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Submit your thesis

Guidance on the presentation and submission of theses for research degree programmes

This page provides general information on the presentation and submission of theses for research degree programmes (PhD, MPhil, EngD, MA/MSc by Research). It also offers information on possible binders, and a diagram showing the correct layout of the wording on cover and spine. The presentation and submission of theses is governed by Regulation 2.7.

Please ensure that your thesis is presented and bound in accordance with the University’s requirements. Otherwise, your examination or the award of your degree may be delayed.

Submission of a research thesis for examination is a formal process in the same way as sitting an examination. Because of this, it is very important that you read these guidelines carefully before submitting your thesis.

1. Before submitting

You must consult your supervisor before submitting a thesis for examination.

About two months before you expect to submit your thesis you should complete the Notification of intention to submit in E-vision.  This is to allow your department to make the necessary arrangements for your examination. You do not need to be over exact in calculating your submission date, provided that you adhere to your deadline for submission.

You can find the intention to submit form in your E-vision account under > My Supervision Meetings and Research Details > Research Progress.

Before submitting your thesis you should check carefully that it is the version you wish to be examined, and that it contains no accidental errors or omissions. Please note that you may not retrieve your thesis from Research Student Administration once it has been submitted.

Research students who are also members of staff of the university should be aware that they will have to pay a fee when they submit their thesis for examination. This is to cover the need to appoint two external examiners, which is the requirement for a research student who is also a member of staff (see the Policy on Research Degrees for full details).

This fee is payable through the online store and must be done so prior to submission.  Please note, this does not apply to staff on a Grade 6 appointment or below.

2.Presentation of research theses

Your thesis should be presented in accordance with the University’s requirements.  

Please follow this link and read the instructions carefully or you may be asked to rebind your thesis before it is accepted for submission.

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3. Submission of theses for examination

Where should I submit my thesis?

Theses should be submitted for examination to Research Student Administration in the Student Hub, please check the opening times of the Hub carefully as times can vary between term time and vacation time. Find out more about the Hub.

If your submission deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday or Bank Holiday, or during the Student Administration closed period at Christmas, submission will be accepted on the next working day after the deadline.

Can I submit by post?

Theses submitted by post are expected to be received by Research Student Administration on or before the submission deadline, in the same way as submissions in person. Should a candidate choose to submit by post it is their responsibility to ensure they post in good time to meet their deadline. Submission by post should not be used as a way of circumventing the deadline, and should Research Student Administration feel this is the case, or there is evidence the thesis was not posted in good time to arrive by the deadline, it will be returned to the student. Some discretion will be applied to postal submissions, e.g. if a thesis arrives late owing to postal delays or is sent from overseas. Such situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by Research Student Administration, and the student should expect to provide evidence that they posted their thesis in good time.

The campus-based online Design and Print service will not only bind your thesis but will also submit your thesis to the Student Administration Building on your behalf. 

The postal address is:

Research Student Administration

Student Hub

Upper Tier, Market Square

Heslington West

University of York

YO10 5DD

When should I submit my thesis?

Submission must take place within one year (MPhil/PhD/EngD students) or within three months (MA/MSc by Research students) of the end of your full-time or part-time registration period, unless an extension of submission deadline has been approved by the University. You can see your submission deadline in your E-vision account.

Theses presented after a candidate’s submission deadline (except in the case of unavoidable postal delay as described above) are classed as a Failure to Submit and will not be accepted by Research Student Administration (RSA). Late submission constitutes failure of your degree. In cases where exceptional circumstances exist, you may apply for an Extension to Submission Deadline. A pending extension request is not sufficient.

Candidates who, with formal prior permission from the Research Special Cases Committee, submit after their submission deadline will be invoiced for a further annual continuation fee, where one falls due.

Who should submit my thesis?

Theses may be submitted to RSA by hand (by you or by someone else), by post, or by courier service. It is your responsibility to ensure that your thesis reaches the RSA by your deadline.

How many copies of my thesis must I submit?

