Higher Degree by Research Thesis Presentation Schedule

Schedule overview

1 Purpose

To establish the presentation requirements for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Theses at the University.

2 Scope

This schedule must be read in conjunction with the Higher Degree by Research Thesis Examination Procedure and is subordinate to it.

3 Schedule

3.1 Presentation standards

All Theses must uphold the presentation and publishing standards relevant to the discipline. Students should discuss the discipline standards with their HDR Supervisory Team.

3.2 Language

Theses must be written in English.

3.3 Style

The Thesis must be written in good language and in acceptable style. The Thesis should be clear, concise, correct and complete. There should be a thorough editing before Thesis submission with a focus on:

  • accuracy and clarity;
  • precision and conciseness;
  • a high standard of spelling, grammar and punctuation;
  • sound language choice;
  • sound paragraph and sentence construction; and
  • the elimination of redundant or ambiguous words, phrases and passages.

3.4 Length of Thesis

There is no prescribed minimum length for a doctoral Thesis as this will vary with the research topic and the form of presentation. There is normally a maximum prescribed length of 80,000 words for a doctoral Thesis. Specific length requirements may apply in some instances, for certain Thesis types. Where such requirements exist, these will be detailed in the Academic Program information within the USQ Handbook.

There is no prescribed minimum length for a masters Thesis as this will vary with the research topic and the form of presentation. There is normally a maximum prescribed length of 40,000 words for a masters Thesis

3.5 Format of a Standard Thesis

The Standard Thesis should be formatted with:

  • one and a half line spacing;
  • A4 (297 mm x 210 mm) page layout;
  • a left hand margin of at least 40 mm, a top, bottom and right hand margin of at least 25 mm;
  • 12 point font size for the main text.

Submission of the Thesis in two volumes labelled I and II (Roman capital numerals) may be appropriate in exceptional circumstances when there are large, essential appendices.

In this case volume I will contain the whole of the Thesis proper, and volume II the appendices. The contents page in volume I will refer to both volumes; and volume II will commence with a duplicate title page.

3.6 Format of a Thesis by Publication

A Thesis by Publication will be formatted according to the Standard Thesis as outlined in Section 3.5 although published sections may be inserted without re-formatting.

The Thesis by Publication must contain an introduction that contextualises the research project in relation to the present state of knowledge in the field.

The Thesis chapters and articles must act as one cohesive document. The Thesis must flow logically in a coherent sequence, articulating a clear argument that supports the main findings. The Student must also address how each publication contributes to the advancement of the research area.

The number of publications and the type of publications will vary between disciplines. Normally, the Thesis will be based on a minimum of three publications for a Doctor of Philosophy Academic Program, two publications for a professional doctorate Academic Program and one publication for master by research Academic Program.

Normally these papers will have been published, accepted, submitted or prepared for publication during the period of candidature. The quality of such papers must be appropriate for the Academic Program and have been written by the Student as the sole or joint author.

Where the published papers have joint authors, a statement must be included within the preliminary pages of the Thesis declaring that the Student undertook the majority of the research and authorship of the papers. Normally, a Student would be expected to make 50% or greater contribution to each paper. An acknowledgement of the contribution of other authors must also be outlined in the Thesis acknowledgment section.

The Student must include an independent and original general discussion that integrates the most significant findings, as well as a conclusions chapter that draws together the findings of the published papers in a coherent manner.

The Thesis may include relevant appendices, including additional papers that do not relate to the main thrust of the Thesis, raw data, computer code, questionnaires and other material as deemed appropriate for the relevant discipline.

3.7 Format of a Thesis with Creative Works component

3.7.1 Intention to submit a Thesis with Creative Works component

The intention to choose a Thesis with Creative Works option must be indicated by the Student in consultation with the HDR Supervisory Team at time of Confirmation of Candidature. The scope and character of the creative component are to be outlined in detail and approved as part of the Confirmation of Candidature process as set out in the HDR Confirmation of Candidature Schedule.

3.7.2 Types of creative components

The creative component of the Thesis may include an exhibition, a design project, a portfolio of literary or musical compositions, a sequence of recitals, recordings and/or, audio visual, multimedia, or other approved creative production.

