Submission of your PhD

Preparing to submit

Whilst the responsibility for the writing, preparation and submission of the thesis rests with the student, it is expected that the supervisor will read and comment on the draft, with a view to enabling the student to produce a thesis which is coherent, well-documented and written in good English. Ideally, the student and supervisor should be in agreement as to when the thesis is ready for submission. Ultimately, however, the final responsibility rests with the student.

Occasionally, a student may choose to submit their thesis without the knowledge or approval of the supervisor. Whilst students are within their rights to do so, this is NOT recommended. The University strongly recommends that all students take account of the academic advice given to them by their supervisor and inform their supervisor when they intend to submit. Failure to do so is likely to compromise the quality of the thesis and will also result in delays in the examination process if examiners have not been appointed at the time of submission.

Number of copies required

First submissions and resubmissions

Two properly bound print copies of the thesis must be submitted to Research Services, as well as an electronic copy which should be provided on a CD. The two hard copies will be issued to the examiners and the electronic version will be retained by Research Services as a master copy, and may be released to the examiners should they request an electronic copy of the thesis. It is essential that the CD is properly labelled with the student's details (i.e. name, registration number, thesis title). A copy of the thesis should also be retained by the student. Students may submit their third master copy as a hard copy instead of an electronic copy, if they choose to do so, but this is a more expensive option.

Following the examination process, should any copies of the thesis be returned by the examiners to Research Services, these will only be returned to the student upon request.

Students may submit their theses using a temporary binding, provided that it is not loose-leaf. Use of a ring binder is not considered appropriate and will not be accepted. Comb binding is acceptable. Theses should be submitted to: Research Services, New Spring House, 231 Glossop Road, Sheffield, S10 2GW.

Summary of thesis

By regulation, the summary/abstract (which should be prepared by the candidate in consultation with the supervisor) should not exceed 300 words in length. Each bound copy of the thesis must contain a summary/abstract within it.

Submission to Turnitin (plagiarism detection software)

The University requires all theses for higher degrees by research to be submitted to Turnitin, a text matching tool that is licensed for use in the University of Sheffield where, among other things, it is being used as an aid in the prevention of unfair means. Turnitin produces an ‘originality report’ which will be checked by the internal examiner to ensure that unfair means has not been used. This applies to both first submissions and resubmissions.

Before the final thesis is submitted for examination students should contact the PGR Team for information on the procedures to be followed for submitting the final copy of their thesis through Turnitin. When a thesis is submitted to Turnitin the student will receive a digital receipt in the form of an email. Students should also take a copy of that receipt when they submit their thesis to Research Services.

Students should be aware that there is a limit to the size of file that can be submitted to Turnitin, which is 400 pages and 40MB. Students whose theses exceed the Turnitin limit may need to exclude pictures or diagrams in order to successfully submit to Turnitin.

The electronic copy for the Turnitin check must be identical to the thesis submitted for examination (notwithstanding any material that may need to be excluded due to file size) and must be submitted at the same time.

Please note that theses will not be formally sent out for examination until the originality report has been checked by the internal examiner and the thesis is cleared for examination. For further information on submitting theses to Turnitin please see 'Submitting a thesis to Turnitin'.

Submitting the printed copies of the thesis to Research Services

Theses for higher degrees by research must be submitted to Research Services, who will arrange to send them to the examiners, along with reports and guidance, as soon as the Turnitin report has been checked and the thesis has been cleared for examination. Under no circumstances should a copy of the thesis (electronic or print) be sent direct to the examiners by either the student or the student’s department.

Theses will normally be despatched to the examiners within 3 working days of receipt of confirmation that the Turnitin originality report is acceptable, provided the examiners have been formally appointed. Thesis despatch will be delayed if the student has not submitted to Turnitin or if examiners have not yet been nominated or appointed by the faculty.

If possible, students are asked to submit their thesis in person, so that relevant details, such as contact addresses may be confirmed and the student can be informed of any outstanding fees which, if unpaid, may result in the degree being withheld.

If unable to submit in person, students should contact Research Services to ensure that their thesis has been received, their records updated, and to check if there is any further information required. Failure to contact Research Services under these circumstances may result in a delay in the thesis being processed.

Students who do not reside locally can arrange for their thesis to be printed, bound and sent to Research Services by Print & Design Solutions, who offer an online thesis ordering service.

Staff candidates are required to pay a fee on submission of the thesis. In 2017-18 this will be £450.

Payments required upon the submission of any thesis may be made at the Income Office, Level 6, Students' Union Building by personal cheque, bankers draft, credit card or debit card. Payments to be made by credit/debit card can be made through the Online Payment System.

DDP completion

Students should note that we require confirmation from their academic department that they have completed their DDP e-portfolio before a degree can be awarded. It is therefore recommended that students submit a completed and signed DDP e-portfolio summary form prior to, or at the same time as, submitting their thesis, if possible. If the DDP e-portfolio has not yet been completed this will not prevent students from submitting their thesis or undergoing their viva. DDP Summary forms for each faculty are available here.

UCard from submission of thesis

Should a student's time limit run out once they have submitted their thesis (but before their award has been made), they can go to SSiD (located in the Students' Union) in order to have their UCard renewed for a period of 3 months.

If a further period of 3 months is required this process can be repeated until their award is made. Students should ensure that they take their thesis submission receipt with them as proof of eligibility. Following examination, if a student is required to make minor amendments or to resubmit their thesis, then their time limit will be changed accordingly. Therefore they can acquire a new card in line with the new time limit on their student record.