When you're working on a thesis, it's quite important to format the paper properly following the main rules. Needless to say, some students may be too lazy to search for the needed requirements on how to structure a thesis correctly. In this guide, we've gathered the most important hints that will help you in formatting your document professionally. Of course, if you're not sure how to make a successful thesis, ask our experts to fulfill this task fast!
Fonts and Desktop Publishing
Remember that only your thesis' quality, originality, and logic should stand out. This rule doesn't include its fonts, so when we're talking about the headlines' size, it's better to follow strict rules to create a proper document. Keep in mind that it's acceptable to use chapters or headers titles smaller than 3/16''. You shouldn’t use excessive bold or italics print in your thesis paper.
When you're choosing an acceptable font for your future paper, feel free to select Geneva 12, Times New Roman 14, or Letter Gothic 12. Make sure your text is 1.5 or double spaced but leave all the quotes, table captions, footnotes, and similar things single-spaced. The completed document must be printed on an 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Most schools recommend using this size but some of them require larger paper. Please make sure you're following your professor's instructions. Set margins as 1.5'' on the left side and 1'' on other sides.
Use a standard font consistently throughout the manuscript. Font size should be 10 to 12 points for all text, including titles and headings. It is permissible to change point size in tables, figures, captions, footnotes, and appendix material. Retain the same font, where possible. When charts, graphs, or spreadsheets are “imported,” it is permissible to use alternate fonts.
Italics are appropriate for book and journal titles, foreign terms, and scientific terminology. Boldface may be used within the text for emphasis and/or for headings and subheadings. Use both in moderation.
(Counts as Roman Numeral “I” – the page number does not appear on this
page). The student is considered the author of any thesis or dissertation and as such only the
a student's name shall appear on the title page, besides the following names: the Major Professor (or co-Major Professors, where applicable), the Department Chairperson or Graduate Coordinator, and the Chair of the Examining Committee and the Dean Shannon from the Graduate School. The date listed on the title page should be the month and year in which the document was successfully defended. For example, if the defense is April 12, 2017, the date on the title page should be “April 2017”. The names of the major professor, co-major professor, defense exam chair, Department chair, and Dean should be typed below the degree program for easy identification and future reference.
When you're creating a title page, it's important to follow the main rules to complete this document properly. Here are some tips you need to remember:
- Type the degree as Master of Arts, Doctor of Physics, Master of Music, Doctor of Biology.
- Type the month in which the final copy of your thesis is submitted (May, September, or December). You also should mention the month of your oral defense.
- The members of the committee must be typed with their full names and departments. For example, Alan Dough, Associate Professor of Science.
Please be informed that all signatures on this page must be original. You can find and read specific instructions on signatures if needed. When your title page is signed by the committee, you have to scan it and add it to the PDF document of your whole thesis.
The abstract is a separate document from the manuscript; it is not bound with the thesis or dissertation. Your thesis abstract must be no longer than 350 words (Doctorate) and 150 words (Master's). This is a short version of your paper where you need to summarize the results and arguments from your thesis. Type the word Abstract for the heading and then a title and an author's name.
Structuring the Thesis
Make sure you have created your thesis as a PDF document. Sometimes students may be required to create this paper merged from several single documents. When you're assembling the final document, follow this order:
- Title page
- Table of Contents
- List of Graphs, Tables, etc. (if your thesis has any of them)
- Bibliography List
An optional one (page numbering does appear on this page as either II or III, depending on whether a Copyright page is included). When the author feels that acknowledgements are necessary, it should be remembered that brevity is a virtue. Do not reference acknowledgements in the Table of Contents. This appears after the Title Page.
Organize your thesis body logically following the research. Here you can include any previous research and results' discussion. Remember that every argument must be supported with facts and presented in your document logically. Include here the summary of your findings.
When you're working on presenting footnotes in a thesis, please follow the style guides acceptable for your paper discipline. Make sure you've found the needed electronic guide and followed all the style requirements.
Place numbers in the right upper corner of each page of your thesis. Type just the number without any letters, abbreviations, or symbols. Each new chapter must have its number placed at the center bottom or the top right corner.
The following chapters shouldn't have a page number: Abstract, Title Page, Acknowledgements, List of Tables, Preface, and Table of Contents. You need to number all these sections with Roman numerals. Please be informed that page numbers don't need to follow any margin requirements.
Chapters may be identified with uppercase Roman numerals or Arabic numbers. Tables, figures, and equations should be numbered consecutively throughout the manuscript with Arabic numerals. Equation numbers should be placed to the right of the equation and contained within parentheses or brackets.
Take care to divide words correctly. Do not divide words from one page to the next. Word processing software provides for “widow and orphan” protection. Utilize this feature to help in the proper division of sentences from one page to another. In general, a single line of text should not be left at the bottom or top of a page. Blank space may be left at the bottom of a page, where necessary.
Use headings and subheadings to describe briefly the material in the section that follows. Be consistent with your choice of “levels” and refer to the instructions on spacing, above, for proper spacing between headings, subheadings, and text. First-level headings must be listed in the Table of Contents. Second-level and subsequent subheadings may be included.
We hope that our detailed instructions will help you to create a successful thesis and format it properly. Needless to say, it's quite important to follow all the rules because the committee will pay attention to your paper format during the defense.
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