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What Is The Standard Format For A Doctoral Dissertation In UK?

Published by at March 4th, 2024 , Revised On April 5, 2024

Although there is a common structure used for dissertations in the United Kingdom, it is important to note that specific requirements can vary between institutions and even departments. Therefore, it is essential for you to consult your university guidelines and check with the supervisor. Here is an overview of the standard format for a UK doctoral dissertation. 


A doctoral dissertation usually has the following main sections. 

  1. Title Page – Displays dissertation title, your name, degree, university name, and submission date. 
  2. Declaration – Signed statement affirming your authorship. 
  3. Abstract – A concise summary of usually 250-350 words to present an overview of your research. 
  4. Acknowledgements – Expresses gratitude to people who have supported you with your research. 
  5. Table of Contents – List of all chapters and sections to allow people to navigate. 
  6. List of Figures & Tables – A separate listing of all figures and tables included in your dissertation. 
  7. Introduction – Introduces your research topic. 
  8. Literature Review – Critically analyses existing research relevant to your topic. 
  9. Methodology – Describes your research methods and data collection techniques. 
  10. Results – Presents your research findings.
  11. Discussion – Interprets your findings and discusses their implications. 
  12. Conclusion – Summarises your key findings and limitations of the research. 
  13. References – Lists all sources cited in your work . 
  14. Appendices – Any additional information that is not essential for the main body. 

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You have to consider the following elements when formatting your doctoral dissertation in the UK.

  • Font: Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri are commonly used, with a size of 11 or 12 points.
  • Spacing: 1.5 line spacing is generally preferred.
  • Margins: Standard margins are typically 2.54 cm (1 inch) on all sides.
  • Page numbering: This usually starts from the introduction onwards.

Word count

While there is no standard word count, most universities set a maximum limit (e.g., 80,000 words) to avoid unnecessary length.


Commonly used fonts include Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, with a size of 11 or 12 points. 1.5 line spacing is generally preferred.

Standard margins are typically 2.54 cm (1 inch) on all sides.

About Alvin Nicolas

Avatar for Alvin NicolasNicolas has a master's degree in literature and a PhD degree in statistics. He is a content manager at ResearchProspect. He loves to write, cook and run. Nicolas is passionate about helping students at all levels.