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Components of a thesis


All theses have a number of preliminary requirements:

Cover page/Title Page

displays thesis title, candidate's name, qualifications, thesis details, department, university, and date.

Table of Contents

lists all major divisions and chapter titles.


(predominantly for theses in the sciences) provides a list of the author's publications which directly relate to the research work for the dissertation. These papers are often included in an appendix.

List of tables/figures/illustrations


summarises the research undertaken in order to provide an overview of the project and its scholarly significance


(generally a requirement in the sciences) defines all notation and symbols used in the text of the dissertation. May be replaced by a list of abbreviations in other disciplines.

Declaration or Statement of authorship

declares that the material has not been used for other awards from other institutions, and that all sources are acknowledged.


recognises the help given by supervisors, technical staff, family and anyone else who offered support or advice.

Text of the Thesis:


provides a clear statement of the topic/problem under investigation and provides the general context for the research sometimes giving details of the methodology and the theoretical background and usually outlining applications of the research. It forcefully justifies the need for this research, and states the aims. It usually concludes with a chapter by chapter outline of the content of the dissertation.

Literature Review

presents a critical review of relevant previous studies in the research field. This chapter shows how knowledge has been built up in the research field and, by clearly demonstrating the achievements but also the limitations of the previous research, it presents a well argued justification for the research to be undertaken.

Sequential chapters

present a detailed description of the experimental or theoretical work undertaken, the results and a discussion of the significance of these results. Each chapter usually has a brief introduction which states the aim of the chapter and an outline of its structure, as well as a short summary to highlight the significant findings of the chapter.

Conclusions and Recommendations for Future Research

presents the major conclusions which can be drawn from the findings of the research. This chapter also makes recommendations for further research.


records all works that have been referred to in the text of the dissertation.


contain any information which is too detailed to include in the body of the dissertation such as additional graphs and tables of detailed data, mathematical proofs, and statistical analyses, interview transcripts, coding procedures etc. Copies of published papers based on the research reported in the dissertation are often included in an appendix.

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