Your thesis

The Nature of Your Thesis

The thesis represents the main outcome of your research. It is assessed by examiners to determine whether you are awarded the degree for which you have studied.

The Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies also coordinates regular Thesis Workshops, please refer to the program calendar for next availability.

A Typical Thesis

  • Introduction; Why am I doing it, and what is it's significance
  • A review of research/literature; What is known and unknown and identifying gaps
  • My Research Question; My aim - what do I hope to discover and My methodology - how am I going to discover it?
  • My Results; What have I found?
  • My Discussion; What does it mean? And relating those results to literature
  • My Conclusions; What are the possible applications or recommendations and what contribution does it make to knowledge?
  • My References
  • Requirements of the Thesis or Portfolio

    The thesis or portfolio submitted by a candidate shall comply with the following requirements:

    • it must be an accurate account of the research;
    • it must be an account of a candidate's own work but if any jointly authored papers are included, the work done by the candidate must be clearly indicated and the co-author(s) must certify that they agree to the inclusion of the paper in the thesis;
    • it must relate to the approved research topic;
    • it must not include as its main content work which has been submitted for any other academic award or work conducted prior to the commencement of candidature. Where the main content of the thesis or portfolio consists of any significant extension or elaboration of the candidate's earlier work, that portion referring to previous work must be clearly indicated;
    • examinable written components of the thesis must be written in English except where, on the recommendation of the Faculty, the Research Committee approves that it may be written in another language;
    • examinable written components of the thesis must achieve a satisfactory standard of expression and presentation;
    • any substantial assistance provided to the candidate during the conduct of the research and the production of the thesis must be acknowledged. The candidate must obtain written permission from the Principal Supervisor before obtaining paid editorial assistance with the thesis. If permission is granted to obtain paid editorial assistance, such assistance must be acknowledged in the thesis and if the professional editor's current or former area of academic specialisation is similar to that of the candidate, then this must also be acknowledged;
    • where a series of papers is presented, there must be a comprehensive explanatory introduction and a final review to link the papers and to establish the broader academic context;
    • conform to the requirements of thesis presentation.

    Similarity Checking

    It is strongly encouraged that you run your thesis through similarity checking software prior to submission. To support this the University provides free software – Turnitin, to enable you to undertake this review.

    Prior to your thesis being examined it will be run through similarity checking software as per the Academic Integrity procedure.

    Acknowledgements - Theses and Professional Doctoral Portfolios

    Where appropriate, a brief acknowledgement of any substantial assistance received shall be included on a separate page inserted in sequence. The acknowledgement should list the names of the people who have provided substantial assistance with the research and the type of assistance which may relate, for example to the:

    • sponsorship of the research;
    • collection of data;
    • processing of the data including the selection and use of particular statistical techniques;
    • interpretation of the results of the statistical analysis;
    • editing of the thesis;
    • use of graphics in the thesis;
    • word processing of the thesis.

    Intellectual Property Rights

    If there is material in the thesis which could or does have implications for the intellectual property rights of the candidate, the University, a sponsor of the research or some other person or body, those implications shall be stated under the heading "Intellectual Property Rights" either on the same page as the acknowledgements or on the next page in sequence.

    Ethics, Biosafety and/or Radiation Safety Approval

    If the thesis reports on research involving humans or human biological materials or involving animals, a page containing the name(s) of the relevant University and/or other ethics committee and the approval number(s) shall be inserted in sequence in the thesis.

    Confidential Material

    If there is material in the thesis which is confidential for commercial or other reasons either for a specified period or indefinitely, the confidential material, the period of its confidentiality and the reasons for its confidentiality shall be specified under the heading "Confidential Material" on a separate page inserted in sequence. In addition, the following statement shall appear on the cover of the thesis: "This thesis [or dissertation] contains confidential material as described on page [insert page number]. The thesis [or dissertation] shall not be given to anyone who is not directly involved in the examination of the thesis."

    Paid Editorial Assistance

    If paid editorial assistance was obtained by the candidate during the conduct of the research and the production of the thesis (and written permission granted before obtaining the assistance, the name of the editor and a brief description of the services provided must be specified in the thesis under the heading "Professional Editorial Assistance" on a separate page inserted in sequence. If the professional editor's current or former area of academic specialisation is similar to that of the candidate, this too should be stated in the prefatory matter of the thesis.

