Thesis preparation, submission and examination
Nomination of Examiners
The University requires that nomination and selection of HDR thesis examiners be based on the principle that candidates receive an impartial examination by high quality examiners in the relevant field of research.
The examiners must not have had any involvement in the preparation of the thesis, as a member of the supervisory panel or as an academic advisor for the candidate. The University expects all supervisors, faculties and examiners to report all actual or potential conflicts of interest.
The University applies the Conflict of Interest Guidelines of the Australian Council of Graduate Research.
At least three (3) months in advance of your thesis submission date, you should discuss possible examiners with your Principal Supervisor and other supervisors. Your supervisor will contact the possible examiners to ascertain their availability to examine your thesis.
Once confirmed, your supervisor will submit an electronic examiner nomination via the HDR Thesis Examination portal to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee for review and approval. This normally includes a list of five (5) examiners for a doctoral degree and four (4) for a MPhil degree. You will be required to electronically confirm the selection of the nominated examiners.
For further information on the nomination of examiners, see Schedule 2 in the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.
At least two (2) months before your expected thesis submission date, you should discuss with your Principal Supervisor the names of any persons that you do not wish to examine your thesis.
Your supervisor will contact possible examiners to ascertain their availability to examine your thesis. Once confirmed, your supervisor will submit an electronic examiner nomination via the HDR Thesis Examination portal to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee for review and approval.
For further information on the nomination of examiners, see the Master of Research - Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedures and Schedule 2 in the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.
Before you submit your thesis, it is important to ensure you are following all content, presentation, formatting, and length 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. Unless agreed under a formal Joint or Cotutelle enrolment contract, a candidate may not submit as the main content of the thesis any work or material which has been previously submitted for any degree successfully completed at Macquarie University or elsewhere, but may incorporate that work or material in the thesis, if the candidate specifies the work or material which has been so incorporated. At least half of the work done towards the thesis must be undertaken while formally enrolled as an HDR candidate at Macquarie University.
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 Thesis Examination Subcommittee, 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
A thesis by publication may include relevant papers, including conference presentations, which have been published, accepted, submitted or prepared for publication for which at least half of the research has been undertaken during your enrolment. The papers must form a coherent and integrated body of work, which focusses on a single thesis project or set of related questions or propositions. The papers are one part of the thesis, rather than a separate component (or appendix).
As a general rule you will need to have enough papers to support the important findings from the research, presented in a logical and coherent way. Most theses by publication have between 2 and 8 papers in combinations of sole and co-authored papers.
You must specify in a Statement of Authorship and in relevant footnotes/endnotes your specific contribution to the conception, data collection, analysis and writing of each paper. The contribution of others to the preparation of the thesis or to individual parts of the thesis should also be specified in the thesis.
In addition, section 1.6.55 of the RTP Guidelines sets out the requirement that the Commonwealth's contribution is acknowledged in research publications by RTP students where related to a research project.
The acknowledgement must include mention of the student's support through an "Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship". An example acknowledgement statement would be, "This research is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship."
For further information on thesis by publication, see Schedule 1 in the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy and the Examiner Guidelines.
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 your thesis should be presented in A4 pdf format with double or 1.5 spacing. Margins should be no less than 3cm on the left border, 1.5cm on the right border and 1.5cm on the top and bottom. Pages must be numbered consecutively.
If one of your examiners requests a hard copy of your thesis for examination, you will be required to submit a copy with a temporary binding of a stitched and glued soft cover or in hard back form (spiral binding or a loose-leaf binder of the spring-type or screw-type is not acceptable). During binding the edges should be trimmed.
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 200-300 words for MRes/MPhil and 300-500 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). Cotutelle candidates should submit a statement indicating that the thesis is being submitted in accordance with their Cotutelle agreement. If you have completed a thesis by publication, you must also specify your specific contribution to the conception, data collection, analysis and writing of each paper. The contribution of others to the preparation of the thesis or to individual parts of the thesis should also be specified in the thesis.
- 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 inserted in the appropriate place in the text.
- All figures should be include a legend either at the bottom or next to the figures.
- Small tables should be inserted in the text. Lengthy or bulky tables should appear as an appendix.
Doctor of Philosophy
75,000 - 100,000 words
Master of Philosophy
Masters of Research
Please note: the maximum thesis length does not include footnotes or references.
