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Early notice of a policy change to research degree thesis submission from Michaelmas Term 2019.

No action is required at this stage but the information below will enable you to appropriately advise students if they query the method of submission in the coming months; fully revised policy details and regulations, plus instructions on how to apply the new process, will be circulated in late Trinity term.

What changes have been agreed?

Following the successful roll-out of the Research Thesis Digital Submission (RTDS) application to all divisions in February 2018, and a high uptake in digital usage by examiners, the Research Degrees Panel (RDP) have taken the opportunity to review the policy and regulations surrounding the submission of research degree theses for examination. In Hilary term 2019, RDP approved several changes, the biggest of which is that, from Michaelmas Term 2019, research students will be required to submit a digital copy of their thesis via RTDS for their examination instead of 2 soft-bound copies.

Summary of the agreed changes to Rules and regulations

  • From Michaelmas term 2019 onwards, candidates will be required to submit the official copy of their thesis for examination digitally via RTDS.  The typewritten part(s) of any thesis must be saved in pdf format. The thesis may be subject to scanning by text-matching software.
  • Examiners may still request a hard copy of the thesis from the Examination Schools and this will arranged and paid for centrally by the Submissions and Research Degrees Team. The minimum time between both examiners receiving the official copy of the thesis via RTDS and a viva date remains at 4 weeks (as referred to under ‘the oral examination or viva’ section of the Research examinations web page).
  • Candidates who have already submitted the hard copies of their thesis for examination but are still awaiting their viva or the outcome of their examination, or are part way through the examination process (ie have been given major corrections or have been referenced back) by the start of Michaelmas term 2019 will continue to be examined under the old regulations.
  • Students should be aware that their thesis may be scanned with text-matching software but their work will NOT be uploaded into any software databases.

Further details?

If you have any queries about these changes please contact the Research Degrees Team ( in the first instance.