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Thesis submission and examination

How long do I have to complete my degree?

PhD and Professional Doctorate candidates are allowed a maximum of four years full-time or eight years part-time to complete the course.

Masters by Research candidates are allowed a maximum of two years full-time or four years part-time to complete the course.

What is my target submission date?

PhD and Professional Doctorate – 36 months (three years)

Masters by Research – 20 months

Can I have my thesis professionally edited before submission?

Yes, research candidates may use a professional editor in preparing their thesis for submission. Professional editorial intervention should be restricted to copy-editing and proofreading.

It is expected that the academic supervisors of research higher degree students will provide editorial advice to their students relating to matters of substance and structure; language (including matters of clarity, voice and tone, grammar, spelling and punctuation, specialised and foreign material); and use of illustrations and tables. They may also assist with copyediting and proofreading.

Please consult with you faculty as to how this will be supported. If you have research funding available from your allowance it can be used for professional editing.  

For more information about professional editing see Thesis Submission

What are the thesis requirements for my degree?

A PhD thesis must make a distinct and significant contribution to knowledge or understanding in the area with which it deals and/or to the application of knowledge to the analysis of problems in the study area. A thesis submitted for a PhD should not exceed 100,000 words. For a PhD thesis incorporating creative production the exegesis should be at least 30,000 words.

A Professional Doctorate thesis must make a distinct contribution to the improvement of professional practice or policy. A thesis submitted for a Professional Doctorate should not exceed 60,000 words.

A Masters by Research thesis must display a sound knowledge of the field of research and include substantial critical review of the field. A thesis submitted for a Masters by Research degree should not exceed 60,000 words. For a masters thesis incorporating creative production the exegesis should be at least 10,000 words.

Further information on the specific thesis requirements (degree requirements) for each of the research degrees is detailed in the Examination of Higher Degree by Research Theses Policy.

What are the formatting requirements for a thesis?

Research theses submitted for examination must adhere to the formatting requirements of the University.

Formatting requirements refer principally to typescript materials, and include details on page size, font, line spacing, margins, page numbering and page order for both soft-copy or electronic theses submitted for examination, as well as hard bound theses.  

Formatting requirements can be found in the Examination of Higher Degree by Research Theses Policy.

What do I do before I submit my thesis?

Four weeks before submission, candidates are required to submit a completed Intention to Submit a Thesis for Examination form to the HDR Support team (

On submission, the following forms are also required:

  • Certificate of Completion of Thesis for Higher Degree by Research (signed by the candidate and all members of the supervisory panel)
  • Certificate of Authorship of Thesis (completed by the primary supervisor and the candidate)
  • Retention and Use of Thesis by the University (completed by the candidate)

For information on the submission and examination process, including required forms, see Examination and Completion

Do I have to enrol to submit?

Yes, policy requires that you are enrolled in the semester that you submit.

If you are unsure of your enrolment status, login to RGrad (via MyUC Student Portal). Continued enrolment is dependent on satisfactory progress, completion of Annual Progress Reports, and payment of tuition and other fees.

Where can I print my thesis?

External  Suppliers:

CanPrint Communications - Digital printing and spiral/case binding



Instant Colour Press - Digital printing

21 Rae Street (units 5-8) Belconnen ACT 2617



Elite Bookbinding- Spiral and case binding - NO PRINTING

3/12 - 16 Sandford St Mitchell ACT 2911



Will I have access to UC facilities after I’ve submitted my thesis for examination?

Yes. When you submit, the HDR Support team will ensure you have access to UC facilities (e.g. library and MyUC) for six months after submission.

If you have any problems, please contact

How long does it take to examine my thesis?

Examiners are allowed two months to complete the examination reports; however, there are often delays due to unforeseen circumstances such as:

  • Illness
  • Natural disasters
  • Family issues

Candidates should allow up to six months from submission to course completion.

What do the final thesis recommendations mean?

The University will make a recommendation on the nature of revisions required to ensure the thesis meets the standard required for your degree.

Revisions requiredTime limit
Minor or editorial amendmentsTwo months
Revisions as specified in the examiners reportsSix months
Revise and resubmit for examinationTwelve months (requires student to enrol)
Can I use the title ‘Dr’ before my graduation?

Usually not until the award (degree) is conferred at graduation.

However, the HDR Support team can arrange for your award to be conferred in absentia through University Council. This means you can use the title of 'Dr' after the Council meeting, and you will be able to attend Graduation as well.

Please make this request clear to the HDR Support team during the examination process.

When do I graduate?

After the examination process and all course requirements have been completed, all paperwork is forwarded to the Student Progress and Graduation Office. Before you can graduate, you must supply the HDR Support team with the following items:

  • One double sided, hard bound copy of the final thesis.
  • A PDF version.

HDR Support will arrange with the Student Progress and Graduation Office to process your course completion and invite you to attend the Conferral of Awards Ceremony.

Read more about Graduation

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