Annex 4 - Format of the dissertation for research degrees

The format of the dissertation – including for research degrees by published work – are set out below and covers both the examination and final Library versions.

Supervisors should advise their research students on the norms and practices of their discipline in terms of the dissertation. Guidance on the integration of publications as chapters within the dissertation, which should only be used following a discussion between supervisors and the student, is provided in Annex 5.

The examination copy must be submitted as a fully formatted pdf. The final Library copy should be electronically deposited in pdf format or other format acceptable to the University and appropriate to the medium as agreed with supervisors.

See Annex 17 for the inclusion of a Covid-19 statement in the dissertation.

Format of dissertations for research degrees

Preliminary pages

The five preliminary pages (with the addition of a cover sheet if there is a partial deferment version – see below) must be the Title Page, Abstract, Dedication and Acknowledgements, Author’s Declaration and Table of Contents. The preliminary pages should be single-sided and the main body of the dissertation should be double-sided.

Title page

At the top of the title page, within the margins, the dissertation should give the title and, if necessary, sub-title and volume number. If the dissertation is in a language other than English, the title must be given in that language and in English. The full name of the author should be in the centre of the page. At the bottom centre should be the words “A dissertation submitted to the University of Bristol in accordance with the requirements for award of the degree of … in the Faculty of ...” with the name of the school and month and year of submission. The word count of the dissertation (which excludes references, appendices and lists of contents) should be entered at the bottom right-hand side of the page.


Each copy must include an abstract or summary of the dissertation in not more than 300 words, which should be single-spaced in a font size in the range 10 to 12. If the dissertation is in a language other than English, an abstract in that language and an abstract in English must be included.

Author’s declaration

I declare that the work in this dissertation was carried out in accordance with the requirements of the University's Regulations and Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and that it has not been submitted for any other academic award. Except where indicated by specific reference in the text, the work is the candidate's own work. Work done in collaboration with, or with the assistance of, others, is indicated as such. Any views expressed in the dissertation are those of the author.

SIGNED: .............................................................  DATE:..........................

Students must print their name on the examination copy and on the final Library copy.

Partial deferment

Where a partial deferment for the public release of the final Library copy has been granted (see Section 9.2.5) both the redacted and full versions of the final version of the dissertation must be submitted. The redacted version file should adopt the following naming approach: ‘Redacted_Final_Copy_[year_month_day]_[candidate surname_candidate initials]_[Degree type].’

A cover sheet must be integrated as the first page of the redacted version with a statement on the redactions agreed by the candidate, supervisors and any industrial sponsors. The following is a suggested wording for the statement, which should be adapted for individual circumstances.

This is a redacted version of the full dissertation, as agreed by the candidate, the supervisors and [name], the industrial sponsor of this [degree type] studentship in the Faculty of [name]. The redactions cover key information that was deemed too sensitive to be published. The redactions have been kept to the minimum level necessary, so that the dissertation still shows the research excellence of the candidate.

The version for examination will contain the full text, even if a partial deferment has been granted.

Table of contents, list of tables and illustrative material

The table of contents must list, with page numbers, all chapters, sections and subsections, the list of references, bibliography, list of abbreviations and appendices. The list of tables and illustrations should follow the table of contents, listing with page numbers the tables, photographs, diagrams, etc., in the order in which they appear in the text.

Page numbering

The pages should be numbered consecutively at the bottom centre of the page.


Text should be in double or 1.5 line spacing, and font size should be chosen to ensure clarity and legibility for the main text and for any quotations and footnotes.

Digital recording media and research data

Appended digital recording media should be in a standard format and there should be a declaration in the dissertation of the programs used and the size of the files.

For the final copy of the dissertation, digital media such as Excel files should be combined into a single pdf file with the dissertation text. Students should discuss any accompanying research data that may be submitted with the dissertation with their supervisors. Guidance is also available from Library Services.