Your institution will have specific regulations governing the format of your thesis, including word limits and formatting. There will be stipulations on how many copies you need to submit and how they need to be bound.
Make sure you know what these are in advance and before submitting check again that your thesis adheres to the required guidelines. Navigation Doing a doctorate Starting a doctorate During your doctorate: the middle phase Completing your doctorate Writing and submitting your doctoral thesis Getting started on writing your thesis Writing your thesis as you go Structuring your thesis Knowing when your thesis is finished Writing up your thesis - quick tips Defending your thesis: the viva Finishing your doctorate - quick tips Part-time doctorate - quick tips.
Doctoral thesis format The conventions governing the doctoral thesis format depend on the country or even institution you are doing your doctorate in. Writing your doctoral thesis The prospect of sitting down to write your thesis can be intimidating. This section offers specific advice and tips on the process of writing a thesis. Getting started and analysing a thesis Writing as you go Structuring your thesis Knowing when it is finished. The actual writing took 2 months—the time I had before the final submission deadline.
I guess I managed to write it because I had to, the alternative being to fail the Ph. In the Netherlands, where I did my Ph. Work that is already published or has been submitted does not need to be rewritten. I was quite lucky to have published two research papers and a review of my field that served as the introduction, and I was revising another manuscript that I had submitted to a journal.
This meant that I only had to write one more research chapter and the summarizing discussion, which made the total time and effort to complete my thesis manageable. I started by making a very general outline with all my chapter titles. After getting approval from my supervisor, I made a more detailed outline for the two chapters I had left to write.
This was especially helpful for the research manuscript. At the time, my co-author another Ph. The outline helped us with our figures, although some of them started as mock figures that were completed later. Altogether my thesis was pages, which is quite average for a Ph. My thesis had to be written in publishable chapters. I had a hard time keeping the chapters short enough for manuscript submissions, so at the time of defense my thesis—which consisted of three chapters plus an overall abstract for introduction—was pages, but it ended up being trimmed after that.
I focused on producing several manuscript-ready chapters rather than trying to include all the research work that I did. I first organized my data and results into a storyboard by printing all my graphs and laying them out on a giant table.
This strategy helped me see how the pieces fit together, which results would be in or out, the best way to display the data, and where the chapter breaks should be. It also helped me identify a few gaps that needed to be filled back in the lab. Altogether it took about 1 year, including a couple months of maternity leave in the early stages, to write the whole thing.
I decided to write my entire dissertation from scratch. I was already working on two manuscripts for journal submission, but both were collaborations, so it made more sense, and it was also easier, to tell the story of my Ph. I wrote up my scientific results in four different chapters, with additional chapters for the introduction, materials and methods, and conclusion.
For each of the results chapters, I went back to my original experiments and computational results to verify the findings and regenerated the figures and tables as required. I made a lot of notes and flowcharts describing what should go into each chapter to guide me during the writing, which later also helped me provide a quick overview at the beginning of each chapter and crosscheck information at the end of the writing process.
As I completed the whole thing, I was quite surprised at how much I had written. My thesis was nearly pages, and I almost got concerned about examiners having to read them all. I spent about 6 months putting it all together, using the 4-year duration of my stipend as a hard deadline to push myself to finish. Heil , research associate in computational neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. My writing got squeezed into a two-and-a-half-week gap between the end of a major research project and my defense date, which had been chosen 6 months earlier.
Luckily, my department allows students to use published papers as dissertation chapters and I had published regularly during my Ph. I chose to put together a brief history of my field. This required tracking down and reading a whole bunch of historical papers.
Then I jotted down every thought I had on the subject, producing a bullet list of elements I wanted to cover, logical connections between ideas, references, and even just catchy phrases. Then I made a first attempt to compile all these thoughts into some structured text, focusing on whether I had sufficient material to support my points and how well they flowed.
After that, I focused on honing the phrasing itself, using online resources such as spell checkers and grammar books as English is my second language, followed by a final overall polish. When it comes to theses, I find that no one is as helpful as former grad students from your group.
When I reached out to our lab's alumni for advice, they helped me understand the overall process of thesis writing, estimate the time it would take to complete different parts, and watch out for potential pitfalls. I also downloaded and skimmed through their theses to get a feel for what the final product was supposed to look like.
My PI had been heavily involved in writing each of the papers that went into my thesis, so the need for his input was less critical. Nonetheless, before sitting down to write, I had a conversation with him in which we figured out what the main theme of my thesis should be and which papers to use. Then when the time came to polish my thesis, many of my friends and colleagues, and my wife, who is also a biophysicist, provided invaluable advice.
I sent each chapter's methods and results to all my committee members so that we could make sure that the science was complete before I dug into the key scientific messages. My PI made sure we were in touch and made himself available for questions.
He also was an excellent and very thorough editor—having somebody who will rip your writing apart and help you trim and organize is critical. Nearer the end, my fellow graduate students also helped me cut a lot of words. My PI got involved a couple of times: At the beginning when I asked him for advice about how to put a thesis together, and at the end for the final reading of the draft.
