Examination: Submitting your Thesis


Submitting in 2021

Students submitting their DPhil thesis should include the following statements at the front:
  1. A brief summary (approximately 300 words) of the work they were planning to complete before university buildings were closed to non-Covid-19 research and/or access to resources was no longer possible;
  2. If appropriate, then brief excerpts or details from a student’s Covid-19 log may be provided as well but this information may have been captured already in the brief statement above. Examples where this might be appropriate include where the student has experienced changed personal circumstances (such as ill health or additional caring responsibilities or availability of supervision. These data could contextualise the judgement made by Examiners as to the most appropriate outcome.


    • Theses submitted for the Degree of D.Phil. should not exceed 100,000 words, including all footnotes, notes, appendices, any source material being edited, and all other parts of the thesis whatsoever, excluding only the bibliography and abstract. Degree of M.Litt. should not exceed 50,000 words, including all the above mentioned.
    • Any thesis exceeding these limits is liable to be rejected on that ground. Please apply for a word limit extension if you are going to exceed the limit. The Faculty normally only approves extensions of up to 5,000 words unless there is an exceptional reason for more. You can find the application form here
    • You must submit your digital examiners’ copy of your thesis online, via RTDS, by 11:59pm (UK time) on your maximum submission date (Students who are funded by a Research Council must submit by the deadline imposed by that body).
      You can access RTDS via the Research Theses Digital Submission website.
    • Confirmation of D.Phil. status must have been approved prior to submission.
    • Prior to submission of the thesis, you should submit a GSO.3 Application for the Appointment of Examiners (via Student Self Service). Students are strongly advised to apply for the appointment of examiners at least four to six weeks prior to submission.
    • All examinations must be advertised by the examiners in advance of the viva date, and students must be examined from a thesis that has been formally submitted to the Examination Schools. The thesis will be dispatched to examiners following submission to Examination Schools and the formal confirmation from the examiners of their willingness to act.
    • You should not contact examiners directly unless requested to do so by a formally appointed examiner in relation to the process of arranging a viva date. Furthermore, you should not submit a copy of your thesis directly to the examiners; they must be examined from the formal copy sent to the examiner by the Research Degree Examination Office. This is to ensure that there is a definitive version of a thesis, which is the subject of the examination.
    • After the viva has taken place, the examiners are required to submit a joint report to the relevant GSA (ie. Avalon Floyd) who will seek the final approval from the DGS. The Research Degree Examination Office will then notify you of the outcome in writing. Please allow sufficient time for this process to be completed when making arrangements to attend a degree ceremony
    • You will find some really useful information about submission, including formatting and layout guidance, on the University's website, here

    During the viva

    • You are expected to wear sub fusc during your viva (unless conducted via video conference).
    • Take a copy of your thesis with you (this is allowed!) for reference. 

    Outcomes of the viva

    • Award of the DPhil as the thesis stands: When no corrections are required, you have demonstrated that you possess a good knowledge of your field, and the examiners are happy with the thesis. The Graduate Office will receive the joint examiners' report, which we forward on to Exam Schools, who will email you a letter granting you Leave to Supplicate. 
    • Award of the DPhil having approved MINOR corrections: You will be given a list of minor corrections, either in the viva or within 14 days of the viva taking place. You will have ONE MONTH* from the date on which you recieve the corrections to impliment them and send a copy of your thesis, with track changes, to the internal examiner. Once the examiner has approved the corrections, they will send their report to the Graduate Office. We will send this to Exam Schools who will send you a letter granting you Leave to Supplicate
    • Submission of MAJOR corrections: If the examiners believe that major corrections are required, you will receive a letter from Exam Schools with the date that your thesis must be submitted to Exam Schools (via RTDS), which will be SIX MONTHS* from the date on the letter. You may be required to have another viva, but this is not always required. 
    • Reference back for DPhil or award of the MLitt: You may be referred to the MLitt, in which case you can take this award as the thesis stands, with minor corrections or major corrections. You can also choose to resubmit your thesis for the DPhil. There is a fee for resubmission. 

    *Note: You can apply for extra time to complete corrections, by completing a GSO.18, available online here. ONE MONTH for minor corrections and THREE MONTHS for major corrections. Covid-19 Update: Due to the pandemic, these time limits can be more flexible, without the need to apply formally for extra time. Please contact the Graduate Office if you need more time to discuss your options.