Thesis submission and examination process
Once you’ve completed your research, you’ll need to prepare your thesis for submission and examination.
Preparing for examination
Based on the type of thesis you submit and the degree you’re studying, your thesis will need to meet a range of designated requirements that govern:
- word length
- language of the thesis
- order of contents
- title page
- certificate of original authorship, including RTP statement
- page numbering
- thesis abstract
- large diagrams, charts and tables
Your thesis must also include or acknowledge any published or publishable work you develop during your candidature.
Using a professional editor or proofreader
You can use the services of a professional editor or proofreader to help prepare your thesis for submission. These professionals can provide copyediting and proofreading advice; however, they cannot shape or change the substance or structure of your work.
It’s important to make sure you understand the rules around using an editor or proofreader before you engage a professional. As a starting point, you should read the following documents:
You should also request permission from your supervisor before you engage an editor or proofreader.
UTS provides access for staff and students to a plagiarism detection program called iThenticate. It is important to remember that plagiarism is not always intentional, so making use of this tool can provide peace of mind.
To access iThenticate, you will need to log a request via ServiceConnect using your student login credentials and follow these steps:
- follow this link to the ServiceConnect home page
- select 'Requests'
- select 'Software' from the left hand list of options
- under the 'Software' drop-down, select 'For home'
- select 'iThenticate software' from the options available
- complete the online form and submit
- you will receive an email with access information once your request has been assessed and approved. If you have any questions relating to your request or access, please contact the IT Support Centre via ServiceConnect or by phone on 9514 2222.
Submitting for examination
You can submit your thesis for examination at any time during the year. You must provide GRS with a Notification of Intention to Submit two months before your intended submission date.
You must submit your digital thesis and accompanying documents to the faculty research administration office - here is a checklist to help. If the examination committee requests hard copies, you will need to supply them.
Your thesis must be accompanied by:
- a supervisor certificate signed by your principal supervisor that states the work is ready for examination
- verification from your Faculty RAO that the thesis is ready for examination.
Nominating thesis examiners
You should start discussing potential examiners with your supervisory panel at least 2 months prior to the date you intend to submit your thesis. A minimum of 4 potential examiners must be identified and any conflicts of interest considered. This list should be ready, along with your Notification of Intention to Submit Form.
Once the potential list of examiners has been agreed upon, you need to complete your part of the Nomination of Thesis Examiners Form, certifying there is no conflict of interest, and submit to your principal supervisor.
The examination process will be confidential and you will not know who the final examination panel will include.
Your principal supervisor and your faculty RAO will then nominate your thesis examiners to the Graduate Research School before you submit your thesis. The Dean of the Graduate Research School is responsible for approving and appointing the examiners.
Examiners must have relevant expertise in your field of endeavour, with no existing or potential conflict of interest. A minimum of two and maximum of three examiners are required for PhD theses. Two examiners are required for masters by research theses. All examiners must be external to UTS.
If you have concerns about your thesis being examined by a particular person, you should raise these concerns with your supervisor for consideration during the examiner nomination process.
Conflict of interest
To ensure the examination process remains impartial, examiners must not have the potential for real or perceived conflict of interest, as outlined in the Australian Council of Graduate Research ACGR Conflict of Interest in Examination Guidelines.
People who might be perceived to have a conflict of interest with a student include, but are not limited to:
- someone who has a working relationship with the student (e.g. if the examiner has acted as a referee for the student to gain employment)
- current or former colleagues or friends (e.g. if the examiner is a friend, associate or mentor of the student)
- family members (including family by law, e.g. if the examiner is step-father, sister-in-law, etc, to the student)
- other professional or social relationship (e.g. if the examiner has had personal contact with the student that may give rise to the perception that the examiner may be dealing with the student in a less than objective manner).
The thesis examination process
Once all of the requirements for your examination have been met and confirmed by your faculty research administration office, the Graduate Research School (GRS) will change your enrolment status to ‘under examination’ and copies of your thesis will be sent to the nominated examiners. The thesis examination process can take 3-6 months to complete.
Under examination: please note, this status effectively 'stops the clock' on your candidature.
