Thesis submission and examination
Preparing your thesis for submission requires you to make sure you have met the requirements for presentation, and had your final draft edited.A research student should expect the examination process to take between 3-6 months from the initial nomination of examiners to Graduate Research receiving the final examiner reports. The period under examination can be a particularly anxious time for students and we take care to manage the process as efficiently as possible to minimise long waiting periods. Graduate Research also has well-established procedures to deal with overdue examiner reports.
The thesis submission process is managed online via the Thesis Management tile in your Research Student Portal. When you submit your thesis for examination it must be approved by your Principal Supervisor, REPL (or equivalent) and Associate Dean: Research Education before the examination process may commence. Following Associate Dean: Research Education approval of your thesis submission for examination your candidature consumption will be stopped and any active scholarships will be ended. For more information on consumption and fees please refer to Fees and Enrolment.
To enquire about the examination process, please email: email@example.com
- Refer to the examination checklist
- Examination related training videos
- Use editing resources
- Update your intended submission date
- Submit your thesis for examination
- Examination Process
- Revised and Final Thesis Submission
- Examination Forms
The Examination checklist for supervisors and students (PDF 198kb) provides comprehensive details of the areas of responsibility and processes for preparing to submit. It should be read in conjunction with the academic regulations. In particular, see clauses 16 and 17 for the relevant degree.
The following videos will assist with understanding the examination process for both PhD and Masters by Research students.
Thesis submission and examination
Examination reports and post exam
If your examiners don't have to worry about errors (eg grammar and inconsistencies) they will enjoy reading your thesis much more. Contact the Research Education Support Activities (RESA) Team for availability on University Editing Workshops. However, because you are very close to your work, external editorial assistance will be helpful. Check with your local area about available resources.
Guidelines for editing research theses (Institute of Professional Editors - IPEd) outline the extent and nature of editorial services that professional editors can provide when editing research degree students' theses and dissertations. Academic supervisors and research degree students also need to be clear about the editor's role as well as their own roles and responsibilities
Find an editor
- IPEd links to editorial organisations in each state of Australia providing contact details for professional editors and cites editing standards that identify and define the knowledge and skills expected of experienced editors in Australia. Check with your local area to see if your budget allocation allows for this service.
- SA Society of Editors - Find an editor (do a search)
- Editor Software provides products to help you with writing and editing, including StyleWriter - the Plain English Editor. The software is not free but there is a 30-day free trial
You will receive an email once you reach 75% of your candidature and are in the completing stage of your degree. When you are 1-3 months from lodging your thesis for examination you are expected to discuss your proposed submission date with your supervisory team. You are then able to update your intent to submit page in your research student portal (this will be an approximate date- allowing flexibility of about 2 weeks either side of the date that is indicated). Your Principal Supervisor will be notified via email once you have provided an intended submission date. Providing an intended submission date is not a mandatory requirement, however it is recommended as a reminder for you and your supervisors to begin discussion around the examination process and timelines.
- Intent to Submit User Guide (PDF 696kb)
Refer to Clause 16 and 17 of the Academic Regulations for information on the submission and examination of the thesis.
If you are doing a Professional Doctorate by Research, refer also to the Guidelines for examiners of the professional doctorate by research (RTF) - criteria and examination procedures.
To submit your thesis for examination you need to follow this process in conjunction with your Principal Supervisor.
- Thesis Submission for Examination User Guide (PDF 1,216kb)
Before Submission - Student Responsibilities
- Update your intent to submit date via the Thesis Management tile in myResearch, accessed from your Student Portal. This date can be updated as necessary until the time you submit your thesis for examination
- Discuss with your Supervisor whether the examiners need to sign a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (word 37kb) - where the author of the thesis or the University requires that the thesis be treated as confidential by the Examiner (see Intellectual Property for related information)
- Discuss whether you will be undertaking a defence of your thesis (note students commencing from 2016 are required to undertake an oral defence of the thesis as a part of their examination).
- All students, both domestic and international, in receipt of a Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship: Ensure that the appropriate acknowledgement is included in the thesis where Australian Government support has been provided. The acknowledgement must include the mention of your support through an "Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship". See Research Training Program for more details. If you are unsure whether you are in receipt of an RTP scholarship please refer to your student research portal or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Before Submission - Supervisor Responsibilities
- Your Supervisor should informally contact the potential examiners to:
- Ascertain their availability for the timeframe you intend to submit your thesis
- Indicate the length of the thesis
- Confirm whether the examiner requires a hard copy of the thesis (they will be provided with an electronic version by Graduate Research)
- Advise whether a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (word 37kb) is required
- Send a copy of your abstract
- Advise that you have nominated to undertake an oral defence of the thesis (where applicable).
A template for the informal contact from Supervisor to Examiner can be found here
Your thesis must be submitted digitally via the Thesis Management tile in myResearch, accessed from your Student Portal. Please ensure that you have discussed your thesis submission with your Supervisor before commencing the online submission process.
The thesis management system will run a verification process and allocate your supervisors and relevant research staff against your submission. This is an overnight process. Your supervisor will therefore be able to access your thesis the day after you submit it online.
