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PhD: Submission of Thesis/Final Examination

Appointment of Examiners

When you are in an advanced stage of writing your thesis, you will need to apply to the for the appointment of your examiners.  You must do this well in advance of your estimated completion date.  Please complete the Intention to Submit form and submit it together with a copy of your dissertation summary to the Degree Committee office, following the instructions on the form.  

The summary should be roughly 300 words long, fit onto one side of A4, include the approved title and your name.  This summary is essentially for advising the Degree Committee on the appointment of appropriate examiners and for potential examiners to assess whether they are suitable to examine your thesis.

The Degree Committee will then set in motion the process of appointment by asking your Head of Department to make nominations; he or she may consult your supervisor at this point.

This is particularly important for students expecting to submit their thesis during the long vacation.  A thesis submitted after the last Degree Committee meeting in Easter term (mid-July) will remain on a shelf in the Degree Committee Office until November if examiners have not been appointed! 

The other reason for applying early for examiners is that the Degree Committee must approve the title of your thesis.  If you write your thesis without getting prior approval for your title, you risk having the Committee refuse to accept your title (which you may have already incorporated into your thesis). 


Format of Thesis

The thesis must be:

written in English, apart from quotations and recognised technical formulae
be thoroughly checked to ensure clear, formal English has been used throughout and that there are minimal typing errors and/or spelling mistakes
be typescript on A4 paper
be portrait format
use single sided or double-sided printing
use one-and-a-half spaced type
maximum 60,000 words (or 80,000 by special permission of the Degree Committee), exclude figures, photographs, tables, appendices and bibliography.


Any photographs or other illustrations should be scanned or printed into the text. Originals, not photocopies may be used, in which case these must be secured permanently inside the thesis (not by use of adhesive tape).


Submitting the Soft Bound Thesis

The first submission of your thesis must be fully prepared and carefully checked.

Examiners are not expected to edit work. They will deal with errors of fact and typographical errors that affect the meaning, as well as larger, structural issues. The extent to which the text has or has not been properly prepared may influence their recommendation concerning the award of the degree.

How do I submit my thesis?

You must submit two bound copies of the dissertation for examination.   Soft-bound thesis must be bound in such a way for the contents to be securely fixed within the covers, i.e. spiral bound.

You may submit a hard bound thesis as your first submission, along with all the paperwork listed below for a first submission. However, if corrections to your thesis are required, you will need to produce a new, corrected, hard bound edition. Should you decide to submit a hard bound thesis at this stage please also follow the guidance on the minimum requirements for a hardbound copy of thesis for Hardbound Submission.

Your thesis should be submitted to the following address:
Student Registry Academic
Division University of Cambridge
4 Mill Lane Cambridge
(You can do this in person, by post, or through a third party.)


Further information and guidance about printing and soft binding your dissertation can be found on the website of the Graduate Union.

What paperwork is needed?

A number of documents are required to be included with the  soft-bound thesis, either loose or bound inside the thesis.

A full list of all the paperwork that is required to be submitted can be found here:


Submitting the Hard Bound Thesis

Final approval for the PhD is conditional on you submitting a hard bound copy of the thesis for deposit in the University Library.  You should also submit a second copy for the Departmental library.  Both should be submitted to the student registry at the address below:

Student Registry
Academic Division
University of Cambridge
4 Mill Lane Cambridge

Requirements for the hardbound submission

Please follow the guidance on the minimum requirements for Hardbound Submission.

Printing/Binding Services:

There are a number of bookbinders available; two Cambridge Bookbinders are:

Further information and guidance about printing and soft binding your dissertation can be found on the website of the Graduate Union


NB The rules governing the final examination of PhD students form part of University Statutes, and these examinations are administered by the Board of Graduate Studies and the joint degree committee of Faculties of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.  See for details.