Procedure for the submission of Theses for Examination (PHD, PhDFA, MPhil, LLM (Research)
To download a PDF version of the guidelines please click here
The following notes will guide you when completing the form necessary for submission of your thesis for examination by Aberystwyth University. A checklist has been included to assist you with ensuring you have completed all the necessary steps prior to submitting your work.
Included in these notes is the Mandatory Layout for the Declaration and Statements form which must be included with your thesis. The content of this page should be reproduced as is, then completed, signed and included within the binding of the thesis. At the end of the document is the ‘Loose Summary sheet’ to be completed and handed in along with two copies of your thesis. Use black ink for all forms.
Following the guidance carefully and fully will allow the University to examine your thesis in a timely manner. Please read the notes of guidance carefully, separate them from the forms and sheets and retain them for future reference.
Checklist for Candidates
Two copies of your thesis bound and labeled with the thesis word count, ALL signed Declarations and Statements included in each bound copy
- One copy of the PREviva thesis emailed to email@example.com with file name in accordance with submission documents
- One Copy of the ‘Notice of Candidature Form’ completed on both sides
- One completed Summary of Thesis ( loose)
- One bound Summary of Thesis in each bound copy
All of the items detailed under, and above, should be submitted to your Head of Department/School/Institute along with your thesis
- In addition, in the case of staff candidates, and in respect of all re-examinations, you should also attach a cheque payable to Aberystwyth University for the appropriate examination fee;
- All students should also ensure that they are free of any financial obligations or debts to the University and;
- Student has completed an intention to submit form and submitted it to their department in advance of submission of the thesis.
PLEASE NOTE THAT IF ANY OF THE ABOVE ARE OMITTED THERE WILL BE A DELAY IN THE EXAMINATION OF YOUR THESIS
Notes of Guidance for Candidates
Please read these notes through then detach and retain them prior to submission of your work and the related supporting documentation required.
Time Limits for the submission of Thesis
Submission of your work must take place on, or before, the deadline stipulated by Regulation.
Length of Thesis
The text of the PhD thesis is a maximum of 100,000 words (excluding appendices and references).
The text of the MPhil/LLM (Res) thesis is a maximum of 60,000 words (excluding appendices and references).
Special provisions relating to Schemes in the Creative Arts
In the case of candidates following approved research degree schemes which fall within the University's subject area of Creative and Performing Arts, the thesis may take one or more of the following forms: artefacts, score, portfolio of original works, performance or exhibition. The submission shall be accompanied by a written commentary placing it in its academic context together with any other items which may be required (e.g. a catalogue or audio or visual recording).
Loose Documents(s) to be Submitted with your thesis (Notice of Candidature Form)
When completing the two copies of the ‘Notice of Candidature Form’ which will support the submission of your work you may wish to note that, should you qualify for your degree by satisfying the examiners, you must be admitted to it formally before you can receive a degree certificate or use the appropriate letters after your name. You may elect to be admitted to the degree in one of two ways:
a) by attending a formal degree congregation, at which academic dress is worn and at which parents/partners may attend. Congregations are held once per year in July.
b) in absentia by decree of the Vice-Chancellor of the University. This is an administrative procedure at which you will not be present. Certificates are issued as soon as possible.
You must tick the option which you prefer when completing your ‘Notice of Candidature Form’. Please note that if you are admitted in absentia you cannot graduate subsequently at a degree congregation.
If you wish to attend a congregation, please note that, the thesis must submitted in sufficient time for the examination and requisite administrative procedures to be completed. This would normally mean submitting your thesis by early February. Your examination process must normally be fully complete, including approval of any required corrections by the Examiners by the first week of June to be eligible for inclusion in the Graduation Ceremony.
Certificates are issued during the week of the degree congregations.
Loose Document(s) to be Submitted with your thesis (Loose Summary Sheet)
A loose copy of the summary of your thesis will be used for inclusion in an electronic data base of theses summaries. A form is provided at the end of this booklet for you to complete. It is essential that the summary should be typed in single spacing and be accommodated on one side of the sheet provided.
Please bear in mind, when writing your summary, that this may be the only part of the thesis that is read by other research workers. It should be written in such a way as to help researchers in the same field decide whether to read the thesis and to give readers who are only marginally concerned in the subject enough information to make it unnecessary for them to read the work in full. The summary should consist of a piece of connected prose and should not be more than 300 words in length. It may be much shorter. Abbreviations should be avoided.
Bound Documents(s) to be Submitted with your thesis (Declaration/Statements)
Included in these Guidance notes you will find a page titled ‘Mandatory Layout of Declarations and Statements’. The FULL content of these pages, should be inserted at the front of each of the two copies of your thesis without change to the wording or content of the Declaration or Statements. Each Declaration and Statement must be signed and dated.
This form also includes the word count of your thesis, which must be completed.
