The format and style of your thesis should meet the requirements of your discipline, the needs of your examiners and the UWA course rules.

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.

Thesis Style and Format

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.

Support for writing your thesis and preparing for thesis examination is provided by the Graduate Education Officers. You can read more about the support they provide here. This support includes advice about the style and format of your thesis and how to format a thesis as a series of papers.

Thesis front page proforma

A proforma for the front pages of your the thesis is provided below. Please include these front pages, complete with the appropriate signatures in the electronic version of your thesis submitted for examination.

You are free to change the style of the pages (such as margins, spacing, font, font size, pagination and pagination style) to match the remainder of your thesis and add any additional pages as required (such as Abstract, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, Acronyms and Abbreviations and Glossary).

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.

Thesis Components

All UWA theses should contain these thesis components. The thesis front page proforma provides a template for thesis components for you to complete for inclusion in your thesis.

  • Title Page

    Your thesis title page must include the title of your thesis in full, your full name and past degrees, the UWA logo, the course the thesis is presented for, your school, your discipline and the year of submission.


  • 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).

    If your research involves human or animal data reported in the thesis, you need to indicate in your thesis declaration that it has been assessed and approved by the UWA Ethics Committee with the approval number.

    If you have approval from an external agency or institution, you still need to apply for recognition of your existing approval from the relevant UWA committee and note this down with the reference number in your thesis declaration. 

  • 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.

  • Table of contents

    Your table of contents should allow the reader to navigate easily to the main sections of your thesis. You may also wish to include a List of Tables, List of Figures, Acronyms and Abbreviations and Glossary.

  • 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" as indicated in the thesis front page proforma. If you have received other scholarships you may wish to acknowledge them in a similar way.

  • Authorship declaration

    Your thesis will need to include an authorship declaration if you have included papers (or other form of work) in your thesis that have been published, submitted for publication, or presented as a manuscript formatted for future publication. The authorship declaration provides details of the work and where it appears in the thesis. 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 includes any co-authored work that has been published, submitted for publication, or presented as a manuscript formatted for future publication (including work co-authored by you and one or more of your supervisors) you must declare your contribution to the work in the authorship declaration. 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 the Thesis Submission form and (2) sign to endorse the declaration.

  • Main text

    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 tables, figures, reference lists, bibliographies, and appendices and other endnotes. 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.

    If examiners require a hard copy you will be notified and asked to print a double-sided version of your thesis for the GRS to send to the examiner. 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.

    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.

  • 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. Please ensure all references cited in the text are listed in the bibliography.

  • Appendices

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