Research in your postgraduate degree

What you need to know about undertaking research for honours, masters and postgraduate diplomas.

Working with your supervisor

The responsibility for the research, writing, and submission of your dissertation or thesis is yours, however your supervisor will help you determine your topic and methodologies and will read your work and comment on drafts.

Students and supervisors will likely have different expectations of supervision, so it is important to discuss these early on and make agreements for how you will work together.


If your research involves human or animal participants in any way, you must obtain approval from the ethics committee. Your supervisor or Graduate Adviser will be able to help you with this.

Academic integrity

The University's policies on plagiarism also apply to postgraduate research. In any submitted work, unacknowledged copying (or plagiarism) is regarded as a form of cheating.

How to format your thesis or dissertation

Word limits

120-point masters thesis: 40,000 words
90-point masters thesis: 30,000 words
60-point dissertation: 20,000 words
45-point dissertation: 15,000 words
30-point dissertation: 10,000 words

The word lengths noted above include appendices, footnotes and the bibliography/reference list. The minimum word limit is 10 per cent below the maximum limit. Appendices, if needed, should not be more than 10 per cent of total pages.

Content, structure and formatting

The content, structure and formatting of your thesis is at your discretion, however the Faculty of Arts generally expects that a research project will use a standard referencing system, such as Chicago or APA, and follow a logical scheme that is consistent throughout the work.

Chapters with subsections are the most common form of division. Any logical system of subdivision within chapters or sections appropriate to the field or discipline may be used, but the scheme must be consistent throughout the thesis.

It is expected that students discuss their methodology, and note if ethics approval was granted, where appropriate.

Submitting your thesis

Your thesis should be submitted on or before the due date.

Initial submission requires one PDF copy submitted to

Some degrees or specialisations may have additional requirements; you will be notified if this applies to you.