Your research thesis is the key output of your PhD or Research Masters degree. Find out how to plan and refine your research to ensure your work is world-class.

Thesis Examination and Graduation

Your Research Thesis

A PhD or Research Masters degree is a demanding undertaking. It involves absorbing and interpreting vast amounts of existing information, developing new data or ideas, and with the advice of your supervisor, distilling these into a well-structured and clearly written research thesis, which is assessed by examiners of recognised international standing.

Each discipline area may have different requirements for the style of the thesis or, you may be submitting a thesis by publication or an exegesis with a creative component. It is important that you work with your supervisor to ensure you are on track for the style of thesis you plan to submit and that you read the relevant guidelines.

Thesis Examination Guidelines

The thesis examination guidelines (PDF, 225KB) provide comprehensive information about how to prepare and submit your thesis for examination. Your thesis should also meet the requirements set out formally in the Rules Governing Research Higher Degrees.  Please read the thesis examination guidelines and contact the Office of Graduate Studies if you have any questions.

At least two months before you are ready to submit your thesis, fill in the intent to submit thesis form (DOC, 157KB). This form notifies the Office of Graduate Studies that you will be submitting your thesis soon. This form allows the Office of Graduate Studies to initiate the appointment of examiners with your supervisor and Head of School.

Proof-reading and Editing of Theses

You may use a professional editor in preparing your thesis for submission, but you must discuss this with your supervisor. There are national guidelines for the editing of research theses and you will need to provide your editor with a copy of this policy before they commence work.

Submitting your thesis for examination

When your thesis is finished, please submit the following to the Office of Graduate Studies:

If your thesis is submitted before the semester census date, you will be withdrawn from any enrolment for that semester (and for any future semesters) by the Office of Graduate Studies.

If your thesis is submitted after the census date, you remain enrolled for that semester and you are required to pay all fees and charges which may be due.

For more information see the thesis examination guidelines (PDF, 225KB)

Submission of final thesis, copyright and NOVA

Following examination and the correction and approval of any amendments your final thesis must be submitted electronically to the University's digital repository, NOVA This allows online worldwide access to your research . For this reason you must also take appropriate action to avoid copyright infringement.  Information relating to Copyright in your digital thesis is available here.

Further information on copyright is available from the Library at

Most theses are publicly available unless there are significant reasons for not doing so. In some circumstances it may be necessary to restrict access to some theses. If you would like to restrict access to your thesis please complete the application for embargo (DOC, 116KB) form.

Copyright of your thesis

The copyright for the thesis remains with you, except where copyright content is owned by others.

Anyone wishing to reproduce or use the contents of the thesis will need your permission or give full recognition to the work of the author.


All graduates will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony. All graduation matters are managed by the Graduation and Prizes Office.

Graduation ceremonies are normally held in each semester at Callaghan campus and once each year in Ourimbah, Hong Kong and Singapore. The timing of the award of your degree and your location of enrolment will determine which ceremony you are eligible for. The Office of Graduate Studies can provide relevant cut-off dates to help you organise your final submission for a particular graduation ceremony.

If a candidate chooses not to attend a graduation ceremony, the testamur and transcript will be forwarded by registered post as soon as possible after the next ceremony. This is usually 6-8 weeks after the relevant ceremony.

If documents are required prior to the next ceremony a Request for Early Release of Testamur form, along with proof of payment of the associated fee, may be submitted to the Graduation and Prizes Office.

If the testamur and transcript are required for employment or immigration purposes, candidates may apply to the Dean of Graduate Studies for the associated fee to be waived.

Requests for a fee waiver should be sent to and include details of the circumstances that require you to obtain this documentation early.