Heat Bound Dissertation

Your thesis should be submitted in English unless prior approval has been granted to permit submission in another language.

Your thesis should be presented:

  • on single-sided A4 paper
  • normally with a 12 point font
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • with a margin of at least 3.5 cm on the left side of the page for both text and diagrams to allow for binding
  • with other margins of at least 2.5 cm
  • explanatory footnotes should stand at the foot of the relevant pages and the bibliography should follow the text and any appendices

There are no requirements with regards to font type - you should use a clear easy-to-read font such as Ariel or Times New Roman.

The first page of the thesis should be a title page indicating:

  • the full title of your thesis
  • the degree for which your thesis is submitted
  • the year of your submission
  • your full name

Your title page is followed by the abstract.

The abstract must not exceed 300 words and must be produced with single-spacing on one side of A4 paper.

The abstract must show your name and the title of your thesis and this should be in the form of a title/heading.

After your abstract you should include:

  • the acknowledgements page
  • the list of contents
  • the list of tables
  • the list of figures
  • the list of abbreviations
  • the main body of the thesis
  • any appendices
  • the bibliography/references - all works referenced in the thesis should be included in the bibliography
Referencing and Citations

You will need to reference your thesis fully and accurately both to acknowledge your debts to others and to allow your readers to distinguish your ideas from those of others that you have drawn on.

There are three key rules that you should follow:

  1. speak with your supervisors early on for advice on referencing conventions in your discipline - the two main ones are the Harvard (author/date) system and the Vancouver (numbered) system, but in the School of Law the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) is used
  2. your references must be accurate - having inaccurate references is as bad as having no references at all and potentially could lead to you being accused of poor academic practice or plagiarism
  3. your referencing must be consistent - make sure that your formatting of references with respect to capitalisation and punctuation is consistent all the way through your thesis

If you need general advice on how to ensure your thesis is appropriately referenced, take a look at the Referencing and Bibliographies Study Guide.

The University Library also offer detailed guides on using the Harvard Referencing and Vancouver Referencing systems.

Bibliographic software allows you to create databases of references which can then be stored, searched and used in conjunction with MS Word to input citations as you write your thesis. The two main types of bibliographic software are EndNote and RefWorks. The University Library offer advice on accessing and using bibliographic software.

Your first submission consists of two soft-bound copies.

Both copies must be perfect bound (also known as thermal or hot glue binding). Comb or spiral binding is not acceptable, nor is insertion into a ring binder or slide binder.

Theses which are not correctly bound will not be sent out for examination.

The cover can be any colour at this stage. It is useful to reprint the title page on the cover but the spine can be left blank.

If you need to enclose a CD or other loose material with your thesis then addenda (loose maps / CDs) can be securely housed in a pocket attached to the back cover of your thesis and individually labelled with your name, degree and year of submission.

Print Services offer a professional printing and binding service and can deliver bound theses to the Doctoral College Office at no extra cost.

Visit our Thesis Binding website.

We offer the following types of binding for all universities:

  • Wire binding
  • Comb binding
  • Spiral binding
  • Channel binding
  • Full cloth soft binding
  • Thermal crimped binding
  • Soft binding with acetate front cover and cloth spine
  • Hard case binding with embossing on either the spine only or the spine and front cover.

Cambridge University Student Registry Ph.D. binding specifications.



A4, 100gsm white paper. Please note that letter or U.S. letter format will not be accepted.


3cm on the binding edge and 2cm on the three remaining edges. Please ensure that fold-outs and diagrams produced have reasonable margins and that page numbers, headers and footers are away from the edges.

Examiners’ copies:  the preference is for single-sided print.

University Library/Department copies:  the preference is for double-sided (duplex) print.

Soft binding

If a soft bound copy is submitted in the following format eg. comb or spiral it will certainly be necessary to provide a new copy for hard binding as these create holes that would weaken conventional binding and will lead to an unacceptable loss of margin.

The following versions are recommended as in some circumstances they could be used as donor copies for hard binding:

Full cloth soft binding in Arbelave Library buckram. Colour choice up to the individual. Lettered on spine in gold (hot foil embossing, not digital foil printing) with candidate’s initials and surname, degree and year running from top to bottom. This must all be in capital letters (apart from Ph.D.)

-acetate soft binding (a clear plastic front cover with a black cloth spine and back). No lettering as the title page is visible.

-channel (metal) binding (a clear plastic front cover with a flat metal spine and black card back). No lettering as the title page is visible.

-thermal crimped binding (a clear front cover and frosted back). No lettering as the title page is visible.

Hard case binding

Preferably to be sewn on an OMCOA oversewing machine (as recommended by the University Library) or oversewn sections that are then hand sewn.

Hard case binding to be bound in the traditional method ie. spine rounded and backed, cloth material to be Arbelave Library buckram (as recommended by the University Library).  Colour choice is up to the individual.  In general, the thickness of a single volume (excluding the case) should not exceed 7cm. Lettering on the spine (hot foil embossing, not digital foil printing) should consist of title, initials and surname in gold running from top to bottom. This must all be in capital letters(unless part of the title requires lower case).

If the thesis or dissertation consists of more than one volume, the spine must also bear the number of each volume.

J. S. Wilson & Son, Thesis Binding and Bookbinding

The knowledge of Craft/Thesis Binding has been passed down through generations since 1830 onto current staff, enabling us to offer you the best all-round service possible. The earliest recorded bound and catalogued dissertation held at Cambridge University Library dates back to 1901, and was bound by J. S. Wilson & Son. We can cater for any type of Thesis or Dissertation Binding at our workshop in Cambridge. We can also offer quick turnaround Thesis Binding for last minute deadlines!

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