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Thesis submission guidelines

The University of Manchester has very strict guidelines relating to the submission of research theses. These guidelines are updated from time-to-time and PGRs in the final stages of their thesis are expected to consult the documents regularly in the run up to examination.

All University policies relating to Postgraduate Submission and Examination can be found under the PGR Code of Practice on the Graduate Education website. The most important policy is the 'Presentation of Theses Policy' which outlines how to format and present the thesis for examination. These guidelines must be adhered to in full to avoid the rejection of the thesis for examination.

There are several key stages of thesis submission and completion:

Editing, Proofreading & Formatting the Thesis

Please consult the 'Presentation of Theses' policy for detailed guidelines on formatting the thesis. Below are some of the guidelines for formatting the thesis (please note that this list is not exhaustive and that these guidelines are subject to change. PGRs must consult the policy document for any updates):


  • Double or 1.5 spacing - readability
  • Font type must be readable (10 point Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet or 12 point Times, Times New Roman, Palatino and Garamond)
  • Single spacing may be used for quotations, footnotes and references
  • Pages may be single or double-sided
  • Main text of thesis should normally be left justified to aid accessibility and readability
  • Bibliographic citations and references must be consistent; consult supervisor
  • Margin at binding edge not less than 40mm, other margins not less than 15mm
  • Page numbering must be one single sequence of Arabic numerals (ie 1, 2, 3...) starting with title page as number 1
  • Page numbers must be displayed on all pages EXCEPT the title page
  • Pagination sequence to include not only text but also preliminary pages, diagrams, tables, figures, illustrations, appendices, references etc.
  • Roman numerals MUST NOT be used for page numbering

Required Pages

The following pages are required to appear in the thesis:

1.   Approved electronically generated cover-page


  • Full title of the thesis
  • A statement as follows: "A thesis submitted to The University of Manchester for the degree of xxx in the Faculty of Humanities"
  • The year of presentation
  • The candidate’s name (as registered at UoM)
  • The name of the School/Division


  • Giving all relevant sub-divisions of the thesis and a page number for each item
  • In a multi-volume thesis the contents page in the first volume must show the complete contents of the thesis, volume-by-volume and each subsequent volume must have a contents page giving the contents of that volume


  • List of tables, figures, diagrams, photographs, abbreviations etc.


  • A short abstract of the contents of the thesis must be inserted into the thesis. It must not be more than one side of A4
  • A loose copy of the abstract is also required

The abstract should include the following:

  • Name of the University
  • The candidate's full name
  • Degree title
  • Thesis title
  • Date
  • Font size no less than 12 point
  • Single spaced typing
  • Not be more than one side of A4
  • The loose copy of the abstract should be handed in with the thesis


Stating that no portion of the work referred to in the thesis has been submitted in support of an application for another degree or qualification of this or any other university or other institute of learning


What portion of the work referred to in the thesis has been submitted in support of an application for another degree or qualification of this or any other university or other institute of learning


Please see the section on Copyright for information on the four copyright statements

Notice of submission

PhD candidates must provide the University with notice of submission no more than 6 months and no less than 6 weeks prior to the intended submission date. This is so that reasonable steps can be taken to appoint both the internal and external examiners and to set a date for the Viva examination. The PGR Administrator will also arrange to open up a window in eScholar for the e-submission of the thesis (please consult the electronic submission or eScholar section below). Candidates must also consult the policy below:

Notice of submission forms are available on the Intranet of each School and from the relevant PGR Administrator. Please note that it is the candidate's responsibility to consult with their supervisor when the thesis is nearing completion to ensure that it is ready for examination.

Nomination of examiners

PGRs do have a say in the selection of their examiners and supervisors must consult the candidate when making their decision. The Viva will normally take place within 8 and 12 weeks of submitting the thesis. Examiners must be recruited using the guidance below:

Submission of thesis

Electronic Submission and eScholar

From 2010 the University phased in electronic thesis submission and now all doctoral candidates are required to submit their thesis both in electronic and hard-copy format. All electronic submissions are processed through eScholar. Once the notice of submission form has been completed the relevant PGR administrator will open a window for the electronic submission of the thesis in the candidate's student portal. The candidate then has up until their notified submission date to deposit their thesis electronically. Please note that no hard bound copies of the thesis will be accepted unless they have the cover sheet which is printed off from eScholar which confirms that the thesis has been submitted electronically. This cover sheet must be bound into the hard copy of the thesis.

