Formatting Guidelines

What You Need to Know and Do

1. SAVE a Microsoft Word .doc/.docx version of your thesis in addition to the PDF file you will eventually create in Adobe Acrobat. DO NOT replace the .doc/.docx version with the PDF as it will make the editing process (should there be errors in your formatting) much harder than it needs to be. NAME your file with your last name, “thesis,” and year of completion. No spaces should appear in the filename. Example: PeckThesis2014.PDF

2. CHECK your table of contents whenever you make changes to your thesis. Make certain fonts do not change in your thesis. 

3. REVIEW the guidelines presented in this packet. Should you make an error related to pagination, margins, content order, or font you will be referred back to these guidelines. 

4. TURN IN YOUR CERTIFICATION OF MASTER’S THESIS ACCEPTANCE FORM by the date specified on the academic calendar for 2013-2014. You will need two copies of this form: One signed and dated by Graduate Chair and Thesis Advisor and submitted to GSAS and the other is for your records.

5. STAY IN TOUCH. Do not assume that once you deposit your thesis into the repository that you are done. Students typically still have revisions to make after this initial deposit. 

6. DEPOSIT EARLY. Do not wait until the last minute to deposit your thesis; such an approach rarely works in your favor and causes unnecessary chaos and stress during the revision process, and could lead to you not receiving your degree in February or May. Assume that you will have to make revisions and allow ample time to make those revisions. 

7. Who to contact if….

  • You have a problem with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat: E-mail the BIR.
  • You are confused about the formatting guidelines, deadlines, and/or depositing process: E-mail Meghan Peck
  • You have a question about the content of your thesis: Your faculty advisors. 

Pages and Documents which Must be Included in Your Thesis

Please click on the link to see the template for the page or document.

1. Title Page

  • Please refer to the Controlled Vocabulary list on page 13 when listing your program or department.

2. Abstract

  • Must be 350 words or less, including the title.
  • Double-space content.
  • Include a statement of the problem, procedure and/or methods, results, and a conclusion. Present information in that order.
  • If multi-media elements are used in the document that cannot be embedded within the PDF, they should be identified in the Abstract.

3. Table of Contents

4. Thesis Text

5. Reprint Permission Letters (if applicable/required)

6. Third party software licenses (if applicable/required)

7. $65 Money Order/Cashier’s Check/Certified Check for copyright filing (optional). You will file on your own through the Library of Congress. 

As previously mentioned, you will probably be working with several documents that are easiest to combine first in Microsoft Word and then save a new copy as a PDF. 

Order of Prefatory Materials, Text, and Respective Pagination

Section/Page Page Numbering
Title Page number not printed on the page, but is still considered page i
Copyright Page number not printed on the page, but is still considered page ii
Acknowledgements (Optional) number is printed on the page, start with iii or ii if no copyright page is used
Abstract continue with Roman numerals, printed
Preface (Optional) continue with Roman numerals, printed
Table of Contents continue with Roman numerals, printed
List of Tables continue with Roman numerals, printed
List of Illustrations/Figures continue with Roman numerals, printed
Introduction Start with Arabic numerals, beginning with page 1, printed on the page
Main Body, Appendices, Bibliography Continue with Arabic numerals, printed

EXPLANATION OF PAGINATION—Printed v. Not-Printed: While page numbers are not printed on the Title and Copyright pages, these pages still count (they are pages i and ii), which is why your Acknowledgements page is page iii.

Additional Instructions for Pagination

1. Your thesis MUST include page numbers. All pages are numbered, whether printed or not. However, page numbers must begin being printed with either the Acknowledgements (if you include this page) or Abstract.

2. Page numbers should appear centered at the bottom of each page.

3. For placement of footnotes or endnotes, refer to the Chicago Manual of Style

Helpful Links for Pagination:

The first link includes a video for how to do pagination format in Microsoft Word (2010 and beyond).

Margins and Fonts

Margins should be formatted as follows:
Left margin: 1 inch
Top, bottom, and right margins: 1 inch 

**The top margin of the first page of each chapter must be 2 inches**
This also applies to your thesis if you have sections (Methods, Results, etc.) in lieu of chapters. 

Fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Cambria, or Calibri are recommended fonts; do not use fancy typefaces. Size 12 for any of these fonts is recommended for the text, but you may use sizes 11 or 10 (but no smaller) for notes, bibliographic references, and long quotations. 

Spacing and Single Sided Printing

  • Your document should be arranged for single-sided printing. 
  • There should be no blank pages following your title page, abstract, etc. 
  • Double-space all text material, preliminary pages, including your abstract.
  • Single-space all notes, bibliographic references, and long quotations.

Charts, Graphs, Tables, and Photographs

  • Photographs and images should be produced at a high resolution of at least 300 dpi.
  • Charts, graphs, tables, and other illustrations can be digitized in high quality color.