The following information covers the formatting, style and word length for your mode of submission.

There are two submission modes at RMIT:

  1. Thesis mode
  2. Project mode

Thesis mode indicates that the final research product will be commensurate with that which is expected for the traditional thesis format for the relevant discipline. This may include publications that you have authored during your candidature.

Project mode indicates that the final research product will include artefact/s or a body of work (or a record of a body of work), as well as a dissertation that defines the purpose and theoretical basis of the artefact/work. This mode of submission often includes an oral presentation as a part of the examination process. For more information on submitting in project mode, please refer to your School’s website.

You can find a list of specific requirements for RMIT theses/dissertations in section 4 of the Thesis/project submission and examination process. You must follow these requirements for your thesis/dissertation to be accepted for examination.

Outside of those requirements, one of the best ways to get an idea about what your thesis 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 of their degree by RMIT Masters by research and doctoral candidates.

You should also talk to your supervisors about the referencing requirements and the usual style for academic writing in your discipline. You can also find relevant examples for each discipline.

RMIT does not set university-wide upper or lower word limits on the PhD or Masters by research thesis or dissertation for either mode of submission because there is quite a bit of variation in the way your research will be 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 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 judgment through inclusion of material that should have been left out.

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.