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MSc dissertation and PhD thesis submission

The advice provided here should be read together with the General Regulations of the University of Pretoria governing Masters degree (G.30-G.41) and Doctoral degree (G.42-G.54) programmes. It is the responsibility of all candidates for these programmes to be familiar with the relevant General Regulations.

Counting-down to submission

Regardless of whether you are in an MSc or PhD programme, there is a timeline that you and your supervisors need to follow to ensure that your dissertation or thesis is sent to examiners and examined in as little time as necessary. The following events need to coincide with the limits imposed by the University for completion of MSc and PhD programmes.

Time Event
6 months before submission

Speak to your supervisors to define the final title of your dissertation or thesis. Your supervisors will then need to submit a completed title registration and examiner nomination form to the Faculty for approval by the Postgraduate Studies Committee.

Also prepare a 250-word summary of your dissertation or thesis that will be provided to potential examiners so that they can decide if they have the necessary expertise to accept nomination.

By this point you should have already completed a large proportion of the writing of your dissertation or thesis to the satisfaction of your supervisors. For PhD candidates, this should include at least one accepted journal article.

3 months before submission

Notify the Faculty in writing (email) that you intend to submit your dissertation or thesis. Include your student number, full names and surname, title of the dissertation/thesis, and the name of your supervisor in the email. At this point, the Faculty will let you know the accepted title of your dissertation or thesis, and how many hard or electronic copies of your dissertation or thesis must be submitted for examination.

By this point you should be close to completing the writing of a complete draft of your dissertation or thesis. For MSc candidates, a manuscript should have been submitted or be close to submission.

30 April

31 August

These are the due dates for submission of dissertations and theses to the Faculty, annually, for examination with a view to graduating at the next graduation ceremony. Later submissions are accepted but there is no guarantee that you will be able to graduate at the next ceremony in this circumstance.

In addition to the dissertation or thesis, you and your supervisors must complete a dissertation or thesis submission form, in addition to other requirements specific to MSc or PhD programmes.

You must be registered and have paid the full registration fee for the year in which you submit your thesis or dissertation. However, you may not be permitted to re-register if you have run over the time permitted to complete your degree.

15 February

15 July

These are the dates by which amended copies incorporating the examiners' comments and agreed by your supervisors and the Head of Department must be received by the Faculty, annually, to guarantee graduation at an Autumn or Spring ceremony.

MSc dissertations

What needs to be submitted for examination?

  • A sufficient number of ring-bound hard copies printed on A4 paper and/or an electronic copy on CD of the dissertation prepared to the satisfaction of your supervisors and according to General Regulation G.39
  • The title of the dissertation must be the same as the one sent to and approved by the Postgraduate Studies Committee, or it will not be accepted
  • Evidence of submission of at least one manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal resulting from your MSc research
  • A completed dissertation submission form

You must also place all data files in a data repository as instructed by your supervisors, and hand over all data sheets and lab note books to your primary supervisor.


PhD theses

What needs to be submitted for examination?

  • A sufficient number of ring-bound hard copies printed on A4 paper and/or an electronic copy on CD of the thesis prepared to the satisfaction of your supervisors and according to General Regulation G.50
  • The title of the thesis must be the same as the one sent to and approved by the Postgraduate Studies Committee, or it will not be accepted
  • At least one accepted, peer-reviewed journal article resulting from your PhD research
  • A 250-word CV summarising the main findings and implications of the PhD research. The CV will be published in the printed graduation ceremony programme, so prepare this in collaboration with your supervisors
  • A laudation of no more than 250 words, which will be read at the graduation ceremony. It should be a narrative description of the nature of the research, its implications, and international recognition such as publications or presentations at international conferences. Also prepare this in collaboration with your supervisors.
  • A completed thesis submission form

You must also place all data files in a data repository as instructed by your supervisors, and hand over all data sheets and lab note books to your primary supervisor.


Templates

Formatting a dissertation or thesis can be a surprisingly time-consuming exercise. There are a range of formatting requirements imposed by the General Regulations of the University of Pretoria, as well as supervisor personal preferences.

The following link provides a template that meets University requirements for dissertation and thesis preparation. It also includes pre-set headings and font types that will help you to prepare your work in a professional manner. Consult your supervisors about which sections you should include that are not prescribed by the University, and the referencing style that you should use.

Dissertation/thesis template


Will I have to make amendments to my dissertation or thesis?

This really depends on the quality of your research and writing.

Every examiner independently prepares a report that will include a recommendation on whether the degree should be awarded without change, awarded with minor or major changes, or if the dissertation or thesis requires major changes and re-examination, or should be rejected. In addition, examiners also suggest a mark out of 100 for MSc dissertations.

The examiners’ reports are made available to the Head of Department. Together with your supervisors, the Head of Department reviews the examiners' reports and prepares a consolidated report, which includes recommendations on the amendments that are required, if any.

Your supervisors will let you know what changes need to be made.

What about the final version?

If the dissertation is accepted without change, or after it has been amended to the satisfaction of your supervisors and the Head of Department, the final version must be submitted to the Faculty. You will need:

  • One hard copy printed on A4 paper, bound with a hard cover, which will be deposited in the University of Pretoria Library. The title of the dissertation and your name should be printed on the front, and your name and the year of submission should be printed on the spine
  • One CD on which electronic copies in .doc and .pdf are saved, which will be used to load your dissertation onto the University of Pretoria Electronic Theses and Dissertations (UPeTD) collection
  • A UPeTD submission form completed by you and your supervisors

You also need to provide an electronic copy of the final thesis to your supervisors. Some supervisors may also request a hard bound copy for their collection.

- Author C. Weldon
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Last edited by Christopher WeldonEdit