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These rules will apply to students enrolled from 1 January 2018. The protocol will be also be helpful as a reference point for students enrolled before that time and who are pursuing thesis by compilation.

Thesis by compilation does not apply to Economics students. The Economics thesis is not a thesis by compilation.


1.1 This page outlines Crawford's protocol for the implementation of the ANU's Procedure: Higher degree by research - thesis by compilation and thesis by creative works. This protocol conforms with the Research Awards Rule (2018) and with the AQF qualifications specification for the doctoral degree. It supplements the ANU's Procedure: Higher degree by research - submission and examination of theses.

A thesis by compilation can be submitted in place of a unitary, monographic-style thesis that presents a synthesised, narrative argument. While recognising that a thesis by compilation in its nature differs from the unitary PhD thesis, it must still make an original contribution to knowledge and a contribution to the subject with which it deals that is commensurate with that expected of the unitary PhD. Items included in a thesis by compilation must be closely related in terms of subject matter and must form a cohesive research narrative.

Crawford recognises that there is a degree of variation between the fields of studies encompassed within the School and acknowledges the importance of maintaining an equality of work conducted by students, i.e., students should neither be advantaged nor disadvantaged in terms of the amount of work required for the PhD by choosing one thesis format over another. The School also recognises that the quality of a thesis is not determined simply by its format but rather by the calibre of its substance.

Crawford's protocol assumes a vital role for the School as well as supervisory panels, thus aiming to embrace sensible disciplinary differences while ensuring that an ANU (and in particular, a Crawford) PhD remains of the highest quality.

Students wishing to submit a thesis in this format should discuss this with their supervisor at an early stage in their candidature and must notify and obtain the endorsement of their panel to present such a thesis at least 12 months prior to submission, and no later than 6 months prior to submission. Submission of a thesis by compilation requires approval by the Delegated Authority (in Crawford's case, the HDR Director). The approval process ensures that the student has received important, discipline-specific guidance on the appropriate quantity and quality of papers for submission as a thesis.


  • This protocol only applies to the examination of the thesis. Coursework and other requirements must also be met.

  • This protocol will be periodically reviewed and updated to conform to any changes in the Research Awards Rule.


2.1 Unless otherwise approved by the Delegated Authority, a thesis by compilation consists primarily of published papers and manuscripts accepted for publication, and not primarily of manuscripts submitted and under review by referees or manuscripts under revision following referees reports. (See section 6, TbC Procedure)

2.2 The papers must have been researched and written during the course of the candidature. (See section 8, TbC Procedure)

2.3 The scope and quality of a thesis by compilation is commensurate with the contribution to knowledge expected of a candidate for the relevant degree. The numbers of papers that constitute this requirement may vary between a single, long monograph in disciplines such as mathematics to four to five peer‐reviewed papers in other disciplines. (See section 9, TbC Procedure)


3.1 The thesis to be presented by the candidate for examination will consist of a portfolio of refereed publications based on original research as well as an introduction, context statement, or exegesis and conclusion drawing together the published papers or works in a cohesive manner. The exegesis should indicate how the individual items link to the theory and methodology adopted and evaluate the contribution that the research in the items makes to the advancement of the research area.


4.1 A Crawford School thesis by compilation will consist of
a) A minimum of four (4) papers, with three (3) to be sole-authored and either published or accepted for publication
b) A minimum of five (5) papers with one (1) to be sole-authored and either published or accepted for publication, another two (2) to be sole-authored and submitted for peer review, and 2 co-authored papers (with the student as the lead author) to be either published or accepted for publication.

4.2 In the case of co-authored papers, candidates will be required to provide a statement specifying the extent to which the research was their own. There should be no more than two co-authors (making a total of three authors all together) listed, and the lead author must be the student. The statement must be signed by each co-author and incorporated the thesis. (See 6. Signed declaration, below).

4.3. In developing a list of papers for inclusion, the candidate and their supervisor should consider the following:
a) The importance of the overall body of work that these papers will represent and the contribution the combined body of work makes to the discipline
b) The the reputation of the publication, the international standing of the editors, its readership, the rigour of its peer-review process, and the publisher's reputation.


5.1 Students submitting by compilation will normally obtain endorsement from their supervisory panel about the format of their thesis at least 12 months prior to submission, and no later than 6 months prior to submission. (See section 14, TbC Procedure.) That said, you should discuss in your first year of candidature what format your thesis will likely take.

5.2 Subsequent to endorsement by the supervisory panel, submission of a thesis by compilation requires approval by the Delegated Authority. (See section 16, TbC Procedure)

The student must fill out the Application for approval by the Delegated Authority for submission of a thesis by compilation (Crawford School) form and have it endorsed by all panel members before an application will be accepted.


Download the Application for approval to submit a Thesis by Compilation (Crawford School)

5.3 Students who are undertaking a thesis by compilation ensure that publisher’s agreements do not preclude the inclusion of the published work in their thesis. (See section 19, TbC Procedure)


6.1 A thesis by compilation includes a signed declaration that specifies the
a) Title, authorship and publication outlet of each paper
b) Current status of each paper (in press, accepted, under review, in preparation)
c) Extent of the contribution of the candidate to the research and the authorship of each paper (See section 10, TbC Procedure)

6.2 For each paper where the candidate is not the sole author, either
a) The collaborating authors sign the declaration, or
b) A senior author signs the declaration on behalf of the collaborating authors (See section 11, TbC Procedure)

1. Preamble
2. Content
3. Format
4. Number and status of papes
5. Approval
6. Signed declaration
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