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Submitting the Soft Bound Thesis

The first submission of your thesis must be fully prepared and carefully checked.

Examiners are not expected to edit work. They will deal with errors of fact and typographical errors that affect the meaning, as well as larger, structural issues. The extent to which the text has or has not been properly prepared may influence their recommendation concerning the award of the degree.

What format does my thesis have to be in?

The thesis must:

  • be written in English, apart from quotations and recognised technical formulae
  • be thoroughly checked to ensure clear, formal English has been used throughout and that there are minimal typing errors and/or spelling mistakes
  • be typescript on A4 paper
  • be portrait format
  • use double-sided printing where possible
  • use one-and-a-half spaced type

Any photographs or other illustrations should be scanned or printed into the text. Originals, not photocopies may be used, in which case these must be secured permanently inside the thesis (not by use of adhesive tape).

How do I present my thesis?

You must submit two bound copies of the dissertation for examination.  Candidates for the MD degree must submit three copies of their dissertation.  Soft-bound thesis must be bound in such a way for the contents to be securely fixed within the covers, i.e. spiral bound.

You may submit a hard bound thesis as your first submission, along with all the paperwork listed below for a first submission. However, if corrections to your thesis are required, you will need to produce a new, corrected, hard bound edition. Should you decide to submit a hard bound thesis at this stage please also follow the guidance on the minimum requirements for a hardbound copy of thesis for Hardbound Submission.

Further information and guidance about printing and soft binding your dissertation can be found on the website of the Graduate Union.

What paperwork is needed?

Bound inside the thesis you must include the following:

1. A title page displaying:

  • the full title of the thesis,
  • your full name (as it appears on your passport),
  • your college,
  • the date of your submission (month and year)
  • and a declaration stating: "This dissertation is submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Science/Master of Letters (as appropriate)."

2. A declaration in the preface stating:

  • This dissertation is the result of my own work and includes nothing which is the outcome of work done in collaboration except as declared in the Preface and specified in the text.
  • It is not substantially the same as any that I have submitted, or, is being concurrently submitted for a degree or diploma or other qualification at the University of Cambridge or any other University or similar institution except as declared in the Preface and specified in the text. I further state that no substantial part of my dissertation has already been submitted, or, is being concurrently submitted for any such degree, diploma or other qualification at the University of Cambridge or any other University or similar institution except as declared in the Preface and specified in the text
  • It does not exceed the prescribed word limit for the relevant Degree Committee.  For more information on the word limits for the respective Degree Committee. See Word Limits and Stylistic Conventions: Requirements of the Degree Committees

Loose with the thesis(not bound inside) you must provide the following:

  1. One completed thesis submission checklist
  2. Two copies of the Title Page
  3. Two copies of a Summary/Abstract of about 300 words in length, with your name and dissertation title on it.
  4. One completed statement of length form (not needed for Mathematics or Biology)
  5. One completed Addresses for Examination Purposes Form
  6. One signed Declaration Form
  7. One completed Deposit and Copying of Dissertation Declaration Form

Return completed forms to the Student Registry.

How do I submit my thesis?

You can do this:

  • in person
  • through a third party
  • by post

Where do I submit my thesis?

Your thesis should be submitted to the following address:

Student Registry
Academic Division
University of Cambridge
4 Mill Lane Cambridge

I have submitted my thesis to the Student Registry, what happens next?

When you submit your thesis, either in person or by post, you will be given/emailed a document, Acknowledgement of soft bound thesis, which contains useful information on what happens next regarding your examination process. 

You will also be provided with the regulations that apply to you following your submission - see below.

Regulations following Submission

The Student Registry updates your CamSIS record and then sends your thesis to the appropriate Degree Committee, who arrange the oral examination When you (viva voce). If you have not heard from the Degree Committee within six weeks of submitting your dissertation, do contact them. Any questions with regard to your thesis at this stage should be directed to the Degree Committee.

When will I hear from the Student Registry?

Once your oral examination (viva voce) has taken place, the reports from your Examiners will be considered at the next available Degree Committee meeting. The decision from this meeting will then be sent to the Student Registry for presentation at the next available Board of Graduate Studies meeting. Following the Board's meeting the Student Registry will email you within two days with a copy of your reports and the Board's decision.

Degree Committee and Board of Graduate Studies meetings take place in term time. Note that if your viva takes place after the end of the summer term there will be a delay before the paperwork can be considered by either the Degree Committee and the Board of Graduate Studies. A copy of the dates of the Degree Committee and Board of Graduate Studies meetings can be found here:



Submitting the Hard Bound Thesis

Final approval for the PhD is conditional on you submitting a hard bound copy of the thesis for deposit in the University Library.

What are the requirements for the hardbound submission?

The minimum requirements for the Hardbound thesis are as follows:

  • hard bound (hand stitched and not stuck)
  • cover colour is up to you
  • your thesis title, your initials and surname reading down the spine
  • letter colour must be gold
  • a completed Deposit and Copying of Dissertation Declaration Form - this form must be bound inside each copy of the thesis as the very first page - that is, before the title page. You must sign the form to confirm that the work submitted is identical to that which was examined, excepting corrections as required by your Examiners. You can download and sign a copy for your thesis binder - if you are submitting remotely remember to sign the form and then email a scanned copy to your binder, advsising that this form must be bound inside each copy of the thesis as the very first page - that is, before the title page.
  • a copy of your Summary/Abstract with your name and dissertation title on it. This must be bound inside the thesis following the title page

What else do I need to submit?

