Chapter 11 - Presentation of theses/dissertations for degrees in the Faculty of Graduate Research: statement of procedures

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[Implementation: for all with immediate effect]

  • ORE (Open Research Exeter) is the name given to the University's institutional repository. An electronic version of the thesis/dissertation replaces the final hard-bound copy.
  • For students who first registered prior to October 2008 and who do not wish to submit electronically you must contact the Postgraduate Administration Office prior to submission.

This statement sets out the prescribed form for the submission of theses and dissertations for research degrees of the University. In the case of named programmes where submission takes a form other than, or includes work additional to, that described below, the presentation of submissions shall be subject to guidance prepared by the relevant College, approved by the Dean of the Faculty, on the appropriate form prior to advertisement of the programme‌, which shall be made available in the College PGR handbook to applicants registered on the relevant programmes.

  1. Length of Theses/Dissertations
    1. 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 14,000 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.
    2. 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. Please also see section 3.8 below for programmes involving other forms of submission.
    3. Where permission has been granted for a student to submit in an alternative format, specific guidelines for submission will be given indicating whether a commentary is necessary and specifying, where appropriate any restrictions on the size of the thesis. Students submitting in an alternative format remain bound by the appropriate maxima above.
  2. Content of Thesis/Dissertation
    1. Inclusion of previously prepared, jointly prepared work, or work submitted for a double degree:
      A thesis/dissertation may not include extensive unchanged material that has previously been submitted and approved for the award of a degree by this or any other University, with the exception of:
      a) the incorporation of a student’s own previous work into a larger argument, for example when a Masters level dissertation in the first year of a 4-year PhD has been a lead-in to doctoral level work, provided that due acknowledgement is made;
      b) Submission of work that has been prepared as part of a dual degree partnerships arrangement, where specified in the legal agreement and, where full acknowledgement of the fact that work has been submitted for more than one award is made in the thesis and on the transcript(s) and certificate(s) of award;
      c) Submission of work that involves collaboration, where clarity over the input of each collaborator is clearly specified and acknowledged (e.g. where students have collaborated over the production of data) such that it is possible to individually assess the work of the student in question within their thesis.

      In preparing work in any of the ways specified above the University’s Code of Good Practice in the Conduct of Research must be complied with.

    2. Inclusion of Previously Published Papers: (not relevant for DClinPsy)
      1. Theses/dissertations for research degrees submitted in the Faculty of Graduate Research may include papers by the candidate that have been published or have been accepted or submitted for publication. Such papers should relate directly to the candidate's approved field of study and must have been written during the period of the candidate's registration. For the MbyRes/MPhil/PhD by Publication only: Theses/dissertations submitted for the MbyRes/MPhil/PhD by Publication include a portfolio of published work that has normally been published within the 5 years prior to a candidate's application to the programme. Candidates may also include any work published subsequent to their registration so long as all items included have been published at the point of submission.
      2. The number of papers that may be included is not prescribed, but they and the other contents of the thesis/dissertation should reflect the amount, originality and level of work expected of a candidate towards a conventional thesis/dissertation.
      3. Acknowledgement must be made in the thesis/dissertation by the candidate if any paper forms part of another thesis/dissertation submitted within the University or elsewhere by a co-author.
      4. That a thesis/dissertation includes a paper that has been published is no guarantee that the examiners will recommend the award for which the candidate is being examined. The examiners are required to assess the quality of the whole thesis/dissertation against the criteria described in the regulations for the relevant degrees.
      5. A thesis/dissertation including published papers should be presented and arranged as described in Section 5 of this procedure except that the papers may be presented in their published form. All published papers must be bound in with the other parts of the thesis/dissertation.
      6. The contents of the thesis/dissertation should follow the sequence described in 5.7, but should in addition contain an extended introduction addressing the following matters:
        1. The aims, objectives and results of the candidate's research
        2. The research methodology where not otherwise described
        3. The contribution made by the papers in the context of the approved field of study
        4. A statement of the candidate's contribution to co-authored papers
        5. A literature review
          For the MbyRes/MPhil/PhD by Publication only:
        6. The extended introduction should comprise a chapter, to which the word limits in 1.1 apply, which shall explain how the work forms a coherent whole, and explain how it meets the award’s assessment criteria.
  3. Other forms of submission
    1. Regardless of whether they are on a named programme, which has specific submission requirements, which may differ from the norm, students are permitted to make representations to submit a thesis/dissertation in an alternative format, requests to do so must normally be made at the application stage. Further guidance, including the required forms, can be found here.
    2. An alternative format (see also inclusion of published papers) may include either:

