A friend of mine, Julia, has written a little guide to classic things required when writing the thesis and the setting up for the viva, which apply for EBI predocs enrolled with the University of Cambridge.

This was a piece on our internal wiki (which nobody ever reads because is a closed one and it’s rather impossible to find, but the problems with closed wikis is a topic for another post). So I asked her if it was ok to grab it and post it here, which, at least, is in the open of the internet sea, and people could maybe actually find it with google or any other way.

These information were correct up-to June 28, 2011. As the matter of fact, she is now a Doctor :). Bare in mind this applied for a PhD thesis in the Biological Science umbrella, and the last part is EBI specific. Therefore is not at all official, they are just tips and hooks to speed up the process. Check always the latest rules from the University.

With that said, here you have it.

P.S.: Template-wise check out the amazing classic thesis. You’ve got to tune it, just a bit.

Thesis submission and viva

Written by Julia Fischer on June 28, 2011

When the time has come and you would like to submit your thesis to the Board of Graduate Studies, there are one or two things you might want to know.

1. Find a template

Most people (at least in the natural sciences) will write their thesis in LaTeX. There are a various templates out there. Please add your template here if you have found a nice one.

2. Restrictions and rules for the thesis

If you are submitting to the department of Biology, you will have a word limit of 60,000 words, but you can always check the newest information here.

3. Abstract and examiners

It is a good idea to start thinking about your examiners a couple of months before you submit. You will have to email the degree committee (degbiol@mole.bio.cam.ac.uk), saying that you will submit soon. They will then send you a form to fill. You have to submit this form with your thesis title and planned submission date back to them together with your thesis abstract (which shouldn’t change significantly from there on).

They will then contact your supervisor who has to suggest two examiners for your viva. You might want to mention this to your supervisor in a meeting before you have to submit the forms, so you can discuss possible choices. One examiner needs to be internal (i.e. University of Cambridge) and one external.

4. Initial submission

When you are ready to submit, you need two soft-bound copies of your thesis. If you are sure that there will be no corrections, you can submit a hard-bound copy directly, but if you need corrections, you will have to pay for the expensive hard-binding again. Here is a lot of information about all the forms and declarations you need on submission day.

5. Your viva

It is advisable to try and set your viva date for the end of the month if you are going for the bridging postdoc contract, because you will receive the postdoc stipend from the 1st of the month *after* your viva. That is, if your viva is on the 1st of the month you will lose the pay raise for a full month.

Poke your supervisor to email the graduate office in Heidelberg and HR at EBI directly after your viva to confirm that you have passed and theat he/she would like to employ you as a (bridging) postdoc, so they can prepare your postdoc contract.

Good luck!

6. Submission of corrections and hard-bound copies

You do need to submit a hard-bound copy to the Cambridge University Library, although you may have to hand the copy to the degree committee, if you are faster that Cambridge burocracy. EBI will usually pay for the hard-bound copy that they would like for their own library, but you will probably have to pay for the other copies yourself. All about submitting hard-bound copies can be found here.

7. Congratulations!

You’re done!