Your supervisor will be notified once your thesis has been submitted online. The thesis submission will need to be approved by your Principal Supervisor, REPL (or equivalent) and Associate Dean: Research Education before Graduate Research can commence the examination process. You may view the dates that your Supervisor, REPL (or equivalent) and Associate Dean: Research Education approve your thesis submission via the Thesis Tracking page in your Student Portal. Once your Associate Dean: Research Education has approved your thesis submission for examination your consumption will be stopped and any active scholarships will be ended. It is important to allow sufficient time for the approval process to occur and consumption to stop. You should allow 5 - 10 days for this process. For more information on consumption and fees please refer to Fees and Enrolment.
If your examiners have already agreed to examine the thesis (via your Supervisor's initial contact, refer above) and Graduate Research have received your approved nominated examiners, your digital thesis will be dispatched immediately, along with all required documentation. For additional information regarding the thesis submission timelines and responsibilities refer to the Examination Checklist.
If one or more of your examiners have requested a hard copy of your thesis you will need to provide this to Graduate Research once you have received notification that your Associate Dean: Research Education has approved your thesis submission for examination.
All hard copy theses need to be prepared in accordance with the Academic Regulations.
A copy of Frequently Asked Questions for Examiners (PDF 244kb) are also sent to each examiner with the thesis.
- Thesis Submission for Examination User Guide (PDF 732kb)
Defence of the Thesis
PhD students commencing from 1 January 2016 will be required to undertake a defence of the thesis as part of their thesis examination. Research degree students who commenced prior to 1 January 2016 can elect to defend their thesis as part of the examination process. If you are considering this option you should discuss this with your supervisor in the first instance.
If you have elected to defend your thesis, you are also required to provide at least three months notice prior to submitting your thesis by contacting email@example.com
The defence of the thesis, also known as a viva, provides research degree students with an opportunity to discuss their research directly with international experts and to establish stronger ties and networks across their field of study.
The UniSA defence of the thesis has been modelled on structures that operate at universities in England and New Zealand. It will deliver a single thesis examination result following external examination of the written thesis and a defence of the thesis by the research student.
The key steps involved in the thesis defence are:
- Following receipt of the written thesis, the examiners prepare preliminary examiner reports
- The research student defends their thesis via video conference with the examination panel, facilitated by an independent Chair
- On conclusion of the defence, the examination panel agrees a final thesis examination result and finalises their examiner reports.
For further details on defence of the thesis and the overall thesis examination process contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Claim for thesis allowance (scholarship holders only) - a thesis allowance is payable to assist with costs associated with the presentation of a thesis
Graduate Research will advise you and your supervisors once your thesis has been despatched to both examiners and will also provide an expected date for the receipt of your examiner reports. Please note that this is an approximate date and may change, dependent upon your examiners' workloads and other extenuating circumstances.
Graduate Research monitors the examination timelines. A reminder of the upcoming report submission date is sent to the examiners if their reports have not been received 2 weeks before the due date. If the report has not been received by the anticipated due date, the examiner will be contacted with an overdue reminder. Graduate Research will maintain contact with examiners until their report has been submitted. You and your supervisor(s) will remain informed of the examination process and will be advised of any expected delays.
Once both examiner reports have been received Graduate Research will send you your results via email to your student email account. This will include the examiner reports and the processes and timelines relevant to your examination results.
Your final submission, and revised thesis submission if required, will be completed via the student research portal following the same processes as the thesis submission for examination, outlined above.
The Post Examination Checklist for Students and Supervisors (PDF 44kb) provides comprehensive details of the areas of responsibility and processes for preparing to submit your final thesis for the conferral of your degree, or your revised thesis for re-examination.
Before Revised Thesis Submission - Student Responsibilities
- Discuss your examiner reports with your Supervisors
- Make the required changes to your thesis, addressing examiners' comments as necessary. Document the changes made in a Summary of Amendments. Attach this document with your revised thesis submission
Before Final Thesis Submission - Student Responsibilities
- Discuss your examiner reports with your Supervisors
- Make the required changes to your thesis, addressing the examiners' comments as necessary. Document the changes made in a Summary of Amendments. Attach this document this with your final thesis submission
- Prepare a 900 character (with spaces) citation. Attach this document with your final thesis submission
- Discuss the confidentiality of your thesis and prepare an Author's Consent form (PDF 214kb) with your Principal Supervisor. Attach this document with your final thesis submission
Thesis submission and examiner nominations are conducted online via the research portals.
Hard copy forms are only to be used if prior permission has been granted by the Graduate Research Examinations team via email@example.com
Exemption to use the hard copy forms below may be granted for external students or adjunct supervisors who experience issues in accessing the research staff portals.
- Nomination of Examiners (PDF 878KB)
- Thesis completion (post examination) form - RTF (for pcs) and Word (for Macs) - your confirmation that you have addressed the specified amendments of the examiners (also requires supervisor and division approval)
- Thesis return to examiner - 3b or 4 form - RTF (for pcs) and Word (for Macs) - your confirmation that the revisions have been made and are satisfactory to be sent back to the examiner for review (also requires supervisor and division approval)