Format, bind and submit your thesis: general guidance

During the university emergency closure period, you will not need to submit physical copies of your work. Please refer directly to the “Submit Your Thesis” section below.

This information is for research students submitting a thesis for assessment. It tells you how to:

There are different requirements for students of fine arts, design, architecture or town planning.

Find out more about these requirements

Format your thesis

UCL theses should be submitted in a specific format, this applies to both the viva and final copies of your thesis. 


Your thesis must be presented in a permanent and legible form in print. We would recommend using Arial or Helvetica fonts, at a size of no less than 12.

Find out more about the accessibility guidelines

Illustrations should be permanently mounted on A4 size paper and bound in with the thesis; you may not use sellotape or similar materials.


A4 size paper (210 x 297 mm) should be used. Plain white paper must be used, of good quality and of sufficient opacity for normal reading. Both sides of the paper may be used.


Both sides of the paper may be used.

Margins at the binding edge must not be less than 40 mm (1.5 inches) and other margins not less than 20 mm (.75 inches). Double or one-and-a-half spacing should be used in typescripts, except for indented quotations or footnotes where single spacing may be used.


All pages must be numbered in one continuous sequence, i.e. from the title page of the first volume to the last page of type, in Arabic numerals from 1 onwards. This sequence must include everything bound in the volume, including maps, diagrams, blank pages, etc. Any material which cannot be bound in with the text must be placed in a pocket inside or attached to the back cover or in a rigid container similar in format to the bound thesis (see Illustrative material).

Title page

The title page must bear the following:

  • the officially-approved title of the thesis
  • the candidates full name as registered
  • the institution name 'UCL'
  • the degree for which the thesis is submitted

The title page should be followed by a signed declaration that the work presented in the thesis is the candidate’s own e.g.

‘I, [full name] confirm that the work presented in this thesis is my own. Where information has been derived from other sources, I confirm that this has been indicated in the thesis.'


The signed declaration should be followed by an abstract consisting of no more than 300 words.

Impact Statement

The abstract should be followed by an impact statement consisting of no more than 500 words. For further information on the content of the Impact Statement, please see the Impact Statement Guidance Notes for Research Students and Supervisors on the Doctoral School's website. 

Find out more about the Impact Statement

Table of contents

In each copy of the thesis the abstract should be followed by a full table of contents (including any material not bound in) and a list of tables, photographs and any other materials. 

Illustrative material

Illustrative material may be submitted on a CD-ROM. If you wish to submit material in any other form, your supervisor must contact Research Degrees well in advance of submission of the thesis.

Any material which cannot be bound in with the text must be placed either in a pocket inside or attached to the back cover or in a rigid container similar in format to the bound thesis. If it is separate from the bound volume it must be clearly labelled with the same information as on the title page. Each copy of the thesis submitted must be accompanied by a full set of this material.

Bind your thesis

Theses have to be robust enough to withstand the examination process and be easily identified. They will need to have your name on the spine to distinguish them.

All theses (whether soft or hard-bound) must:

  • be covered in medium blue cloth (e.g. water resistant material) 
  • be lettered in gold up the spine with degree, year, name and initials in the same form as UCL records, with letters 16 or 18 point (.25 inch) - thesis submitted for examination in November and December should have the following year lettered on the spine
  • have no lettering on front cover of thesis
  • have the spine text inverted if the front cover is facing up

An example of how your thesis should be presented.

Hard-bound theses must have the pages sown in (not punched) and soft-bound theses should have the pages glued in. Theses submitted in any other form of binding, including ring binding, will not be accepted.

You are responsible for making sure that your thesis is correctly bound by the company you select.

Find local binders and printers

Submit your thesis

Viva copies

We have alternative arrangements for submitting your thesis during the current Covid-19 emergency.  The Student Enquiries Centre is closed so you will need to submit an electronic version of your thesis to the UCL Dropbox in place of a printed copy.  You must address the thesis to Research Degrees who will check your status and if your examiners have been appointed we will forward the thesis directly to them. They will then be able to download the copy of your thesis to prepare for your exam.  If your examiners need a printed copy of your thesis, you or your supervisor will need to post this directly to them.

If your examiners have not been appointed, your thesis will be held securely until your examiners have been formally appointed by UCL.

Please refer to the guidance on the Doctoral School’s webpage for further details.

Find out more about the Student Enquiries Centre

Your examination entry form must be received and logged by Research Degrees before you submit your thesis.

Find out more about examination entry

Final copies

During the current Covid-19 emergency you will not need to submit a printed copy of your thesis.  We will make the award of your degree once you have met the academic conditions and  the Library have confirmed receipt of your e-thesis.   Once UCL re-opens, you will need to submit the printed  copy of your thesis for permanent storage in the Library. 

Prior to the receipt of your bound copy, you also need to deposit an electronic copy of your final thesis (and a completed E-Thesis Deposit Agreement form) via UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS). Please ensure that you remove, or blank out, all personal identifiers such as signatures, addresses and telephone numbers from the e-thesis. Any photographs that you have taken should not show identifiable individuals without their permission and any you have taken of children should mask their faces.

Find out more about depositing an electronic copy of your thesis

Your award will be noted once all the requirements of your degree have been received, this includes the final copies of your thesis and any associated forms. If you have any outstanding debts these must also be cleared. 

Submitting as a Non-Registered Student

If you do not submit your thesis by the end of your period of Completing Research Status, your registration as a student will end at that point. Your supervisor will then need to apply for permission for you to submit your thesis in writing to the Research Degrees section, at least 3 weeks before your expected submission date.


If you need to re-submit you must:

  • submit a new examination entry form to the Research Degrees office at least 2 weeks prior to the expected submission of the thesis
  • submit 2 soft-bound copies of your thesis to the Student Enquiries Centre which will then be despatched to the examiners

Find out more about examination entry

Find a printer and binder

The companies listed below offer a thesis binding service. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the binding is carried out to the standards UCL expects and that the company has the correct delivery instructions for the thesis if they undertake delivery for you.