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Degree Committee for the Faculty of Earth Sciences & Geography




What is a PhD?

There is a wealth of useful information on the nature of the PhD, thesis submission and the examination process on the Cambridge Students website. You are strongly advised to read this material in advance of writing up and submitting your thesis.

A thesis must be a connected account of research written by the candidate. It must not simply consist of a collection of unconnected or unrelated papers published or otherwise. However, it may include published or publishable work provided it is part of a connected argument and is uniform in presentation and format with the remainder of the thesis. It may also include appendices which are relevant to the material contained in the thesis but do not form part of the connected argument. Remember, the examiners must be left in no doubt as to which parts of your submitted work are your own original work and which are not.

Before recommending award of the PhD Degree the examiners must satisfy themselves that the thesis:

  • represents a significant contribution to the field of study through the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of new theory, or the revision of older views;
  • is of a quality in whole or in part of a standard to merit publication (whether or not subsequently published);
  • provides evidence of the acquisition of knowledge and a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry;
  • is clearly written;
  • takes due account of previously published work on the subject;
  • is of a quality and quantity to reflect what it is reasonable to expect a student to complete within three years full-time (five years part-time) research.

The limitations implied by this advice are intended to apply to the scale and scope of the work presented in the thesis but not to its quality.

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Office closures

The Degree Committee for the Faculty of Earth Sciences and Geography will be closed from 5pm on Thursday 28 March 2024 and will reopen again on Tuesday 2 April 2024.
Research degree theses should still be submitted by your submission deadline even if that falls over the holiday period.