Policies

Thesis format and submission

Thesis submission 

9.178

To be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, the research student must satisfy the examiners by means of a thesis which makes a distinct and original contribution to knowledge in the discipline and contains work which is considered to be worthy of publication. The research student must demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of their discipline and its associated research techniques and show that these have been successfully applied. For research students registered for the degree of PhD and who will submit a practice based thesis, both the critical/reflective component and the practice component of the thesis must form a coherent whole which meets the requirements for the award of the degree.

9.179

To be awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine, the research student must satisfy the examiners by means of a thesis in any branch of medicine, surgery, or medical science, which has been specifically composed for the purpose, includes a review of the relevant background literature, contains a critical account of original laboratory-based or clinical research, carried out personally by the research student, that constitutes a significant contribution to knowledge, and contains work which is deemed worthy of publication.

9.180

To be awarded the degree of Doctor of Psychology, the research student must satisfy the examiners by means of a thesis which has been specifically composed for the purpose. The thesis must include a critical literature review (the topic normally being relevant to the research question addressed in the research study) and a self-contained research study which conforms to the requirements of a peer-reviewed journal appropriate to the research topic, a reflective critique of the research process, and constituting a contribution to knowledge.

9.181

To be awarded the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Engineering, or Doctor of Social Science the research student must successfully complete all assessed components excluding the thesis to the appropriate standard described in the relevant programme specification and satisfy the examiners by means of a thesis which makes a distinct and original contribution to knowledge in the discipline and contains work which is considered to be worthy of publication. The research student must demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of their discipline and its associated research techniques and show that these have been successfully applied.

9.182

To be awarded the degree of Master of Philosophy, the research student must satisfy the examiners by means of a thesis which demonstrates a satisfactory record of research, a broad knowledge and understanding of the field of study and associated research techniques, and shows that these have been successfully applied. The thesis must present evidence of a critical survey of knowledge in the discipline but does not need to make a distinct and original contribution to knowledge of their discipline or to be of publishable quality. For research students registered for the degree of MPhil and who will submit a practice based thesis, both the critical/reflective component and the practice component of the thesis must form a coherent whole which meets the requirements for the award of the degree.

9.183

The thesis must not have previously been submitted for examination for a degree of the University or another institution except in the case of theses which had been submitted for a degree of the University and referred for resubmission. In all cases the thesis must be:

  1. the result of the research student’s own work; where parts of the thesis are the result of work undertaken by or with others, this must be explicitly acknowledged in the thesis text and/or references
  2. the result of work undertaken by the research student over their period of registration – except where the thesis comprises inter-related published works or clinical case studies.

Thesis format

9.184

With the exception of short quotations for which an English translation is provided, the thesis must be written in English unless the Dean of the Doctoral College has given approval prior to submission for examination for all or part of the thesis to be in another language.

9.185

The thesis must be presented on A4 size.

9.186

Any research degree thesis undertaken at the University of Leicester must, when printed, be printed on one side only. Text must be of good quality with 1.5 line spacing and should normally be in 12 point type.

9.187

Any research degree thesis undertaken at the University of Leicester must, when printed, have a margin of at least 3.5 centimetres on the left side of each page. All other margins must be of at least 2.5 centimetres.

9.188

The first page of the thesis must be a title page that includes the following information:

  1. the full title of the thesis
  2. the research student’s full name
  3. the name of the research student’s Department
  4. the month and year in which the thesis was submitted for examination

9.189

The title page of the thesis must be followed by the thesis abstract. The abstract must not exceed 300 words and must include in the form of a heading the full title of the thesis and the research student’s full name.

9.190

The thesis abstract must be followed in this order by:

  1. acknowledgements page
  2. table of contents
  3. main body of the thesis
  4. appendices (if needed)

9.191

Explanatory notes must be numbered and presented as footnotes at the bottom of the relevant page.

9.192

The thesis appendices – or the main body of the thesis if there are no appendices – must be followed by a complete and accurate bibliography. All works referenced in the thesis must be included in the bibliography.

9.193

The critical/reflective component of a practice based thesis submitted for the degree of PhD or MPhil must comply with the requirements for thesis format specified in 9.185 to 9.194. The practice component of the thesis must be submitted as a created output appropriate to the area of research and in a form suitable for examination.

