Writing and submitting your doctoral thesis
Doctoral thesis format
The conventions governing the doctoral thesis format depend on the country or even institution you are doing your doctorate in. In some countries, you will be expected to publish a series of research articles and reviews in peer-reviewed journals and then write an introduction to tie them together to form the thesis. In other countries, including the UK, the thesis is commonly a stand-alone piece of writing, with an introduction, several results chapters and a closing discussion.
Writing your doctoral thesis
The prospect of sitting down to write your thesis can be intimidating. Your supervisor should support you by reading drafts, providing feedback and helping you to judge appropriate style and level. You can expect them to read your whole thesis, probably more than once, but make sure to get someone else to proofread it as your supervisor is most likely to be concentrating on the technical detail.
This section offers specific advice and tips on the process of writing a thesis.
- Getting started and analysing a thesis
- Writing as you go
- Structuring your thesis
- Knowing when it is finished.
For more practical tips and advice read for example Patrick Dunleavy's Authoring a PhD and Rowena Murray's How to write a thesis, and check for any courses on thesis writing that your institution may run.
Submitting your thesis
Your institution will have specific regulations governing the format of your thesis, including word limits and formatting. There will be stipulations on how many copies you need to submit and how they need to be bound. Make sure you know what these are in advance and before submitting check again that your thesis adheres to the required guidelines.