Thesis and examination

Your thesis can be presented as a traditional thesis, thesis by publication or a creative or literary work or series of works accompanied by an exegesis.

This section contains information about the requirements for the presentation of your thesis, how to submit it and what the examination process involves.

The thesis examination process applies to all Curtin Higher Degrees by Research, any additional requirements required by collaborative/ joint PhDs will be communicated to the student and supervisor by the partnering institution.

Preparing your thesis


Referencing styles can differ in each discipline and you should discuss the appropriate referencing style with your supervisor prior to beginning your research.

Accepted referencing styles include:

  • APA
  • Chicago Author-Date
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver

Professional editing

If you intend to use a professional editor, you must do so in accordance with the Guideline for Professional Thesis Editing

Submitting your thesis

This section will guide you in your thesis submission.

If you have a query about submitting your thesis, email

Final but important details prior to submission

  1. The Nomination of Examiners must be approved prior to submitting the thesis. You will be notified by the GRS once examiners have been approved.
  2. Ensure your declaration [.pdf 31KB] is the first page of your thesis (the online Thesis submission will generate a title page for you)
  3. If you are including publications in your thesis, ensure you have secured your co-author’s approval and have included relevant attribution statements.
  4. Ensure your final thesis title is the same as that on your student record. If it is not, you or your supervisor must email the Director of Graduate Research for your school and request the amendment – the DGR will then email GRS with the approved change.
  5. Obtain a Turnitin similarity report for your thesis.
  6. Submit your completed documents to the Online Thesis Submission and you will receive a submission receipt once your school has approved and forwarded to GRS.

Turnitin for HDR students

Curtin is committed to producing high quality research and recognises your contribution to this goal. We recognise HDR students as research colleagues and welcome you to share your Turnitin report with your supervisors to facilitate a dialogue.

More Turnitin resources


Submitting your thesis

Supervisor’s approval

To submit your thesis you first must secure the approval of your supervisor to do so.

You will then need to submit via the Online Thesis Submission.

If you wish to submit but your supervisor will not recommend the thesis for examination, you may request that your thesis be sent for examination in accordance with Section 15 of either Rule No. 10 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Doctor by Research or Rule No. 11 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Master by Research as applicable.


Confidentiality of thesis

A thesis that contains material that may reasonably affect the security of persons, nations, industry or commerce may be declared confidential for a specified period of time. If there are some concerns about the content and confidentiality of a thesis, prior to its submission the Director of Graduate Research may recommend to the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Excellence to consider whether the thesis should be declared confidential. When a thesis is declared confidential, the University cannot display, copy or circulate the thesis during the period of confidentiality.

If your research is being funded by or using the resources of an external organisation they may wish to enter into a confidentiality arrangement with the University. In these circumstances, the sponsor and the University will negotiate mutually agreed confidentiality arrangements prior to the commencement of the study.

On the request of the Director of Graduate Research, thesis examiners can be required to sign a confidentiality agreement. This will usually occur because of security concerns or commercial arrangements.

Enrolment status and fees

Once you’ve have fully complied with the requirements for submission of thesis, the Graduate Studies Officer will amend your enrolment status to Under Examination, which is the status you hold following submission of the thesis and prior to the University Graduate Studies Committee determining the thesis classification.  When Under Examination, you won’t incur any fees.

You can download your e-invoice post enrolment and each Research Period through OASIS eStudent. Fees calculated are pro-rata, up to the date of final submission of thesis. Learn more about downloading your e-invoice.

The examination process

Examination panel

Approximately three months before the anticipated date of completion, as determined by you and your supervisor, the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee will appoint your examiners.

The names of your examiners must be kept confidential during the examination process. Examiners may request that their names be kept confidential indefinitely.

Examination and results


The timeframe for the examination process varies and is largely determined by the length of time it takes the examiners to submit their reports. Normally you should expect to be advised of the examiners’ responses within three months of the date of submission.

Examination process

The examiners review the thesis in terms of your understanding of the field of study, your ability to conceive, plan and conduct a program of research, the originality of your work and the significance of the contribution you have made to that field. Generally, a thesis should also be excellent in its standard of presentation, English expression, grammar, etc., and contain a substantial amount of material that you (and usually your supervisor) have published or is suitable for publication in a refereed journal. The examiners are also required to assess the thesis in relation to your stated thesis objectives. Examiners then submit an independent written report on your thesis to the Graduate Studies Officer.

The examiners’ reports are then forwarded to the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee, who assesses the reports to determine whether they are in substantial agreement. This determination must take into account the content and context of the reports (i.e. qualitative assessment of the reports) as well as the overall classification (i.e. quantitative assessment of the reports). The Chairperson will either find that there is (1) substantial agreement among the examiners, or, in the event of (2) no clear weight of opinion, will recommend the appointment of an Adjudicator.

