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Thesis guidelines

Project marking:

20-weeks research project (ASI, Polymer MSc) 72 CATS 24-weeks research project (CSW, SRC MSc) 84 CATS
  • Thesis - 70%
    • 10,000 words typical lengh
  • Presentations - 20%
    • 15% final presentation
    • 2.5% flash talk and 2.5% poster
  • Supervisor mark - 10%
  • Thesis - 40%
    • 12,000 words typical length
  • Presentation - 25%
  • Supervisor mark - 35%


Thesis will be marked by the student supervisor and one other marker.

Presentations will be marked by students and academic staff present during the presentations.

Thesis guidelines:

Your dissertation should be formatted as follows.

  • Your thesis should be word-processed on A4 size paper with the following settings:
    • Use 1.5 line spacing, with a 3 cm left hand margin, 2 cm right hand margin, 2.5 cm top and bottom border which contain the header and footer respectively (see below).
    • Use 12 point Times New Roman or a “sans-serif” font such as Helvetica and Arial (11 point) or equivalent.
    • Keep within a typical length of 30–60 pages (excluding the title page, acknowledgements, summary, and any appendices). This length of thesis is to encourage you to write concisely. No credit will be gained by producing an over-long thesis.
    • The footer should contain the page number. Numbering begins (page 1) with the first page of the Introduction
    • The header should contain the chapter heading on the right hand side
  • The thesis must contain the following in the order shown:
    • A Title page
    • A Table of Contents immediately after the title page with page references given
    • Any Acknowledgements, including all those that helped you with your research, and acknowledge any measurements made by others on your behalf.
    • A short one–page Summary (typically 200–300 words) of the research undertaken and the results obtained. This summary must not exceed one page.
    • The main body of the thesis starting on page 1 with the Introduction, and followed by the Experimental section (see below for an alternative permissible chapter order), Results and Discussion and finally the Conclusions and any suggestions for future studies. In the Experimental chapter you should include the source of any Materials used, and a list of the Instruments and a brief description of any Methods applied.
    • A Reference list at the end of the body of the thesis and before any Appendices. References must include the initials and surnames of all authors, and the Journal abbreviations used must conform to those accepted by the RSC, ACS and Chemical Abstracts journals. Inclusion of paper titles is optional (seek guidance from your supervisor as to their preference). A minimum of 20–30 references is usually appropriate. Make sure that your introduction includes a literature search for all related recent papers, and that references to all relevant previous studies are provided.
    • A list of any abbreviations used should be listed either on the back page, or immediately following the Contents page(s).
    • Introduction to project — give background, motivation for project, summary of what has been done before. Sketch out the main aims of your research and, if more than one results chapter is used, in which chapter(s) any achievements are described.
    • Chapters may be presented in the order most appropriate for the subject matter. Discuss with your supervisor whether the Experimental Materials and Methods should either follow the introduction or come last.
    • Each thesis must have a conclusion chapter of 1 – 2 pages summarizing the main achievements of the project and indicating any future direction the work should take.
  • An electronic copy of your thesis must be submitted via MOODLE on or before the due date, and if required, additionally two single-sided, soft-bound copies of your thesis, which will not be returned to you, must be submitted to the PGT Admin Office, but only if you are specifically asked to produce these copies.