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This course complements 'Viva preparation' and is designed for those in the final or second to last year of their DPhil/MSc by Research who are preparing to write their theses. The course us available on Canvas and you can self-enrol using this link.

The course consists of short pre-recorded videos supported by examples and suggested exercises, drawing on your research thus far.

Please allow around 3 hours to watch the videos and at least another 3 hours to complete the exercises. Depending on how far along you are in your DPhil journey, you may wish to dedicate much more time than this, to use the prompts and exercises to fully develop your thesis outline and writing plan. 

Module 1: Planning the thesis

  • Defining the aim of thesis, versus other things you have written before
  • Figuring out your overall message
  • Possible thesis structures
  • Plotting your chapters to support your message
  • Gathering the information you need before you start writing
  • Communicating with your supervisor about how and when to request feedback

Module 2: Writing the thesis

  • Creating a writing timetable
  • Strategies for writing and overcoming pain points
  • Tips for specific chapters and their sections
  • Suggested IT training to help with writing a thesis

Module 3: Polishing the thesis

  • Editing your work from rough draft to simple, clear, and complete final thesis
  • Strategies for requesting, coping with, and incorporating feedback


By the end of the course, you will:

  • Have developed an initial detailed outline of your thesis for discussion with your supervisor
  • Have planned a writing schedule that considers your writing speed and style
  • Feel ready to write a rough draft of your thesis
  • Be confident in revising your own writing for clarity, simplicity, and completeness and in applying feedback.