    Professional editing of a candidate's thesis is limited to formatting, grammar and style (Australian Standard for Editing Practice ASEP Standard D - Language and Illustrations, ASEP Standard E - Completeness and Consistency) and must not alter or improve the substantive content or conceptual organisation of the thesis. Where a professional editor provides advice to a candidate on matters of structure (ASEP Standard C - Substance and Structure) exemplars only should be given.


    There is to be an abstract of the work not exceeding 500 words for theses and professional doctoral portfolios or 350 words for dissertations and master portfolios.

    Body of the Thesis

    Next is the body of the thesis.


    A list of references at the end will list alphabetically the sources acknowledged.   Advice regarding bibliographic standards should be obtained from the Principal Supervisor.

  • Word limits

    Thesis Length

    Award                             Recommended word count        Maximum word count

    Doctor of Philosophy                   80,000                               100,000

    Professional Doctorate               50,000                                60,000

    Master by Research                   40,000                                50,000

    The length of the written component of a thesis that supports a body of creative work will depend on the approved proportions of both the creative and written components. As a guideline, the written component will not exceed:

    a. for a doctor of philosophy, 40,000 words; or

    b. for a master by research, 25,000 words.

  • Overview of the Thesis

    (1) The major output of a Higher Degree by Research program is the examinable work which will be in the form of a thesis. The exact nature and format of the examinable work may vary with research discipline and the specific Higher Degree by Research program requirements. The production of an appropriate examinable work is the culmination of a Higher Degree by Research candidature and provides documentation of the research undertaken. The thesis is the complete body of examinable work submitted by a student for examination for a Higher Degree by Research. The examinable work must be the candidate's own account of the work undertaken.

    (2) The thesis must constitute an accurate account of original and significant research on an approved topic and must relate to the associated research proposal. Through presentation of this work in a thesis, the candidate must demonstrate advanced theoretical and methodological knowledge and that the research makes an original and significant contribution to knowledge or understanding.

  • Presenting your Thesis

    The rules for presentation of your thesis need to be reviewed and followed as stated in the Higher Degree by Research Procedure.

    For information regarding online services relating to theses and dissertations, see the Theses & Dissertations page on the Division of Library Services website.

    To assist HDR candidates, a template for your Thesis title page has been developed that you may use for your thesis submission. There are two versions:

  • Submission of Your Thesis for Examination

    Notice to Submit

    To facilitate the timely appointment of examiners, the principal supervisor should give notice in writing to the Faculty Sub-Dean Graduate Studies of intention to submit the thesis or portfolio one month before submission. The principal supervisor completes the Notification to submit thesis and Appointment of Examiners form.

    Your thesis must be accompanied by a signed certificate of authorship.

    Your thesis is examined as per the requirements within the Higher Degree by Research Policy.

    The electronic version (preferred format is PDF) of your thesis for examination should be submitted to

    If the file size of your thesis exceeds 20MB, please follow our procedures for sending large files via Cloudstor and ensure you provide the relevant link to

  • Submission of Final Thesis

    Following the completed examination process and notification that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) has recommended that the degree be awarded, the candidate shall upload a digital copy of the thesis to the University Repository. Candidates will not graduate until all requirements have been met, including the submission of the final thesis.

    You must submit a complete version of your thesis, however, if the thesis, or parts of it, contain sensitive material it is possible to set embargoes for a period or permanent restrictions on publication as determined by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).  

    If your thesis contains material, such as copies of published journal articles, that could breach copyright laws or publishers permissions, you will need to seek a restriction or request the publisher’s permission .

    To apply for an embargo or permanent restriction on your thesis please download and complete the Thesis Embargo/Restricted Version Request form on our form and guides page. If your request is approved, you can either

    The Charles Sturt Library has a very informative page on Copyright and HDR Theses which includes information on a ‘thesis by publication’ and copyright in your thesis, and includes a sample publisher permission letter.

