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Typical thesis structures

In whichever ways you choose to construct and present your work you will need to: Structure, explain,and consciously craft the work.

Here are illustrations of thesis structures in four different discipline areas:

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Science
  • Biology

Structure of the thesis in Humanities

Introductory chapter

Body chapters

There is no predetermined structure for the body of a thesis dealing with theory, historical study, philosophical argument, or interpretation of literary or other artistic work; the structure is determined by the internal logic of the study itself. For example:

  • Argument > Objections > Counter to objections (etc.)
  • Explication of theoretical concepts > Application to analysis of text

However, the theoretical framework and the approach should be made clear towards the beginning of the thesis, either in the introduction or in an early chapter. Research literature may be dealt with either in a separate chapter or throughout the thesis, as appropriate.

Chapters are given descriptive titles that indicate their content and role in the thesis.

Chapters have their own introductions and conclusions, which relate them to each other and to the development of the thesis as a whole.

Concluding chapter

Structure of the thesis in Social Sciences


Review of the Literature

Methodology - Research Design

Data Analysis, Report Results



Structure of the thesis in the Engineering


Review of the Literature

Experimental Methodology


Results and Discussion

Theoretical Modelling

And Comparison with Experimental Results


And Recommendations for future Work

Structure of the thesis in Science


(includes a review of the literature)


Experimental Results and Discussion

Experimental procedures and instrumentation


And Recommendations for future Work

Structure Of The Thesis in Biology


Review of the literature



Experimental materials and methods

Discussion, Conclusion and recommendations for further study

(There may be a number of experiments where each reports methodology, results and discussion, with a synthesis of the findings in the discussion and conclusion at the end)

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