Notes on Preparation of theses. by H Bhadeshia

(adopted by David MacKay)
** See also notes on timetables


  1. Too many spelling mistakes - use SPELLCHECK.
  2. Inconsistency of notation - include a master nomenclature list.
  3. There should be a gap after a full stop or a comma.
  4. Failure to include titles in the reference list.
  5. Inadequate referencing.
  6. Left quotation marks are not the same as right quotation in TeX.
  7. Experiments should be reported in the past tense. For example:
    Length changes are analysed WRONG
    Length changes were analysed CORRECT
  8. Abbreviations must be explained when first introduced.
  9. Fig.\ 4.2 not Fig.4.2; Table 5.1 not Table.5.1
  10. "Compared with" rather than "Compared to".
  11. Plural of Datum is Data. These data are excellent....
  12. PROGRAMME of work as opposed to computer PROGRAM
  13. All equations, tables, figures must be numbered.
  14. Figures must not be too large, and should be included in the text rather than at the end of chapters. The font on scales and legends should be at least size 15 (Geneva) when the figure size is 1/3 of the page length.
  15. Mathematical presentation must be in italics, both in the body of the text and in the equations.
  16. Diagrams and tables should be included in the text rather than at the end of a chapter.
  17. Mathematical notation is in italics whether it occurs in the text or in equations. Note that terms such as log, exp, sin are nevertheless in roman font even when in equations.


The notation on figures must correspond to that in the text. There must not be information on figures which is not discussed in the text.

Diagrams which are not yours must have references.


  1. Appropriate use of references:
  2. Ensure that all the work you have done is included in your thesis; negative results are still results.
  3. Do your writing as you progress, rather than leaving it to the last minute.
  4. Read and check your report at least twice before submission.


You should note that the costs of thesis preparation are not included in your consumables budget. Students in all subjects are expected to pay for thesis costs.

This is not an issue in our group as long as your grant budget is is in credit. However, the costs of all the facilities we have are quite large, as are of the consumables. And the grant budgets are not large at all.

Here are alternative sources of help:

  1. When the student has had to pay, the Department library will contribute towards the cost of one copy.
  2. Your College can help with costs. In hardship cases, the College can seek additional funds from the Board of Graduate Studies.


Further notes on thesis writing:


Other links:

Materials Algorithms Project