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Thesis Preparation: Home

The library supports students in their thesis preparation through a range of specialist supports in refining a research topic, sourcing material for your thesis and in the provision of tools to manage your bibliography.

Submitting a thesis at UL

Within its Handbook of Academic Regulations and Procedures the University of Limerick has very helpful information for all students submitting a thesis. Within this handbook, specifically section 5.12 Thesis Specifications and Appendix 2: Requirements for the Preparation and Submission of Masters and Doctoral Theses you will find the rules relating to theses at UL. 

What is a thesis?

This excellent presentation succinctly highlights the structure of a thesis or dissertation and covers all of its essential aspects including: title, abstract, methodology, literature review, presentation of findings and conclusion.

Viewing past theses from UL and other institutions

The library holds print copies of theses from some UL postgraduate programmes. Go to the library catalogue and enter your search terms in the search box to locate a thesis of interest. 

To view e-theses held in the UL Institutional Repository visit the ULIR page. 

Students can also view theses from other colleges and universities.  To do this, visit the UL Library Databases page and under the letter “d” consult the database Dissertations and Theses (A and I)

Your Faculty Librarians

Faculty Librarians can provide guidance and support on:

  • Defining topics/research questions (compiling a taxonomy of keywords)
  • Selecting useful resources (grey literature, internet searching etc)
  • Building an effective search strategy (combining free text terms and subject headings etc)
  • Selecting papers (inclusion, exclusion criteria)
  • Managing results (saving searches, using bibliographic management software)

Thesis or Dissertation - what is it?

Put simply, a thesis is a long essay or dissertation involving personal research, as written by a candidate for a university degree, whether at Masters or Doctorate level. The primary purpose of your thesis is to describe your work or research in a way that will allow the reader (fellow-students/researchers supervisors, external examiners) to judge its quality and significance. The bulk of your thesis is devoted to aspects of the topic where you have made a contribution to the subject area or added to the body of knowledge within that area. It is important that your thesis is written in a manner that both detailed and clear.

It is a good idea to consult previous theses before beginning on your own as this will give you a good sense of the format and organization of a thesis in your subject discipline in addition to the standard and style of academic writing required. It is also a good idea (in conjunction) with your supervisor/s) to agree on a specific thesis topic and to map out a timetable for each section of the thesis and its completion.

What your thesis supervisor is looking for



The advice for thesis students is: first, treat your examiners as friends who want you to pass, and write calmly without agonising about getting it perfect. Aim to make your thesis reader-friendly, and do a thorough proofread to remove distracting errors. Identify the field(s) you will contribute to, and make your thesis interesting and convincing for examiners from this field. Write a draft, get feedback and use this to improve your thesis. Help your examiners to follow your train of thought: explain what you are doing and why, especially if your thesis differs from what they would expect. Convince your examiners that you have a sound interpretation of the literature, an important topic and an appropriate method, and that your conclusions make a contribution to your field. When you have submitted, expect lots of examiner comments, most of which can help you improve. 

This article identifies 11 things that thesis examiners do as they read and judge a thesis 

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