Annex 4

Format of the dissertation for research degrees and of the final copies of the dissertation or published work and commentary

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 hard copies of the dissertation required for the examination process should be in temporary bindings. The final copy of the dissertation should be electronically deposited in pdf format or other format acceptable to the University and appropriate to the medium as agreed with supervisors.

Format of dissertations for research degrees

Preliminary pages

Where a partial deferment has been granted (see Section 9.2.5) both the redacted and full versions of the final version of the dissertation must be submitted. 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. It is recommended that the redacted version file adopts the following naming approach: ‘Redacted_Final_Copy_[year_month_day]_[candidate surname_candidate initials]_[Degree type].’

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

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

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

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 (text only) 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, on one side of A4, 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 sign the examination copies but should only print their name in the final version that they electronically submit so that no personal signifiers are shown in the online release of the dissertation.

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.


The hard copies of the dissertation required for the examination process must be printed on A4 white paper. Paper up to A3 may be used for maps, plans, diagrams and illustrative material. Pages (apart from the preliminary pages) should normally be double-sided.

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, photocopies, photographs 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. Good quality photocopies and photographs may be used for the examination copies.

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.

Temporary binding

The initial copies of the dissertation required for the examination process should be presented in a secure, temporary binding, with a glued or spiral spine and not in a ring or spring binder.