A PhD thesis: frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: Answers to these questions may vary from institution to institution and department to department. This guide is merely to give you some idea of what to expect. For any of the questions to which you require detailed answers, and the answers are of critical importance, it’s a good idea to consult with your mentor or institution’s written policies.

What are the required thesis sections?

Typically, a finished thesis requires a title page, an abstract, a table of contents, the main text (which should be divided into appropriate sections by chapter), and a reference section. There may be additional requirements for the main text, depending upon the discipline your thesis is for. For example, you may need to include a literature review, research design, or other section as defined by your committee.

What are the requirements for the title page?

These requirements may be different depending upon what your committee requests, but you should be prepared to submit a title page in advance, which contains the title, your official name, the appropriate label for your paper (dissertation or thesis), personal information including your degree, major, and the year of your conferral. It should also include your location, your advisor’s and/or committee’s names with their appropriate titles (it’s a good idea to check the spelling of these ahead of time).

What are the requirements for the abstract?

The abstract should be brief, no more than two paragraphs in length. It should succinctly express your thesis, what your research accomplished, how it accomplished it, and a very brief mention of the result highlights.

What are the requirements for the table of contents?

The table of contents should include only the main body of the paper, not the title page or abstract, or any part of the thesis included prior to the table of contents. Chapters should be clearly listed, along with other sections which occur after the main body of the paper, like the glossary, reference list, and appendices.

Who will own the copyright of my finished thesis?

Generally speaking, the student retains the copyright to their thesis. However, your university will almost always have some provision for it to use the thesis in a number of different not-for-profit ways. This usually includes keeping a number of hardcopies or a digital copy for research and student use, and the right to publish the thesis under certain well-defined conditions.

Thesis Writing Process

  • Thinking and brainstorming
  • Preparing a proposal
  • Doing a research
  • Writing a thesis paper
  • Proofreading the document
  • Revising the thesis

This thesis writing guide is written by students and graduates who have successfully completed their theses and dissertations. Need dissertation help? Our recommendation: EZdissertation.com - dissertation writing service.