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Thesis Information: Submitting

Submitting your thesis for examination

Updated 12 August 2020

For PhD candidates

About a month before submission, you must email for approval to submit. Applications are actioned mid month only. After checking you are eligible for submission, Student Administration (doctoral) will advise you how to submit.

You need to submit:

  • A digital PDF file of your thesis either by email or Mail Express
  • A signed thesis submission declaration form (digital signature is acceptable) emailed to A photocopied or scanned declaration is acceptable as long as the signature is hand written or digital – not typed.
  • Co-Authorship form for a hybrid thesis, if relevant (supplied by the PhD Office)

For Master’s thesis candidates

You need to submit:

  • A digital PDF file of your thesis either by email or Mail Express
  • A signed thesis submission declaration form (digital signature is acceptable). A photocopied or scanned declaration is acceptable as long as the signature is hand written or digital - not typed.

Where to submit:

  • in Dunedin, email to the Client Service Administrator in your department/unit
  • in Christchurch, email to the Manager, Academic Programmes, in the Dean’s Department (except for Master of Public Health theses which should be submitted to the Department of Public Health and General Practice
  • in Wellington, email to the Postgraduate Liaison Officer in the Postgraduate Office

Note that you may be asked to produce one or more soft-bound copies for the examiners.


Celebrating your Doctoral thesis submission

Ring the University's bell on the first Tuesday or Thursday of the month, 2-4pm, after you collect your chocolate fish, and hand in your thesis.


Source: ODT 24 July 2019: Human Nutrition PhD candidate Claudia Leong

Printing and permanent binding of your final thesis - optional

From 15 January 2020 print copies of your final thesis are no longer required to be deposited; only a final digital copy is required. However you and/or your department may wish to keep a print copy (from 1 February 2020, at your/department's cost).

Printing services

Uniprint - following corrections to your marked thesis get your final version printed and bound, if you or your department requires a hardbound copy. If you have printed your final thesis elsewhere, you can go straight to Library Bindery.


The Library recommends that you use good quality A4 paper (80-120 gms) with grain running from head to tail, not across the page, for:

  • Theses longer than 200 pages, print your thesis double-sided on 100gms paper.
  • Special or coated papers - discuss your requirements with Uniprint and the Library Bindery first.

See also Final submission and access to the completed thesis.

Library Bindery - offers binding services to Otago students completing theses/dissertations, at competitive prices, with a maximum 10 day turnaround.

You can choose to have permanently bound printed copies of your finalised thesis made for your department, or yourself. Ensure your thesis is formatted correctly for binding.

Author Declaration Form - have this inserted before the title page in your bound thesis.

Binding details - decide on spine title, lettering, and colour, then use the:

Master's Dissertation

The Master’s dissertation does not require the same level of research or examination process as a thesis, nor official depositing of that dissertation on record with the University, or Library. It is the research project part of a coursework Master’s degree, hence no Author Declaration Form.

However at department level there may be different procedures, where they may wish to keep your digital dissertation file. If they require a print copy then that is at the department’s, or student’s, own cost to have it bound. 

Dissertations are not required to be added to the Library’s collections. For exceptional dissertations the Supervisor should contact their Subject Librarian to discuss addition to OUR Archive, our university’s research repository, and/or the Library’s print collections. A print copy of an Otago dissertation would be treated as a Library donation, if offered.

A student, and/or department, can add an Author Declaration cover page to their Dissertation, which has been generated by the Library, if they wish. It is usually added before your title page. It will be required for print donations accepted by the Library. 

Depositing your electronic thesis copy

OUR Archive -  deposit an electronic copy of the final approved version of your research thesis, as the copy of record. 

The complete thesis file(s) is required. The file must be an exact replica of the corrected thesis accepted for your degree. Deposit the main part of your thesis as a PDF (or PDF/A) file, the Author Declaration Form as a separate PDF file, and any of the following:

Be aware of potential publication contract restrictions with making your thesis fulltext openly accessible in OUR Archive. Deposit in a non-commercial repository such as OUR Archive is usually permitted. 

During e-thesis deposit set the Level of access to:

  • Abstract only (for 6 months from date of deposit) or;
  • Open access (Full text available for download).

Note that if Abstract-only is chosen, there is a notification before the thesis reverts to Open access, providing the opportunity to request an extension. If a more restricted level of access than either of the options above is required, candidates need to apply for a formal embargo and have it approved before e-thesis deposit, and any embargo extension must be approved prior to the expiry of the embargo - see 14.4 (e) and Final submission and access to the completed thesis.

For a dissertation or exegesis, gain department approval to deposit it, then:

Surviving your viva

Oral examination - taken by PhD thesis students after submitting their thesis. For those enrolled from January 2014 this PhD thesis defence is mandatory.  The Convener of Examiners sets up this oral examination for you, also known as a viva. The examination takes place after receiving the examiners' thesis reports.  Check for procedures with your supervisor.

Resources that can support you: