The culmination of your hard work is when you get the opportunity to present the novel findings of your research in the form of a thesis and then to defend them at a viva. They highlight all you have learned and how you have developed intellectually during the course of your study. Your thesis is probably going to be the biggest body of writing you have ever written by this point, and, along with your viva, will be an experience you will not forget.

You will need to complete the appropriate examination paperwork at least four months before you submit your thesis. This allows the College to appoint your nominated examiners as well as confirming you have completed all your markers of progression. Details of what is required are available on the College website, but you will also receive further guidance from your departmental Postgraduate Office and your supervisor.

You and your supervisor should talk about suitable examiners, both internal and external, and your supervisor will also assist you in ensuring you have completed the examination entry paperwork satisfactorily.

If you want advice on preparing your thesis, your supervisor will be able to suggest support and resources for you. The Graduate School also offers a course on Planning and Preparing for your Thesis and Viva, which you may find helpful.

Find out more about the viva process:

Open access

Imperial College London has an Open Access policy in relation to its students’ theses. Open access publishing makes your online scholarly work available, free of charge to anyone. It facilitates the discovery and sharing of knowledge and may be required by your research funder.

Thesis Embargos, Intellectual Property and Patents

In some cases it may be necessary to delay the release of a thesis to the public - this is referred to as an embargo. This can apply when the thesis involves a specific intellectual property (IP). IP is the term used to describe creative outputs from scientific, engineering, literary and artistic endeavours that can be legally protected - such as the results arising from research.

If you think your thesis should have an embargo, discuss this with your supervisor and tick the appropriate box on the thesis declaration form.

The Registry website also provides guidance in relation to your thesis submission both prior to your viva and your final thesis submission after your viva.