Prior to Submission

Graduate Research School

 How to submit your thesis

The chart below represents thesis submission in accordance with the University's  Thesis Examination Procedures. It indicates the actions required by you, the Graduate Research School, the relevant School of study and the Higher Degree Committee (HDC). It also indicates the estimated time from submission to examination and graduation.

thesis submission 2014

Notifying the University of your intention to submit

Two months before submission

Inform the appropriate campus office of your intention to submit your thesis for examination via the Thesis Examination Management (TEM) system on myUNSW. Your School will then liaise with you about potential examiners.

Submitting your thesis abstract

Record your abstract on the 'TEM' system at myUNSW at any time after lodging your notification of submission.


  • A supervisor's certificate cannot be created until your abstract is submitted
  • The abstract is limited to 350 words only
  • This abstract will appear on your AHEGS statement at graduation

Nomination of Examiners

Two examiners are appointed for all PhD, Masters and MPhil theses at UNSW.  

Your supervisor and co-supervisor(s) may not be appointed as examiners.

If you haven’t notified your Postgraduate Coordinator/Head of School of any objections by the date your thesis is due to be submitted, it will be assumed that you don’t object to any potential examiners of your thesis (refer to Thesis Examination Procedures).

In the event that a replacement examiner is nominated, your supervisor is responsible for ensuring that you are consulted in accordance with the same policy.

If you are submitting your thesis in the format of publications (subject to approval of the Faculty HDC), you must indicate this when lodging your notification of intention to submit.

Early submission

A candidate is not usually permitted to submit a PhD thesis for examination before the end of the sixth semester of candidature (full-time equivalent enrolment).

However, the University recognises that some candidates may have demonstrated exceptional research skills, completed all requirements for the degree and be ready to submit a thesis (that UNSW is confident will pass examination at a very high standard) in less than three years. Permission to submit earlier normally requires evidence of outstanding research. This evidence includes publication of a substantial body of work in leading international journals in the field or patents; exemplary Annual Progress Reviews that document the high level of achievement throughout the degree; supporting documents from the supervisor, Head of School (HOS) and Faculty Dean, benchmarking performance against other graduates in the field at a similar stage of their careers.

Early submission requests should be made to the HDC with the support of the supervisor and Head of School.

Embargoing or restricting access to your thesis

It is a principle of the University that a thesis produced from a research higher degree should be publicly available. However the University recognises that there are certain circumstances in which immediate public availability of the thesis in the library may not be desirable. If access to the library copy of the thesis is a concern to candidates, they should discuss this with the relevant parties six months before submitting their thesis.

Higher degree research (HDR) candidates may indicate that they wish to have access to the electronic copy of their thesis embargoed for a period of up to two years. Information regarding the process of indicating the requirement for such embargoes can be found on the Preparing for Graduation page. Embargoes of two years or less can be made at the time of submission of the final library copies, just prior to graduation. Candidates do not need to apply for special permission to have an embargo of two years or less.

Obtaining approval for restricted access

Requests for a restriction of access for a period greater than two years can only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Such applications must be made six months prior to submission of the examination copies of the thesis. Applications should be made using the Restricted Access of Thesis and Confidentiality Form. This should be submitted along with supporting documentation to the officer for the candidate's Faculty at the appropriate campus. Applications will be considered by the Dean of Graduate Research and must contain the following:

  1. Written support of the candidate's primary supervisor
  2. A strong justification indicating the reasons for a restriction of that length of time
  3. Additional documentation which supports the justification for the extended restriction

Once the application has been considered the candidate will be advised of the outcome. If an extended restriction is approved and the restriction is related to an Intellectual Property Agreement, the Graduate Research School will obtain the examiners' agreement to keep the contents of the thesis confidential.

Upon award of the degree the candidate should submit two electronic copies of the thesis to the UNSW Library (see the digital submission website for more information). UNSW Library staff will be informed of approved restrictions and the restrictions will be applied for the agreed period.

Submitting a PhD thesis as a series of publications

Three months before submission

If a candidate thinks that it is more suitable for their thesis to be submitted in the format of a series of publications, the supervisor and the HOS must submit appropriate documentation for consideration by the Faculty HDC. For more information please see the Thesis Submission as a Series of Publications document.

Ready to submit

There are certain documents that need to be inserted into each copy of your thesis. Go to:

Submitting your Thesis for Examination.