Thesis Preparation FAQ

Preparing the Thesis FAQ

Some material in my thesis has been published, but my committee wants me to make changes. Is this acceptable?

Published material included in a thesis must be considered in light of the standard required for a UBC thesis or dissertation. The supervisory committee is fully entitled to require changes and additions to the material in your thesis, whether published or not, in order to meet the expectations of the external examiner and the examining committee, who are also entitled to request changes.

When will the change to the new thesis structure be fully implemented?

The old traditional and manuscript-based thesis instructions were phased out on September 1 2010. Please follow the current instructions.

Important: Instead of having only two types of thesis, one with published papers and one with no published material at all, the format now allows a continuum which embraces both these structures and all possible ones in between. Instead of having to choose, you are free to use as much or as little of your published material in a thesis as you like, and to arrange it in the way that is most suitable.

The instructions now emphasize the importance of having enough additional material in the thesis, written solely by you, to relate the published or submitted manuscripts to each other and to the field of study. This is not a new requirement. In the old manuscript-based format this material could only be in the introductory or concluding chapters; in the current format you can choose where to convey this information - for example, by additional material in the paper-based chapters, or by creating small "bridging" chapters between the papers.

Are the content requirements for dissertations the same for the current thesis/dissertation structure as they were for the old traditional or manuscript-based formats?

The expectations of the content of a dissertation have not changed. Expectations have been described in more detail in order to assist students and supervisory committees to follow them and thus meet the standards expected by external examiners and examination committees for the awarding of a doctoral degree. There is now more flexibility in the format to assist students in meeting the expectations.

I was planning to write a manuscript-based thesis, but will now use the new format instead. What are the major changes?

Structure: There is additional flexibility in the ways in which you can incorporate published material. The material that ties the manuscript chapters together and relates them to the field of study may be incorporated into the flow of the thesis, instead of appearing only in the introductory and concluding chapters. This content has always been required for a manuscript-based thesis, but you may now arrange it as you wish.

Formatting: Co-authorship information now goes in the Preface. There is a single bibliography instead of one per chapter.

Important: Instead of having only two types of thesis, one with published papers and one with no published material at all, the format now allows a continuum which embraces both these structures and all possible ones in between. Instead of having to choose, you are free to use as much or as little of your published material in a thesis as you like, and to arrange it in the way that is most suitable.

The instructions now emphasize the importance of having enough additional material in the thesis, written solely by you, to relate the published or submitted manuscripts to each other and to the field of study. This is not a new requirement. In the old manuscript-based format this material could only be in the introductory or concluding chapters; in the current format you can choose where to convey this information - for example, by additional material in the paper-based chapters, or by creating small "bridging" chapters between the papers.