Can you fail a masters dissertation due to poor formating?

    • Thread Starter

    Long story short: I did a very poor job at formatting my dissertation.

    I know that the argumentative structure and the discussion in my thesis are interesting and well presented. However, I kept on putting aside the very last bit of the paper, and ended up rushing through it during an all nighter just before it was due. I finished in time, but I didn't proof read the document thoroughly and I have some typos and grammatical mistakes every now and then (English is not my first language, so I am pretty sure I have other mistakes in this regard that I am unaware of).

    However, my main concern is this: I only had about one hour to put together all the pieces of text I had in separate documents. This resulted in me doing an awful table of contents and, in a nutshell, the overall document just looks very unprofesional.

    This is a list of the things I have identified:

    -A couple of typos in the abstract (i am listing this separately because I think having mistakes in your abstract is just embarassing)
    -More than average amount of typos and gramattical mistakes in the text, but it's not that bad, as I did proof read about 70% of the work.
    -An abysmal table of contents. I didn't even put the page numbers for the subsections
    -I don't have a table of figures
    -I missed a couple of references in the reference list.

    I know formatting is just one marking criteria, but, can someone fail a masters dissertation for having these kind of mistakes? Do you have any stories you could share with me in this regard?

    I don't think you'll fail based on formatting alone but if the dissertation was on the border this could push it over the edge into a fail. I think your best bet is to just wait and see what happens and maybe chat to your tutor about the situation and see if they have any suggestions.

    I think the points you make are very different in how they would affect your grade. If there are some minor typos or grammatical errors, this is not going to be much of an issue. I still keep discovering typos in my dissertation, and it was a high first nevertheless.
    However, when it comes to missing out references, that can be a big problem. Did you not reference some sections at all or did you reference in-text correctly and just forgot to add the relevent bit in the bibliography? I think for now, you can't do much, just wait what happens. Depending on how faulty the referencing is, it might not just fall under "poor formatting" but, at least in my uni's marking scheme, would cap the grade to a very low level because at postgraduate level, they simply expect referencing at proper academic standards.

    You have access to the mark scheme. That tells you how marks are awarded. It sounds like you've already submitted the work so it's pointless reading the mark scheme now.

    This is masters-level work we're talking about. Frankly, if you can't be bothered to proofread a third of your dissertation or put all the references in then you don't deserve to pass. Luckily for you I'm not marking your work. Layout is usually around 5-10% of the total mark. Sounds like you've lost some easy marks already.

    I studied in Sweden and was told after my defence that I was at risk of failing due to formatting. I was given a week to fix the formatting to APA style or was told I would fail.

    My examiner was especially ridiculous with some of the mistakes she said I'd made, but yes, it's possible.
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