This article will provide detailed information on how to present your thesis.

The thesis must be presented in a permanent and legible form either in typescript or print and the text of a satisfactory quality (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, etc). The thesis is to be printed on one side of the paper (right hand pages only) and double or one-and-a-half spacing must be used in typescript except for indented quotations or footnotes where single spacing may be used. Pages shall be numbered consecutively through the main text and bibliography, including photographs and/or diagrams that are included as whole pages. The size of character used in the main text, including displayed matter and notes, should be no less than 2mm for capitals and 1.5mm for lower case (e.g. font size between 10 and 12).

Paper should be A4 size, white and within the range 70g/m to 100g/m. The margin at the binding edge of the page should not be less than 40mm. Other margins should not be less than 15mm. Margins should not include the page number. Please ensure compliance with the standards set for margins etc. as this will ensure that doctoral theses conform to the minimum requirements expected by the British Library. The following is the suggested order for the sections of your thesis before the main chapters:

  • An abstract must be included which provides a synopsis of the thesis stating the aims, scope, results and conclusions of the work undertaken and of the contribution made to the knowledge of the subject treated;
  • The abstract should be approximately 300 words in length and must not include abbreviations. The abstract is self standing and can be read without reference to the main body of the thesis;
  • Contents list, giving the title of each chapter, principal sub-headings and page numbers;
  • You need to include the following declaration: ‘Whilst registered as a candidate for the above degree, I have not been registered for any other research award. The results and conclusions embodied in this thesis are the work of the named candidate and have not been submitted for any other academic award.’

If your thesis is submitted as part of a research partnership leading to a dual award, please contact the Research Section ( for alternative wording for your declaration.

  • Your word count should also be included on this declaration page;
  • List of tables, numbered by each chapter, giving their title and page numbers;
  • List of figures, numbered by each chapter, giving their title and page numbers;
  • Abbreviations. This should be listed on a separate page after the main index. They should be defined at their first appearance in the text. Use abbreviations sparingly as they make the text harder to read;
  • Acknowledgements and dedication, if any;
  • Dissemination. A concise list of your relevant publications, abstracts, presentations and posters.

It is expected that the maximum length of the thesis should not exceed the following guidelines, excluding ancillary data such as footnotes, bibliographies, diagrams and references. Please note that unless specified there is no minimum word limit.

  • PhD      80,000 words
  • MPhil    40,000 words
  • MD       40,000 words
  • PD        50,000 words

Faculty Research Degree Committees may prescribe alternative maximum word lengths for particular subject areas and the following lower limits have been agreed:

  • MPhil Biology, Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, Mathematics:   20,000 words
  • PhD Biology, Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, Mathematics:    40,000 words

Where the thesis is accompanied by material that is not in written form, e.g. film, video tapes, etc, the written thesis should normally be within the range:

  • For PhD    30,000–40,000 words
  • For MPhil  15,000–20,000 words

The title page shall give the following information:

  • The full title of the thesis;
  • The full name of the author;
  • The statement worded as follows for PhD, MD or PD. ‘The thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of …… [insert the award – e.g. Philosophy, Medicine or relevant Professional Doctorate title] …… of the University of Portsmouth.’
  • The statement worded as follows for MPhil: ‘The thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Philosophy of the University of Portsmouth.’
  • The collaborative establishment, if any;
  • The month and year of submission.

Assistance from your First Supervisor

You can expect your First Supervisor to:

  • Propose your examiners and submit details for approval by the Chair, FRD Committee on behalf of the FRD Committee;
  • Advise on the editing and content of your thesis before submission;
  • Discuss the arrangement of a mock viva with you;
  • Organise a mutually convenient date for the examination and notify the Research Section, Department of Student and Academic Administration of the date, time and venue.


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