But I still felt totally lost. So when my best friend told me that he was going to visit his adviser to discuss how to write his thesis, I did not hesitate to tag along. His adviser clarified the expectations of the graduating commission, gave us some useful suggestions, and reassured us that all would be OK. That meeting helped me feel less overwhelmed and more confident. A senior colleague of mine, who was an expert adviser for Ph.
I would deal with the revisions while he was moving on to the next chapter, which made it much more manageable and saved a lot of time. At that time, I badly needed someone to tell me that I wasn't doing something totally wrong or stupid. I sent my chapters to my PI one by one as I finished writing them.
At times, I would get some feedback relatively straight away by email or through Skype; other times, I would need to send one or two reminders. Setting deadlines for myself, and letting my PI know about them, made me more accountable and helped me stick to my schedule.
When I needed concrete tips on specific aspects of the thesis and my PI was really busy, I would just stop by his office. I also sent individual chapters to people whom I knew had an interest in my research, mainly for proofreading, and I tried to find native English speakers to help me with grammar and spelling. I notified them all ahead of time so that they would have some flexibility on when and how to give me feedback.
I was lucky to have a very caring supervisor who literally always had his door open. However, I tried to only request his input when I felt that critical decisions had to be made, for example when I had finished an outline or a chapter. He provided feedback mainly through track changes added to my drafts, which I found very convenient.
When I received his input, I tried to deal with the revisions immediately, leaving the comments that required more work for later. By tackling the quick revisions first, I felt that I was making progress, which helped me stay motivated. To focus on my writing, I had to stop most of my research, though I still performed some minor tasks that did not require significant time and concentration, such as launching computer calculations.
Regarding work-life balance, my wife and I have an informal pact that we try not to work after dinner and on weekends. Without proper rest, productivity just drops and you end up feeling miserable. I can't say that this pact was enforced during the thesis writing period, but even in the most intense times, we did get out of town at least once a week for a walk in nearby parks and nature reserves to decompress.
During the entire writing period, I kept some other work-related activities going. Especially at the beginning, I remained active as a teaching assistant. Working with students was a nice distraction from my thesis, and it was motivating to see that my work was useful and appreciated by others, especially during unrewarding writing times. I also worked on other research projects in parallel and went to several international conferences and a summer school on citizen science.
These activities not only offered a welcome break from the thesis, but also reminded me of how important and interesting my research was. I also made sure to stay active to keep up my positive energy. Going to the gym always brought me back to writing with a clear mind and a healthier feeling. Sometimes I would try to arrange coffee breaks with friends to reward myself with a piece of cake and good company.
Other times, planning to visit a museum or try a new restaurant helped me keep going by giving me a nice event to look forward to. I stopped doing most of my fieldwork about a year and a half before my thesis was due, which was about the same time my son was born.
After my maternity leave, I spent 6 to 8 hours a day writing from home, with my baby on my lap or sleeping next to me. Once he was in day care at 7 months old, I went to coffee shops nearby so that I could pop over and nurse him at lunchtime. Several times a day, I practiced the Pomodoro Technique where I'd set the timer for 45 minutes and not do anything but write—no emails, no social media, no other tasks.
If I thought of something I needed to do, I wrote it down for later.
The dissertation is expected to make a new and creative contribution to a field of study and to demonstrate the student's expertise. In social science and science programs, the dissertation usually requires conducting empirical research. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, a strong medical dissertation relies heavily on the creation of a specific hypothesis that can be either disproven or supported by data collected by independent student research.
Further, it must also contain several key elements starting with an introduction to the problem statement, conceptual framework and research question as well as references to literature on already published on the topic.
A dissertation must also be relevant and proven to be such as well as capable of being researched independently by the student. Though the required length of these dissertations varies by school, the governing body overseeing the practice of medicine in the United States standardizes this same protocol. Also included in the dissertation is the methodology for research and data collection as well as instrumentation and quality control.
A stated section on population and sample size for the study is imperative to defending the thesis once it comes time to do so. Like most scientific publications, the thesis must also contain a section of published results and an analysis of what this entails for the scientific or medical community.
The discussion and conclusion sections let the review committee know that the student understands the full implications of his or her work as well as its real-world application to their field of study and soon, professional work. Although students are expected to conduct the bulk of their research and pen the entire dissertation on their own, most graduate medical programs provide an advisory and review committee to the student upon starting their studies.
Through a series of weekly reviews over their course of schooling, the student and his or her advisor hone in on the hypothesis of the dissertation before they submit it to the review committee to begin work on writing the thesis. From there, the student can take as long or as short of a time as they need to complete their dissertation, often resulting in students who have finished their entire courseload achieving ABD status "all but dissertation" , just shy of receiving their full Ph.
In this interim period, the student — with the occasional guidance of his or her advisor — is expected to research, test and write a dissertation that can be defended in a public forum. Once the review committee accepts the finalized draft of the thesis, the doctoral candidate will then get the chance to publicly defend his or her statements.
If they pass this test, the dissertation is submitted electronically to the school's academic journal or archive and the candidate's full doctoral degree is issued once the final paperwork has been submitted. Our writers are experts that enjoy their work, so no order is too big, too small, or too complicated to be taken on by our team. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer service advisors are happy to assist you with your purchase.
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