Nearing completion

Nearing completion of your higher degree by research program can be an exciting and nervous time. To help allay any anxiety, the page below sets out information on how to submit your thesis, the thesis examination process and graduating from the University of Newcastle.

An HDR thesis embodies the results of original research conducted by the candidate.

A thesis can be presented in a number of formats. Examples of different thesis formats can be found in the Thesis Examination Format Guidelines. Please note that these are examples and are not an exhaustive list of acceptable formats. Note, too, that there is no fixed number of chapters or number of publications for a thesis, the different formats provided here are just examples. Your supervisors can advise as to what is acceptable within a given discipline.

Regardless of format the thesis must be an integrated and coherent body of work. It must have a substantive and cohesive theme and there must be an introduction and discussion/conclusion chapter(s).

For further information regarding thesis formatting, including details of the required declarations, see the Graduate Research Thesis Examination Guidelines.

A series of Frequently Asked Questions have been compiled to assist candidates with queries on the appropriate formatting of their thesis.

A PhD or Research Masters degree 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, 134KB) 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 Higher Degrees by Research. Please contact Graduate Research if you have any questions.

Proof-reading and Editing of Theses

You may use a professional editor in preparing your thesis for submission. There are national guidelines for editing research theses. Please read these guidelines carefully, noting that before they commence the work, you will need to provide your editor with a copy of the guidelines, as well as evidence of your supervisor’s permission for the editing.

Submitting your thesis for examination

Your thesis is submitted electronically, via Blackboard. You may refer to the Thesis Submission Step-by-Step Guide, the Thesis Submission Checklist and the FAQs available on the HDR Thesis Examination Blackboard page. You need to log on to Blackboard with your student ID and password.

In addition to your thesis, you must submit a completed Thesis Examination Application Form, signed by both yourself and your principal supervisor.


It is your supervisor’s responsibility to advise the Head of the Academic Unit of the names of qualified examiners. You may also advise the supervisor and the Head of the Academic Unit of names of persons who may be qualified, but the composition of the examination panel will not be disclosed to you unless the examiner(s) specifically approves the release of their identity.


The University requires examiners to provide their examination report within two months of receipt of the thesis. However, for varying reasons, the thesis examination process can take between three and six months. Graduate Research contacts examiners at regular intervals to ensure timely completion of the examination process and to determine if there are any delays. Unless there are known delays to the examination process do not expect to receive any correspondence about the outcome of your examination for three months post submission. Outcomes cannot be determined until all examiner reports have been received.


Once received, copies of examiner reports are forwarded to your supervisors, Head of School, and Assistant Dean Research Training for comment. These comments and the examiners’ reports are considered by the Research Training Sub-Committee (RTSC), which sits monthly. RTSC will make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Research as to the examination outcome.

Following the RTSC determination, you will be advised of the outcome and copies of the examiners’ reports will be provided at this point. The outcome letter and examiners’ reports will be sent to your NUmail account. You are responsible for checking this email account and/or ensuring that messages are forwarded to your personal account. If an examiner returns an annotated thesis for editing purposes it will be sent to you. Please ensure your contact details are up to date in myHub.

Further information on the thesis examination process can be found in the Thesis Examination Guidelines (PDF, 134KB).

All HDR graduates will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony. All graduation matters are managed by Graduation, Student Central.

Graduation Ceremonies

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

A personalised invitation to a Graduation Ceremony will be sent to your preferred email address approximately six weeks before your graduation ceremony.

If a candidate chooses not to attend a graduation ceremony, they should advise Graduation via the online graduation registration system and select to either collect their graduation documents or have them posted.  Graduation documents are produced after the graduation ceremonies have concluded and the candidate will be notified when these are available.

Early Release of Testamur

An early release of graduation documents can be requested prior to your graduation ceremony by emailing Graduation with the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Student number
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number

If you wish to collect the documents on-campus (Student Central, Hunter) please note this and include the date the documents are required.

Please mention that your documents are required for employment and/or visa purposes and the associated fee will be waived.

A digital copy of graduation documents will also be made available to all graduates via the My eQuals system. This will include testamur, Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS) and official academic transcript.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.