Guidelines for the General Thesis Paper Format

These guidelines should be reviewed. If there are any questions about the format of the thesis, it is recommended that the candidate consult the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies Office prior to submitting the final copies.

Templates for thesis

You may find these templates helpful in preparing your thesis. We would love to have your template.

Desktop publishing and fonts

The thesis should highlight the quality of scholarship or research, soundness of logic, originality of ideas and clarity of prose. But not the size of headlines. It is forbidden to use headers or chapter titles that exceed 3/16". Bold print and excessive italics are also discouraged.

These should be written in font 12. There are many options, including but not limited to: Times New Roman (Helvetica), Arial, Calibri, Arial. LaTeX allows you to use the fonts provided. If LaTeX is used, ensure that you have sufficient margins for the final copy.

  • Spacing

Double-spaced text is acceptable. Single spacing is acceptable for footnotes, long quotes, bibliography entries (double spaces between entries), table captions and other special material.

  • Paper size

Your thesis should be formatted so that it can be printed on 8.5x11-inch paper. Students at the Shepherd School of Music and School of Architecture may choose to format their thesis for printing on larger paper.

  • Margins

If the thesis will be bound, we recommend a 1.5" left margin and a 1" top, bottom and right margin. The 1" margin does not apply to page numbers. You could lose content if you don't follow these margin guidelines. Students may choose to extend their work beyond what is required by the margin requirements for aesthetic reasons. This is perfectly acceptable.

Title page

In preparing the title page, please refer to the example form (which you can download as a Word document). Take note of which items should be in uppercase and which ones shouldn't. Take note of the print's approximate size.

You must show proof of a degree such as Doctor of Philosophy or Master in Science, Master on Music, or Master in Architecture.

The month indicated on the title page should correspond to the month that the final copy was submitted to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, or the month when the degree will be conferred (May August, December). Unless the thesis has been presented to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies within that month, the month of oral defense should not appear.

Below the signature lines, type the titles of committee members (i.e. faculty rank). John Smith, Associate Professor in Biology, is an example. As appropriate, the word chair or director should be added after the faculty title.

Signatures on the title pages must be original. At the time of the submission of the thesis, the title pages and the Approval of Candidacy forms must be submitted in writing. If one or more members of your committee are unable to sign, please make arrangements ahead. You can also review the requirements for signatures.


The abstract must be included along with the thesis. The abstract will be published in Dissertation Abstracts, Master's Abstracts. The publisher has a limit on the length. For a doctorate, the abstract should not exceed 350 words and for master's it must be no more than 150 words. The abstract should be concise and not exceed 350 words for a doctorate or 150 words for a master's. The abstract should contain a summary of the main arguments, conclusions, or results presented in the thesis.


Hyperlinks should not be substituted for complete bibliographic citations.

Assembling the thesis

The thesis should be saved as a PDF. Sometimes a thesis may be split into multiple documents. These must be combined into one document.

Page numbering

Page numbers should appear in the upper right corner. The number must be the only thing that appears on the page. 9." The number can be placed on the first page of each chapter at the bottom, one space below the last line (the traditional placement) or in the upper right corner.

Page numbers should not appear on the Title Page, Abstract, or the first page of Acknowledgments or Table of Contents. Roman numerals should be used to number the pages that follow (e.g. the second and subsequent pages) in each section. These preliminary pages should count starting with the title page. If the thesis contains a two-page abstract then the second page should be the page showing the number. It should be numbered using the Roman numeral "v".


Note that graphs, maps, etc., can only be accessed if they are larger than the limit. If the graph, map, etc. is large in size, there is a limit to how much can be archived with ProQuest/UMI. All figures must be included in the text at the place where they are first mentioned.


Use a consistent format for footnotes or bibliography when presenting them. Electronic Styles: A Handbook for Citing E-Information (Information Today, Inc.), is a useful tool for noting electronic information. Style guides are available for nearly every discipline. For more information, consult the library.

Thesis acknowledgments

This space is for you to express gratitude to the people and funding that made your graduate school experience possible. While some view this section as part of the thesis, others see it as a separate piece. If you can't do it all without them, you can thank your advisors, committee members, peers and family. Don't reveal any sensitive information that could be used to commit identity theft.

Extra copies

For personal use, you may choose to bind copies. Additional copies of your thesis can be ordered at the submission. The ProQuest Publishing Agreement packet contains a unique author discount form. These will not be available for several more months after your summer commencement.