  • A loose copy of the Summary, identical to that included in the final version. The summary should include the dissertation title and your name. This is for library classification.

Where can I have my dissertation bound with hard covers?

There are a number of bookbinders available; two Cambridge Bookbinders are:

You can send your loose copy of the Summary/Abstract via email to, or send a hard copy through the post to the address for the Student Registry as below.

Where do I submit my thesis?

Submit your hard bound thesis to the address below:

Student Registry
Academic Division
University of Cambridge
4 Mill Lane Cambridge

However, some Degree Committees will inform you that they have local arrangements for submitting the hard bound thesis, in which case follow their guidance as well as the guidance above and submit to the Degree Committee.

What if I am submitting from overseas?

The two Cambridge Bookbinders listed above accept an electronic copy of the thesis and will arrange for printing, binding and delivery to the Student Registry.

A copy of the Summary/Abstract - with your full name and the title of the thesis at the top can be emailed to

How many copies of the dissertation must I submit?

One copy is required for the University Library. However, the following Departments require a second copy, usually for their own library.  Submit both copies to the Student Registry:

  • Astronomy
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Earth Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Genetics
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Judge Business School
  • Veterinary Medicine

Is there any help with the cost of binding my thesis ?

Thesis binding expenses up to £30 are available for students registered for a PhD, MSc, MLitt who are able to demonstrate financial hardship. Forms are available from the Graduate Tutor of your college.

How will the Student Registry contact me?

It is important to ensure your mailing address, email address(es) and telephone numbers are updated over the 12 months following the submission of your dissertation. We will primarily contact you by email. Following your full approval, however, you will be emailed and sent a hard copy of the Approval Letter. Update your details via CamSIS Self Service.



Including a CD-Rom (or other item)

You may seek permission through the CamSIS Self Service page to submit a CD-Rom or other item with your dissertation. Datasets supplied on a CD as a separate item or an additional volume connected to the printed thesis but not included within it require this permission. This process should be initiated prior to the soft bound submission.


Uploading an electronic version of your thesis (e-thesis) to the University repository

You are encouraged to upload an electronic version of your thesis to the University respository, Apollo. You can do this using the upload form at where you will also find further information.

If you have any questions or concerns about making your thesis available online, please visit the Office of Scholarly Communications's theses pages at, or contact



Restricted access to thesis

You may request that access to your dissertation be restricted. There are strict rules concerning restriction of access, which is affected by legislation. The University is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives a general right of access to all information held by the University, including information held in the University Library. As a matter of normal practice the University will only make dissertations available in accordance with the restrictions candidates place. However, if someone specifically asks to see a dissertation, the University must give them access unless the material qualifies for an exemption under the Act.

Some exemptions relevant to dissertations are as follows:

  • the contents constitute a trade secret, or its disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person
  • disclosure would be likely to endanger an individual's health or safety
  • disclosure would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by the owner of that information
  • publication would cause the candidate or third parties mentioned in the text to be open to legal challenge or racial, ethnic, political or other persecution.

Limiting the scope for competition from other scholars to publish on the topic concerned is not generally recognised to be a valid reason - nor is preparing the thesis for publication.

What if I have signed a confidentiality agreement with a sponsor regarding the research results?

You should ask your supervisor to check whether it will be necessary to ask the examiners to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding the contents of the dissertation for the period of the examination and for any period thereafter for which restricted access may be granted. If so, the Degree Committee office will arrange for this to be done.

For how long can my dissertation be restricted?

In most cases the Board of Graduate Studies will limit the period of restriction to two years from the date of the degree being approved. However, if you are prevented under the terms of a commercial contract from making your work publicly available the Board will not expect this restriction to exceed three months. The Board also recognizes that in some circumstances, access to dissertations and summaries might reasonably be restricted for a longer period of time.

Please note: if your Degree Committee requires a second copy of the dissertation to be retained in the department library, you need to ask the departmental librarian about restriction of access under the FOIA.

For further information on Intellectual Property rights please see the Research Office website.

How do I apply to restrict access to my dissertation?

If you believe any of the above categories apply to your dissertation (or if you have another reason for exemption under the Freedom of Information Act), you should make an application through your CamSIS Self Service, uploading any relevant supporting documentation, before you submit your dissertation for examination.  If someone asks to see a dissertation, the University will use this information to decide whether or not to refuse the request.

My period of restricted access is coming to an end - can I apply for a new period of restricted access?

At the end of this period the restriction will be automatically lifted unless the Board hears from you, well in advance, giving reasons for requesting a further period of restricted access. You will need to make a manual application for a further extension by using the Restricted Access to Thesis Renewal Application Form. The form can be downloaded below. Please note that it is your responsibility to get the form signed by your Supervisor and Head of Department before taking/sending it to your Degree Committee.