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1. Preamble

This page outlines Crawford's protocol for the writing of an 'essays thesis' in the Economics PhD program. This protocol conforms with the Research Awards Rule (2016) and with the AQF qualification specification for the doctoral degree. It supplements the ANU's Procedure: Higher degree by research - submission and examination of theses.

An essays thesis can be submitted in place of a unitary, monographic-style thesis that presents a synthesised, narrative argument. While recognising that an 'essays thesis' 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. Essays 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.

It is a prerequisite to writing an 'essays-style' thesis in Economics that you will have successfully completed the required eight semester-length courses, including three required courses. While examiners would be aware the candidate has completed coursework requirements, the level of performance in coursework is not taken into account in examining the candidate for the award of the degree.

  • An essays thesis is not the same as a thesis by compilation, for which see Crawford's Thesis by compilation protocol for further information.
  • This protocol will be periodically reviewed and updated to conform to any changes in the Research Awards Rule.

2. Content

2.1 An essays thesis comprises a number of sole-authored main essays (each with the general format of intro, literature review, model(s), data, results, analysis, discussion, conclusion) as well as a general thesis introduction and a general thesis conclusion. Sometimes, a separate literature review is included after the general introduction.

2.2 The papers must have been researched and written during the course of the candidature.

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.

3. Number of essays

3.1 A Crawford School essays thesis is commonly between 30,000 and 60,000 words in length and takes the format of at least three -- and, frequently, more -- essays.