3.7.3 Collaborations

Where the creative works is a collaboration, a statement must be included within the preliminary pages of the Thesis that clearly specifies the extent to which the creative works was undertaken by the Student. This statement must be accompanied by written confirmation from the collaborator/s regarding the extent of the contribution by each collaborator. Full acknowledgement of the contribution of other collaborator/s must also be outlined in the acknowledgement section.

3.7.4 Creative component requirements

For visual arts, the Student must submit a substantial body of original art work under supervision from the University, either in a portfolio or exhibition.

For film and multimedia, the Student must submit a substantial body of original creative works that may be made up of a single film of suitable length, a series of short films, or an appropriate collection of programs.

For musicians, the work will consist of public recitals. Normally live recordings of complete recitals will be submitted for examination. When appropriate and after consultation with the HDR Supervisory Team, recordings edited by the Student may be submitted as a component of the performance. Submissions must be accompanied by a statement of the editing process and rationale.

For composers, the Student must submit a portfolio of compositions of approved scope determined in consultation with the HDR Supervisory Team.

For theatre, the Student must submit a substantial body of original creative works that may be made up of a single play or a series of short pieces.

For creative writing, the Student must submit a portfolio of written work, such as poems, stories or a novel of suitable length and publishable quality.

3.7.5 Exegesis requirements

The Exegesis is a form of written assessment that accompanies a Student's creative works.

The Exegesis will normally provide a rationale for the techniques and strategies adopted in the creative works and situate them in relation to the theoretical and/or the historical cultural context. One or more clearly identified research questions investigated through the creative works should be included in the Exegesis.

3.8 Order of content

The contents of any type of Thesis should normally be in the following order:

  1. INITIAL PAGES The initial pages may be numbered using Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.)
  2. MAIN TEXT (including Figures as appropriate) Pages are numbered in sequence 1, 2, 3, 4 ...
  3. REFERENCES
  4. BIBLIOGRAPHY (if appropriate)
  5. PLANS (if any)
  6. APPENDICES.

3.8.1 Order of initial pages

The order of these pages will normally be as follows:

  1. Title page

    This page should set out the full title (preferably in capital lettering), the full name and academic qualifications of the Student, the award for which the Thesis is submitted (e.g. Doctor of Philosophy) and the year of submission. An example of the title page is provided below.

    Thesis Title
  2. Abstract

    An abstract is a concise statement of the major elements of the academic work. A brief mention, usually restricted to a sentence or two, of the objectives and methodology is usually given to set the methods, results and conclusions in context. An abstract would not normally exceed 500 words. Students may expect that examiners will take great care to check that the work of the Thesis/Exegesis is adequately presented in the abstract.
  3. Certification page

    A certification statement headed 'Certification of Thesis' must be included within the preliminary pages of the Thesis/Exegesis. This statement certifies the work contained in the Thesis is the bonafide work of the Student, has not been previously submitted for an award, and confirms that the Thesis contains no material previously published by, or written by another person except where due acknowledgement and reference is made. Where the Thesis is based on publications with joint authors the certification statement must clearly state that the Student undertook the research and the majority of the authorship of the papers. The contribution of other authors must be outlined in the Thesis acknowledgement section. Examples of the Certification page are provided below.

    Example for a Standard Thesis

    Thesis certification page


    This Thesis is entirely the work of (Student name) _____________________ except where otherwise acknowledged. The work is original and has not previously been submitted for any other award, except where acknowledged.

    Principal Supervisor: ___________________
    Insert name only (signature not required)

    Associate Supervisor: __________________
    Insert name only (signature not required)

    Associate Supervisor: __________________
    Insert name only (signature not required)

    Student and supervisors signatures of endorsement are held at the University.

    Example for a Thesis by Publication

    Thesis certification page


    This Thesis is the work of (Student name) _____________________ except where otherwise acknowledged, with the majority of the authorship of the papers presented as a Thesis by Publication undertaken by the Student. The work is original and has not previously been submitted for any other award, except where acknowledged.