  • Graduation

    Graduation Locations and Dates

    Each year graduation takes place at the various campuses of Charles Sturt University. Typically graduation occurs in December at the various campuses. You will receive official University notification about your graduation options. To be eligible to graduate you must meet all the requirements pertaining to examination, including the submission of digital copies of the thesis. If you do not wish to formally graduate at a ceremony you can have your degree conferred at a meeting of the University Council which meets at various times during the year. As a HDR candidate you are still permitted to formally graduate at a ceremony even after having your degree conferred at a meeting of Council.

    Please refer to Graduation Services for more information.

  • Publication and Authorship

    Publishing from Your Thesis

    The general expectation is that you should seek to publish results from your research in academic journals. Your supervisors will normally mentor you through this process as there is a lot to learn. One decision you will need to make early in your candidature is whether to try to publish as you go or wait until completion before your start to publish. There are advantages and disadvantages for both choices and your supervisors will help you in making this decision.

    Vanity presses  Higher degree research (HDR) students or recent graduates, may receive unsolicited emails from companies offering to publish their thesis. Some of these 'publishers' or 'vanity presses', provide limited or no editorial input, i.e. they don't provide peer-review, editorial or proof-reading support, marketing or distribution of the book. They generate income by either charging up-front publishing fees, or by the sale of copies to the author.

    Publishing your thesis with a 'vanity press' such as Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP)** may result in:

    • the loss of Copyright to your work, restricting further publishing from your research in books, conference proceedings or journal articles
    • a poor quality publication that doesn't meet the requirements of reporting for the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)
    • loss of academic credibility / reputation having published with a 'vanity press'

    ** an imprint of VDM Publishing

    It is always recommended that you carefully research and evaluate the credibility of a publisher before accepting an offer to publish your thesis. Consulting your supervisor and/or the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies before making any decision.

    Faculty Librarians can also provide advice about publishers to avoid.

    Authorship Protocols and Guidelines

    In considering publishing from your thesis decisions must be made about attribution of authorship. The issue that arises is whether you are the sole author of any resulting publications or whether the authorship should be jointly attributed with supervisors or others.

    HDR candidates and supervisors should agree on authorship of a publication at an early stage in the research project and should review their decisions periodically.

    Attribution of authorship depends to some extent on the discipline, but in all cases, authorship must be based on substantial contributions in a combination of:

    • conception and design of the project;
    • analysis and interpretation of research data;
    • drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation.

    Authorship should not be offered to those who do not meet the requirements set out above. For example, none of the following contributions, in and of themselves, justifies including a person as a co-author:

    • being head of department, holding other positions of authority, or personal friendship with the HDR candidate;
    • providing a technical contribution but no other intellectual input to the project or publication;
    • providing routine assistance in some aspects of the project, the acquisition of funding or general supervision of the research team;
    • providing data that has already been published or materials obtained from third parties, but with no other intellectual input.

    A HDR candidate should be the principal author of publications emerging from a thesis with supervisors, where appropriate, taking second author status. Second author status is obligatory if the supervisor/s designates the primary variables or makes interpretative contributions or provides the database; is a courtesy if the supervisor/s designates the general area or substantially contributes to design; and is not acceptable if the supervisor only provides encouragement, physical resources, financial support, critiques or editorial contribution. In the last case, supervisors should be acknowledged in the acknowledgments section. There are some circumstances where the supervisor may be the principal author but where this occurs it must be with the HDR candidate's written approval. If research supervisors use contracts with their HDR candidates it would appropriate to include a statement of authorship. 

    Thesis Binding Services

    If you are seeking binding services for your thesis, the following are some organisations that offer this service, but there are many.  Please make your own enquiries and decide which best suits your needs.  For information regarding online services relating to theses and dissertations, see the Theses & Dissertations page on the Division of Library Services website.

    Elite Bookbinding (Hardbound) Unit 3/12-16 Sandford Street
    Tel. 02 6241 4224
    Fax. 02 6241 4290
    Les Baddock Book Binders Pty Ltd (Hardbound) 6-8 McGill Street, Lewisham NSW 2049 Tel. 02 9560 9222
    Fax: 02 9569 2221
    Whites/Law Bindery - Abercrombie Hatch & Sons (Hardbound) 802 - 804 Glenhuntly Road
    Tel. 03 9523 6026
    Fax: 03 9528 6790