Thesis and examination
Your thesis can be presented as a traditional thesis, thesis by compilation (published papers), or a creative work 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
When preparing your thesis you must ensure to have considered the details set out in the Guidelines for Thesis Preparation and Submission.
Where your thesis contains pictorial image/s and or voice recordings you need to ensure you have kept accurate records of consent from each participant.
Also refer to:
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:
- Chicago Author-Date
Submitting your thesis
This section will guide you in your thesis submission.
If you have a query about submitting your thesis, email ROC.GRS@curtin.edu.au.
- The Nomination of Examiners must be approved prior to submitting the thesis. You will be notified by the Graduate Research School once examiners have been approved.
- Your Declaration should be the first page of your thesis (the Online Thesis Submission will generate the title (cover) page). [Note – If your thesis title contains scientific text symbols in italic or roman fonts, or accented characters, the auto generated title page won’t recognise these. Please include your prepared title as the first page of the thesis, and we will disregard the autogenerated copy.]
- If you are including publications in your thesis, ensure you have secured your co-author’s approval and have included relevant attribution statements.
- If your thesis title has changed, your School’s Director of Graduate Research should email ROC.GRS@curtin.edu.au with approval to change it.
- Submit your thesis chapters through Turnitin and provide your Supervisor with the similarity report for discussion.
- Upload your thesis via the Online Thesis Submission and enter your details including Full name and ORCID iD (if applicable). Once your Supervisor has approved, you will receive an automated receipt and your thesis will be dispatched for examination.
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.
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.
Once you have fully complied with the requirements for submission of thesis, the Graduate Research School will amend your enrolment status to Under Examination, which is the status you hold following submission of the thesis and for the duration of the examination process. When Under Examination, you won’t incur any fees. If you are a scholarship recipient, your scholarship will cease.
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
Approximately three months before the anticipated date of submission, your supervisor will nominate two thesis examiners.
The names of your examiners must be kept confidential during the examination process. Examiners may request that their names be kept confidential indefinitely.
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’ recommendations within three months of the date of submission.
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 Research School.
The examiners’ reports are then forwarded to your Thesis Chair, 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 Thesis Chair 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.
If the Thesis Chair finds there is a clear weight of opinion, they will recommend to the University 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 Thesis Chair 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 Thesis Chair.
- Substantive amendments
If revision of specific sections of the thesis is required, the Thesis Chair will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. These must be done to the satisfaction of the Thesis Chair.
After considering the examiners reports, your Thesis Chair will advise you in writing that you are required to revise your thesis for re-examination. The maximum time allowed to undertake the revision is twelve months. Once your revisions have been completed, you should provide the Thesis Chair with a copy of the revised version, together with 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 submit your revised thesis and statement addressing the examiner/s recommendation via the Online Thesis Submission.
If your thesis is recommended as failed by the examiners, you are entitled to appeal against this decision on the following grounds: (i) procedural irregularities or conduct in the examination of the thesis; or (ii) documentable evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of one or more examiners.
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 Thesis Chair, having discussed the reports with the supervisors, 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 re-examined).
In consideration of a thesis which has not been previously re-examined 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 re-examined, the Adjudicator shall recommend Pass or Fail.
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?
Which version of my thesis do I deposit?
The post-examination version of the thesis with all required amendments/revisions, as approved by your Thesis Chair, 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 guide.
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 (ADVCRE). 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
- 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.
After being satisfied that the examination process is complete, your Thesis Chair will make a recommendation to the University Graduate Studies Committee (UGSC). Your examination documents and final thesis will be reviewed and a recommendation made to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who will endorse the final approval.
The Graduate Research School will contact you with the outcome. If you are awarded a pass, you will be advised that you have approval to graduate. HDR students are not required to apply to graduate.
When the Dean of Graduate Studies has classified your thesis as passed, your name will be placed on the graduation list for conferral of the Award by the University Council.
The Graduations Office will notify you via OASIS on how to register to attend a graduation ceremony, or be sent the Award by registered mail.
Please provide two (2) loose leaf copies of the final amended thesis to the Guild Bookshop, Bldg 106G (Guild Courtyard, opp Café @ Concept) for permanent binding. The copies must be securely boxed up in order to be sent to the book binder off-campus. Please place all copies in an empty A4 photocopy paper box with a lid. The loose leaf copies must also be separated by a divider (preferably coloured card/paper). The Bookshop will not bear any responsibility for copies that are submitted incorrectly (e.g. missing pages, upside down pages, errors in printing, etc.). A Thesis Permanent Binding instruction must also be included. The books will take approximately four (4) weeks to return from the bindery and you or a friend/relative/colleague is requested to please collect them from the Bookshop. Books that haven’t been collected after eight (8) weeks will be securely disposed of.