For how many years do universities keep the thesis records. When do they destroy the old thesis reports? If there is some mistake in the thesis then in how many years can the university revoke the degree.

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    In many countries, virtually forever. But universities don't revoke degrees for mistakes in the theses. Oct 16, 2016 at 9:30
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    Let's be precise - for true mistakes. Plagiarism and related fraud can lead to revocation of a degree (google the Guttenberg, or the Jan Hendrik Schön cases in Germany). Oct 16, 2016 at 9:38

1 Answer 1


As far as I am aware, most universities keep a record of PhD thesis awards (title and recipient) in perpetuity. It is also the responsibility of the university library to archive the thesis; which is usually done on a permanent basis.

The reason for this is that future researchers, when doing their literature search should be reading these thesis to understand prior knowledge, as each PhD should be an original contribution to the sum of knowledge. Technology has enabled most universities to eliminate some of the burden associated with the perpetual storage of the thesis documents by allowing the microfilming of the thesis, which has now become the scanning and electronic storage of the work. There are consortia of university libraries that are working to ensure the problem of permanent storage of electronic texts is addressed in an era where we have non archival quality of electronic media.

The answer for the storage of PhD thesis and records would be "forever". For a Master's thesis or dissertation the answer is less clear. In many universities I am familiar with, often only the awarding department archives the Masters, and they are less reliable. I have seen with my own eyes archives of older Masters works being "tidied up". To me it was a travesty, but to others it was modernity.

A degree is not usually revoked on the discover of a "mistake" in a thesis. A degree might be revoked if it was discovered that nothing in a thesis was the original work of the student who submitted it; otherwise known as plagiarism, theft or deceit. It would depend on the statutes and regulations on the awarding institution on whether or how this might happen. One can consult the news archives to find many reported incidents of this happening. The revocation can even happen posthumously!

  • in my research i was edit some answers for making them significant on the behalf of my adviser. that time i dont know its wrong. but this changes cant effect the anyone because i only change the p value of the result. if i put all results as it is thesis can also be approved. this all happen because of less knowledge of my adviser which i understand after my work experience in teaching. but i insert all experimental data true. if someone complaint in future about my thesis will university revoke my degree and can i defend my degree. i worked on machining of some material.
    – srp
    Oct 16, 2016 at 9:56
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    @srp You should ask this as a separate question. Also, information in this question might be useful.
    – svavil
    Oct 16, 2016 at 11:14
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    @srp: Your fear of your degree being revoked is completely disproportionate. Simple mistakes in your thesis do not endanger your degree. As Brian Tompsett said, only plagiarism and other grave violations are reasons for revoking a degree.
    – Ian
    Oct 17, 2016 at 7:34

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