Preparing and Submitting Your Thesis

Preparing Your Thesis

When preparing your thesis you must ensure your have considered the details set out in the Guideline for Thesis Preparation and Submission

Your thesis can be presented in one of these three forms:

  • A standard thesis;
  • A thesis by creative works accompanied by an exegesis; or
  • A thesis by compilation.

Referencing styles can differ in each discipline and you should discuss the appropriate referencing style with your supervisor prior to beginning your research.

Accepted referencing styles include:

If you intend to use a professional editor, you must do so in accordance with the Guideline for Professional Thesis Editing.

Submitting Your Thesis

Nomination of Examiners

Approximately three months before the anticipated date of completion, two (2) thesis examining panel members should be nominated by the thesis committee.

The Nomination of Examiners Form and the Case for the Nomination of Examiners for HDR Student Form need to be submitted to the Curtin Malaysia Graduate Studies (CMGS) for approval.

Examiners shall possess a Doctoral qualification with recognised standing in the field of study or be deemed by the Chair of Graduate Studies Committee to be of equivalent status. The Examiners should not have perceived or actual conflict of interest with the candidate, supervisory team and university. Please refer to the details in Guidelines for Conflict of Interest for Thesis Examination.

Thesis will only be accepted by the Examinations Office if the application of nomination of examiners has been received and approved.

Submitting Your Thesis Preparation

  1. The Nomination of Examiners must be approved prior to submitting the thesis.
  2. Ensure you have prepared a Title Page as per the required format.
  3. Ensure your Declaration follows the title page.
  4. If you are including publications in your thesis, ensure you have secured your co-author’s approval and have included relevant attribution statements.
  5. Ensure your final thesis title is the same as that on your student record. If you change the final thesis title, you must submit the Variation to Candidacy Details Form to the Curtin Malaysia Graduate Studies for approval.
  6. Obtain a Turnitin similarity report for your thesis (<30%). Please refer to this link for the details about Turnitin.
  7. Complete the relevant sections on the Copyright and Release of Thesis for Examination and send this to your supervisor along with the final copy of your thesis for examination and the Turnitin similarity report.

A thesis that contains material that may reasonably affect the security of persons, nations, industry or commerce may be declared confidential for a specified period of time. If there are some concerns about the content and confidentiality of a thesis, prior to its submission, the Director of Graduate Research/AD, R&D and Chair of CMGSC may recommend to the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Excellence, to consider whether the thesis should be declared confidential. When a thesis is declared confidential, the University cannot display, copy or circulate the thesis during the period of confidentiality.

If your research is being funded by or using the resources of an external organisation, they may wish to enter into a confidentiality arrangement with the University. In these circumstances, the sponsor and the University will negotiate mutually agreed confidentiality arrangements prior to the commencement of the study.

On the request of the Director of Graduate Research and Chair of CMGSC, thesis examiners can be required to sign a confidentiality agreement. This will usually occur because of security concerns or commercial arrangements.

Once you have fully complied with the requirements for submission of thesis, the Thesis Examinations Officer will amend your enrolment status to Under Examination, which is the status you hold following submission of the thesis and prior to the University Graduate Studies Committee determining the thesis classification.  When Under Examination, you won’t incur any fees. If you are a scholarship recipient, your scholarship will cease.

Fees calculated are pro-rata, up to the date of final submission of thesis.

PhD students shall be enrolled for a maximum period of four (4) years of equivalent full-time study or a maximum period of eight (8) years equivalent part-time and MPhil students shall be enrolled for a maximum period of two (2) years of equivalent of full-time-study or a maximum period of four (4) years of part-time study. The time limits shall be adjusted for approval period periods of Leave of Absence and include any enrolment in a research degree.

For students who require more time to submit their thesis for examination, they must complete Request for Extension of Time to Submit Thesis Form and submit it for an approval to CMGS.