      a) the presentation of part or all of the thesis in an alternative format e.g. it may be a multimedia document (e.g. an element or the thesis in its entirety, which is presented in a format appropriate perhaps for presentation at a conference);
      b) A constructed text such as a piece of art, or a record of professional practice in the form of a series of case-studies, which must be accompanied by a commentary.
    3. The formats listed here are not exclusive and candidates should first discuss the matter with their supervisor should they consider there to be potential to present their thesis/dissertation differently, who will be able to offer advice on the appropriateness of different formats within the context of that discipline, and with regard specifically to how they relate to the candidate’s research project.
    4. Permission to do so may be given provided that by virtue of the subject:

      a) the intellectual quality of the thesis/dissertation would be enhanced;
      b) that a qualified supervisor and appropriate examiners can be appointed;
      c) the format is appropriate to the thesis/dissertation;
      d) that the format will allow the student to demonstrate their ability to meet the award criteria;
      e) or, that the alternative format is an appropriate specific arrangement to make to ensure the consistent equitable assessment of a student with disabilities.
    5. When considering a request, the Pro-Vice-chancellor and Executive Dean of College should ensure that details such as the expected format, size and scope of the thesis are recorded.
    6. Alternative forms of submission listed under 3.2(b) must be accompanied by a commentary, which must meet the normal standards of presentation of a thesis/dissertation and an extended introduction addressing the following matters:

      a) The aims, objectives and results of the candidate's research
      b) The research methodology where not otherwise described
      c) The contribution made by the thesis/dissertation in the context of the approved field of study
      d) A statement of the candidate's contribution to the elements of the thesis/dissertation
      e) A literature review
    7. The commentary must normally meet the following word limits unless an exception has been approved on a programme basis:
        Minimum word limit Maximum word limit
      MbyRes 12,000 16,000
      MPhil 18,000 24,000
      Doctoral Programmes 30,000 40,000
    8. The thesis/dissertation as a whole will normally be subject to the overall word limit applicable to the programme. Exceptions to this may apply for students whose constructed text takes a written form, where the overall word limit may be extended. This must receive approval from the discipline Director of PGR who will take account of whether it is appropriate to the proposal (for example, in producing a novel). The revised word limit must take account of whether the project can reasonably be completed within the period of study of the programme in question. The student will also be held to any limits agreed when their request to submit in an alternative format was considered.
    9. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College shall hold responsibility for decisions taken under section 3 of this procedure, however, as this is an area of emerging practice, cases should be handled following consultation with Faculty Support and Policy Development on behalf of the Dean of the Faculty. Faculty Support and Policy Development will keep a record of all requests and their outcomes and seek to ensure consistency of practice, as far as is practical, takes place.
    10. Applicants should raise such requests as part of the application process, and existing students should first discuss the matter with their supervisor, who will refer the matter to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College. Further guidance, including the required forms, can be found here.
  4. Language of Thesis
    1. Normally, all theses will be submitted in English.
    2. Submission in a language other than English
      1. Exceptionally, students are permitted to submit their thesis in the language of study. Permission will be given provided that by virtue of the subject, the intellectual quality of the thesis would be enhanced and that a qualified supervisor and appropriate examiners can be appointed. In considering whether such permission should be granted, no account will be taken of whether the native language of the candidate is English or a language other than English.
      2. When submitting their thesis all students must provide the abstract of the thesis, and its title in English as well as the other approved language.
      3. Permission must be sought from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College and the Dean of the Faculty prior to registration and Postgraduate Administration must be informed.
  5. Presentation and Arrangement of Theses/Dissertations
    1. 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.
    2. MARGINS: 30mm on the left and right-hand sides, 20mm on the top and bottom margins.
    3. 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.
    4. FONT: Size 12 in Arial.
    5. PRINTING: Double-sided.

