Last Check List Before Submitting Your PhD Thesis
The big day is here – you're finally ready to hand in your PhD thesis! Years of work have culminated in this one piece of work, and you're prepared to submit it to your university office. You're almost certainly stressed, exhausted, and very glad to be done. But there are a few quick points you need to check before you formally submit your thesis, so take a look at this checklist and make sure everything is in order.
1. Put in your thanks or acknowledgements.
Traditionally, there is one page at either the front or at the back of a thesis which is dedicated to thanking to colleagues, partners, or friends who have supported you. This is a nice personal touch and a way of acknowledging all of the help you've received.
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2. Check your printing
Different universities have different printing requirements. Sometimes you can submit your thesis electronically, sometimes you will need to hand in multiple printed copies of your thesis in a very specific format. Check the requirements in your department's regulations.
3. Check your title page.
There are usually requirements about what information should and should not be included on a title page. It's also very important to double- and triple-check the spelling. It sounds silly, but the title page is usually the last thing which people write, and it's surprisingly common to see typos on them. That's embarrassing and doesn't give a great first impression!
4. Make preparations for printing.
Once you know what printing format is required, you can make preparations. Find a printing shop and visit it a few days before you submit, describe what you need, and find out how long it will take and how much it will cost. You don't want to be stressed out and trying to find a printing shop at the last minute.
5. Do one last proofread.
However carefully you've checked your work, there will almost certainly still be some small mistakes in there. Seeing typos in your printed thesis will be terribly annoying, so take the time to read the entire thesis, cover to cover, and check all of the text.
6. Check your images, graphs, and tables.
When you make formatting changes, this can often have knock-on effects and change the layout of objects like images, tables and graphs. After you have checked and corrected your text, go back and make sure each object is correctly positioned, labelled, and linked in your table of contents. Make sure that your labels are legible and that your images are high enough quality for printing.
7. Contact the office where you'll be submitting.
Most universities will have either a central office where theses are submitted (usually a sub-department of the library), or you will have to hand in your thesis to your department directly. Either way, contact the relevant office a few days before you want to submit. Let them know that you're planning to submit, find out when the office is open, and enquire about any paperwork you will need to complete. Also ask if there is anything that you will need to bring along with you when you submit, such as a university ID card or your passport.
8. Prepare all your paperwork.
You'll probably have to fill out some forms, agreeing that the work you are submitting is your own, and giving permission to the university to share the work publicly. You may also need to submit evidence of coursework that you have completed, or classes which you have attended. It will be less stressful for you if you can have all the required paperwork printed and signed before you arrive at the office.
9. Get a signed receipt.
Once you have given in your thesis, it's a good idea to collect an acknowledgement from the university office that they have received your work. This could be a formal receipt, or it could just be a note from the relevant member of staff in the office. Just in case there are any problems with the submission of your thesis, you have paperwork showing that you gave it in at a particular date and time.
Now your thesis is handed in, along with all the paperwork, you are free to celebrate! You've worked incredibly hard to finish a PhD, so take time to congratulate yourself.
For more advice for PhD students, take a look at these articles:
Types Of Difficult PhD Supervisors And How To Successfully Deal With Them
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How To Survive Your PhD Thesis Defense
Once you've handed in your thesis, you still have one big challenge to overcome before you're finished with your PhD: the thesis defense. This is an opportunity for you to present your research publicly and to answer questions about it from your thesis committee. The process can be tough going, especially if you've never had to do anything like this before. That being said, there are a few ways to make sure you survive – and even perform very well in – your thesis defense.
How To Find A PhD Supervisor
When planning to pursue a PhD, one of the most important decisions you must make is to choose a supervisor for your project. A supervisor supports you and advises you in your research, helps you with your career development (for example by introducing you to relevant people in your field and suggesting conferences that you should attend), and provides encouragement to you throughout your PhD.