When submitting thesis work for assessment, there are several sets of requirements that must be met.

All submissions must meet the specifications listed within the ‘Nature of the thesis’ section in the Policy on Research Degrees. These include the requirement to present your thesis for examination, and for deposit after examination.

In addition, your work must also meet the different University requirements set out below - those listed for 'all theses' and any style specific requirements.

Where relevant, you may also need to meet additional subject or programme-specific requirements - these will be set out in your departmental Postgraduate Researcher (PGR) handbook.

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Types of thesis

There are two main types of thesis.

  • A monograph or traditional thesis: a unified, single author document comprising a number of chapters with an introduction and conclusion.
  • A journal-style thesis: a document that incorporates one or more chapters that are in a format suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed title alongside a supporting commentary.

Most postgraduate researchers (PGRs) will likely submit a monograph thesis, however journal-style theses are becoming increasingly common in certain disciplines. If you are interested in submitting a journal-style thesis you should check that your school/department/centre permits this and read the University guidance.

Practice-based PGR programmes

If you are doing a practice-based programme, you may be required (or permitted) to submit an alternative assessment format instead of, or in addition to, a thesis (eg a portfolio of work).

Guidance for postgraduate programmes by practice

Requirements for all theses

All thesis types must adhere to the following requirements:

To meet electronic thesis (e-thesis) guidelines, your main thesis text must be submitted as a PDF document.

If your thesis will include any other file formats in addition to PDF (eg audio files, data spreadsheets), you should refer to our e-thesis file format guidance.

Once deposited, your e-thesis will be publicly available via the White Rose eTheses Online (WREO) unless you have arranged an embargo.

Printing and e-theses

While theses are submitted and deposited electronically, they need to be presented in such a way that they can be easily read in electronic form and printed without issue (eg if this is required by the examiners or by your funder). For more information on preparing a printable copy of your thesis, see our hardcopy thesis guidance.

Your e-thesis needs to be an accessible document, meaning that it should be easy for anyone to read or reformat, and can be accessed by people using assistive technology (such as screen readers).

There are some simple steps you will need to take to ensure that your e-thesis meets accessibility standards.

  1. Use the headings function within your chosen software package to produce a structured document.
  2. Add alternative text to images/videos/graphs/tables etc.
  3. Always use the number/bullet point function within your software package when creating a list.
  4. Use meaningful hyperlinks.
  5. Use tables sparingly and format them with a header row and, where appropriate, a header column.

For further details, please see the section on legibility below, as well as guidance on making your e-thesis accessible.

The title page of every volume should only include the following information in the order listed, and on separate lines:

  • the full title of the thesis and any subtitle
  • the total number of volumes, if more than one, and the number of the particular volume
  • the full name of the author, followed, if desired, by any qualifications and distinctions
  • the qualification for which the thesis is being deposited (for example PhD or MA by Research)
  • the name of the University
  • the name of the School, Department or Centre in which the research was conducted. You must refer to the list of approved names on the submit your thesis web page
  • the month and year the thesis was first submitted for examination.

The title page should not have a coloured or patterned background. To see how this may look with the required information, see our example title page (PDF , 58kb)

If there is a cover page included in advance of, and in addition, to the title page, this may be a single colour with clearly visible text in a contrasting colour. The cover should have the same information as the title page, as listed above.

The abstract should follow the title page. It should provide a synopsis of the thesis, stating the nature and scope of work undertaken and the contribution made to knowledge in the subject area. It should appear on its own on a single page and should not exceed 300 words in length. The abstract of the thesis may, after the award of the degree, be published by the University in any manner approved by the Senate, and for this purpose, the copyright of the abstract shall be deemed to be vested in the University.

In this section you must confirm that your thesis meets the requirements of the 'Nature of the Thesis' section Policy on Research Degrees, and in particular that it:

  • is your own original work (or if work has been done in collaboration with others, full disclosure of the names of your colleagues and the contribution they have made)
  • has not been previously submitted for any degree or other qualification at this University or elsewhere (unless an internal resubmission).

You must also state whether any material in the thesis has been presented for publication (including if under review) with full references.

The minimum required is as follows:

I declare that this thesis is a presentation of original work and I am the sole author. This work has not previously been presented for a degree or other qualification at this University or elsewhere. All sources are acknowledged as references.

For further guidance on the inclusion of published material and authorship, see the University requirements on journal-style theses.

Page size

The text and, wherever possible, all the material of the thesis (including illustrations), should be based on A4 page size (297mm x 210mm).

Typographic design

Text and its setting (font, size, line spacing, margins) must be chosen to ensure legibility.

Text, in general, should be black, sans serif and should not be embellished (ie no general use of coloured text or fancy fonts, no section separators, etc).

For ease of reading, the size of character used in the main text should be no less than 11pt.

Text should normally be set with even or proportionate spacing between words. Word division at the ends of lines should be avoided, if possible.

It is recommended that 1.5 line spacing or equivalent is used, although lines that contain mathematical formulae, diacritical marks or strings of capital letters may need additional space.

It should be clear when a new paragraph is starting and where matter in the text is being quoted.

A bibliographical reference must be given for every work, published or unpublished, cited in your thesis.

Citations should be in a consistent and approved format as specified by your school, department or centre. References should be collated in a reference list or a combined reference list/bibliography. 

Please refer to referencing guidance issued by your school, department or centre and the University's guidelines for further information.

After the deposit of your examined thesis in WREO, and before you leave the University, you should ensure that your research data is retained and deposited in a suitable data repository or, more rarely, disposed of securely. Research data that supports the findings in your thesis should normally be retained, unless there are legal, ethical, funder or contractual requirements that would prohibit its retention.

For guidance see Sharing, preserving and depositing your data or contact the Library's Research Support Team for further information or advice.

Download a copy of these requirements (you will need to be logged into your University of York Google account):

Format your thesis (Google doc)

Additional guidance

Contact us

PGR Administration

+44 (0)1904 325962
Student Hub, Information Centre Basement, Market Square