The editing process for HDR candidates is governed by the ‘Guidelines for Editing Research Theses’ as set out by the Institute of Professional Editors Limited (IPEd). You can search for an editor who offers the services you need and has expertise in the subject you are writing about at 'Find an editor'.
You must consult your supervisor before engaging an editor.
Before you submit your thesis, it is important to ensure you prepare any additional documents required for your thesis submission.
In addition to your thesis, you may also be required to submit other documents with your submission. You should prepare these documents before you commence the submission process.
Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement
The Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement is provided by Australian higher education institutions to graduating students on completion of the requirements for a particular higher education award. It provides a description of the nature, level, context and status of studies that were pursued by the individual named. Its purpose is to assist in both national and international recognition of Australian qualifications and to promote international mobility and professional recognition of graduates.
For the Statement to be issued, you are required to provide a thesis abstract of strictly no more than 100 words.
If you are a Phd/MPhil candidate, you must upload the abstract as part of your thesis submission in the HDR Thesis Examination Portal. MRes candidates should email their abstract directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were required to obtain Ethics approval for your research, you will need to provide a copy of the Macquarie University Ethics Committee letter with your thesis.
If you are a PhD/MPhil candidate, you must upload the approval letter with your thesis submission in the HDR Thesis Examination Portal. You should also have this information on hand to complete the required fields in the portal.
MRes candidates should submit their letter with their thesis and thesis submission documents (additional information below).
Unofficial Academic Transcript - PhD/MPhil candidates only
If you were required to complete coursework units (HDRT units) during your candidature, you will need to upload an unofficial copy of your academic transcript with your thesis submission. You can download a copy of your transcript from eStudent.
Field of Research (FOR) codes
You will be required to provide at least one Field of Research (FOR) code on your thesis submission form. You can review the FOR codes on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website. If you are unsure which code to list, please contact your supervisor for advice prior to commencing your thesis submission.
Thesis Submission - PhD and MPhil
When your thesis is complete and appropriately formatted, your must submit your thesis via the HDR Thesis Examination Portal.
If your supervisor is unable or unwilling to approve your thesis submission, the matter should be referred to the Faculty’s Associate Dean of Higher Degree Research for resolution.
Once your thesis is submitted, your candidature is considered to be Under Examination (UX).
Further information about the PhD/MPhil examination process see the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure.
Thesis Submission - Master of Research
When your thesis is complete and appropriately formatted, you must submit it to your faculty via email along with the MRes Thesis for Examination Form, signed by your supervisor and your faculty’s Associate Dean, HDR by 5pm on your expected work submission date. If applicable, the Macquarie University Ethics Committee approval letter should also be attached.
If your thesis is submitted late, you will be penalised one percentage point from your final MRes thesis grade per calendar day until your thesis is received in the Faculty HDR Office. Submission will be taken as the date your thesis and associated paperwork is submitted electronically.
If your supervisor is unable or unwilling to sign your submission paperwork, the matter should be referred to the Faculty’s Associate Dean of Higher Degree Research and then, if necessary, to the University Dean of Higher Degree Research for resolution.
Once your thesis is submitted, your candidature is considered to be Under Examination (UX).
Further information about the MRes examination process see the Master of Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure.
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Science and Engineering
Medicine and Health Sciences
Cotutelle and Joint PhD candidates
If you are enrolled in a Cotutelle or Joint PhD program, please refer to your agreement for additional information relating to your examiners and thesis examination. Joint PhD candidates with a lead university that is not Macquarie University must provide the following information to email@example.com to ensure your enrolment is not ceased:
- evidence of your thesis submission
- 100 words abstract for your Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement
- a point of contact at the partner university
To assist candidates with submitting their thesis via the HDR Thesis Examination Portal, the Higher Degree Research Office will run information sessions throughout the year.
Examination and completion
After your thesis is submitted and your examiners finalised, your thesis will be sent for examination. Each examiner is sent your thesis together with examination instructions guidelines. Your examiners are required to complete their examination and provide their report within four weeks for MRes theses and five weeks for PhD and MPhil theses. Candidates and supervisors should not contact examiners during the examination process.
For detailed information about the HDR examination process, see the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure Flowchart.
For detailed information about the MRes examination process, see the MRes Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure Flowchart.
Award: The thesis meets all required standards in terms of the nature and quality of work undertaken, and the degree can be awarded without any further work by the candidate, other than the correction of typographical errors and small lapses of expression and presentation in the final copy.
