Thesis submission

Guidance on how to submit your thesis for examination.


Summary of requirements for thesis submission and resubmission

Thesis submission flowchart
  1. The thesis must be submitted to Research, Partnerships and Innovation via the PGR Thesis Submission Form no later than your time limit and also uploaded to Turnitin for a similarity check. These are two separate steps (see diagram above) that must both be completed for your submission to be completed. 
  2. The thesis uploaded to Turnitin should be identical to the thesis submitted to Research, Partnerships and Innovation, unless it exceeds 800 pages and 100MB, in which case any pictures or diagrams may need to be excluded from the Turnitin similarity check. You will be prompted to download a copy of your digital receipt when you upload, which should also be submitted to Research, Partnerships and Innovation via the PGR Thesis Submission Form.
  3. If you are unable to access Turnitin, contact your departmental PGR administrator who can grant you access to the final Turnitin folder. If you are still unable to upload your thesis to Turnitin for any reason, e.g. due to a technical issue or loss of service, you must still ensure that you submit your thesis to Research, Partnerships and Innovation by your time limit. You should then upload the exact same file to Turnitin as soon as possible thereafter (seeking help from your PGR administrator if needed), and forward the digital receipt to Research, Partnerships and Innovation as soon as possible.
  4. When submitting your thesis to Research, Partnerships and Innovation, the thesis file must be correctly labelled in the format ‘Surname, Forename, Registration number’ to avoid processing delays. Please also include any supplementary documents that form part of the thesis (e.g. research data, recordings, etc). If you are submitting a Covid Impact Form, please also include this. Don't forget to include your Turnitin receipt. You can download this when you upload your thesis to Turnitin. 
  5. If  you are unable to access the PGR Thesis Submission Form for any reason, then you must instead email a copy of your thesis to no later than your time limit. Under no circumstances should you send your thesis to your examiners yourself. This must be done by Research, Partnerships and Innovation.
  6. Please be aware that only uploading your thesis to Turnitin does not constitute submission of the thesis to Research, Partnerships and Innovation, as the version in Turnitin is not accessible by Research, Partnerships and Innovation and it is also not always a complete copy of the thesis, as it may not include some pictures or diagrams.  It is essential that you also submit your thesis to Research, Partnerships and Innovation via the PGR Thesis Submission Form, or via email if you cannot access the form.
  7. Your thesis must be submitted in electronic format only. Print copies are not required. If examiners request a hard copy, Research, Partnerships and Innovation will arrange for one to be printed and sent to the examiner(s).
  8. We recommend that you do not leave thesis submission to the last minute. Any submissions received after your deadline has passed will be regarded as out of time, and you will need to apply for a time limit extension.

For full information on the thesis submission process, please read the information below.

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 that they 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.

Please note that students must submit their thesis online via the PGR thesis submission form no later than their submission deadline, even if the deadline falls on a weekend or university closure day. If a student tries to submit their thesis after their time limit has passed, even if it is by one day or less, they will be required to apply for an extension and no further action will be taken regarding the submitted thesis until an extension request has been received and approved by the faculty. 

Covid-19 impact

The aims of a doctoral thesis are to make an original contribution to knowledge and demonstrate that its author has gained the necessary knowledge of the discipline as well as technical ability to become an independent researcher.

The emphasis should always be on quality and not quantity. The limitations brought by the Covid-19 global pandemic have emphasised the need to focus on these elements. UKRI has issued guidance advising students to adjust their projects to complete a doctoral-level qualification within the funded period. The Quality Assurance Agency has also published guidance for students and supervisors on doctoral standards in the light of Covid-19.

Similarly, the University of Sheffield has issued guidance to students indicating that it is acceptable to amend projects to suit changed circumstances, even though they may be rather different to what was initially planned. The pandemic has changed ways of working throughout the globe, and adjustments to PGR projects are just a part of it. Students have the option to provide information to examiners on the impact Covid-19 has had on their projects via a Covid Impact form. Examiners, in turn, will be reminded of the University's guidance that "judgement of the thesis should be based on what may reasonably be expected of a diligent and capable candidate after completion of the prescribed period of research and with due regard to the University’s criteria for the award of the degree".

Thesis submission process

First submissions and resubmissions

Students must submit their thesis to Research, Partnerships and Innovation, who will ensure that it is despatched to the examiners, along with the relevant forms and guidance.

Under no circumstances should a copy of the thesis be sent directly to the examiners by either the student or the student’s department.

The electronic thesis submission should be made through Google forms via the PGR thesis submission form. This should include the thesis and the Turnitin digital receipt.

Students can also upload any supporting materials that form part of their thesis examination (e.g. supplemental data, audio recordings, Covid impact form, and list of corrections in the case of a resubmission). Please note that, depending on the thesis file size and internet speed, the submission upload process may take a few minutes.

To ensure that the submission is dealt with promptly, students must ensure that the file name of their thesis is in the format 'Surname, Forename, Registration number' and that any supplemental files that form part of the examination are clearly labelled so they can be easily identified. Students will receive email confirmation of their thesis submission.

