- On this page
- Submitting the Soft Bound Dissertation
- Submitting the Hard Bound Dissertation
- Including a CD-Rom (or other item)
- Submitting the Electronic Copy to D-space
- Restricting Access to Graduate Degree Dissertation
The first submission of your thesis must be fully prepared and carefully checked.
Examiners are not expected to edit work. They will deal with errors of fact and typographical errors that affect the meaning, as well as larger, structural issues. The extent to which the text has or has not been properly prepared may influence their recommendation concerning the award of the degree.
What format does my thesis have to be in?
The thesis must:
- be written in English, apart from quotations and recognised technical formulae
- be thoroughly checked to ensure clear, formal English has been used throughout and that there are minimal typing errors and/or spelling mistakes
- be typescript on A4 paper
- be portrait format
- use single sided or double-sided printing
- use one-and-a-half spaced type
- use font size 12pt - 10pt for footnotes
- use font type Arial or Times New Roman
Any photographs or other illustrations should be scanned or printed into the text. Originals, not photocopies may be used, in which case these must be secured permanently inside the thesis (not by use of adhesive tape).
How do I present my dissertation?
You must submit two bound copies of the dissertation for examination. Soft-bound thesis must be bound in such a way for the contents to be securely fixed within the covers, i.e. spiral bound.
You may submit a hard bound thesis as your first submission, along with all the paperwork listed below for a first submission. However, if corrections to your thesis are required, you will need to produce a new, corrected, hard bound edition.
Should you decide to submit a hard bound thesis at this stage please also follow the guidance on the minimum requirements for a hardbound copy of thesis for Hardbound Submission
What paperwork is needed?
Bound inside the dissertation you must include the following:
1. A title page displaying:
- the full title of the dissertation,
- your full name (as it appears on your passport),
- your college,
- the date of your submission (month and year)
- and a declaration stating:
This dissertation is submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Science/Master of Letters - as appropriate.
2. A declaration in the preface stating:
- This dissertation is the result of my own work and includes nothing which is the outcome of work done in collaboration except as declared in the Preface and specified in the text.
- It is not substantially the same as any that I have submitted, or, is being concurrently submitted for a degree or diploma or other qualification at the University of Cambridge or any other University or similar institution except as declared in the Preface and specified in the text. I further state that no substantial part of my dissertation has already been submitted, or, is being concurrently submitted for any such degree, diploma or other qualification at the University of Cambridge or any other University of similar institution except as declared in the Preface and specified in the text
- It does not exceed the prescribed word limit for the relevant Degree Committee.
For more information on the word limits for the respective Degree Committee. See Word Limits and Stylistic Conventions: Requirements of the Degree Committees
Loose with the dissertation (not bound inside)
- Two copies of the Title Page
- Three copies of a Summary/Abstract of about 300 words in length, with your name and dissertation title on it.
- One copy of the statement of length (not needed for Mathematics or Biology)
- Addresses for Examination Purposes Form
- A signed Declaration Form
- A completed 'Deposit and Copying of Dissertation Declaration Form
- A second completed Deposit and Copying of Dissertation Declaration Form - but this time a smaller version with an adhesive back - please note this is an adhesive backed form and so cannot be downloaded from the website *
The following forms must be provided loose with the dissertation:
*If you submit your dissertation in person you may complete and sign a copy of the form at the Student Registry.
*If you are posting your thesis or arranging for someone to submit it on your behalf, please contact the Student Registry and ask that a copy of the form is sent to you:
Student Registry Desk 01223 766302
Return completed forms to the Student Registry.
How do I submit my dissertation?
You can do this:
- in person
- through a third party
- by post
Your dissertation should be submitted to the following address:
University of Cambridge
4 Mill Lane Cambridge
I have submitted my dissertation to the Student Registry, what happens next?
If you submitted your dissertation yourself you will be given a document called 'Important information following the submission of your thesis' - this document is a useful reference for what happens next within your examination process. This form will be emailed to you if you did not submit your dissertation in person.
The Student Registry updates your CamSIS record and then sends your dissertation to the appropriate Degree Committee, who arrange the oral examination (viva voce). If you have not heard from the Degree Committee within six weeks of submitting your dissertation, do contact them. Any questions with regard to your dissertation at this stage should be directed to the Degree Committee.
When will I hear from the Student Registry?
Once your oral examination (viva voce) has taken place, the reports from your Examiners will be considered at the next available Degree Committee meeting. The decision from this meeting will then be sent to the Student Registry for presentation at the next available Board of Graduate Studies meeting. Following the Board's meeting the Student Registry will email you within two days with a copy of your reports and the Board's decision.
Degree Committee and Board of Graduate Studies meetings take place in term time. Note that if your viva takes place after the end of the summer term there will be a delay before the paperwork can be considered by either the Degree Committee or the Board of Graduate Studies.
A copy of the dates of the Degree Committee and Board of Graduate Studies meetings can be found here:
Further information on the oral examination (viva voce)
Final approval for the PhD is conditional on you submitting a hard bound copy of the dissertation for deposit in the University Library.
What are the requirements for the hardbound submission?
The minimum requirements for the University Library copy of PhD dissertation are as follows:
- hard bound (hand stitched and not stuck).