For all information regarding electronic submission for PGRs please visit the 'Electronic thesis' section of The University of Manchester Library website. Candidates may also wish to consult the 'Top 20 Facts' about electronic theses and the FAQs for Doctoral Students.

Should I restrict access to my thesis?

One of the decisions that candidates have to make is whether or not to restrict access to their thesis once they have submitted it electronically. Questions about Open Access and Publishing have been answered on the Electronic thesis page, although the rule of thumb is that, if the candidate plans to publish any part of their thesis in the next few years, to organise for the thesis to remain closed access for a few years after submission.

Submission of Hard Copy

The points below relate to the process of binding the thesis. Please consult the 'Presentation of Theses' Policy for more details and updates:

  • For examination purposes doctoral theses can either be soft-bound or hard bound
  • Soft binding: acetate or plain card front cover, soft plain card rear cover, glued spine, or channel bound, with gold lettering on the spine
  • Ring or spiral binding will NOT be accepted
  • Hard binding: sewn or glued with gold lettering on the spine
  • AFTER examination thesis must be hard bound
  • The spine must be inscribed in gold lettering with:
  • The degree for which the thesis is submitted
  • The name of the candidate
  • The year of submission
  • If the thesis is in two or more volumes, the volume number and total number of volumes
  • These must run from the top of the spine

Viva examination

For details of the Viva examination please consult the section on Vivas (above) and also the 'Examination of Doctoral Degrees Policy'.

Outcome of Viva examination

Outcome of Viva Examination

The outcome of the Viva examination not only depends on the thesis that has been submitted but also the candidate's performance on the day. The examiners will make one of the following recommendations as to the outcome of the examination process:

Category A: Accept for PhD

  • A(i) - Award with no corrections
  • A(ii) - Award subject to minor corrections
    • Typographical errors
    • Minor amendments and/or replacement of text, references and/or diagrams
    • Other more extensive corrections as long as they are not too significant
    • To take no more than 4 weeks to complete

Category B: Refer for re-examination:

  • B(i) that the thesis is satisfactory in substance but defective in presentation or detail and does not require further oral examination
  • B(ii) that the thesis is satisfactory in substance, but defective in presentation or detail that requires further oral examination
  • B(iii) that the thesis is unsatisfactory in substance, defective in presentation or detail and requires further research and a further oral examination
  • For B(i) and B(ii) you are required to revise and resubmit within 6 months of the viva
  • For B(iii) you are required to revise and resubmit within one year

Category C: Reject

  • Category C: Reject
  • C(i) Reject but award the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • C(ii) Reject but award the degree of MPhil subject to minor corrections being made
  • C(iii) Reject but invite the candidate to revise and resubmit the thesis for examination for the degree of MPhil
  • C(iv) reject and no resubmission permitted

After Examination

Once the examination has been completed candidates must submit an electronic copy and two copies of their hard-bound thesis to the appropriate PGR Office only if the examiners have recommended box A(i).

Candidates with recommended A(ii) must only submit their hard-bound copies after their corrections have been approved by the Internal Examiner.

Candidates recommended anything other than A(i) or A(ii) must not make any amendments to their thesis until notified officially by the Graduate Office of the outcome of their examination.

Further reading

  • Cryer, P., The Research Student's Guide to Success (OUP, 2004)
  • Murray, R., How to Survive Your Viva (OUP, 2nd Edn, 2009)
  • Tinkler, P & Jackson, C., The Doctoral Examination Process (OUP, 2004)
  • Tinkler, P & Jackson, C., 'The Viva' in The Postgraduate's Companion (SAGE, 2008)

Useful websites