Congratulations, you've done it! after months or maybe even years of toil, sacrifice, and sweat, you have finally finished your Masters or even your PhD thesis. You've read and re-read to check for typos, your bibliography is exactly on point, and you're sure you've referenced correctly according to the conventions in your field. So what stands between you and sweet, sweet freedom now? Getting the thing printed and handed in on time, of course.
Don't Overlook the Details As a successful postgrad student who's already successfully navigated the myriad pitfalls of earlier academic life in order to get where you are today, you'll already know that academia is full of strict rules and regulations. These same rules apply to the printing of your thesis, which will have to meet stringent criteria before it will even be considered for marking. Each institution will have its own requirements for the production and submission of theses, which you will need to check beforehand. As a flavour of the kind of thing you might have to bear in mind, here are just a handful of the many rules that apply to students who submit postgrad theses at Kings College London:
- Theses must be printed on plain white A4 paper
- Each sheet should be single sided
- Margins at the binding edge must not be under 40mm, and other margins must not be less than 20mm
- Double or 1.5 spacing is to be used
- You must have a title page
- You must have a list of contents
- You must include a 300 word abstract
- Theses must be bound in medium blue cloth
As you can tell, these requirements are pretty exacting. It might sound obvious, but you can save yourself a lot of trouble by just taking a little more care now to ensure that you don't fall at the last hurdle. Once you're clear on your university's requirements for your thesis, you're ready to go and get the thing printed.
Where Should I Print My Thesis?
One obvious place is in your university itself. There are several advantages to going down this route, the first being the sheer convenience of it. Campus-based or university-run print centres will be old pros at the requirements of your particular institution (although of course, you should check yourself that the printing meets your particular degree's requirements). Downsides to printing on-campus include massive queues and frustrating waits at key submission times, as well as potentially higher prices. If there's only one print centre on campus, the prices aren't likely to be competitive (you don't need to be a doctoral student in Economics to figure that one out, either). If you've completed it early, this is worth a look - but if you're last minute? They'll probably be way too busy.
Another option is to go online. This takes a little more forward planning, but prices tend to be reasonable. A 500 page Ph.D thesis printed in black and white in a hardback cover on a 10-day delivery timetable costs just a little under £60 including postage and packaging from mythesis.co.uk. A little more expensive but long-established are London-based thesis printers Collis Bird & Withey, who also offer an online service, and can produce the goods in as little as an hour if you like sailing close to the wind- and if you are able to collect from their North London shop. For those in less of a hurry, Collis Bird & Withey can post copies of your thesis to you.
Most university towns will also have local print shops who can offer competitive thesis printing deals, or maybe a branch of a national chain such as Prontaprint. It's worth asking around in your department - sometimes old-fashioned word of mouth can be worth 20 Yelp reviews. Happy printing!
Useful Links How to decide on a topic for your postgrad thesis
5 shortcuts to getting those postgrad citations done
How to survive your dissertation