- thesis title, your initials and surname reading down the spine.
- letter colour must be gold.
- cover colour is up to you.
What else do I need to submit?
- A loose copy of the Summary, identical to that included in the final version. The summary should include the dissertation title and your name. This is for library classification.
- The Hard-Bound Thesis Declaration form — this states that the work submitted is identical to that which was examined, excepting corrections as required by the examiners.
Where can I have my dissertation bound with hard covers?
There are a number of bookbinders available, two Cambridge Bookbinders are listed below:
- J S Wilson & Son - find them at:
- Email: email@example.com
- Brignell Bookbinders - find them at:
You can send your loose copy of the Summary/Abstract and the signed Hard Bound Thesis Declaration via email to RecordsandExams@admin.cam.ac.uk Or send hard copies through the post to the address for the Student Registry as below.
Where do I submit my dissertation?
If you have been contacted by the Board of Graduate Studies, submit your hard bound dissertation to the address below:
University of Cambridge
4 Mill Lane Cambridge
- However, some Degree Committees will inform you that they have local arrangements for submitting the hard bound thesis, in which case follow their guidance as well as the guidance above and submit to the Degree Committee.
What if I am submitting from overseas?
The two Cambridge Bookbinders listed above accept an electronic copy of the thesis and will arrange for printing, binding and delivery to the Student Registry.
A scanned copy of the signed Hard Bound Thesis Declaration and a copy of the Summary/Abstract - with your full name and the title of the dissertation at the top can be emailed to RecordsandExams@admin.cam.ac.uk
How many copies of the dissertation must I submit?
One copy is required for the University Library. However, the following Departments require a second copy — usually for their own library -submit both copies to the Student Registry:
- Chemical Engineering
- Earth Sciences
- History and Philosophy of Science
- Judge Business School
- Veterinary Medicine
Is there any help with the cost of binding my dissertation?
Thesis binding expenses up to £ 30 are available for students registered for a PhD, MSc, MLitt who are able to demonstrate financial hardship. Forms are available from the Graduate Tutor of your college.
How will the Student Registry contact me?
It is important to ensure your mailing address, email address(es) and telephone numbers are updated over the 12 months following the submission of your dissertation. We will primarily contact you by email. Following your full approval, however, you will be emailed and sent a hard copy of the Approval Letter. Update your details via CamSIS Self Service.
You may seek permission through the CamSIS Self Service page to submit a CD-Rom or other item with your dissertation. Datasets supplied on a CD as a separate item or an additional volume connected to the printed thesis but not included within it require this permission. This process should be initiated prior to the soft bound submission.
Since the start of Michaelmas Term 2009 it has been possible to access and deposit dissertations in electronic form in DSpace@Cambridge. There are currently two ways of doing this, either as part of the submission process for a new dissertation, or if the dissertation has already been examined, it can be deposited retrospectively.
You may request that access to your dissertation be restricted. There are strict rules concerning restriction of access, which is affected by legislation. The University is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives a general right of access to all information held by the University, including information held in the University Library. As a matter of normal practice the University will only make dissertations available in accordance with the restrictions candidates place. However, if someone specifically asks to see a dissertation, the University must give them access unless the material qualifies for an exemption under the Act.
Some exemptions relevant to dissertations are as follows:
- the contents constitute a trade secret, or its disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person
- disclosure would be likely to endanger an individual's health or safety
- disclosure would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by the owner of that information
- publication would cause the candidate or third parties mentioned in the text to be open to legal challenge or racial, ethnic, political or other persecution.
Limiting the scope for competition from other scholars to publish on the topic concerned is not generally recognised to be a valid reason - nor is preparing the thesis for publication.
What if I have signed a confidentiality agreement with a sponsor regarding the research results?
You should ask your supervisor to check whether it will be necessary to ask the examiners to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding the contents of the dissertation for the period of the examination and for any period thereafter for which restricted access may be granted. If so, the Degree Committee office will arrange for this to be done.
For how long can my dissertation be restricted?
In most cases the Board of Graduate Studies will limit the period of restriction to two years from the date of the degree being approved. However, if you are prevented under the terms of a commercial contract from making your work publicly available the Board will not expect this restriction to exceed three months. The Board also recognizes that in some circumstances, access to dissertations and summaries might reasonably be restricted for a longer period of time.
Please note: if Degree Committees require a second copy of the dissertation to be retained in the department library, you need to ask the departmental librarian about restriction of access under the FOIA.
For further information on Intellectual Property rights please see the Research Office website.
How do I apply to restrict access to my dissertation?
If you believe any of the above categories apply to your dissertation (or if you have another reason for exemption under the Freedom of Information Act), you should make an application through your CamSIS Self Service, uploading any relevant supporting documentation, before you submit your dissertation for examination.
If someone asks to see a dissertation, the University will use this information to decide whether or not to refuse the request.
My period of restricted access is coming to an end - can I apply for a new period of restricted access?
At the end of this period the restriction will be automatically lifted unless the Board hears from you, well in advance, giving reasons for requesting a further period of restricted access. You will need to make a manual application for a further extension. The form can be downloaded below. Please note that it is your responsibility to get the form signed by your Supervisor and Head of Department before taking/sending it to your Degree Committee.