Final examination process
Once your examiners have returned their reports to the Graduate Research School, they will be collated and forwarded to your faculty Responsible Academic Officer (RAO). The RAO will consult with your supervisory panel and prepare a Thesis Examination Resolution, which will go before the Faculty Research Degree Committee (FRDC). After reviewing, the FRDC will make a final recommendation, or defer to the Thesis Examination Committee (TEC) as required. There are six possible recommendations:
- Recommendation 1
- That the candidate be admitted to the degree, subject to the correction of typographic errors without any amendments.
- Recommendation 2
- That the candidate be admitted to the degree subject to the correction of any nominated minor clarifications and textual amendments to the satisfaction of the Responsible Academic Officer.
- Recommendation 3
- That the candidate be admitted to the degree subject to specific criticisms of the thesis as recommended by the examiners being addressed to the satisfaction of the Responsible Academic Officer, and any rewriting not changing the substantive conclusions of the thesis.
- Recommendation 4
- That the candidate be not admitted to the degree but be permitted to re-submit the thesis in a revised form for re-examination following a period of further study.
- Recommendation 5
- - PhD students: That the candidate be invited to revise and resubmit the thesis for a research masters degree.
- Research masters students: That the candidate not be awarded the degree and not be permitted to resubmit.
- Recommendation 6
- That the PhD candidate not be awarded the degree and not be permitted to resubmit.
Depending on the recommendation you receive, you may be notified that you can submit your final thesis for graduation, or you may need to continue working on your thesis and resubmit it at a later date. In rare cases, you may not have the option to resubmit.
If you are required to revise your thesis, you must complete the Thesis Revision Response template to accompany your resubmitted work. All actions should be completed within the timeframes specified in the Graduate Research Final Examination Procedures and the UTS Student Rules (11.20).
For further information, please refer to the Graduate Research Final Examination Procedures which outlines responsibilities and expectations for managing the range of options of examiner reports, reconciling disparate reports, moderation and re-examination.
Please note that the examination process remains confidential until a resolution is reached by either the TEC or the FRDC.
Thesis examination committee
The TEC, acting for the Graduate Research School Board, establishes and oversees the thesis examination process. This includes (but not limited to):
- setting the examination criteria and reporting requirements
- setting the requirements for faculties to make recommendations related to examination outcomes
- consideration of examination outcomes, including consideration to UTS Student Rules 11.20.5 to 11.20.7
- setting re-examination procedures
- recommending to admit/not to admit candidates to degrees
- Communication between the TEC and faculties is facilitated by the GRS
Upcoming TEC meeting dates:
- 15 October 2020
- 10 November 2020
Faculty research degree committees
The FRDCs are responsible for considering/approving the recommendation of the RAO for examination outcomes.
Large faculties may establish school-level examination committees, which report to the FRDC. Responsibilities will include considering/approving the recommendation of the RAO for examination outcomes and communicating the outcome to the supervisory panel and graduate research student.
Please contact your faculty research office for further information, including meeting dates.
Preparing for completion
Once you’ve been notified that you can submit your final thesis for graduation, you’ll need to supply the following documents to your faculty:
- your thesis abstract and summary
- a digital copy of your thesis and confirmation of digital submission to the library
- a final bound copy of your thesis (if required by your faculty).
You must submit your conferral documents to your faculty research administration office approximately three months before the date you hope to be conferred. After you’ve received a recommendation from your faculty, the Dean of the Graduate Research School (GRS) will recommend to the Academic Board that you be admitted to the degree. You will receive a conferral information email from GRS confirming the date of your conferral and information on how to apply for a statement of completion.
Reimbursement of thesis costs
If you are a research scholarship holder and you have spent money on thesis editing and/or printing costs, you may be eligible for reimbursement.
Reimbursement information is contained in the Conditions of Award (CoA) for your scholarship—if your CoA contains a Thesis Allowance section, you can apply for reimbursement within 12 months of your thesis submission date. To apply for reimbursement, please fill out the Scholarship Allowance Claim Form and attach original tax invoices as evidence of your expenditure.