Bound Document(s) to be submitted with your thesis (Bound summary sheet) A bound summary of the thesis not exceeding three hundred words in length must be bound in the thesis.
Presentation of Theses
Candidates submitting theses for examination shall submit two copies whether in temporary binding or in permanent binding which is suitable for eventual deposit and use in libraries.
Irrespective of the type of binding used for examination purposes:
a) you must ensure the binding is sufficiently secure to withstand transit to and from the examiners;
b) the thesis must bear on the spine, in a form which cannot easily be erased or detached, the:
- Candidate’s name
- University’s name (can be abbreviated to AU)
- Degree for which the thesis is being submitted
- The full or abbreviated name of the thesis and
- The date of submission.
This information shall be printed along the spine in such a way as to be readable when the volume is lying flat with the front cover uppermost. If the work consists of more than one volume, the spine shall also bear the number of each volume.
All copies of theses, whether for the purpose of examination or for deposit in libraries, shall be presented in permanent and legible form in typescript or print and the characters employed in the main text (but not necessarily in illustrations, maps etc.) shall be not less than 12pt; characters employed in all other texts, notes, footnotes, etc. shall be not less than 10 pt. Typing shall be of even quality with clear black characters and capable of photographic reproduction.
Double or one-and-a–half spacing shall be used in the main text, but single spacing shall be used in the summary and in any indented quotations and footnotes. Drawings and sketches shall be in back ink, unnecessary details should be omitted and the scale should be such that the minimum space between lines is not less than 1 mm.
All pages should be appropriately numbered.
Colour graphics for charts, diagrams etc. and colour photographs may be used, but candidates must in all cases ensure that the material is capable of being photocopied or scanned electronically. A4 paper shall be used and should be of good quality and sufficient opacity for normal reading.
Diagrams, maps and similar documents shall be submitted in a portfolio of reasonable size and shall bear the particulars stated to be necessary for the volume.
Candidates may submit non-book material such as audio or video records with their thesis , if such material forms a useful addition to, or explanation of, work contained in the written submission and if such material constitutes the most appropriate method of presenting the information concerned. Any material of this type shall be enclosed in a container which is suitable for storage on a library shelf and which bears the same information as that required on the spine of the thesis, so placed as to be readily legible when the container is in its stored position. Candidates considering the submission of audio or video tapes and adjuncts to their thesis should consult their supervisors and the University Library for advice at an early stage of their research.
Types of Binding
If choosing permanent binding, your thesis should be bound permanently within boards, the binding being of a fixed kind in which leaves are permanently secured in the manner of a hardback book, or in paperback binding with plastic overlay.
Temporary binding should not be confused with no binding. Loose sheets place in a wallet file are not acceptable.
The following types of temporary bind are recommended:
(a) Perfect binding
(b) Spring-back binding (providing the binders are not over-filled)
(c) Slide-in plastic binders (of the type used to hand posters on walls)-the thesis information on spine is still required
The following types of temporary binding are not suitable, since conversion to permanent binding will be more time consuming (and therefore more expensive) and either the holes in the pages will be visible in the permanent version or the pages will be considerably less than full A4 width:
(a) Spiral binding
(b) Ring-folder or lever-arch folder
Temporarily bound theses must be able to withstand handling, transit to and from examiners, and the examining process itself. Care must be taken to ensure that the form of any temporary binding used is sufficiently secure not to burst or fall apart.
Guidelines for mandatory submission of electronic versions of theses
With effect from 1 January 2013 all research theses must be submitted electronically as well as in hard copy prior to examination. This will enable checking by plagiarism detecting software and ensure that an electronic copy is available during the examination process.
Format of Electronic Submission
The electronic version of the PRE viva thesis should be emailed by the department to firstname.lastname@example.org when the hard copy is submitted to the department. Acceptable formats include any University recognised electronic format .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, .rtf, .pdf,.html). The file name of the thesis should appear as “ previva_thesis title_student name_submission date” (to a maximum of 255 characters ,abbreviations may be required).
The body of the thesis should be in one file. The file must not exceed 10 MB. If the file exceeds this size please create a separate file for images or compress the file.
Additionally, all successful candidates must submit an electronic copy of the final version of the thesis to their department along with the hard copies. The final electronic version should be clearly labelled and the file name to include: “post viva final_thesis title_student name_date” (to a maximum of 255 characters; abbreviations may be required) and should be deposited along with the hard copy to Hugh Owen Library. An electronic version is required for harvesting of meta-data even in instances where the work is not placed in the Aberystwyth Research Portal.
Departments and students are reminded that the submission of the electronic version of the thesis to departments should not be construed as an invitation for departments to send e- theses directly to examiners.
Dispatch of Thesis
Once you have submitted all the required documents, your department will send both copies of your thesis to the Academic Registry. The Academic Registry will arrange dispatch of the thesis to the examiners together with the relevant regulations and procedural guidance. Neither students nor Academic Departments/Faculties are to send theses directly to examiners.
