HDR submission formatting

At RMIT there are two modes of submission for examination. You will have discussed the appropriate submission mode at the beginning of your candidature and during your milestone reviews.

What should my thesis look like?

The following is a list of specific requirements for RMIT HDR submissions. HDR candidates must follow these requirements for their research submission to be accepted for examination.

HDR formatting principles

The thesis/dissertation shall be in English and be formatted in clearly readable font (no smaller than 10 point), in blue or black ink.

The thesis/dissertation must contain the following in the order outlined below:

a) a title page in the prescribed RMIT format (no page number) - RMIT Title Page (DOC, 44KB).

Effective 01 January 2024 you must include your ORCID ID on your cover page.

b) a declaration by the candidate on authorship in the prescribed RMIT format. For domestic candidates and those holding RSS scholarships funded by the Australian government, inclusion of the RTP scholarship statement is required.

Your typed name and submission for examination date is mandatory on your declaration page. 

c) acknowledgements, if any (for example, where the candidate’s research has been supported by a grant, contract or sponsor and any editorial assistance received if applicable)

d) a table of contents and, where applicable, create an index with a list of figures, list of tables, list of diagrams, list of images, list of acronyms, etc contained in the submission.

e) a summary (abstract) of the research no more than 1,000 words

f) the main text of the thesis/dissertation

1. figures, tables, images etc. must carry a number and a caption and be placed as close to the relevant text as possible. Usually, they should be either immediately after or opposite the text

g) a list of all references cited in the preparation of the research in a format appropriate to the discipline

h) appendices, as required

1. if you are including a list of your publications, this should appear in your appendices

2. the ethics approval letter for any research with humans or animals involving genetic modification or any activity relating to institutional biosafety must be included as an appendix in the work. 

The title page should not show a page number.

The pages of the thesis or dissertation following the title page, up to and including the table of contents, must be numbered in Roman numerals. 

From the summary (abstract) onwards, Arabic numerals must be used. 

Published material, or material prepared in anticipation for publication, may be included in the written thesis or dissertation. This material must be appropriately cited and the candidate’s contribution to the publication must be made clear. Navigate here for tips on integrating publications into your thesis, and for additional information, explore the 'Declaring Research Outputs' section within the submitting for examination section of the website.

The candidate is also required to complete a Research Outputs Declaration (PDF, 127KB) which is uploaded as a separate PDF during the submission process.

Examination submissions that include one or more artefact(s) and/or a presentation of the research to examiners in a venue should include a detailed description of the artefact(s) that complements the outcome of the research question. 

A digital record of the artefact or presentation may be examined along with the thesis. In cases where it would disadvantage the candidate if the physical artefact were not examined, the physical artefact may be provided to the examiners along with the thesis. 

Where appropriate, artefacts should have an RMIT cover page, similar to the RMIT thesis/dissertation cover page which outlines what the file contains.

If the file type or size of your additional artefacts are not supported by the system, please contact the examinations team via Student Connect portal, who will arrange alternative submission for these items. Your thesis/dissertation still needs to be uploaded and submitted via Enrolment Online.

No electronic or scans of handwritten signatures as it is ill-advised to have personal signatures published online in the Research Repository.

No personal information not publicly available (e.g. personal phone numbers, address, emails, student IDs etc.).

How long should my submission be?

There is no SGR set upper - or lower - word limits for a PhD or Masters by Research submission because there is quite a bit of variation in the way research is presented depending on your discipline. Some engineering or maths disciplines, for example, have quite short theses, whereas a thesis written in the social sciences or humanities is likely to be at least 80,000 words.

Regardless of your discipline, the length of your thesis or dissertation should demonstrate that you have undertaken a body of research at the quality and level required for a Doctor of Philosophy or a Masters by Research. A very short thesis or dissertation may suggest a lack of scope in a project, while a very long one may suggest a failure in judgement through inclusion of material that should have been excluded.

Below are some guides on length but you should also discuss these with your supervisory team. They will be able to advise you about what is considered appropriate in your discipline/field.

  Thesis mode Project mode - dissertation
Masters by Research 45,000 - 55,000 words

15,000 – 20,000 words

Doctor of Philosophy 80,000 - 90,000 words 30,000 - 55,000 words

These ranges do not include the abstract, appendices or references.

Outside of those requirements, one of the best ways to get an idea of what your thesis/dissertation or project needs to look like is to look at some examples. The RMIT Research Repository contains digital copies of theses and dissertations dating back to 2006. These have been lodged in the repository after the successful completion Masters by Research and doctoral studies.

Need help? 

Submit an enquiry to the School of Graduate Research

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.