graduation studentsMay marks graduation for many college students, a time of celebration after years of dedication and hard work. It also prompts this eternal question: “Now what?”

It’s time to make your way in the world, earn a living and impress the world with your education. If you wrote an undergraduate thesis, master’s project or doctoral dissertation, Lulu can help on two fronts: earning cash and spreading knowledge.

It’s free and easy to upload your thesis onto Lulu. And getting a professional-quality bound copy of it delivered to your doorstep is quick. Moreover, we offer services that can create a professionally designed cover specifically for your work. To get your research out there, we can assign your work an ISBN and even get it listed on the iBookstore (SM) and NOOK™ book store. Most importantly, by publishing on Lulu you retain control of all copyright and permission settings. You determine who can view your work, and when. If you feel that publishing your thesis, final project or dissertation on Lulu sounds like a viable option for you, then please read the steps below for more information on how to get started.

Before you start
First and foremost, check with your department, committee chairs or advisor on any rules you must follow for publishing your academic work. Requirements vary across departments and schools.

Browse Lulu’s catalog
You might find it helpful to browse to see what other students have published. From M.F.A. final projects to Ph.D dissertations, Lulu has an extensive catalog of student work. For instance, Yale University has a collection of Ph.D. theses, Master’s theses, and senior theses.  If your project is more creative in nature, then you might read Graduate Student’s thesis project yields Children’s book.” You might also want to read about University at Albany alum Rashaun J. Allen who used Lulu to publish his collection of poems entitled “A Walk Through Brooklyn.”

Read reviews from other students
Check out what other students have said about publishing their work on Lulu. See why this student chose to publish a 300-page thesis with Lulu instead of taking it “to the binders” or why this student chose Lulu over a local print shop. These reviews might help answer any questions you have.

Protecting your research
If you have concerns about copyrighting your work, take a look at Nick Popio’s article, “Copyrighting Your Work 101.” Some graduate schools require that you copyright your work before publishing, so make sure you take the appropriate steps to protect your work. At the very least, it is recommended that you include a copyright notice on your thesis, i.e., Copyright 2010, John Doe or ©, John Doe. Please note that there is a possibility that posting your dissertation or thesis online could prevent it from later being accepted by professional journals. As such, please make sure to consult with your advisor and/or committee in order to make the most informed publishing decision that will not only meet your immediate goals, but long-term ones as well.

Determining who will have access to your work
There are three general availability settings you can assign to your project: private, direct and general. These permission levels can be set to control who can access your project, and these settings can easily be changed anytime. You might wish to keep your project private at first, print a proof copy for your advisor or committee members and update the access permissions after you’ve been granted final approval to publish. Or, you might want to assign direct access to your work and email the book’s URL to select readers for feedback and peer review before making it available to the general public. Whatever you decide, you maintain full control over who sees your work and when.

Extra services
As mentioned above, whether you need a custom cover design, help obtaining an ISBN or someone to convert your thesis to ePub format to get it into Apple’s iBookstore for the iPad, Lulu has a number of services to help you with all stages of your project.

Promoting your thesis
Once your project is open to the public, you might want to add tags and keywords to your product description — doing so will help increase the chances that users will find your work when searching on terms pertinent to your topic.  Now that graduation is upon us, hopefully this post will make one of the many decisions you have to make a little easier. Regardless of what path you choose, Lulu can help showcase all the hard work and effort you put into your academic career.

Best of luck!


Before you start
First and foremost, you will want to check with your department, committee chairs or advisor as to what rules you must follow for publishing your academic work.  Requirements will be different across departments and schools, and you certainly want to make sure that self-publishing allowed by your program before beginning.