The Basic Structure of a PhD Thesis in A UK University

The writer must clearly state what he/she wants to convey to his readers and this approach is necessary not only for literary writers but all writers including researchers. In research writing, it becomes more focused to quote someone else’ work by a statement by citing the author name and few other research details. There are high expectations of research writing skills from PhD research writers as it is not their first experience to write a research work. So they know better than if they think something is new then it means it is not new to the researchers. In past, there were a few reasons because of that PhD researchers failed and at this time it has become more difficult for them to pass as with an increase in the use of technology, supervisors are able to find those mistake that was impossible to find in past.The level of technology use in education differs from country to country and today’ article is talking about PhD thesis structure in UK universities. It is known to all of us that universities of UK are world recognized because of their high ranking and quality education for the students. Mostly universities of the UK expect their PhD students to deliver a thesis that must contain;

  • Appreciation, Knowledge and Understanding of Related Field
  • Critical Analysis of Past and Current Literature
  • High Relevance of Sources Use

PhD thesis is not a checklist of things that graduate student is required to fulfil for writing his/her research project but it is something that tells your excellence in your subject. Universities in UK award a PhD degree to those who have produced a genuine piece of research that has truly contributed in the field of study and represents the academic writing skills taught in the institute. A PhD student at UK University would not say that he is done with his PhD just thesis is left to write because he knows that thesis is the PhD. So the most common structure of PhD thesis followed in almost universities in the UK includes these key elements;

Normally there are chapter numbers between five to nine that vary from subject to subject and university to university as well.


  1. Introduction

Introduce the topic with a background explanation in light of current literature available on the topic. It states the problem statement that this research is going to address.

  1. Background

This is the part of introduction chapter but some universities in the UK requires you to write it separately and this section includes the context of study in terms of problem statement defined in the introduction chapter. This also states that what are the motivations of your PhD research and on what criteria you want it to be judged.

  1. Related Work/Literature Review

This is the evaluation of relevant studies conducted in past in term to identify the gaps that you have defined in the introduction chapter of your thesis.


  1. Data Analysis
  2. Findings with interpretation
  3. Critical assessment of own work/Discussion

Demonstrate precision, discuss hypothesis, contribution, thoroughness and comparison of your results with most relevant past researchers.

  1. Further Work
  2. Summary Conclusions

State the contribution of your work in the field of study.