Award (after Corrections): The thesis meets all required standards in terms of the nature and quality of work undertaken, and the degree can be award without further examination once the candidate has made a number of corrections and clarifications in the thesis. The corrections are to be completed to the satisfaction of the Thesis Examination Subcommittee and are required to be completed within one month.
Revision and re-examination: The thesis does not yet meet all required standards for the award of the degree and the candidate should complete a further period of research and writing. Normally under this category a candidate would re-enrol for a period of up to one-year full-time (or equivalent). The thesis will then be submitted for re-examination.
Not award: The thesis does not meet the required standards for the award of the degree, and does not warrant a further period of research and writing.
MRes candidates will also be awarded a percentage score for their thesis. The maximum mark a thesis can receive after re-examination is 64%.
For further information about examination criteria and outcomes, see the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.
Revise and resubmit
In some cases, you may be advised to revise and resubmit your thesis for re-examination. During re-examination, examiners are requested to determine whether or not the revised thesis now meets the requirements of the degree as specified.
Re-submission must occur within one year from the date of the decision for revision for HDR candidates and three months from the date of the decision for revision for MRes candidates.
For re-submission, you will need to submit your thesis in accordance with the relevant submission requirements. You must also include documentation that addresses the matters raised in your initial examination. This documentation must not be examiner-specific.
An invitation will be sent to initial examiners to re-examine your thesis. Re-examiners are allowed access to your unrevised thesis, along with all reports from the University and initial examiners (subject to privacy requirements).
If your initial examiners are unavailable, there may be new examiners appointed.You should make no direct contact with your examiners – any contact you wish to make must be approved by the Research and Research Training Committee.
If you do not complete your re-submission in the determined time-frame, you will be deemed to have failed the requirements for the award of your degree.
If you fail to meet the requirements of the degree on re-examination, you cannot apply for further re-examination.
Please note: Revision of your thesis requires you to re-enrol and pay any required fees.
For further information about the resubmission process, see the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.
Once the thesis has been examined and passed by the Research and Research Training Committee, a digital copy of the thesis accompanied by the required Digital Thesis Submission Form needs to be sent to the Higher Degree Research Office for inclusion in the Macquarie University Digital Theses Program. Your faculty may also request a hardbound copy of your thesis.
Macquarie University Digital Theses Program
The Macquarie University Digital Theses Program is a collection of digital versions of Macquarie University Higher Degree Theses deposited by the Library. Records of the theses are included in MultiSearch in Macquarie University ResearchOnline. Thesis records are also available in Trove Australia, Google and Google Scholar.
All higher degree research candidates, including PhD, MPhil, MRes and Professional Doctorate candidates are required to submit a digital copy of their thesis.
To submit, please complete the Digital Thesis Submission Form (rtf, 6mb) and submit it with your thesis to the OHDRTP exam team. Your thesis must be submitted as a PDF, DOC or RTF, with PDF being preferred. For multi-media theses, please contact your Research Librarian. Do not incorporate any security or access protection measures into the file as the Library may need to make minor formatting adjustments.
The Macquarie University Digital Theses Program gives your research greater potential readership, ensures your research is protected from destruction, and provides security through adherence to metadata standards and access rights.
Parts of your thesis may be subject to copyright. If you are concerned about copyright issues related to your thesis, check Macquarie's information on copyright, talk to Macquarie University's Copyright Coordinator or speak to your Research Librarian.
If your faculty requests a hardbound copy of your thesis, you should prepare the thesis in accordance with the following requirements:
- The spine should state the title of the thesis (abbreviated if necessary), your family name, and the date of submission or re-submission.
- The words should be in gold lettering of suitable size.
- When published papers are submitted as additional evidence, they should be bound in the back of the thesis as an appendix. When they form part of the thesis body, they should be bound into the thesis itself.
If you are an international student Visa holder, your visa date will be checked by the University when your thesis examination outcome has been finalised. If your visa is found to have more than 4 weeks’ validity, the Higher Degree Research Office will report the thesis submission to the Department of Home Affairs (DIHA). You are responsible for contacting DIHA regarding your change of visa status. If you wish to stay in Australia to wait for examination results, DIHA will need to be consulted. Contact DIHA directly for advice.
For further information about thesis preparation, submission and examination, see the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.
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