Thesis word length

9.194

Each College shall have a specified maximum word limit for research degree theses:

  1. For research students in the College of Life Sciences, the length of the thesis – including footnotes and any appendices, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:
    • PhD - 50,000 words
    • MD - 30,000 words
    • MPhil - 30,000 words
    • Except for:
      • a. research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, or MPhil and whose thesis is based on qualitative or case study research, where the length of the thesis – including footnotes and any appendices, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:
        • PhD - 80,000 words
        • MD - 50,000 words
        • MPhil - 50,000 words
      • b. research students registered for the degree of PsyD or DClinPsy where the length of the thesis – including footnotes and any appendices (except mandatory appendices), but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:
        • PsyD - 30,000 words
        • DClinPsy - 29,000 words
  2. For research students in the College of Science and Engineering, the length of the thesis – including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, any appendices, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:
    • PhD - 50,000 words
    • EngD - 25,000 words
    • MPhil - 30,000 words
    • Except for research students in the Department of Geography registered for the degree of PhD or MPhil and whose thesis is based on social science research, where the length of the thesis must not exceed the limits specified in 9.196(4).
  3. For research students in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities the length of the thesis – including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, any appendices, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:
    • PhD - 80,000 words
    • EdD - 55,000 words
    • DSocSci - 50,000 words
    • MPhil - 50,000 words
  4. For research students in any College registered for the degree of PhD or MPhil and who will submit a practice based thesis, the length of the critical/reflective component of the thesis – including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, any appendices, and the bibliography – must be no less than 20% and no more than 80% of the relevant maximum word length specified in 9.196(1) to 9.196(3).

9.195

The thesis must not exceed the specified maximum word limit unless the Dean of the Doctoral College has given approval for a higher word limit prior to submission of the thesis for examination.

Thesis submission

9.196

The research student must on the request of the Doctoral College Office confirm the date by which they expect to submit the thesis for examination.

9.197

Research students registered for the degree of PhD or MPhil and who will submit a practice based thesis must on the request of the Doctoral College Office confirm the form in which the practice component of the thesis shall be submitted. The exact form that the practice component of the thesis shall take must be discussed and agreed with the supervisory team before submission and shall be subject to the approval of the internal examiner.

9.198

The research student must be registered on the date that they submit the thesis for examination. The research student must submit the thesis for examination by the date at which they complete the specified maximum registration period unless they have been given an extension of registration by the Dean of the Doctoral College or, in the case of research students registered for the degree of MD, by the MD Degree Board of Studies.

9.199

The research student shall be responsible for deciding whether to submit the thesis for examination. This decision should take account of the opinion of the supervisory team. The supervisory team’s opinion is advisory only. An opinion that the thesis is ready for submission must not be taken as a guarantee that a degree will be awarded and a decision to award a degree rests wholly with the examining team.

9.200

Research students submitting the thesis for examination must submit to the Doctoral College an electronic copy of the thesis.

9.201

Research students who following examination have been referred for resubmission must submit to the Doctoral College Office an electronic copy of the revised thesis.

9.202

Research students who following examination have been awarded a research degree must submit an electronic copy of the thesis to the University Library; the electronic copy of the thesis shall be deposited in the Leicester Research Archive and made available through the British Library’s Electronic Theses Online Service. Where, owing to security or protection rights it is not possible to provide an electronic copy of the final thesis for public access through the British Library’s Electronic Theses Online Service, research students may be required to submit a hardbound copy of the thesis. The hardbound cover must be standard green (Aberlave Library Buckram No. 563).

9.203

Research students who following examination have been awarded the degree of PhD or MPhil on the basis of a practice based thesis must submit to the University Library a permanent record of the practice component of the thesis – such as a physical artefact, photographic record, or audio-visual record.

Restrictions on access to theses

9.204

The thesis shall be made available through the University Library, the Leicester Research Archive, and the Electronic Theses Online Service. A request to restrict access to the thesis may be made if there are extenuating reasons for doing so.

9.205

If there are extenuating reasons for restricting access to the thesis, the research student and/or the supervisory team may request that the thesis should be placed under an embargo for a period of no more than three years. The request for a thesis embargo must be made to the Doctoral College Office on or before the date at which the thesis is submitted for examination. The application of a thesis embargo shall be subject to approval from the Dean of the Doctoral College. An approved embargo may apply to the electronic copy of the thesis only or to both an electronic and a print copy of the thesis.

9.206

Access to the thesis shall be restricted if the research is the subject of a formal confidentiality agreement with a sponsor. In such cases the relevant office holding the sponsor agreement shall notify the Doctoral College Office of the relevant conditions.

9.207

Sponsored research students must comply with any conditions for open access to the thesis that are associated with the terms of their sponsorship.

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