      These requirements for the presentation of theses/dissertations for examination may be amended should the examiners have particular accessibility needs that would mean they would require a copy of the thesis in an alternative format, for example, a large-print copy of the thesis. In agreeing to their nomination as examiner the examiner should inform the supervisor of any accessibility needs in this regard at the time: the supervisor will then ensure that the student and the Postgraduate Administration Office are aware of these requirements. The College will be responsible for meeting any reasonable additional costs arising from the production of a hard copy thesis/dissertation in a format accessible to the examiner.
    6. 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.
    7. 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)
    8. 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 any material that has previously been submitted and approved for the award of a degree by this or any other University has been acknowledged.

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

      * delete as appropriate

      NB:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
      a) 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.
      b) In certifying that ‘all materials in this thesis…’ students should have due regard to paragraph 2.1, above.                                              
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. LETTERING:
      1. TEMPORARY BINDING: 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.
  6. Format of Submission for Examination
    1. For examination purposes only, research degree theses and dissertations should be submitted as follows:
      Normally two hard copies which may be either in perfect binding or comb binding with paper, thin card or transparent covers.
    2. Theses/dissertations 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 (see 5.7). Each volume should have a label on the spine showing full name, degree (i.e. PhD), month/year of submission (i.e. May 2013) and the volume number i.e. 1 of 2 or 2 of 2.
    3. Candidates are expected to bring a copy of their thesis for their own use to the viva voce examination.
  7. Illustrations and Copyright Material
    1. Most theses will include illustrative material such as maps or photographs. Where these illustrations have not been created by the author of the thesis, the source must be acknowledged in the caption. Where the illustration has been created by someone else, it may be subject to ‘Third Party Copyright’, which is material in any format to which another person or entity holds the rights. Upon final submission of the thesis, an electronic copy must be deposited in ORE (Open Research Exeter). If you wish to include any substantial portion of material that is subject to Third party Copyright in your thesis/dissertation, you must obtain the written permission of the copyright holder before submitting your thesis/dissertation to ORE and attach the permission as an appendix to the thesis and list it in the table of contents. If you have not obtained the permission of the copyright holder, you must submit two versions of your thesis/dissertation, one with and one without the third party copyright material. The removed material should be replaced with a statement such as “this image has been removed by the author of this thesis/dissertation for copyright reasons”. Further information can be found in the E-Theses FAQs on the Library website.
    2. Further guidance may be found on the Copyright Guidance: For Research website and within the online Copyright for Researchers Training Guide in ELE.
  8. Place of Submission of Thesis/Dissertation for Examination
    1. Streatham and St Luke's campus students should submit their thesis/dissertation to the Forum, Streatham Campus, Stocker Road, together with the fully completed Submission Form. This will then be delivered to Postgraduate Administration to process and send to examiners.
    2. Students at the Tremough Campus in Cornwall: When nearing their planned submission date students should email to make an appointment to submit their thesis/dissertation to the Doctoral College Office, who will arrange for it to be delivered to Postgraduate Research Administration to process and send to examiners. Theses/dissertations must be submitted together with the fully completed Submission Form. More information is available on the Doctoral College’s website.
    3. Students not based on campus are advised to send their thesis by registered delivery by a recognised carrier such as Royal Mail, DHL or TNT to:
      Postgraduate Administration, University of Exeter Doctoral College, Room 1.01, Innovation Centre, Rennes Drive, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4RN.
  9. Submission and Distribution of Theses/Dissertations following Examination
    1. Return of temporary bound copy:
      1. Following examination, at least one temporary bound copy of the thesis/dissertation should be returned to the candidate by the examiners.
    2. Final Submission (Deposit) into ORE
      1. Within 4 weeks of notification that the examiners are recommending the award of the degree, candidates are required to deposit the final version of their thesis/dissertation into ORE (Open Research Exeter)
        E-thesis Guidelines and E-thesis FAQs are available.
      2. When the deposit into ORE is successfully completed the student will receive email confirmation (including the persistent URL for the thesis).
      3. DClinPsy students should forward the confirmation email to the programme administrator.
    3. Final Submissions held by Colleges:
      1. Candidates may be required to submit a copy of their final submission to the College in which they were registered. This requirement and the form or forms (eg, hardbound, soft bound or electronic) in which the copy of the final submission should be sent to the College will be clearly specified in the relevant College student handbook. Where a copy of the thesis or dissertation is required by a College, the copy should be submitted directly to the College.

Last updated November 2018

 

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