    Principal Supervisor: ___________________
    Insert name only (signature not required)

    Associate Supervisor: __________________
    Insert name only (signature not required)

    Associate Supervisor: __________________
    Insert name only (signature not required)

    Student and supervisors signatures of endorsement are held at the University.
  4. Acknowledgements

    It is essential that the Student acknowledges assistance received whilst undertaking the project and preparing the Thesis. The Student should consider carefully all forms of assistance received - academic, technical, financial, scholarships, secretarial, administrative and personal (e.g. family) as appropriate. The acknowledgements should not normally exceed one page.
  5. Table of contents and notation

    The purpose of a 'Table of Contents' is to provide a clear and comprehensive index to the material presented. It should include:
    1. Chapter headings (numbered 1, 2, etc.)
    2. Headings within chapters (numbered 1.1, 1.2, etc.)
    3. Further subheadings as appropriate (similarly 'nested' and numbered 1.1.2.1 etc.)
    4. The heading 'References' and its appropriate page number
    5. The heading 'Bibliography' and its page number (if appropriate)
    6. The heading 'List of Figures' and its page number
    7. The heading 'List of Tables' and its page number
    8. The heading 'List of Plans' and its page number (if appropriate)
    9. Appendices; each numbered (1, 2, 3) or lettered (A, B, C) in order and with its heading.

The 'List of Figures', 'List of Tables' and 'List of Plans' (if used) shall follow in subsequent pages.

3.9 The main text

The main text will usually be divided into chapters. Typical chapter headings might be:

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2 METHODS

CHAPTER 3 RESULTS

CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS

3.10 List of References

All references cited in the body of the Thesis/Exegesis must be listed in the References section in alphabetical order in accordance with the referencing system most suitable for the discipline (e.g. APA, Harvard). Students should consult with their HDR Supervisory Team regarding the most appropriate referencing, citation and footnotes style for their discipline.

3.11 Previously published material

Material previously published by the Student may be used in the body of the Thesis/Exegesis, but should be properly acknowledged as with any other previously published material.

Quotations should be clearly identified, for example, by quotation marks, italics or indenting.

It may be appropriate for Students to present their previously published material in its original published format as an appendix.

3.12 Bibliography (if appropriate)

The bibliography is a list of books which the Student has found useful in an overall way, but for which there are no direct in text references - for example, books on Thesis presentation which the Student has read, and background textbooks to the Thesis topic.

3.13 Plans, diagrams, tables, and photographs

Small diagrams, tables and photographs should be incorporated into the text and numbered according to discipline specific publishing practices.

Appendices should be labelled Appendix A, B, etc. with the order being determined by the order in which they are referred to in the main body of the text.

Page numbering may be carried through to the appendices or separate pagination such as A1, A2, A3 used if more convenient.

Figures, tables, etc., when used exclusively in an Appendix, may be labelled Figure A.1, Table A.1, etc. if more convenient.

3.14 Raw data

Normally all raw data should be presented to enable future researchers to confirm results and derive maximum benefit from the work. However, given the often vast data volume it is left to the Student and HDR Supervisory Team together to determine the appropriate level of raw/semi processed/processed data to present.

On some occasions an examiner may wish to view raw data not directly presented in the Thesis. Hence Students are advised to maintain their raw data in an accessible and presentable form.

3.15 Computer code

Computer code should be listed in the appendices only when they have been written by the Student.

Each code piece should be adequately 'self-documenting', with comment panels outlining language, machine requirements, library function/subroutine requirements (where nonstandard), input and output variables, etc. Flow charts are not specifically required, but if there is a suite of codes or interactive subroutines, one (or more) structure charts may be appropriate.

3.16 Submission

Normally the Thesis submitted for examination, or as a final copy will be submitted electronically. However a Student, members of the Supervisory Team or an examiner may request a hard copy.

3.16.1 Submission for examination

The submission requirements for the examination of a Thesis is outlined in the HDR Thesis Examination Procedure.

3.16.2 Permanent binding of final copy

If a request has been made for the final Thesis to be printed, A4 (297 mm x 210 mm) good quality bond (at least 73GSM) is to be used. Double sided printing is recommended. The binding of the Thesis will consist of sewing and binding with full cloth stiff covers. The spine lettering should include the author's initial/s and surname, the title (a shortened version may be used if necessary) and the year the Thesis was presented. The lettering should run from top to bottom of the spine.

