Thesis Format and Binding

You must make sure that your thesis meets the University's formatting and binding requirements as we are unable to send your thesis for examination if it does not comply with these requirements.

Your thesis should be submitted in English unless prior approval has been granted to permit submission in another language.


Your thesis should be presented:

  • on single-sided A4 paper
  • normally with a 12 point font
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • with a margin of at least 3.5 cm on the left side of the page for both text and diagrams to allow for binding
  • with other margins of at least 2.5 cm
  • explanatory footnotes should stand at the foot of the relevant pages and the bibliography should follow the text and any appendices

There are no requirements with regards to font type - you should use a clear easy-to-read font such as Ariel or Times New Roman.

Title Page

The first page of the thesis should be a title page indicating:

  • the full title of your thesis
  • the degree for which your thesis is submitted
  • the year of your submission
  • your full name

Your title page is followed by the abstract.

The abstract must not exceed 300 words and must be produced with single-spacing on one side of A4 paper.

The abstract must show your name and the title of your thesis and this should be in the form of a title/heading.

Order of Contents

After your abstract you should include:

  • the acknowledgements page
  • the list of contents
  • the list of tables
  • the list of figures
  • the list of abbreviations
  • the main body of the thesis
  • any appendices
  • the bibliography/references - all works referenced in the thesis should be included in the bibliography
Referencing and Citations

You will need to reference your thesis fully and accurately both to acknowledge your debts to others and to allow your readers to distinguish your ideas from those of others that you have drawn on.

There are three key rules that you should follow:

  1. speak with your supervisors early on for advice on referencing conventions in your discipline - the two main ones are the Harvard (author/date) system and the Vancouver (numbered) system, but in the School of Law the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) is used
  2. your references must be accurate - having inaccurate references is as bad as having no references at all and potentially could lead to you being accused of poor academic practice or plagiarism
  3. your referencing must be consistent - make sure that your formatting of references with respect to capitalisation and punctuation is consistent all the way through your thesis

If you need general advice on how to ensure your thesis is appropriately referenced, take a look at the Referencing and Bibliographies Study Guide.

The University Library also offer detailed guides on using the Harvard Referencing and Vancouver Referencing systems.

Bibliographic software allows you to create databases of references which can then be stored, searched and used in conjunction with MS Word to input citations as you write your thesis. The two main types of bibliographic software are EndNote and RefWorks. The University Library offer advice on accessing and using bibliographic software.


Your first submission consists of two soft-bound copies.

Both copies must be perfect bound (also known as thermal or hot glue binding). Comb or spiral binding is not acceptable, nor is insertion into a ring binder or slide binder.

Theses which are not correctly bound will not be sent out for examination.

The cover can be any colour at this stage. It is useful to reprint the title page on the cover but the spine can be left blank.

If you need to enclose a CD or other loose material with your thesis then addenda (loose maps / CDs) can be securely housed in a pocket attached to the back cover of your thesis and individually labelled with your name, degree and year of submission.

Print Services offer a professional printing and binding service and can deliver bound theses to the Doctoral College Office at no extra cost. It can take a few working days for the thesis to be printed, please do factor this in when sending the thesis to Print Services.

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