Preparing for Thesis Submission

After 3 years, full-time PhD students (pro rata for part-time students) may be permitted to transfer to Continuation Status where the College is able to assure itself that the student has completed their research and will not undertake any significant additional research. The same is true for MPhil students after 2 years and MbyRes students after 1 year. Such students are considered to be writing-up their thesis and are not charged normal full-time or part-time fees. Fees for continuation status are charged for students who commenced during or after 2009/10. These are currently 0 for the first 4 months and 50 pounds for each subsequent month; see this and other information on: 

See also the following pages for more information: Periods of registration and changes to registration status for graduate research students: statement of procedures

It is expected that all research students will complete their degree within a reasonable time. Maximum periods of study for all programmes are specified in the periods of study scheme in the 'Statement of Procedures: Periods of Registration and Changes to Registration Status for Graduate Research Students'.

The University and your supervisor will encourage you to submit your thesis approximately nine to twelve months before your enrolment end date to allow time for examination, the viva voce, if required, and the completion of any minor or major amendments to the satisfaction of the examiners.

Are you a PhD student studying on a Tier 4 student visa? Did you know that you can extend your stay in the UK by one year under the Doctorate Extension Scheme? Contact the International Student Support Office for advice when you submit your thesis.

In accordance with the Regulations and Programmes of Study:

        a) a thesis for the degree of PhD shall not normally exceed 100,000 words.

        b) a thesis for the degree of EngD shall not normally exceed 100,000 words.

        c) a thesis for the degree of PhD by Publication shall not normally exceed 100,000 words, and shall include a 10,000 word integrative chapter.

        d) a dissertation for the degrees of MPhil shall not normally exceed 60,000 words.

        e) a dissertation for the degrees of MPhil by Publication shall not normally exceed 60,000 words, and shall include a 6,000 word integrative chapter.

        f) a dissertation for the degree of EdD shall not normally exceed 50,000 words.

        g) a thesis for the degree of DClin Res shall not normally exceed 50,000 words.

        h) a thesis for the degree of DClin Prac shall not normally exceed 50,000 words.

        i) a dissertation for the degree of DEd Psy shall not normally exceed 40,000 words.

        j) a dissertation for the degree of DClinPsy shall not normally exceed 12,000 words.

        k) a thesis for the degrees of MD or MS shall not normally exceed 60,000 words.

        l) a dissertation for the degree of MbyRes shall not normally exceed 40,000 words.

        m) a dissertation for the degree of MbyRes by Publication shall not normally exceed 40,000 words, and shall include a 4,000 word integrative chapter.

The above maxima are exclusive of the abstract, other preliminaries (tables of contents), footnotes, appendices and bibliography, but are inclusive of all other content, including tables, charts and captions.

PAPER: International A4 (210mm x 297mm) or US Letter size (216mm x 279mm) within range 70 g/m2 to 100 g/m2. No restrictions are placed on the size of the drawings, maps or similar material, which should, however, be bound in with the thesis/dissertation or placed in a wallet affixed to the inside of the back cover.

MARGINS: 30mm on the left and right-hand sides, 20mm on the top and bottom margins.

TYPING: Double or one-and-a-half spacing should be used in typescript except for indented quotations or footnotes, for which single spacing may be used.

FONT: Size 12 in Ariel.

PRINTING: Double-sided

NUMBERING OF PAGES: All pages, including abstract, appendices, indices, drawings, maps, pages of photographs, etc, should be numbered consecutively in one sequence starting with the title page as 1.

SEQUENCE: Material should be arranged in the following sequence:

- Title Page, with declaration

- Abstract

- List of Contents

- List of Tables, Illustrations, etc (if any)

- List of accompanying material (if any)

- Author's declaration (if necessary, being a statement of the nature and extent of the author's individual contribution if the work is based on joint research)

- Definitions (if any, being a list of definitions of any terms specific to the work); abbreviations (if any)

- Introduction (when 2.2 applies)

- Text (divided into chapters, sections, etc)

- Appendices (if any)

- Glossary (if any)

- Bibliography

- Index (if any)

TITLE PAGE: For theses/dissertations submitted for degrees of PhD, EngD, MD, MS, MPhil and MbyRes a title page (Example - Phd Title Page) should be signed for each volume and state the following:

        [ The full title (and sub-title if any) of the thesis/dissertation as approved ][ The total number of volumes, if more than one and the number of the particular volume ]

         Submitted by [ Full Name ], to the University of Exeter as a thesis/dissertation* for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Engineering/Doctor of Medicine/Master of Surgery/Master of Philosophy/Masters by Research/by Publication * in [Degree Title ], [ month and year of submission for examination ].

         This thesis/dissertation* is available for Library use on the understanding that it is copyright material and that no quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

         I certify that all material in this thesis/dissertation* which is not my own work has been identified and that no material has previously been submitted and approved for the award of a degree by this or any other University.

         (Signature) ………………………………………………………………………………

         * delete as appropriate

NB: In the case of the degrees of EdD/DEd Psy and DClinPsy/DClin Res/DClin Prac advice should be sought from the relevant College on the exact wording of the declaration.

ABSTRACT: All theses/dissertations must include an abstract of approximately 300 words bound in with each copy and placed so as to follow the title page.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: The title page and abstract should be followed immediately by the Table of Contents which should give in sequence, with page numbers, all relevant sub-divisions of the work.

LETTERING: Lettered boldly on the front with the title, surname and all initials, the degree for which the work is submitted, and the year of submission. The surname and initials of the candidate should also be shown on the spine.

Two hard copies of the thesis/dissertation are required to be submitted for examination purposes.

Any thesis/dissertation over 350 double-sided pages in length should be divided into 2 volumes and each volume should have a signed title page showing the total number of volumes i.e. 1 of 2, 2 of 2

Each thesis, and volume should have a label on the spine showing full name, degree, full date of submission, and the volume number if multiple volumes are submitted.

Candidates are expected to bring a copy of their thesis for their own use to the viva voce examination.

Students should submit their thesis/dissertation to either the SID desk in the Forum on Streatham Campus, the Hub desk in South Cloisters on St Luke’s campus, or the Academic Support Unit on the Tremough Campus in Cornwall. Once received they will be delivered to the Postgraduate Research Office to process and send to the examiners

Students who are not based on either the Exeter or Cornwall Campus’ should send their thesis by registered delivery of a recognised carrier such as Royall Mail, DHL or TNT to the Postgraduate Research Office at the below address

Postgraduate Research Administration

University of Exeter Doctoral College

Room 101, Innovation Centre

Rennes Drive




All thesis/dissertation received by mail will be confirmed to the student on the day of receipt

Each submission will need a fully completed Submission Form to be accepted by either of the desks or the Postgraduate Research Office