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Thesis writing

A thesis is an argument or proposition declaring a discovery or insight, based on research, which is relevant to others. It is intended to contribute to scholarly debate.

How should you approach the management and writing of your thesis?

  1. Refer to the guidelines
  2. Discuss your thesis with your supervisors
  3. Use a thesis template
  4. Attend on campus workshops and/or use online resources
  5. Submit your thesis for examination


Refer to the guidelines

Theses are presented according to academic regulations. Refer to the Guidelines in the regulations for detailed requirements on the presentation of print and/or electronic versions of the examination thesis. Topics covered are length, presentation, content, figures and tables, binding, and lodgement with the University.


Discuss your thesis with your supervisors

The Research Induction Plan and Statement of Agreement will determine:

  • your supervisors' involvement in elements of the thesis writing
  • agreement on the important matters of plagiarism, intellectual property (IP) and authorship on publications.

You will need to clarify with your supervisors expectations around:

  • drafting of the research project
  • arrangement of chapters
  • reading of the first and subsequent drafts
  • reading of the final draft
  • editing of the thesis.


Use a thesis template

Why use a thesis template?

Using a template saves time, reduces errors in layout formats and maintains consistency of style throughout a large document such as a thesis. As a result, you can focus more closely on the content of your thesis and leave the template to deal with the formatting.

What template?

Microsoft Word

Many students will use Microsoft Word to write their thesis. Word has a Styles tool you can use to create, manage, change or modify styles. The workshop Word for thesis writing (student ID and password required) provides a Word template that meets UniSA requirements and clear instructions for working with the template. A discussion area offers troubleshooting advice to answer your queries.


If you are a Mathematics and/or Statistics student, LaTeX software may be your best choice for a thesis template. You may be able to find a template that you can adapt to meet UniSA requirements (refer to the academic regulations), or your local area may provide you with a template. Talk to your supervisors about your options.


Workshops and resources

Research Education Support Activities consists of on campus workshops and online resources to help you during every stage of your candidature.

On campus workshops

Workshops for commencing and mid to late candidature students cover what you need to know about thesis writing in a friendly and supportive environment. Offered across the broad discipline areas:

  • social sciences, humanities and business
  • sciences, health sciences, engineering and technology

they cover topics such as academic writing and writing about the 'gap' in the literature. The series Thesis writing and publishing (Social sciences, humanities and business) looks at the whole spectrum of writing your thesis across a number of individual workshops.

University-wide workshops (all disciplines) include Communicating your research to the public which looks beyond just writing the thesis.

International students for whom English is an additional language (and other students) may attend English for research writing workshops to help with English for research writing, language for developing a thesis argument and other aspects of academic writing.

Online materials

If you select the category Writing your thesis and exegesis, you will see links to online workshops and resources.