The format and style of your thesis should meet the requirements of your discipline and the needs of your examiners.

The Graduate Research School only have a small number of style and format requirements for theses. This gives you the flexibility to format your thesis to fit your discipline and project needs. To make good decisions about the appearance of your thesis, read the rules of your course, review the examination guidelines and recommendations forms, look at similar theses in the UWA Research Repository, and discuss your thesis format with your supervisors. Also aim for a thesis that is logical and easy to read. Your choice of fonts, font sizes, margins, heading styles, the amount of white space used, and the number and titles of chapters should be informed by the needs of your reader.

There are a number of thesis requirements that apply to all higher degree by research students. Details of these requirements and proformas are provided below to help you with these statements and declarations :

  1. Title page
  2. Thesis Declaration
  3. Abstract/summary
  4. Table of contents
  5. Acknowledgements
  6. Authorship Declaration
  7. Main text
  8. Bibliography or references
  9. Appendices

A proforma for the front pages of the thesis is provided in the Authorship Declaration section. You can reformat these pages as required. Please include these front pages, complete with the appropriate signatures, in the electronic version of your thesis submitted for examination.

For further advice about the style and format of your thesis you can attend one of the Graduate Research School workshops on thesis writing or contact one of the Graduate Education Officers.

1. Title page

You should include:

  • title of your thesis in full
  • your names and degrees
  • statement of presentation in the form: "This thesis is presented for the degree of [Doctor of Philosophy/Master] of [insert name of degree] of The University of Western Australia". If you are enrolled in a degree which has examinable components other than a thesis, you should state: "This thesis is presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the [insert name of degree]".
  • school
  • discipline (where applicable)
  • year of submission

2. Thesis declaration

The thesis declaration certifies that the thesis is your work, has been completed during the course of your degree, and does not breach any ethical rules with regard to the conduct of the research. You are required to sign this declaration. Electronic signatures are accepted but please do not use an Adobe 'digital' signature. If you would like to use a e-signature please insert an image of the written signature (also known as a 'wet' signature).

3. Abstract/summary

The abstract or summary should summarise the appropriate headings, aims, scope and conclusion of the thesis in about 250 words, but no more than 700 words.

4. Table of contents

5. Acknowledgements

If you are the recipient of a Research Training Program (RTP) fees offset scholarship and/or a RTP stipend scholarship you need to acknowledge receipt of this scholarship(s) in your thesis front pages. Section 1.6.55 of the RTP Guidelines requires universities to ensure the Commonwealth’s contribution is acknowledged in research publications by RTP students where related to the research project.

If you are in receipt of one or both of these scholarships, please include the following sentence in your acknowledgements: "This research was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship".  

6. Authorship declaration

Your thesis needs to include an authorship declaration. You are required to sign this declaration AND the thesis declaration. Electronic signatures are accepted but please do not use Adobe 'digital' signatures. When using e-signatures, please insert an image of each written signature.

If your thesis does not include published work or work prepared for future publication, your thesis declaration should include a statement to this effect.

If your thesis includes published work or work prepared for future publication, you must include an authorship declaration that provides details of the work and where it appears in the thesis.

If your thesis includes any co-authored published work or co-authored work prepared for future publication (including work co-authored by you and one or more of your supervisors) you must also declare your contribution to the work.  The more detail you can provide the better as your examiners will use your declaration to determine what parts of the work are examinable.  All co-authors must sign your authorship declaration, for two reasons: (1) to endorse your declaration and (2) to authorise inclusion of the work in your thesis.  The declaration must be signed by all co-authors of all publications or manuscripts. If signatures from all the co-authors cannot be obtained for the work, your Coordinating Supervisor must: (1) provide the reasons for this in Section 5 of the Thesis Submission form;  and (2) sign to endorse the declaration.

A proforma for the front pages of the UWA thesis is provided below. Choose the correct proforma according to whether your thesis contains no published work, sole author work or one or more co-authored works.

7. Main text

7.1. Word limits

  • PhD theses may not exceed 100 000 words but you are encouraged to prepare theses of no more than 80 000 words. In some disciplines, PhD theses are shorter than 25,000 words.
  • Master's theses may not exceed 50 000 words.

The word limit counts footnotes but excludes words in endnotes, tables, bibliographies, reference lists, appendices and figures (or other illustrative matter such as maps). If it is normal in your discipline to include references or bibliographic details in footnotes (such as the requirements of the Australian Guide for Legal Citation) then it is not necessary to include the footnote references in the word count. However, any other text in the footnotes will need to be included in the word count.

If the word limits are not exceeded, the length of the thesis is at your discretion, taking into account the advice of your supervisor and Head of School. A thesis that exceeds the word limit must be supported with a letter by the Head of School outlining the reasons for length of the thesis.

7.2 Layout

  • For examination, theses should be double or one-and-a-half spaced, A4-sized, with ~2cm margins
  • If examiners require a hard copy, double-sided printing is encouraged
  • After examination, if you wish to bind a hard copy of the final version of your thesis, a 4cm left hand side margin is required

7.4 Tips

  • Check that there are no incorrect references, misspellings or typographical errors and that all pages are present and in sequence before your thesis is submitted.
  • A thesis may be presented in the form of a typescript, as a published book or paper, or as a series of papers.

8. Bibliography or references

  • A consistent method of citing references should be used. Most disciplines have recommended standard referencing styles. Your school or supervisor can supply you with information on the style you should use.
  • If you are jointly enrolled, you should discuss this with supervisors from both disciplines and come to some arrangement which is acceptable to both disciplines.
  • The library has citation guides which provide guidance for standard citation types.
  • You should also ensure all references cited in the text are listed in the bibliography.

9. Appendices

  • Copies of your publications may be attached to the thesis as appendices.