Guidance and resources for supervisors, including what the University requirements are on thesis format, giving feedback to your student on their writing, the process for thesis submission, links to forms, and tips from experienced supervisors.

Expectations and responsibilities

At the University of Bath your student will be asked to submit either a thesis or portfolio depending on their discipline or programme. The thesis can be written in two formats, traditional or alternative (see QA7:  Appendix 6).

There are a number of expectations on both the lead supervisor and the rest of the supervision team with regards to the preparation and writing of the thesis or portfolio, as highlighted in QA7 (Appendix 1 and Section 12). This includes:

  • discussion with the student regarding suitable thesis or portfolio formats (theses submitted for the degrees of MPhil, DBA, EdD, DHealth and PhD may include academic papers in accordance with the alternative format specified in the Specification for Higher Degree Theses and Portfolios)
  • finalisation of the thesis title
  • guidance on writing and advice on submission
  • undertake a critical reading of the draft thesis/portfolio and providing feedback to the student

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Supporting your student with their academic writing

General advice

Supporting academic writing

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Giving feedback



Managing thesis writing


Support through thesis writing

Assessment criteria

Regulation 16 states that a doctoral thesis/ portfolio submitted for examination should satisfy the Board of Examiners as:

  • making an original and significant contribution to knowledge
  • giving evidence of originality of mind and critical judgement in a particular subject
  • containing material worthy of peer-reviewed publication
  • being satisfactory in its literary and/or technical presentation and structure with a full bibliography and references
  • demonstrating an understanding of the context of the research: this must include, as appropriate for the subject of the thesis, the scientific, engineering, commercial and social contexts

And the candidate must pass a viva voce examination conducted by the examiners on the broader aspects of the field of research in addition to the subject of the thesis/portfolio.

The University has developed guidance to detail the specifications for the presentation of Higher Degree Theses or Portfolios. Students have the option of  submitting an alternative format thesis - you can find out further information through the Alternative Format Thesis FAQs. You can find out further information about word limits in the Guidance on word counts for final thesis/portfolio. The Library has also published a guide to citing references.


Advice from supervisors
“It is worth discussing the thesis by publication format option early on in the PhD process (ideally within the first three months) – emphasising that this doesn’t mean the chapters/ studies have to be published by the time they submit, but that it will greatly speed up the process of publishing their work and streamline the thesis.”


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Further resources and support