The Examination Process
Amendments to submitted theses prior to viva:
Candidates may not amend, add, or delete from the thesis after it has been submitted for examination. Submitted theses may not be returned to candidates for improvement prior to the completion of the Examining Board’s deliberations and formal recommendation. A work which cannot be passed as submitted, should be failed and subsequently re-submitted formally in modified form for re-examination.
Examiners are requested to notify the Academic Registry immediately if they:
receive draft theses for ‘comment and return’ prior to the commencement of the formal examining process
decline firmly any suggestion that a thesis should be returned to a candidate for improvement and re-consideration prior to completion of the Examining Board’s formal deliberations.
Oral Examination (First Submission)
An oral examination (‘viva voce’) is compulsory and you should be available to be examined in this way. Oral examinations will be normally be held at the University. If, following the viva, the Examining Board confirmed that you were required to make either Minor Corrections (4 weeks ) or Corrections and amendments ( 6 months) to your thesis and have these approved by your examiners before the degree can be awarded. You must meet these corrections deadlines. Departments/Institutes must report to the Academic Registry any student that has not completed the corrections within the required timeframe. Extensions to the corrections deadline will only be approved in exceptional circumstances and when a formal application with supporting evidence has been made to the Graduate School.
Oral Examination (Re-examinations)
In the event of a re-examination a further oral examination will normally be required. If so, you must be available to attend such an examination which normally will be held at the University. The viva may only be waived in the instance of a clear pass or other exceptional circumstances. The normal expectation is that the viva must be held in order to allow the student an opportunity to defend their work. The re-examined work requires submission of the loose and bound documents, declarations and statements contained in the submission documents. Students are not to include notes/letters to the examiners outlining the changes made to the re-submitted work. The submission process including the dispatch of theses to examiners remains unchanged to the first submission.
Binding of the thesis after the viva
The University requires external examiners to return temporarily bound theses directly to the Chair/Convenor of the Examining Board after the examination is complete. It is the responsibility of the Chair to inform the student of the scope and deadline for completion of the required corrections. Where the candidate has passed, but the work requires minor corrections, amendments or typographical corrections, the Chair/Convenor should arrange with the candidate for the necessary corrections to be made and for both copies of the thesis to be permanently bound in the form required for deposit in the libraries.
Once this has been done to the Chair/Convenor’s satisfaction, he/she should send the completed Report and Result form and the Result and Report Confirmation forms to the Academic Registry. The form must not be sent until the work has been permanently bound.
Candidates’ results must not be released until any minor or typographical corrections required have been carried out and the thesis bound in the permanent form required by regulation for deposit and use in libraries. It is the responsibility of candidates to make the required corrections and to have their work bound. Convenors should check that these tasks have been performed satisfactorily and in a timely fashion to avoid delays in awarding degrees.
The Convenor/Secretary disposes of the bound copies of successful theses as follows:
- 1 copy direct to the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
- 1 copy to the University Library
Any notes or marginal comments made by examiners in theses must be erased prior to their deposit in Libraries.
In addition to the permanent bound volumes deposited in libraries, candidates must normally deposit an electronic copy of the final version of the thesis in the University’s Institutional Research Repository . For further information, and procedures please email: email@example.com
Theses so deposited will be made available by the University to external repositories and search tools including the digital collection of the National Library of Wales and the British Library’s UK database of theses.
The candidate will be expected to sign a declaration that the electronic copy as deposited in the electronic repository is identical in content to that deposited in the Library, and that the candidate has obtained the appropriate copyright permission for the inclusion of any third party content within the thesis so that the work can legally be made available in an open access repository.
Material accepted for the institutional repository should conform to guidelines issued from time to time by Information Services.
When a thesis is subject to a bar on access, it will not be deposited in the open access electronic repository until the expiry of that bar.
Unsuccessful submissions should be returned to the candidate after completion of the examination process.
Bars on Access (Hard copy)
The University expects that research work accepted for a higher degree shall be openly available, and subject to no security classification or restriction of access.
Nevertheless, in cases where there is an overriding need for a restriction of copying or access (for example where sponsored research has resulted in a thesis which contains commercially-sensitive information) the University may, on the special recommendation of a Department/Faculty, place a bar on photocopying of and/or access to a thesis for a specified period (normally three years in the first instance). It is the responsibility of your supervisor to make an application to the Department for a bar to be sought as soon as is reasonably practicable. Ideally the Department will be able to forward a recommendation that a bar be applied to the University at the outset of your candidature.
Please note that, in the event that a bar on photocopying and/or access is granted by the University, the signed statement to be included with each copy of the thesis submitted should indicate that the thesis may be made openly available after the expiry of the bar on access.
Normally, the title and summary of the thesis will be made available