The number of printed copies submitted should equal the number of examiners (normally two).

Printed copies of theses submitted for examination should be softbound (see Section 5 below). They should be securely bound either between card covers (the front cover to be a copy of the title page) or between clear plastic covers. The spine must be taped. The campus-based online Design and Print service will bind your thesis in this way for a modest charge.

Spiral bound theses will not be accepted.

An exception on spiral binding is made for musical scores which must lie flat.

What else must I provide with my submitted thesis?

  1. You must provide a Submission of Thesis form:
    Submission of thesis form (PDF , 252kb)
    Submission of thesis form May 2017 (MS Word , 135kb)
  2. If you registered for your research degree programme in October 2009 or later, you must also submit the same number of copies of a CD (or other portable data storage unit acceptable to the University) containing an electronic copy of the thesis. This must be in pdf format (or other format acceptable to the University and appropriate to the medium) and shall be identical in every way to the printed copy.

    Each CD (or other portable data storage unit) must bear a label giving:

    • the title of the thesis (in abbreviated form, if necessary)·        
    • the volume number (where applicable)·        
    • the author’s name·        
    • the name of the qualification for which the thesis is submitted (e.g., PhD or MA)·        
    • the year of submission.

If you registered for your research degree before October 2009, you may, if you wish, submit electronic copies in addition to the printed copies, but are not required to do so.

What happens once I have submitted my thesis for examination?

Research Student Administration will forward your thesis to your examiners. If you are a PhD, MPhil or EngD student, your department will then contact you, if it has not already done so, to arrange the oral examination. An oral examination may also be required for MA or MSc (by Research) students; your department will be able to advise.

If you are resubmitting your thesis following a referral, please see Section 7 below.

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4. Deposit of theses after examination

After examination, if a degree is awarded and after you have made to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners any corrections required by the examiners, you must deposit your thesis with the University.

If you started your research degree programme on or after 1 October 2009

  • You must upload one electronic copy of the thesis to White Rose Etheses Online. The electronic copy shall be in pdf format (or other format acceptable to the University and appropriate to the medium). You must upload your electronic copy before you print and submit your hard copy. RSA will advise you of any required amendments to the layout prior to printing.·        
  • You must deposit one printed copy of your final thesis with RSA. This will be identical to the electronic copy approved to print by RSA. Your printed copy will be forwarded to the University Library.  The thesis may be either hardbound or softbound, as you choose.  In either case, the binding shall conform to the University’s requirements for the binding of theses.  

White Rose eThesis Repository

Please see the following guidance, which contains all the instructions about how to submit your thesis to the White Rose Etheses Online:

Depositing your digital thesis (PDF , 960kb) 

If you registered for your research degree programme before October 2009

You have two options:

  • either you may follow the procedure above for candidates who registered in October 2009 or later,
  • or you may deposit with RSA two printed copies of your thesis, which must be hardbound for MPhil, PhD and EngD, but may be hardbound or softbound for MA/MSc by Research. (For binding, see Section 5 below);

What happens after I have deposited my final thesis?

After you have met the requirements set out above for depositing your thesis, you will receive formal notification of the award of your degree from the RSA. Your degree cannot be awarded until you have met these requirements.

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5. Softbound and hardbound theses

Sections 3 and 4 above explain whether the thesis should be hardbound or softbound.  The University does not accept spiral bound theses for examination, or as final thesis.  An exception is made for music scores which must lie flat.

If softbound, the thesis must be securely bound between card and / or plastic covers (the front cover to be a copy of the title page). The spine must be taped. The information to be given on the title page is set out in Section 2 above.

