Before submission and prep

Before submission and prep

Before you submit your thesis, it is important to ensure you are following all content, presentation, formatting, length and binding requirements. These areas may vary depending on your faculty, department or examiner’s needs

While your supervisor will be able to guide you, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure you follow University standards.


Your thesis must showcase the results of your original research during your candidature, with PhD theses requiring a distinct contribution to knowledge. The work within a thesis must not have formed part of another successfully completed degree.

While presentation of research may vary, it generally includes a written component. Non-written thesis formats and media must be approved by your Faculty Executive Dean.

Your thesis must be written in English and be of satisfactory literary presentation. Theses written in-full or in-part in another language require approval by the Higher Degree Research Committee, which must be sought as soon as possible by your supervisor. If you are on a joint enrolment contract, you will not require separate approval for submission in a language other than English.

Thesis by publication

Relevant papers published or accepted for publication during candidature may be presented as part of your thesis. You may only include this work as part of your contribution to knowledge if it occurred during your candidature. These papers must form a coherent body of work, focused on a single project or set of related propositions. It is not necessary to reformat published works. If these works are co-authored, you must specify what your contribution was. 

The contributions of others should be specified in the thesis acknowledgements and/or in relevant footnotes/endnotes. For further information on thesis by publications, see the thesis by publications guidelines have more information.

Creative component

If you are including a creative component, its size should be specified in relation to the critical component. Creative components must be submitted in a form which enables further examination/re-examination and allows for Library deposit. 

Candidates may also choose to merge their creative and critical components, as in ficto-critical writing or essay films. If you do this, you are still required to include an explicit critical analysis in written form. The length of this analysis is based on Faculty expectations, but is often 25,000 words for an MPhil thesis and 50,000 words for a PhD thesis.

Relationship between MRes and PhD

The research project undertaken in the MRes is intended as a gateway to your PhD or MPhil project. However, the MRes thesis does not form part of your MPhil or PhD directly, but instead works to help you better understand your research area and demonstrate your research ability.

If your topic for your PhD or MPhil thesis is related to your MRes, you must include a clear statement outlining what work was done for the MRes. If you must include any text or data from your MRes thesis in your PhD or MPhil thesis, you must identify this as such, as it is non-examinable. Failure to do so is a breach of Academic Integrity.

Presentation and formatting

The written component of a thesis should be printed in high quality on double-sided A4 paper with double or 1.5 spacing. Margins should be no less than 3.4cm on the binding edge, 1.5cm on the opposite edge and 1.5cm on the top and bottom. Use mirrored margins to ensure this. Pages must be numbered consecutively.

Preliminary pages

A thesis should incorporate the following pages in order:

  • A title page with the thesis title, your names and degrees, your university department and the date of submission/re-submission. If applicable, the name of the organisation, institute or laboratory where the research was conducted should also be included. 
  • A table of contents. 
  • A summary of approximately 200 words for MRes/MPhil and 300 for PhD. 
  • A signed statement indicating the work has not been submitted for a higher degree before, that you have references all sources and the extent to which you used them, as well as your Ethics Committee approval and protocol number (if applicable). 
  • Acknowledgements (if applicable). 
  • The written component of the thesis.

Diagrams, figures and tables

Diagrams, figures and tables may vary depending on your department. The following are general suggestions for normal practice:

  • Diagrams and figures should be drawn or photographed on A4 paper and bound in the appropriate place in the text.
  • All figures should be on the right-hand page with the legend either at the bottom or on the page facing the figures.
  • Small tables should be inserted in the text. Lengthy or bulky tables should appear as an appendix.
  • Diagrams, figures and tables that exceed A4 size should be folded to read as a right-hand page when open.

Thesis length

Degree Type

Maximum Thesis Length  

Doctor of Philosophy

75,000 100,000

Master of Philosophy


Masters of Research 


Doctor of Psychology 


Doctor of Applied Linguistics 


Doctor of Professional Communication 


Doctor of Business Administration



PhD and MPhil students must submit temporarily bound copies for marking. MRes, PhD and MPhil students must submit permanently bound copies to the University following examination. You should contact your Faculty HDR Office for details specific to your area of study. MRes students only need to submit temporarily bound copies upon an examiner's request.

Temporary Binding Guidelines

The written component of the thesis must be bound in a stitched/glued soft cover form for examination. Spiral binding, or a loose-leaf binder with spring-type or screw-type binding in not acceptable. The binding edges should be trimmed. If published papers are submitted as additional evidence, they should be bound in the back of the thesis as an appendix.


Higher Degree Research Office 
Research HUB - Building C5C (East), Level 3  
Macquarie University NSW 2109  
T: +61 2 9850 7987

Back to the top of this page