I'm horribly upset as this thesis was read by my supervisors and I feel like this should Do you need a second viva, or can you just resubmit?.
Table of contents
- Thesis outcomes and corrections
- Doing your amendments without losing heart (or your mind) – The Thesis Whisperer
- Dissertation and Thesis Submission
- Just like the horse whisperer – but with more pages
- PhD and MPhil resubmission for re-examination
But before your thesis can take its place there, you must attend to the changes that your examiners have suggested that you make to your thesis. If you are in the USA, you may want to stop reading now unless you are interested in what happens in other countries.
Thesis outcomes and corrections
What I have to say pertains to the Australian and UK system, and some other parts of the world, usually those who were formally colonies of the UK. How many amendments you have to make will depend on how your thesis was categorised. In most universities I have worked or studied in there is a 5 point categorising system, with varying amounts of time allowed to make the amendments as follows:. The categories I listed above are not a scoring system, despite what the numbers might suggest. A PhD is a pass or fail proposition; the scoring system is just a way of communicating how much change is needed before you can pass.
The examination process is full of ambiguity. One examiner might think problems with how you have numbered the footnotes means you should get a category two, but another might merely tell you to fix it and give you a category one. I later won the faculty award for best thesis and was one of the runners up for the university prize dammit! Everyone who has amendments will find it disheartening, if not demoralising. But remember that the overwhelming majority of people have to do amendments of some sort. By the time the reports come in life has moved on; you may have a new job or even be living in a new country.
Doing your amendments without losing heart (or your mind) – The Thesis Whisperer
It can be hard to even open that document you sweated over and a time limit of a couple of months can seem both daunting and depressing. The category two changes on my PhD took a day of hard work. The trick is to do the bare minimum of the suggested changes, which leads me to my next point.
The examiner is not the expert — you are; the report is a list of suggestions, not a shopping list.
Dissertation and Thesis Submission
So take control and address only those concerns you think are important. In a perfect world you will have a civilised meeting with your supervisors to discuss a plan of attack before you make substantive changes to your document. Some supervisors, particularly inexperienced ones, are under the impression that their job is to make sure you carry out every suggestion, no matter how ridiculous. Make yourself familiar with the regulations around examination so you can explain them if necessary.
Some reasons are more acceptable than others and the language you use is important. Never complain it will take too long; state how and why the changes suggested are impractical within the timeframe you have been given.
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- Dissertations - Submitting Your Dissertation or Thesis to ProQuest.
I think you should resist, as far as you are able, any requests to collect more data. A thesis that honestly needs more data was poorly designed in the first place and should never have passed. If data is highlighted as an issue, suggest to your supervisor that you do more analysis or interpretation instead. Alternatively you can arrange the suggested changes in themes, and make a written statement of the changes under each heading.
Usually you will submit a PDF to the repository, which might present some challenges to those who have video or other data which accompanies the written work. Check the instructions and get help from the library if you need to. Many universities require you to get copyright permission for any images or tables used in your thesis that you did not make yourself. This involves locating the original copyright holder and writing to them. Getting copyright permission can take anywhere from 24 hours to never; sometimes even locating the original copyright holder can be tricky.
I hope this cheat sheet helps you in the final stages. Are you about to complete and have questions about this process? I might not be able to answer all of them, but feel free to ask away in the comments. Love the Thesis whisperer and want it to continue? This is so helpful — those details no-one tells you about!
Just a word of caution. If you hope to get your thesis accepted by a publisher, they are unlikely to consider it if it is already online as your thesis. This is something that the uni does not like to tell PhD students.
Just like the horse whisperer – but with more pages
In such a situation, one might request an embargo on their thesis — I have seen one that is embargoed for 13 years! This was brilliant — I feel much more in control now. Thank you. I also got a 4. Not nice, but not the end of the world. The real work, for me, is to sit down and do the corrections. Fear of success one might argue, perhaps. I like the term fear or success! I took time away from the revisions as I need to be ready to go back into my thesis to see it for what it could be not what it was.
A fellow 4. Hi there, Any advice?
I also got a 4 and recently found out as in 2 weeks ago. Any advice would be enormously appreciated for how things panned out! I did the whole spread sheet thing — I married up the examiners comments some were quite similar so they became one action item , I added the former page and the new page as seperate columns then I added a column that was entitled response.
One would have needed a completely new thessis and two wre not actually relevent to my arguement. I still managed to submit bound copies with formatting errors the dreaded 1 line on a page problem.
PhD and MPhil resubmission for re-examination
No one actually seemed to care. Tsk, tsk! Thanks Inger for the excellent piece. So thanks for your advice, Susan Inglis. I am on a huge learning curve to write at PhD level, as a scholar. I used to be a lecturer and conducted research at short term projects scale, but after a decade in the business world where speed, succinct-ness is this the right term? And this blog about the thesis amendment … oh my, completely shattered my fantasy about the third year being a peaceful, consolidating, contemplative kind of time writing the new knowledge. It takes THAT MUCH passion to complete this scholarly journey … which is fun from thought process and sharpening the mind kind of view, but honestly it is difficult especially for me, to slow down and process new information and construct new knowledge.
REally, at times, it feels like training to be a starship captain oh yeah, I did read the blog about what to say when somebody asks me why I am doing my PhD, esp. Thanks for the post — and a brief question: what is your position on online repositories vs. I know a book is not a thesis and vice versa, but there has been quite some chatter nonetheless that a full digital copy of your work might make presses reluctant to print a revised version unlike one or two chapters out as articles, which likely work the other way round. Going for hardcopies would then be a sound precaution if your institution gives you a choice, that is.
What do you think? Fascinating and important question. Thanks for raising it. Good advice — I sent in my corrections earlier today before seeing this post, but think I did the sorts of things you suggest. Think the wait for it to be signed off is going to be worse than waiting for the Viva!
So publisher hunting will await me after my viva. A very timely and useful post for me. I have the sudden urge to send the url of this post to those fellow students and have them read this…..
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Fantastic Inger! This almost always resulted in a 3. Students felt this was a punishment to do lots more work, rather than seeing the interests of schools and examiners was often to have the thesis be the best it can be. With my Masters Research I received two reports with category 1, but I probably in effect implement category 2 changes — they made comments that were helpful and made certain sections stronger once I made additions. Category 1 did not mean the thesis was perfect, it meant the thesis met the bar for a Masters Research even if no changes were made.
I think it is helpful to keep that in mind. I went back and thought about it, I think I was a category 2 or 3 thesis. I remember submitting on 7th December , getting results early April and resubmitting to my supervisors I think in May?. I promptly went overseas and then started a new job.
I got final print permission 28th September and submitted 14th October. Graduated December I am just so, so terrified of getting a 4 or a fail now! Thank you for this great post though! Which was a little depressing. In the end, the changes significantly improved my work, and also helped with my anxiety that I had missed things or got things wrong — I had, and the result was not catastrophic. Finish the other changes. Ignore for a week. Check changes. Send off to examiner with a table like the one mentioned above, and all of my changes marked in track changes.
The timing was submit in early August, reports back in late November, changes sent in January, everything approved in February, degree to be conferred in March, graduation will be in June.