Students experiencing difficulties in submitting should contact in the first instance for advice.

If the thesis is being submitted from a country that does not allow access to Google Forms, students should instead submit a pdf of their thesis and Turnitin receipt by email to

If any of the examiners request a print copy of the thesis, this will be arranged by Research, Partnerships and Innovation.

Staff candidates are required to pay a fee on submission of the thesis. In 2023-24 this will be £510. Payments required upon the submission of any thesis may be made online online.

Students must also upload a copy of their thesis at the same time to Turnitin. You can find information on this below.

If the Doctoral Development Programme (DDP) Evidencing Development Summary is complete, this should be emailed to Further details can be found on the DDP Student Hub. A fully completed Access to Thesis form must also be submitted to Research, Partnerships and Innovation before the degree can be awarded. Please note that these documents are not required at the thesis submission stage and should not delay the student’s thesis submission if they have not yet been completed.

Turnitin similarity check

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

Before the final thesis is submitted for examination students should contact their departmental/school PGR administrator for information on the procedures to be followed for uploading the final copy of their thesis through Turnitin. Once uploaded, the student will be able to download a digital email receipt, which should be included when they submit their thesis to Research, Partnerships and Innovation. 

As stated above, uploading a thesis to Turnitin does not constitute formal submission of the thesis. Students must also submit their full thesis file to Research, Partnerships and Innovation according to the procedures set out above.

Students should be aware that there is a limit to the size of file that can be uploaded to Turnitin, which is 800 pages and 100MB. Students whose theses exceed the Turnitin limit may need to exclude pictures or diagrams to successfully upload to Turnitin.

The thesis uploaded to Turnitin must be an exact copy of the thesis submitted for examination (notwithstanding any material such as diagrams, images and tables that may need to be excluded due to file size) and should be uploaded when the student submits their thesis to Research, Partnerships and Innovation. The uploaded file is stored in the Turnitin database, which allows it to be checked against all previous work uploaded to Turnitin.  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.

Turnitin central support and training

Staff and PGR students: Further information and guidance on using Turnitin is available from APSE.

Turnitin and publication

The University does not consider the uploading of work to Turnitin for a similarity check as publication of that work. The act of publication is understood as making content available to the general public. Content uploaded to Turnitin is not available to the general public, in the sense that the public are able to access the content. The Turnitin process merely allows licensed members of the public to request that Turnitin compare an uploaded file with other works to check for any matching text.

The Turnitin originality report returns those parts of the work that match another source and the metadata for that source (name, date, title etc).

If Turnitin users wish to have access to the content of a matched source that is not already publicly available (as is the case for content that resides on the Turnitin database but not elsewhere) then they must seek permission from the owner. Therefore, the content of work uploaded to Turnitin should not be deemed to be publicly available and thus content uploaded to Turnitin should not be deemed to be published.

Turnitin FAQs (PDF, 267KB)

Submission checklist

Checklist 1st submission Resubmission Minor amendments
Prior to the submission of your thesis, ensure that your faculty has approved the inclusion of any non-standard materials Yes Yes Yes
Your supervisor should nominate examiners, who are available to examine your thesis within ten weeks, well in advance of your submission Yes    
An electronic copy of the thesis is submitted to Research, Partnerships and Innovation via the PGR thesis submission form. This should include the thesis file and the Turnitin digital receipt Yes Yes  
An electronic copy of the thesis is also uploaded to Turnitin for a similarity check, and a digital receipt downloaded. Remember – this is in addition to the online submission to Research, Partnerships and Innovation Yes Yes  
Third-party copyright clearance obtained and acknowledged, where relevant Yes Yes Yes
Ensure you have an abstract, or summary, not exceeding 300 words Yes Yes Yes

Title page should show

  • Full title of thesis
  • Author's name in full
  • Degree for which the thesis is submitted, e.g. PhD
  • Academic department
  • Date (month and year)
Yes Yes Yes

Outside cover should show

  • University name and logo
  • Author's initial and surname
  • Full title of thesis
  • Degree for which the thesis is submitted, e.g. PhD
  • Year of submission
  • Volume number (if the thesis comprises more than one volume)
Yes Yes Yes
Margins at the binding edge should be no less than 20mm and other margins no less than 15mm Yes Yes Yes
Pages to be numbered consecutively, including appendices Yes Yes Yes

Thesis despatch

Theses will be sent out to examiners electronically, along with reports and guidance notes, as soon as the Turnitin similarity check has been completed and the thesis has been cleared for examination. Theses will normally be despatched to the examiners within three working days of receipt of confirmation that the Turnitin originality report is acceptable and provided the examiners have been formally appointed by the faculty. 

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) to have their UCard renewed for the interim period.

Following examination, if a student is required to make any further amendments to their thesis or to resubmit their thesis, then their time limit will be changed accordingly and they will be able to extend their UCard in line with the new time limit on their student record.


Guidance for candidates on thesis submission and examination (Word, 43KB)Guidance for supervisors of students approaching thesis submission (Word, 47KB)