Colours for the binding and lettering for Theses are as follows:

Award

Cloth Colour

Lettering Colour

Doctor of Philosophy

Black

Gold

Doctor of Applied Science

Teal

Gold

Doctor of Business Administration Research

Dark Green

Gold

Doctor of Creative Arts

White

Gold

Doctor of Education

Purple

Gold

Doctor of Health

TBA

TBA

Doctor of Professional Studies (Research)

Charcoal Grey

Gold

Doctor of Professional Engineering

Maroon

Gold

All Research Masters

Red

Gold

4 References

Nil.

5 Schedule Information

Accountable Officer

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Responsible Officer

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Policy Type

University Procedure

Approved Date

29/5/2017

Effective Date

29/5/2017

Review Date

10/11/2019

Relevant Legislation

Electronic Transactions Act 1999

Higher Education Support Act 2003

Related Policies

Academic Programs and Courses Policy

Assessment Policy

Award Eligibility and Graduation Policy

Research Code of Conduct Policy

Student Complaint and Appeal Policy

Related Procedures

Academic Appeal Procedure

Academic Standing, Progression and Exclusion Procedure

Assessment Procedure

Formal Examinations Procedure

Higher Degree by Research Thesis Examination Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

HDR Forms

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Academic Program

An approved Higher Education Award of the University, consisting of a combination of Courses the successful completion of an offering of which, together with any credit transfers and Exemptions in accordance with the relevant requirements, will fulfil the prescribed requirements for that particular Award....moreAn approved Higher Education Award of the University, consisting of a combination of Courses the successful completion of an offering of which, together with any credit transfers and Exemptions in accordance with the relevant requirements, will fulfil the prescribed requirements for that particular Award.

Exegesis

A form of written assessment that accompanies a Student's creative works. The Exegesis will normally provide a rationale for the techniques and strategies adopted in the creative works and situate them in relation to the theoretical and/or historical cultural context....moreA form of written assessment that accompanies a Student's creative works. The Exegesis will normally provide a rationale for the techniques and strategies adopted in the creative works and situate them in relation to the theoretical and/or historical cultural context.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR)

A Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work....moreA Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Student

A Student enrolled in an HDR program....moreA Student enrolled in an HDR program.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Supervisor

A member of a Student's HDR Supervisory Team. An HDR Supervisor may hold the position of Principal HDR Supervisor or Associate Supervisor....moreA member of a Student's HDR Supervisory Team. An HDR Supervisor may hold the position of Principal HDR Supervisor or Associate Supervisor.

Student

A person who: has been Admitted or Enrolled in an Academic Program at the University, but has not yet graduated from the program; or has been Enrolled in a Course at the University but has not yet completed the Course....moreA person who: has been Admitted or Enrolled in an Academic Program at the University, but has not yet graduated from the program; or has been Enrolled in a Course at the University but has not yet completed the Course.

Thesis

Also known as a Standard Thesis, is the material outcomes of a program of research. It is also referred to as a 'dissertation'....moreAlso known as a Standard Thesis, is the material outcomes of a program of research. It is also referred to as a 'dissertation'.

Thesis by Publication

A Thesis where some chapters are in the form of research papers published in, or submitted to, peer-reviewed journals....moreA Thesis where some chapters are in the form of research papers published in, or submitted to, peer-reviewed journals.

Thesis with Creative Works

A Thesis with Creative Works includes original work such as multimedia, film, exhibition, performance, musical composition, novel, play or other Faculty approved production, in addition to an Exegesis....moreA Thesis with Creative Works includes original work such as multimedia, film, exhibition, performance, musical composition, novel, play or other Faculty approved production, in addition to an Exegesis.

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

Definitions that relate to this schedule only

Keywords

PhD, dissertation, Thesis, doctoral

Record No

15/1774PL

Complying with the law and observing Policy and Procedure is a condition of working and/or studying at the University.

* This file is available in Portable Document Format (PDF) which requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. A free copy of Acrobat Reader may be obtained from Adobe. Users who are unable to access information in PDF should email policy@usq.edu.au to obtain this information in an alternative format.