The Examination Process

Approximately three months before the anticipated date of completion, as nominated by the thesis committee and approved by Faculty’s Associate Dean of R&D, the Curtin Malaysia Graduate Studies Committee will appoint your examiners.

The names of your examiners must be kept confidential and only the thesis chair and Bentley’s GRS may communicate with them during the examination process. Examiners may request that their names be kept confidential indefinitely.


The timeframe for the examination process varies and is largely determined by the length of time it takes the examiners to submit their reports. Normally you should expect to be advised of the examiners’ responses within three months of the date of submission.

Examination Process

The examiners review the thesis in terms of your understanding of the field of study, your ability to conceive, plan and conduct a program of research, the originality of your work and the significance of the contribution you have made to that field. Generally, a thesis should also be excellent in its standard of presentation, English expression, grammar, etc., and contain a substantial amount of material that you (and usually your supervisor) have published or is suitable for publication in a refereed journal. The examiners are also required to assess the thesis in relation to your stated thesis objectives. Examiners then submit an independent written report on your thesis to the Graduate Research School.

The examiners’ reports are then forwarded to your Thesis Chair, who assesses the reports to determine whether they are in substantial agreement. This determination must take into account the content and context of the reports (i.e. qualitative assessment of the reports) as well as the overall classification (i.e. quantitative assessment of the reports). The Thesis Chair will either find that there is (1) substantial agreement among the examiners, or, in the event of (2) no clear weight of opinion, will recommend the appointment of an Adjudicator.

Substantial agreement

If the Thesis Chair finds there is a clear weight of opinion, they will recommend to the University Graduate Studies Committee via CMGS

  • No amendments
    If the examiners have pointed out minor typographical errors, these must be corrected.
  • Minor amendments
    If minor textual and/or structural amendments are required, the Thesis Chair will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. You should complete these in as short a time as possible to the satisfaction of the Thesis Chair.
  • Substantive amendments
    If revision of specific sections of the thesis is required, the Thesis Chair will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. These must be done to the satisfaction of the Thesis Chair.
  • Re-examination
    After considering the examiners reports, your Thesis Chair will advise you in writing that you are required to revise your thesis for re-examination. The maximum time allowed to undertake the revision is twelve months. Once your revisions have been completed, you should provide the Thesis Chair with a copy of the revised version, together with a statement that clearly sets out how you have responded to the examiners’ and Thesis Chair’s comments, and a Turnitin similarity report for your revised thesis. You will then submit your revised thesis and statement addressing the examiner/s recommendation .
  • Fail
    If your thesis is recommended as failed by the examiners, you are entitled to appeal against this decision on the following grounds: (i) procedural irregularities or conduct in the examination of the thesis; or (ii) documentable evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of one or more examiners.

No clear weight of opinion

Where the recommendations of the examiners do not allow determination of a result based on a clear weight of opinion, the Thesis Chair, having discussed the reports with the supervisors, shall recommend the appointment of an Adjudicator who shall adjudicate between the examiners’ disparate reports on the basis of the thesis presented (in original form, or as re-examined).

In consideration of a thesis which has not been previously re-examined and with due reference to the examiners’ reports, the Adjudicator shall recommend: A, B1/B2, C or Fail.

In consideration of a thesis which has been re-examined, the Adjudicator shall recommend Pass or Fail.

Oral Presentation

An examiner or the Thesis Chair may recommend that you undergo an oral examination to clarify aspects of the thesis you have submitted.

After being satisfied that the external examination process is complete, your Thesis Chair will make a recommendation to the CMGS Committee. The Chair of CMGS Committee will then make a recommendation to the University Graduate Studies Committee (UGSC). Your examination documents and final thesis will be reviewed and a recommendation made to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who will endorse the final approval.

The Graduate Research School will contact you with the outcome. If you are awarded a pass, you will be advised that you have approval to graduate. HDR students are not required to apply to graduate.

