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Thesis, Treatise or Dissertation?


A thesis is broadly defined as the whole of the assessable work submitted for HDR examination. It is a generic term that covers a range of different types of works. A candidate must submit their thesis for examination in the form prescribed by the Academic Board of the University for their degree. However, ‘thesis’ is a term that also relates to a specific type of assessable work.

The main types of assessable work students may be expected to produce at the University of Sydney are theses, treatises and dissertations. These are all unique publications with different requirements. Faculties may also have particular structuring and formatting requirements.

Although the expected length will always vary according to the approach and the subject matter, it is anticipated a dissertation will usually be no longer than 20 000 words; a treatise will be up to 25 000 words; and a thesis will be up to 50 000 words for a Master’s Degree by Research, and 80 000 words for a Doctoral Degree.

Relevant policy:

Thesis and Examination of Higher Degrees by Research Policy 2015

Or view on the University of Sydney Policy Register

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