Relation Between Thesis Chapters


Hello Everyone,

So in my original proposal I had three chapters which were around the same topic. However, due to data related issues I had to drop one of my proposed chapters and think of something else. The issue is that I am interested in something that isn't really linked to the other two chapters. The three chapters will be published as individual papers hopefully but I was wondering if it is generally acceptable for the thesis to consist of chapters/papers which are pretty much very unrelated? They are all of-course related to Economics but the topics are very different. Please advise.


Hey Kahn,

I can't say I particularly know much about your area of focus but, in general, I believe most PhD's are based on an overall thesis statement that is followed throughout the whole piece. I'd recommend maybe doing this other chapter as a separate piece of research instead, it may look quite out of place if it's really different to everything else you're doing. I'd speak to your supervisors about this though as they may say it's acceptable to add it.



I can't really give any advice myself (being a baby 1st year), but I can tell you how I plan to structure mine. There is a thread connecting all 5 studies of my thesis, an overall statement/theme. Then each study is kind of exploring a different aspect of that same theme.

I'm not sure if it makes sense to have one completely separate thing? Can you link it somehow, or is it completely independent?


As far as I know there is no rule that all chapters have to be on the same topic but maybe this is Uni or country specific. If you stumble upon something really interesting, you might follow up on it and go into an area that is not necessarily the original topic. As long as it is not too far apart (e.g. 2 chapters ecology and 1 chapter astronomy) it's probably alright. I would just ask my supervisor.


A reasonable viva question would be for you to be asked to describe the overarching point of your PhD.
Your thesis should tell a story and therefore you need to find a way of tying down why you did all the things you talk about. You dont have to include everything in your thesis anyway. I ended up leaving out a couple of things. When I mentioned that during the viva the external examiner seemed to think that was very creditworthy although I am not sure why.


I spoke with my second supervisor and she said that its fine to have 2 papers related to one particular branch of Economics and the other to be related to another branch. She said that apparently its not unusual to have a thesis title like "Two Essays on Financial Macro and One Essay on Financial Econometrics." I'm not 100% sure still as I am one of her first PhD students so she doesn't have much experience. I'll probably wait for my main supervisor to return from study leave and ask him.