When the documentations (including thesis chair’s report) are submitted to CMGS Office, the candidate should also submit a HDR exit survey form and clearance form.

Submission of A Digital Copy

Prior to being approved to graduate, you are required to submit a digital copy of the final version of your thesis to Curtin University’s institutional repository (espace). This enables the results of your research to be made publicly available.

The digital thesis must be submitted to the Library prior to your degree being awarded. You will not be eligible to graduate until this is completed.

What are the benefits of having my thesis on espace?

Making your thesis publicly available via espace allows more exposure for your research. A digital thesis has a greater potential readership than a hard copy and is protected in a secure digital environment. You will be given a persistent url for your thesis, to use in your online profiles.

How do I submit my final thesis to espace?

Please submit the digital copy of your thesis along with the Submission of Digital Thesis form to

Which version of my thesis do I deposit?

The post-examination version of the thesis with all required amendments/revisions, as approved by your Thesis Chair, must be submitted.

Note – If your thesis title contains scientific text symbols in italic or roman fonts, or accented characters, the auto generated title page won’t recognise these – your thesis title will be presented in either Arial or Times New Roman title case. However, you may include it in the final, amended version of the thesis which you submit to the Library (espace) at the conclusion of the examination.

If applicable, you may also need to submit a second “open access” copy. This version must be the same as the final thesis in all essential respects, with confidential or third party copyright material for which you have not secured permission, redacted.

Where possible, confidential information should be presented in an appendix, rather than in the body of the thesis. The body of the thesis can then be made publicly available, while the appendix is not.

What about Copyright and Intellectual Property clearance?

When your work is available on espace it remains unpublished. You will retain the copyright once the thesis is on espace.

What if the thesis contains published material?

If your thesis contains material which you have published, the publisher agreement is likely to contain restrictions on how you can use the material. As a result of this, the published material may need to be redacted from the thesis before it is made available on espace. In place of the redacted materials, you may include a statement, “Publication has been removed due to copyright restrictions”.

Some agreements may allow you to include an earlier version of the publication. Please refer to the copyright guide.

What if the thesis contains confidential and/or sensitive material?

You may request for restricted access (embargo) to your thesis for five years, subject to approval by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Excellence (ADVCRE). In exceptional circumstances, a permanent embargo may be approved by the ADVCRE.

Reasons for placing a thesis under an embargo include:

  • Commercialisation (in order to file a patent protecting the work)
  • Commercial partner/sponsor/funder wishes to protect confidential information
  • Other restrictions of a sponsor/partner/funder
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Papers pending publication

How do I prepare the files?

The final version of your full thesis, as examined, must be submitted in portable document format (PDF). If your thesis contains redacted material, a second “open access” copy of the thesis must also be provided.

What if I have supplementary files as part of my thesis?

Audio or video files, or other formats such as Excel spreadsheets, may be included in espace as supplementary files. Please email the espace team for assistance.

How will the Graduate Research School know that I’ve deposited my digital thesis?

Once you’ve uploaded your digital thesis and accompanying form, the Library will notify the Graduate Research School so that you can graduate.

Where will my thesis be available?

Your thesis will be available in espace and can be found via the Curtin Library Catalogue and the National Library of Australia’s TROVE repository.

For students who are required to amend or resubmit their thesis for re-examination, they have 6 months to amend their thesis (for students who have received a pass outcome) and 12 months (for students whose thesis is required to be re-examined).

If they require an extension, then they must complete this Request for Extension of Time to Submit/Resubmit Thesis form (PART B).

Should an extension not be granted by the CMGS Committee, the process of cancelling a student’s enrolment shall commerce.

Please liaise with CMGS Admin Officer at for permanent thesis binding arrangements.

When the Dean of Graduate Studies has classified your thesis as passed, your name will be placed on the graduation list for conferral of the Award by the University Council.

The Graduations Office will notify you via OASIS on how to register to attend a graduation ceremony, or be sent the Award by registered mail.