Undergraduate Course

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

1. Deadline for submission of theses

Two copies of your thesis must be handed in at the Examination Schools by 12 noon on Friday, 14 June 2019 (7th Week of Trinity Term). You should address the package to The Clerk of the Schools, Oxford, for the Chairman of the Examiners in the Honour School of Chemistry (Chemistry Part II) plus your candidate number. This is a serious deadline, and you should schedule the preparation of your thesis to meet it: be aware that the final production of a thesis may take longer than you anticipate. If you are prevented by illness from completing your thesis in time you should apply, with an accompanying medical certificate, through the Senior Tutor of your College to the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors for permission to submit late. Please keep proper electronic backups of your thesis and data. Computer malfunction is not an acceptable reason for late submission. It is University policy to apply an academic penalty scheme for the late delivery of theses.  In addition any late submission will be investigated by the Proctors, who may levy a substantial fine or rule that the thesis should not be accepted. The Department reserves the right to ask for an electronic copy of the thesis to be submitted in addition to the paper copies.

The policy for late hand-in by Part II students is as follows:



Up to 5 pm on the Friday of 7th week


Up to 5 pm on the Monday of 8th week


Up to 5 pm on the Tuesday of 8th week


Up to 5 pm on the Wednesday of 8th week


Up to noon of the Friday of 8th week


More than a week late



For example, a thesis given an overall Part II mark of 64% by the examiners on the basis of the thesis and the viva, but submitted on the Monday of 8th week will be penalised 5% and awarded a final mark of 59%.  Any penalty assessed will be capped so that it does not take the Part II mark below the pass mark, with the exception of theses more than a week late.

NB.   The Examination Schools will not accept submission between 5 pm on Friday and 9 am on Monday.  Any late submission for good reason authorised by the Proctors will not attract any penalty.

2. The content, form and style of theses

(a) The thesis should be a professionally produced research report, accurate, brief and clear, as far as possible free from spelling, grammatical and scientific errors, and properly presented. It should start with a title page followed by a short summary, a list of contents, acknowledgements, and (if appropriate) a glossary of abbreviations, acronyms, and any special terms used. The summary (not more than 2 pages) must be independent of the main text. The thesis should end with a brief (e.g. half-page) formal conclusion on the results. Please make sure that diagrams and associated text are not too small. This is a frequent complaint of examiners.

The attention of candidates is drawn to the University policy on plagiarism, the web link to which can be obtained in the Undergraduate Course Handbook 2018/19 p 44.

In particular, all sources must be properly referenced in an appropriate standard form, and students are reminded that internet sources are not generally refereed and are not always reliable.

A signed Declaration of Authorship form must be completed and submitted in each bound copy of your thesis. This form can be download here "Declaration of Authorship Form

Should a student/supervisor want to protect the content of their thesis please indicate this with a page stating "This thesis contains material that is commercially confidential and must not be disclosed outside the Examination Board" in each thesis.

(b) Each page of the thesis should be of A4 size with a text area of not more than 15 by 24 cm, double-spaced 12 point type (Times New Roman or Calibri 12 font) being used for normal text. The list of references, and captions for tables and figures may be single-spaced, and in a smaller font, although no smaller than 10 point. A thesis should not normally exceed 60 sides (including figures, references, etc.); excessive length may detract from the value of the thesis and may be penalised by the Examiners.  Candidates will be supplied with a template in MS Word which they should use as the template for their thesis, can be downloaded here: word doc Do not try to squeeze in more writing by using, e.g. smaller type, a larger typing area, narrow fonts or narrower line spacing. NB  This is not allowed and students may find themselves being penalised. You are encouraged to use both sides of a page to produce a slimmer thesis. However, if you do so, it is essential to set margins to ensure that the verso page is fully and easily legible.    In the past, some theses have made excessive use of abbreviations and did not have sensible systems for numbering schemes and figures. Please take time to organise the layout of your thesis professionally and appropriately. 

Theses have a strict page limit of 60 pages (70 for History projects). This page limit excludes the table of contents, abstract and acknowledgements, but includes the main text and the list of references (because theses in the History of Science often need to contain extensive bibliographical references, a supplementary reference list may be provided as an appendix).  Some theses may need to be longer than 60 pages on academic grounds – applications for an extension to a maximum of 100 pages with a detailed academic case may be made to the Faculty Office, who will ensure that the examiners consider the case and decide whether or not to grant the extension. The deadline to apply for an extension will be the end of 2nd week Trinity Term.  The case will be available to the examiners who read the thesis.

Supplementary material, such as tables of results, detailed compound characterisation, computer programmes etc. may be added as an Appendix.  Appendices do not count towards the page limit and the examiners will not normally read them, so you should not put anything that is necessary for your main argument or conclusions in the Appendices.

(c) The thesis should be typed or word-processed, and the pages secured by stapling along the inside (left) edge and sealed to the spine of a flexible cover containing thermoplastic glue (your section will have further information). 
N.B. Spring-back folders, ring binders and hard backed folders with screw fittings are not acceptable.

(d) The front cover of the thesis must be clearly labelled with the title of the examination (as given at the top of this notice), the title of the thesis, and your name and college. Your name, the title of the thesis (abbreviated if necessary), and college should also appear on the spine.

(e) CD Appendices

(i) Detailed information that is an important part of the research record, but which the examiners may not need to scrutinise, may be included as a CD, this being securely housed in a pocket on the inside of the back cover. In mind here are data such as those pertaining to crystal structure determination, the listing of code for a long computer programme, etc.

(ii) For any IT theses where the bulk of the work is only assessable in electronic form, this should be supplied on a stand-alone disc.

(iii) Any CD accompanying a thesis, for whatever reason, should be carefully checked for proper functionality and a copy deposited with the supervisor. The CD should be labelled unambiguously. The supervisor, or a delegated associate, should be asked by the candidate to check that the CD loads correctly on a standard PC platform before it is submitted with the thesis.

(f) Two copies of the thesis should be submitted; one will be returned to you at the end of your viva, and the other will be retained in the Examination Schools for one year and then returned to your section or supervisor. You are strongly advised to bring a further copy of the thesis to the viva.

3. Viva voce examinations

These will be held in location Practical Teaching Laboratory, Mansfield Road on 1, 2, 5, 8, 9 July. The main purpose of the viva is to assure the Examiners that you have carried out and understood the work described in the thesis, but you may be asked more general questions relating to your project. The viva may also provide an opportunity for you to clarify points in your thesis that were unclear to the Examiners. You should ensure that you are prepared to analyse the state of the project and to explain interesting points with the aid of suitable schemes or diagrams. A list of candidates with times and dates of vivas will be on the web shortly, except in cases of real emergency the timetable cannot be altered. Please do not be late for your viva, not only is this incredibly rude, but late candidates receive a shorter viva time and are unlikely to accumulate as many marks as they would have, given the proper viva time.  DO NOT BE LATE!  Please note that Sub Fusc should be worn when attending your viva.

4. Communication with the Examiners

Direct communication between candidates and Examiners before or after the viva is strictly forbidden except with me, via Mrs. Jupp/Miss Fenwick at (undergraduate.studies@chem.ox.ac.uk) for matters relating to the viva timetable. All communications on other matters must be conducted through your college and the Proctors.

Nick Green
Chairman of Examiners, Chemistry Part II 2019