A doctoral thesis is a testament to the student's ability to compose a comprehensive and well-ordered scientific presentation that describes the performed research in a clear and concise manner. The thesis must comprise a complete entity and be self-contained. It must convey to the reader, clearly and unambiguously, the main topic of the research, the specific questions considered, the key results obtained and their significance. It should also include all the data required for the reader to judge for himself/herself the reliability of the work and the conclusions reached. Ancillary issues that are not connected to the central theme of the thesis, even if they involved a considerable expenditure of time, may be included as appendices in order not to disrupt the natural flow of the thesis. The writing should be of the highest scientific quality, although the writer should bear in mind that some of the readers, possibly including some of the referees, might not be intimately familiar with the particular field that the thesis describes. Below are detailed instructions concerning the format of the thesis. Please keep in mind that a doctoral dissertation is not just another report. It is actually a document possibly placed on your shelf, on your advisor’s shelf, used by your advisor's future students and/or by your own future students, and may even be found in your family library. As such it should be well-written, informative, and aesthetic.
Also, note that approved PhD theses of the Weizmann Institute of Science become public after a two year period following the PhD award ceremony. WIS maintains the rights to the thesis.
Students in the regular Ph.D. track must submit their theses by the 54th month of their studies. Students in the direct PhD track must submit their theses by the 42nd month of their studies (starting from the date of transfer to PhD student status). The relevant Board of Studies and the FGS Dean have the authority to change these deadlines in individual cases. Failing to submit the thesis on time may result in the termination of the student's studies. Current information concerning the thesis submission deadline may be viewed by FGS students at the dedicated online site.
Online Submission of the Thesis
- The thesis must be submitted through the dedicated online site.
- It should be uploaded as a single PDF file only. Supplementary material may be provided as external links in the body of the document.
- The English and Hebrew titles of the thesis should be completed in the form exactly as they appear on the title page.
- The thesis must be written in English (except in the field of Science Teaching, where Hebrew is permitted).
- The thesis should not exceed 100 pages (excluding pictures, graphs, tables, and bibliography).
- The preferred fonts are Ariel, Calibri, Times New Roman size 11 or 12 with 1.5 line spacing, and margins of 1.5 cm.
The thesis may include materials sourced from published paper(s), as well as work in preparation, as long as they constitute a self-contained and coherent body of work, and that the included research represents the intellectual contribution of the student. Reprints of published papers, and/or photocopies of parts thereof, must not be included in the thesis (including not in the Appendix).
General Thesis Structure
As common in experimental research, the thesis may be organized by the following structural sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Bibliography. Alternatively, the thesis may be organized by topics according to the various problems addressed in the thesis. An Introduction section unifying the thesis, as well as a final Discussion section and a common Bibliography are required in either case.
The thesis dissertation should thus have the following parts:
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- List of Abbreviations
- Sections containing the main thesis results
Below are details regarding each of the above parts.
The title page (both in Hebrew and English) should include the subject title followed by the sentence “Thesis for the degree of Ph.D. presented to the Scientific Council of the Weizmann Institute of Science”, and the date presented, as well as the name(s) of the supervisor(s) of the research. It is mandatory to use the template title page that appears on the FGS website.
The student may include a page of acknowledgements.
The student shall declare that the thesis summarizes his/her independent research. If part of the research was performed in collaboration with another investigator(s) and/or students, the collaboration should be explained. This includes specifying which parts of the thesis describe results from this collaboration, the work done by the collaborators (and not by the student), and the role of the student in the collaboration.
- The abstract will briefly summarize the background, results, and conclusions of the thesis (up to one page).
- Theses that are written in Hebrew (in Science Teaching), must include an abstract in English as well.
The Introduction will concisely describe the scientific background, summarize the current state of knowledge, and describe the open questions in the field. The introduction should be broader and more inclusive than the typical introduction to a scientific journal paper. At the end of this section the motivation behind the research, its goals, and its scientific importance will be emphasized. It is stressed that introductions appearing in the published/accepted papers of the student can be included in the thesis, but should be coherent and cover all the topics contained within the thesis. In the rare cases that the thesis work is composed of two completely unrelated subjects splitting the introduction section into two parts is allowed, but should be approved before by the Weizmann thesis committee
For thesis dissertations organized in the form of Methods, Results, and Discussion, the following outlines the contents required in each of these sections:
This section will include detailed descriptions of the techniques used to obtain the data presented in the Results. The guiding principle is to enable others to reproduce the experiments and results of the work. Procedures that were described previously in the literature and which were used as such without any modifications may be described in brief and the relevant reference provided. However, methods that were developed during the thesis work, methods that were based on published protocols that were modified in any way in the course of this work, or methods that do not appear in the literature at all (e.g. obtained from a collaborator) must be described in a full and quantitative fashion. This is important, because the thesis may be the only place where such details will be available. Methods that are described in limited detail in a published/accepted paper should be described in greater detail in the Methods section of the thesis.
This section will include a full description of the results obtained in the thesis work. Whenever possible, the results should be presented in the form of figures, graphs, or tables with appropriate statistical analysis. This section may also include a short discussion that emphasizes the connection between the various experiments and which explains the order in which the results are presented.
For thesis dissertations structured by topics, each such section should be self-contained. It may include a short introduction of its own. If a section includes proofs, the intermediate steps of the proofs should be presented in greater detail than might normally be done in the published literature. The detailed proofs can appear in an appendix rather than in the main text of the section.
The discussion will form an independent section, summarizing the main findings of the thesis, placing them in a broader context. This section should provide a wide view of the subject matter of the thesis, its conclusions, implications, and potential future developments. Discussion sections from published/accepted papers can be included, although the discussion section in the thesis should be broader than a mere collection of published discussions.
Literature cited in the thesis must follow common standards in scientific publications; titles of articles must be presented in full. A complete list of authors should be provided unless the number of authors exceeds 20. At the end of this section, the student will include a list of his (her) publications derived from the doctoral research.
These optional sections may contain additional technical details on the experimental procedures, further data, detailed proofs, and auxiliary results, etc.
The supervisor shall submit a letter approving the thesis dissertation, and declaring that this work will not be included in another PhD thesis. An exception is a case where part of the dissertation was performed by multiple equally-contributing first authors. In this case, the supervisor shall explain the contribution of the student in these papers. The supervisor’s letter is not part of the thesis document.