If hardbound, the thesis must be bound in cloth covered boards, the binding being of a fixed kind in which leaves are permanently secured. You may choose the colour of the cloth covered boards. The lettering on the front cover must be presented in the following order: (i) the title of the thesis (in an abbreviated form, if necessary), (ii) your name (as it appears in the University’s student record), (iii) the name of the degree you have been awarded (e.g. MPhil or PhD), and (iv) the year of (original) submission (see Section 7 below). The lettering on the spine (reading from top to bottom) must follow this order: (i) your name (as it appears in the University’s student record), (ii) the name of the degree you have been awarded (e.g., MPhil or PhD), (iii) the name of your department (see Section 6 below), and (iv) the year of (original) submission (see Section 7 below). If the thesis thickness is more than 70 mm (excluding covers), it must be bound in two separate volumes. The front cover and the spine must also bear the number of each volume. Use the diagram in Section 9 below to indicate to your binder the only acceptable layout.

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6. Names of departments and centres

The name of your department or centre must be used on title pages, and the spines of hardbound theses. The name must appear exactly as follows:

You should not include 'Department of' or 'Centre for'

  • Archaeology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Conservation Studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Electronic Engineering
  • English
  • Environment and Geography
  • Health Sciences
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Language and Linguistic Science
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Medieval Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Politics, Economics and Philosophy
  • Post-War Recovery Studies
  • Psychology
  • Railway Studies
  • Social Policy and Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Women's Studies

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7. Referral

If your thesis is referred, and you are asked to revise and resubmit your thesis for examination, you should submit the revised copies of your thesis to RSA, following the procedure set out in Section 3 above. A re-examination fee is payable through the online store. If you have any queries please email RSA. Please note that your thesis will not be sent for examination until the re-examination fee has been paid.

The month/year of submission remains the month/year in which the thesis was first submitted for examination.

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8. Binders

Theses can be softbound for a modest charge by DP Online.

For hardbound theses you may find the following useful:

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9. Hardbound theses: lettering of cover and spine

This diagram indicates to your binder the wording that the cover and spine of a hardbound thesis should bear, together with the required layout.

This is the only accepted layout.

Thesis cover layout


  1. Only to be included if more than one volume (not copy).
  2. Your name as it appears in the University's student record.
  3. PhD, MPhil, EngD, MA(res) or MSc(res).
  4. Do not include the words 'Department'/'Centre of'. For authorised Department/Centre names see section 6.
  5. Year in which the thesis was first submitted for examination.
  • Wording on the spine must be rotated to read left-to-right when the thesis is lying face-up.
  • Wording on the spine must be centralised.

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10. Availability of theses

All theses deposited by candidates for research degrees after examination, in printed or electronic form, are available for consultation and for reproduction (subject to normal conditions of acknowledgement).

A thesis may be withheld or made available in redacted form for the following reasons:

  1. intent to publish;
  2. commercial sensitivity;
  3. data protection compliance;
  4. issues of national security
  5. issues of health and safety;
  6. third-party copyright infringement, or;
  7. exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 Guidance on redaction and embargo issues is provided at

With the approval of their supervisor(s), and following all appropriate considerations, including any potential intellectual property issues and with reference to Research Data Management expectations and guidelines, a student may request to deposit a thesis with accompanying redactions or embargo as follows:

  1. A redacted version of the thesis may be deposited for the electronic archive, with the examined copy held by the university. Redaction for third-party copyright infringement will be indefinite unless notification of clearance is received.
  2. The student is ultimately responsible for any redaction of the thesis.
  3. Access to the thesis may be withheld, and, with the exception of an abstract, none of the material contained in it should be reproduced, for a fixed period agreed with the supervisor(s), and commencing from the date on which the printed copy of the examined thesis is deposited with Research Student Administration after the examination.
  4. If dispute arises between student and supervisor(s) relating to withholding the thesis, the decision of the supervisor(s) is final.
  5. An extension to a withholding period, on request by student or supervisor(s) to their Faculty, may be granted in accordance with University guidelines.
  6. Lifting an embargo in advance of the set date may only be done with the consent of both student and supervisor(s)

Students / supervisors can select up to five years embargo in the first instance.

Any such request should be made on the appropriate form and submitted to RSA along with the printed copy/copies of your thesis which you deposit after the examination. If you make such a request, you should also indicate, when you upload your thesis to White Rose Etheses Online, that you wish it not to be made available online for the same period.

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