Your viva and submitting your final thesis

Before you are due to submit your thesis for examination you must complete an ‘Approval of Research Degree Thesis Title’ form AoT). This form starts the process of appointing your examiners and ensures the University is ready for your submission. To ensure your viva is arranged in good time, please submit the form at least 3 months ahead of when you’re due to submit your thesis  

Summary of PGR Examination Process

PGR Exam Process Chart

The supervisor(s) will, in liaison with the student, complete the Examination Arrangements documentation which includes the Examiner Nomination forms. 

Please note that the examination panel normally consists of an internal examiner and an external examiner. If the student is employed by the Trust, the panel will consist of two external examiners and a Chair.

Until further notice, submission of hard-bound thesis copies has been suspended.

Students will need to submit an electronic thesis copy in one PDF file by email to along with your RD1 submission form as a separate document - please copy in Academic Quality

Thesis documentation must be sent from your University of Essex email address in order for the Post Graduate Research Education (PGRE) team to verify the identity of the student.

If the thesis file is too large to send via email attachment please contact Academic Quality in the first instance.

Students must make sure the thesis is formatted as follows:

Page Layout

• Double line spacing should be used for everything except quotations, footnotes, captions to plates etc.

• It is desirable to leave 2.5cm margins at the top and bottom of the page.

• The best position for the page number is at the top right 1.3cm below the top edge.

• Numbers for graphs, diagrams and maps are best located in the bottom right hand corner.

Word Count

*In all cases including quotations but excluding appendices table of contents/figures, abstract, acknowledgements, references, bibliography and footnotes (as long as the latter do not contain substantive argument). Please note these are word limits not targets.

The thesis should contain a summary or abstract not exceeding 300 words.


Electronic submission of appendices as separate files are permitted provided the contents do not contain substantive argument/evidence, and are not used to store parts of the main body of the thesis. This is important to observe, as there is no requirement for examiners to view or read electronic appendices.

Word Count

For Professional Doctorate the normal word count is 40,000 words; however, students must also check with their supervisor/course handbook if unsure.

Alongside the formal submission of the thesis to the University of Essex, student must upload their thesis to the Professional Doctorate Thesis/Dissertation Submissions 2019/2023 Moodle Page:

It is recommended that students submit their thesis to Turnitin at least three days before the formal submission date and include the digital receipt with your thesis submission.

Please contact Simon Kear - if students are ready to begin the Turnitin submission process or if further support is needed.

Following the submission of the thesis, the student will attend a viva examination. Until further notice, all viva examinations will be convened remotely via Zoom. 

The unit is responsible for co-ordinating the viva arrangements and will be able to support you through the examination process and with the technical aspects of remote delivery of viva's. 

In terms of doctoral students examined by viva-voce, no further charges will be applied for students who have minor corrections to compete after the viva (normally this is three/six months) because during this period, students require little in the way of supervision. However, it is recognised that for students who essentially fail the viva and are referred for a period of 12 months are required to make more substantial changes and will therefore require significant supervision.  With this in mind, students will be charged the continuing student fee for the 12-month period of the referral.  Please be advised, that students opting to submit before the one-year deadline will not be offered a fee rebate.