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Thesis Submission

These are the procedures to be followed when submitting a thesis.

  • Supervisor Approval. Normally your supervisor will tell you when your thesis is ready to submit. (In exceptional circumstances, submission without supervisor approval is possible.)
  • Intention to Submit. AT LEAST 2 weeks before submission, send a letter of intent to the appropriate Maths PG coordinator with a copy to the PG administrator. Use this form letter, MSc-17. (Usually students do this 1 month or more ahead of submission.) The PG coordinator then contacts the supervisor about the next two items.
  • Supervisor Report. The supervisor submits a report on the thesis for the information of examiners. This is NOT an assessment, but a factual report on the student's work. It also notes any relevant circumstances such as a delay in providing an adequate computer, an extended supervisor absence, major student illness, etc. If the supervisor thinks the student is not ready to submit, a separate report about this may be written.
  • Examiners. Examiners are chosen, and form MSc-4 is completed. Examiners' names are kept confidential.
  • Submission. The student submits the thesis to the Science Faculty Office, and they forward it to the examiners.
  • Examiners' Reports. The examiners submit their reports, and a consolidated report and recommendation is compiled. Typically examiners require some "minor" corrections. A distinction may be awarded for an exceptional thesis. (This doesn't exclude corrections.) Other possibilities are: a pass without corrections, major revisions are required and the thesis goes back to one or more examiners, or the thesis is failed. Examiners may choose whether their names are revealed or not, and also whether the student sees their full report or an edited version. Once approved, the final report is sent to the student.
  • Corrections. With minor corrections, the supervisor ensures these are carried out, and must write a letter certifiying they have all been done correctly, which goes via the PG coordinator to the Faculty Office. The student then submits the final version of the thesis to the Science Faculty.

Note that the final approval of the choice of examiners, the supervisor's report, the consolidated examiners' report, etc all rest with the Dean.


Procedures are more or less the same as for an MSc; the differences are as follows.

  • A PhD is awarded by the University, not the Faculty. The process is overseen by the Doctoral Degrees Board (DDB).
  • A PhD thesis MUST present original research.
  • The student's letter of intent is sent to the DDB, well before submission. Use this form letter, PhD-5.
  • The forms for examiner nomination, supervisor's report, etc are sent from the Faculty Office to the HoD/PG coordinator and supervisor. (They are also available on UCT's forms page.)
  • More examiners are needed for a PhD than for an MSc, and the examiners get longer to read the thesis.
  • A Committee of Assessors (CoA) is set up for each student, chaired by the Dean, and including the PG coordinator (for HoD), the supervisor, and members of other Faculties. They approve the appointment of examiners, the consolidated report and decision on the thesis, and the thesis corrections. If all goes well, approval is by email and they don't actually meet.
  • There is no "distiction" at PhD level.
  • Submission of the thesis is still to the DDB.

Final approval of the choice of examiners, the supervisor's report, the consolidated examiners' report, etc all rest with the CoA.

[In the Maths Department, the PG coordinator acts on behalf of the head of department (HoD) in postgraduate matters.]