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Postgraduate thesis support


Writing a thesis or dissertation can take longer than you think. Often it is not realised early enough what is required to complete and write up the work, and not establishing a timed work plan at an early enough date.

To help you out we have prepared a Postgraduate Plan Template (Word, 63 KB).  This might also be required if you are asking for a Leave of Absence or are asking to Change your Mode of Attendance.  Please feel free to confer with your supervisor.

Writing and preparing your thesis

While writing a thesis is not easy process, it can be a rewarding process. Information is available to make this process clearer and if you are unsure

  1. Vitae has useful information on both writing your thesis and on the examination (the viva).  
  2. Resources are available on Top ten style checks for PhDs  This provides information on assessing your paragraphs and/or sentences. 
  3. Check the PGR policy and Academic Matters: Thesis for further information
    1. The thesis should be word-processed in single, 1½ or double line spacing.
    2. Double-sided submission is encouraged. The margins may be no narrower than 30 mm.
    3. The thesis is normally an account of research of no more than 80,000 words, excluding bibliography and appendices.
    4. An abstract of not more than 300 words must be provided.  In addition there should be a statement on collaborations if any.
  4. If you are planning to request an embargo, speak to your supervisor first for advice, get in touch with the Library team, ( ), who can provide support on thesis issues, (the Library also has information on how to submit electronic theses), and, for questions regarding the formal process of requesting an embargo, contact Registry (Postgraduate Research), (
  5. For support and information for the viva day, Vitae also provides a handy viva checklist

Submitting your thesis

For the thesis title page use the template provided. 

Get essential information in there.  It is a quick win and makes you feel better to have something down, so make sure you have the following present:

  • Candidate’s declaration
  • Supervisor’s declaration
  • Collaboration statement (if applicable)
  • Permission for publication

Do you need any statements of collaboration?

Do you have any copyright issues? If you do, look into this ASAP as this can take while if you do want to seek permissions for electronic publication.  Is any intellectual property associated with your research? 

SIGN your thesis in the correct place.

Get it bound! For binding, there are different options but Print & Design are readily available and incredibly useful.

Your thesis should be submitted to Registry:

The Old Burgh School
Abbey Walk
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9LB

And finally...

Stay calm, others are going through the same experience.  Twitter users could check out #phdchat, a Twitter chat channel, which runs a live #phdchat session for UK and European students at 7.30pm-8.30pm GMT 

For information on Careers, the University of St Andrews Careers Centre provided information on jobs locally as well as information for international opportunities.  They provide a friendly face to talk through your dilemmas and to practice for an interview.

Advice for Examiners

Examiners of doctoral students should consult the examiner guide and forms.