Substantial agreement

If the Chairperson finds there is a clear weight of opinion, they will recommend to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee:

  • No amendments
    If the examiners have pointed out minor typographical errors, these must be corrected.
  • Minor amendments
    If minor textual and/or structural amendments are required, the Chairperson will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. You should complete these in as short a time as possible to the satisfaction of the Chairperson.
  • Substantive amendments
    If revision of specific sections of the thesis is required, the Chairperson will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. These must be done to the satisfaction of the Chairperson.
  • Revise and resubmit
    After considering the examiners reports, your Thesis Chairperson will advise you in writing that your are required to revise and resubmit your thesis. The maximum time allowed to undertake the revision is twelve months. Once your revisions have been completed, you should provide the Chairperson with a copy of the revised version, together with a statement outlining the revisions you have made. You must also provide a statement that clearly sets out how you have responded to the examiners’ and Thesis Chair’s comments and a Turnitin similarity report for your revised thesis. You will then need to submit your thesis via the Online Thesis Submission.
  • Fail
    If your thesis is recommended as a fail by the examiners, you are entitled to appeal against this decision as provided by Section 17(e)-(j) of either Rule No. 10 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Doctor by Research or Rule No. 11 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Master by Research.

No clear weight of opinion

Where the recommendations of the Examiners do not allow determination of a result based on a clear weight of opinion, the Chairperson, having discussed the reports with the Thesis Committee, shall recommend the appointment of an Adjudicator who shall adjudicate between the Examiners’ disparate reports on the basis of the thesis presented (in original form, or as resubmitted).

In consideration of a thesis which has not been previously resubmitted and with due reference to the Examiners’ Reports, the Adjudicator shall recommend: A, B1/B2, C or Fail.

In consideration of a thesis which has been resubmitted, the Adjudicator shall recommend Pass or Fail.

Final examination outcome and approval to graduate

After being satisfied that the external examination process is complete, your Thesis Chairperson will make a recommendation to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee (FGSC). Your examination papers and final thesis will then be considered by your FGSC. The Chair of your FGSC will then make a recommendation to the ADVCRE or delegate. The ADVCRE will consider all materials presented and will make the final recommendation to the University Graduate Studies Committee.

The Graduate Research School will contact you with the outcome. If you are awarded a pass, you will be advised that your have approval to graduate.

Final digital thesis submission to espace

Prior to being approved to graduate, you are required to submit a digital copy of the final version of your thesis to Curtin University’s institutional repository (espace). This enables the results of your research to be made publicly available.

The digital thesis must be submitted to the Library prior to your degree being awarded. You will not be eligible to graduate until this is completed.

What are the benefits of having my thesis on espace?

Making your thesis publicly available via espace allows more exposure for your research. A digital thesis has a greater potential readership than a hard copy and is protected in a secure digital environment. You will be given a persistent url for your thesis, to use in your online profiles.

How do I submit my final thesis to espace?

Please submit the digital copy of your thesis along with the Submission of Digital Thesis [.pdf 148KB] form to

Which version of my thesis do I deposit?

The post-examination version of the thesis with all required amendments/revisions, as approved by your Supervisor, must be submitted.

If applicable, you may also need to submit a second “open access” copy. This version must be the same as the final thesis in all essential respects, with confidential or third party copyright material for which you have not secured permission, redacted.

Where possible, confidential information should be presented in an appendix, rather than in the body of the thesis. The body of the thesis can then be made publicly available, while the appendix is not.

What about Copyright and Intellectual Property clearance?

When your work is available on espace it remains unpublished. You will retain the copyright once the thesis is on espace.

What if the thesis contains published material?

If your thesis contains material which you have published, the publisher agreement is likely to contain restrictions on how you can use the material. As a result of this, the published material may need to be redacted from the thesis before it is made available on espace. In place of the redacted materials, you may include a statement, “Publication has been removed due to copyright restrictions”.

Some agreements may allow you to include an earlier version of the publication. Please refer to the Copyright at Curtin guide for HDR students.

What if the thesis contains confidential and/or sensitive material?

You may request for restricted access (embargo) to your thesis for five years, subject to approval by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Excellence. In exceptional circumstances, a permanent embargo may be approved by the ADVCRE.

Reasons for placing a thesis under an embargo include:

  • Commercialisation (in order to file a patent protecting the work)
  • Commercial partner/sponsor/funder wishes to protect confidential information
  • Other restrictions of a sponsor/partner/funder
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Papers pending publication

How do I prepare the files?

The final version of your full thesis, as examined, must be submitted in portable document format (PDF). If your thesis contains redacted material, a second “open access” copy of the thesis must also be provided.

What if I have supplementary files as part of my thesis?

Audio or video files, or other formats such as Excel spreadsheets, may be included in espace as supplementary files. Please email the espace team for assistance.

How will the Graduate Research School know that I’ve deposited my digital thesis?

Once you’ve uploaded your digital thesis and accompanying form, the Library will notify the Graduate Research School so that you can graduate.

Where will my thesis be available?

Your thesis will be available in espace and can be found via the Curtin Library Catalogue and the National Library of Australia’s TROVE repository.

Graduating and receiving your award

When the University Graduate Studies Committee has classified your thesis as passed, your name will be placed on the graduation list for Conferral of the Award by the Council of the University. The Graduate Research School will advise you of this and therefore you do not have to complete an Application to Graduate. The Graduations Officer will write to you in due course with the option of attending the appropriate ceremony or receiving the Award by mail.