC thesis on the web, but can’t find the thesis in the Flaxman Library.  Why?
Over time, programs have chosen to publish thesis abstracts in print, on disc, or on their web pages, as well as supplying them for the Flaxman Library catalog. In earlier years, some programs required students to submit an "abstract" (a proposal) prior to writing their thesis. While a few of these theses may never have been finished, their "abstracts" may still exist.
I found a thesis in the library catalog, but there is no abstract.  Why?
Between 2006 and November 2013, submitting a digital abstract for use in the library catalog was an additional step that not all authors completed.