Format Of A Dissertation

Our thesis formatting tutorial takes you step-by-step through the process of formatting your thesis from our template file. For more information on how to format and edit your manuscript, see our Thesis & Dissertation Formatting General Advice page.
Note: Therules and guidelines for thesis and dissertation formatting are developed by the Graduate School. Questions about the guidelines, or interpretation of them, should be directed to the Office of Degree Requirements at (413) 545-0025.

Download the Tutorials & Template Files

Find your version of Word below to download the tutorial appropriate to your needs. We also provide a template for creating your thesis and an example of what a final thesis should look like. The Graduate School rules permit three different heading and Table of Contents formats. To provide support for the greatest possible number of students, these files help you use the two most-frequently-used formats, numeric (Scientific) and simple (Traditional). See the Graduate School Guidelines for Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations for more information on the permitted formats. Please read the tutorial appropriate to your version of Microsoft Word before you decide which format to use.

* You can use your computer's built-in Archive or Unzip utility to open these .zip files and access the individual sample files. You can also unzip them using dedicated .zip utilities, such as 7-Zip (Windows) or StuffIt Expander (Macintosh). Consult the Help documentation for your computer or program of choice for more information.

The requirements listed in the Thesis and Dissertation Formatting PDF apply to the master’s thesis and the doctoral dissertation. For convenience, the term thesis will be used to refer to both, unless the situation applies only to doctoral students.

The thesis is a report of original research and scholarly work that is shared with the academic community and is made available to the public. The thesis becomes part of the circulating collection of the UWM Golda Meir Library and is also made available through Proquest.

These format standards have been developed to ensure a degree of consistency in the written presentation of this research across academic disciplines.

The Graduate School will not accept theses that do not conform to these guidelines.

Double space throughout, with the exception of the title page; captions; table or figure headings; extensive quotations; footnotes or endnotes; entries in the References section; entries in the Table of Contents; and appendices.

Any standard font is acceptable; however, the same font should be used throughout. Use a font size of approximately 12. The only exceptions to this font size are captions (not smaller than 9 point) and headings (not larger than 20 point).

Effective Fall 2015:
ALL pages must have 1″ top, bottom, left, and right margins.

Page Numbering
Beginning with the text of the thesis, the page numbering changes to Arabic numerals, centered at the bottom of the page, with at least 1/2″ clearance from each edge. The first page of the main text is page 1, and should be displayed on the page. All subsequent pages are numbered throughout the text.

All illustrative materials must maintain the same margins as the rest of the thesis.
1″ top, bottom, left, and right margins

All illustrative material must be large enough to be easily read. Minimum font size is 9.

Landscape format
In order to maintain the required page margins for tables or figures, it may be necessary to print them in landscape format. The top margin will now be the edge that is bound. However, the page number must be placed on the page as though the page was in portrait format. It needs to appear in the same location and have the same text direction as the other (portrait) pages.

Figure Captions
If space permits, the caption should appear on the same page as the figure. Font size must not be smaller than 9 point.

Any of the standard style manuals may be used as a guide in formatting references to works cited in the thesis. References may be placed at the end of the main text, or at the end of each chapter. Endnotes and/or footnotes may also be used. Whatever format is chosen, it must be followed consistently throughout the thesis.

If you are not following a style manual, please single space within each entry and double space between the entries.

Page Numbering
Reference pages are numbered. Use the next consecutive page number of your document for your references.

All material included in the appendices must meet minimum font and margin requirements.

Many theses will not need this section. Material that supports the research, but is not essential to an understanding of the text, is placed in the appendices. Examples include raw data, extensive quotations, and survey or test instruments.

If there is only one appendix, it is simply called Appendix, not Appendix A. If there are multiple, appendices should be designated A: Title B: Title C: Title etcetera. Each appendix and its title and page number are listed in the Table of Contents.

Page Numbering
Start the Appendix or Appendices with the next consecutive page number. The Appendix or Appendices should be listed in the Table of Contents.

The appendix title can be on its own page, or at the beginning of the actual material. See sample pages for examples.

The curriculum vitae is a professional biography of the doctoral candidate. To see an example, check the sample page. The vita is the last page(s) of the dissertation and is the next consecutive page number of the dissertation.

Degrees are awarded in May, August, and December. Graduation ceremonies are held in May and December.

August graduates are invited to the December ceremony. If an August graduate chooses to attend the May ceremony, their name will not appear in the May commencement booklet.

For more information on the commencement ceremony and to order caps, gowns, and RSVPs (doctoral candidates only), see the Secretary of the University Web site.

Diplomas are mailed to graduates approximately eight to ten weeks after the date of graduation. Contact UWM Graduate School Graduation Processing using the email address below if you have further questions or concerns.

Preliminary pages are the required pages that appear at the beginning of the final document. There are also optional pages which can be placed in this section.

Page Numbering
All preliminary pages are numbered with lower case Roman numerals, centered at the bottom of the page, with the bottom of the number at least 1/2 inch from the edge of the page. The exception to this is the title page, which is counted but not numbered.

Sample pages

Pages appear in this sequence
  1. Title page – Required
    The title page is counted but not numbered. Follow the format shown in the sample pages. All items centered and TITLE IN ALL CAPS. Use official degree names only. The date is the month and year of degree conferral. Degrees are awarded three times a year: in May, August, and December.
  2. Abstract – Required
    The abstract is a summary of the dissertation. Follow the format shown in the sample pages. Copy the abstract heading sample exactly. See Sample ABSTRACT TEXT for important information. It always starts with page number “ii”.
  3. Copyright page – Optional
    You may include this page even if you will not be formally registering for copyright with the Library of Congress. The format is shown in the sample pages.Some Websites that provide information about copyright:

  4. Dedication – Optional
    May be combined with acknowledgements. There is no required heading on this page.
  5. Table of Contents – Required for all except creative works.
    The Table of Contents lists all sections that follow it (with the exception of an epigraph or frontispiece). Type TABLE OF CONTENTS centered at the top of the page, double space and begin the entries. Single space within entries and double space in-between entries.
  6. List of Figures – Required if figures appear in the thesis.
    Type LIST OF FIGURES centered at the top of the page, double space and begin. The term figures includes various non-text items. List the number, caption, and page number of each figure. Figures should be numbered consecutively throughout the thesis.
  7. List of Tables – Required if tables appear in the thesis.
    Type LIST OF TABLES at the top of the page, double space and begin. List the number, caption, and page number of each table. Tables should be numbered consecutively throughout the thesis.
  8. List of Abbreviations (or List of Symbols, or Nomenclature) – Optional, include as necessary.
    Format heading the same as List of Figures.
  9. Acknowledgments – Required if permission to reproduce copyrighted material is necessary.
    Type ACKNOWLEDGMENTS at the top of the page, double space, and begin the remarks.
  10. Frontispiece (illustration) or Epigraph (quotation) – Optional
    The source of the epigraph is listed below the quotation, but is not listed in the bibliography unless it is also cited in the main text.

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