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How to Format a Dissertation Properly?

The following article will be for assisting any doctoral candidates that are in need for some guidelines for how to format their dissertation.

Want your thesis to be the one that is accepted by the Office of Doctoral Studies? Then your dissertation must abide by the set rubrics mentioned below.

It is advised to read the following article carefully so as to understand the required criteria for an acceptable thesis. For further queries contact the Office of Doctoral Studies.

The Manual Style

According to the policy of the faculty, you the candidate are in power of choosing the style for your manual.

Mostly, the styles that the officials urge candidates to use are those that are required most frequently for academic writing; taken from papers of their discipline.

Some examples are;

  • The Chicago Manual of style by the University of Chicago.
  • Publication Manual of the APA (American Psychological Association).
  • Handbook for writers of research papers by the MLA (Modern Language Association).
  • A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turban.

Do try to choose from the latest publication of above stated manual styles.

The Abstract

You need to start writing your abstract from the top of the page. The abstract is to be double spaced and use the same typeface as the one you used for your dissertation. Try to keep the abstract of your thesis under a 350-word limit. The title of your abstract and the dissertation are to be identical. The abstract is supposed to be attached to the upper left corner of your thesis paper. You are not meant to write it within your dissertation.

The Letter of Permission

Through approval letters, you may include copyrighted materials within your thesis, and you need to submit copies of the letter along with your paper, but they are not a part of your assignment.

The Quality of your Printout

You cannot afford to have a low-quality printout, make sure that the printing is as good as the content. Uses high-quality apparatus for your prints, keeping in mind that the device you use must generate:

  • High-contrast characters and images.
  • Production of clear black letters and sidelines.
  • Sufficient darkness for your tables, figures, drawings, pictures, etc.

To check the quality of your printer, print out a sample at 80% or lower resolution that way you will be able to estimate the clarity of the actual document.


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What Should Be The Typefaces?

The standard typeface is between 10 to 12 points. This is the set number that is allocated to the applicants. However, most individuals feel 10 points to be rather small and go for the 12 point typeface.

What about the Margins?

Following are the margins that are required for your dissertation;

  • Top Margin.
  • Left Margin.
  • Right Margin.
  • Bottom Margin.

Top margin

There are two parts here;

  1. 1 and 1/4 (one quarter) inches for all pages.
    However; papers for writing the Credits, the index, list of tables, statistics, individual chapters, catalogue, and Additions. For such pages, you start writing from;
  2. Two inches away from the top.

Left margin

The left margin is a simple 1 and a 1/2 inch sidelines for every page.

Right margin

Same as the Left margin; the Right margin is One and one-half inches, but no letters or anything of the sort within the margin.

Bottom margin

For a Bottom margin, it is one-and-one-quarter inches on every page.

Extra Space

Try to avoid leaving an extra or white space which is more than two to three inches. This rule also applies to the table and diagrams. Leave only a three line worth of space between the text and your figures.

Single and Double Spacing

The spacing is more dependent upon the style that you choose. For APA style you have to double space the entire manuscript with the exclusion of a few things such as the titles, headings, notes, and captions.

Now for MLA style users, they can choose to use double spacing for their references and citations.

Numbering the Pages

The title pages are counted, but you do not show their numbers on them. You need to use lower case roman numbers for the succeeding pages to the first page. The numbering for your paper must be 3/4 of an inch (three-quarters) away from the end of that sheet, placed between the boundaries.

The Order

The content of your dissertation should follow an order resembling:

  • Title page.
  • Copyrights.
  • Credits.
  • The subject table.
  • Various lists such as for statistics, diagrams, graphs etc.
  • The Prologue.
  • The text.
  • Bibliography.
  • And finally the appendices.

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