School of Physics & Astronomy

Guidelines for Submission of MPhil/PhD Thesis

Before submission

Approximately three months before you submit your thesis you should complete a Notification of Submission form. These are available from Student Services, room B9 in the Portland Building. This should be signed by your supervisor and returned to the Faculty Office. 

The form includes the date you intend to submit your thesis. This is for guidance only and you do not need to worry if you submit several days earlier or later. If the date changes significantly you should let the Faculty know.

Typing your thesis

Theses should be in typescript, A4 paper, with single or one and a half line spacing. The text should be single sided — right hand pages only. The paper should be white, A4 within the range 70g/m2 to 100g/m2.

There should be a margin of at least 1.5 inches (4cm), on the left side of the page to allow for binding. The other three margins (top, bottom and right) should be of at least 1 inch (2.5cm). It is also important to check that any tables, diagrams, photographs etc also have suitable margins.

Students are also advised to look at recent theses in the Library and to take advice from their supervisor.

It cannot be stressed too strongly the need for careful checking of spelling, grammar and punctuation and attention to style of referencing and references.

First submission (soft bound)

You need to submit two copies of your thesis to the Faculty Office. Most people take the copies in person — if you are sending the copies by post we recommend that you send them by some more secure means (e.g., recorded delivery).

There are no specific regulations about binding at this stage but the following may be of some guidance:

Thermal binding: very popular and does a good job. We understand you can do up to 350 pages before it has to be split into two volumes (perfectly acceptable). The glue can be guillotined off for the final binding. Available from NU Printers at University Park: same day service, cost approximately £2.20.

Springback binders: these look nice as the hard covers protect the pages and have the advantage that you can re-use pages easily. Good for up to 2" (5cm) but not the cheapest option. Of course you can always re-use the binder, and you can reorganise the pages once bound if necessary (if you suddenly realise you used the wrong version of a table for example!) which you can’t if it has been thermal bound.

Comb/spiral binding: not the best, especially with larger theses. The are available in stores. Difficult to re-use pages.

Slide binders: Not recommended: pages can slip out especially with the thicker theses and can be hard to read.

Ring binders/lever arch files: Not recommended: disadvantage that you cannot re-use the pages for your final bound thesis, doesn’t look as good and difficult to send in the post to Examiners

Once your thesis is submitted you will be called for a viva voce examination. Arrangements for this are the responsibility of the Internal Examiner, who will also give you feedback on the outcome of the examination. Most people have a small number of corrections to make following the examination and you will be informed what these are and the length of time allowed for them. It is usually 3 months.

The corrections will have to be approved by the Examiners before final submission. In most cases this will be done by the Internal Examiner who will then inform the Faculty Office that the corrections meet the Examiners approval.

After the thesis has been corrected it is highly recommended that you make a pdf copy of the thesis on a CD ROM. If you wish this pdf file may be placed on a thesis server in the future.

Final submission (hard bound)

You will need to submit two copies of your final hard bound thesis. One copy will go to your supervisor/Division, the other will be placed in the University Library. At the same time you should hand in to the Faculty Office:

  • Completed Deposit and Loan form
  • Completed British Library Doctoral Thesis Agreement Form (PhD only)
  • 3 copies of the Title Page (photocopies acceptable)
  • 1 copy of the Table of Contents (PhD only)
  • 3 copies of the Abstract (photocopies acceptable)

All the above still applies even if your supervisor has recommended a restriction on your thesis.

There are certain regulations regarding the binding and presentation of your final hard bound thesis:

Theses should contain a title page giving details in the following style:

The Geology of the East Midlands

by John Robinson, BSc

Thesis submitted to the University of Nottingham

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, May* 1990

* or October, as the case may be

The title page should be followed by a Table of Contents and then by the Abstract.

The sheets should then be whip-stitched and bound with end-papers and linen joints into a black buckram cover.

The spine should be lettered in gold in such a way as to be readable when the volume is lying flat with the front cover uppermost. It should show the degree for which the thesis is submitted, the year and the name of the candidate, as follows

PhD 1990 J Robinson

In the unlikely event of a thesis having of two or more volumes, the volume number should precede the degree title, ie:

 Vol No. PhD 1990 J Robinson

The title of the thesis should be lettered in gold on the front cover in a position above the centre, as follows:


Further Reading

Students should refer to the relevant sections of the Research Students and Supervisors: A Guide 2009/2010. Copies available from the School Office. Pages 26–32 are particularly useful.

Candidates may also find useful advice in the ISD Guide No. 13: Getting Your Thesis Typed and Bound, copies of which are available from the Library. This also includes a list of local bookbinders (without implying official endorsement) which may prove useful.

School of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 [0]115 951 5183
fax: +44 [0]115 951 5180