Your thesis or dissertation must comply with certain formatting guidelines.
Be sure to read the list of requirements thoroughly before you begin, and check the list carefully before you submit.
Your formatting requirements vary depending on whether your degree is conferred through IU or Purdue.
IU Thesis/Dissertation Requirements
The links below will explain to you all of the formatting requirements for your thesis/dissertation, including fonts, required sections, numbering pages, and more.
Before you turn in your copies for binding, make sure that all of the pages are in correct numerical order and that they are right-side up.
Required and Optional Sections
Your thesis/dissertation must include the required sections, listed in order. Please view the example.
The title page should be your first page. All content on this page should be centered horizontally and vertically. Keep in mind that the title approved by your committee is the title that must appear on the title page.
* The month and year is the date when all requirements have been completed for the awarding of your master’s/doctoral degree by the University Graduate School. This is not necessarily the month in which you submit your thesis/dissertation.
Acceptance Page - Required
The acceptance page confirms the committee's approval and acceptance of your thesis/dissertation.
The acceptance page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. The first sentence should be centered, “Master’s Thesis Committee” should be left-justified, and all other content should be right-justified. Please view the example.
Have your committee sign the page when they approve the thesis.
When uploading the format-approved document to ScholarWorks, the acceptance page will not contain signatures. A copy of the signed acceptance page will be submitted separately to the University Graduate School at email@example.com.
The acceptance page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. The first sentence should be centered, “Doctoral Committee” and the date of dissertation should be left-justified, and all other content should be right-justified. Please view the example.
Have your committee sign the page when they approve your dissertation.
When uploading the format-approved document to ProQuest, the acceptance page will not contain signatures. A copy of the signed acceptance page will be submitted separately to the University Graduate School at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The copyright page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. All content on this page should be centered. Please view the example.
[Student's name as it appears on the thesis/dissertation title page]
Dedication, Acknowledgements, or Preface–Optional
Depending on your personal inclination, you may wish to include a dedication, a preface, or a set of acknowledgments. The latter is designed to recognize people or agencies to whom you feel grateful for any academic, technical, financial, or personal aid in the preparation of your thesis/dissertation. As a matter of courtesy, you would ordinarily mention the members of your committee here, as well as institutions that provided funding or anyone else who helped.
The abstract should be a separate page. Your name and the thesis/dissertation title should be centered, while the rest of the content format will match your document, and is limited to 350 words.
Many people will learn about your work through your abstract published in the ScholarWorks Repository (master's) or ProQuest ETD Administrator (doctoral), so take care in the composition of both the abstract and the title. Try to convey the flavor of your work, not just the bare bones of your findings. You should also phrase your title so that it truly describes the contents and will be easily found in the index of the database. The index is based on key words, so be as specific as you can be about your subject.
Table of Contents
Include a table of contents to guide readership of your thesis/dissertation. The table of contents will contain the material occurring after the table of contents. The curriculum vitae entry will not have a page number.
Supplemental Materials–If Appropriate
Supplemental materials will include lists of tables, figures, appendixes, abbreviations, or other materials, if appropriate.
Include your Curriculum Vitae at the END of the thesis/dissertation. The Curriculum Vitae entry will not have a page number. Please view the example.
Common Formatting Mistakes
Footnotes: (if used)
- Same font as document.
- Font size no smaller than 10 pt.
- Place at the bottom of the page.
- Single-spaced is common.
- Same font and size as document.
- Be consistent with layout.
- Same font and size as the document text.
- Color must be black.
- Verify the character code
- Font and style should complement that of the document text.
- Color must be black.
Labeling, consistency in text, chart, figure, table, etc.:
- Table or table.
- Figure or figure, Fig., or fig.
- Et al, or et al.
- Long quotes will be single-spaced.
- Indented on left side AND right side by 0.5".
- Be consistent with spacing after periods/colons.
- Do not assume the word processing program is 100% correct.
- Paper size is 8.5" x 11"
- Using cotton paper is no longer a requirement of the University Graduate School.
- Check with your program for additional paper requirements.
- Font size is 11 pt or 12 pt.
- Font choice is variable but must be legible.
- Be consistent with your font throughout all materials including page numbers.
- Script fonts (e.g., Monotype Corsiva) and italicizing large sections of text are not allowed for the main body of your thesis/dissertation, although italics may be used appropriately.
- Footnotes (if used):
- Same font as document.
- Font size is no smaller than 10 pt.
- Place at the bottom of the page.
- Single spaced is common.
- Single line of text at the bottom or top of page.
- The material may be 1.5 spacing or double-spaced.
- Long quotations within the text should be typed single-spaced with wider margins on the left and right sides.
Photograph and Images
If photographs or detailed graphics are part of the work, make sure they are crisp and clear when printed. It is OK to use special laser or photo paper for the page of the thesis/dissertation that contains images to achieve the best possible quality.
- Pages for most theses/dissertations are printed on one side of the paper only.
- Margins should be 1.5” on the left and 1” on the top, right and bottom.
- These margin requirements apply to all materials included in the thesis/dissertation, including figures, tables, maps, plates, etc., and any preliminary material you choose to include.
- Ordinarily, the text and any other materials will appear on the right-hand page only. If, however, you and your committee agree that it is necessary to include facing material on the left-hand page as well, be sure to leave 1.5” on the right-hand side of the facing page.
- Landscape pages:
- Layout, margins and page numbers should be in the correct direction.
- Page numbers are required to be in the header or footer. They are centered left to right and placed at 0.5" from the edge of the paper.
- Font and size match the font and size of the document.
- Page numbers must be clear, consecutive, and printed on every page, including appendixes, tables, figures, maps, charts photographs, etc., except for the title page and resume/curriculum vitae (vita) page.
- Lowercase Roman numerals (e.g., i, ii, iii) are used for the pages preceding the main body of work.
- Arabic numbers (e.g., 1, 2, 3) are used in the body of the work, the bibliography, and the appendices.
- The title page counts as page i but does not bear a number.
- Begin the actual numbering with the acceptance page as page ii, and continue with lowercase Roman numerals until the start of the actual body of the thesis/dissertation. That page, whether part of your full introduction or of your first chapter, should be numbered using the Arabic number 1, and every page thereafter should be numbered consecutively until you reach the vita page.
Theses/dissertations should be written in English, unless you and your department/committee have decided otherwise.
References, Citations, Bibliography, and Notes
- Check with your department on this requirement. This format depends largely on your particular field or topic.
- For example, notes can appear on the page where the annotation occurs (footnotes), or at either the end of each chapter or the end of the thesis/dissertation (endnotes). Be sure to follow the conventions of your department or discipline.
- Consistent layout.
- Font and size will be the same as the document.
- Line space will match the document or be single-spaced.
- only use the color black.
- identify date accessed or retrieved.
Recommended Style Manuals
- The Chicago Manual of Style
- Turabian, Kate L., A Manual for Writers
- Modern Language Association (MLA) style sheet
- American Psychological Association (APA) style sheet
Recommended Dictionaries for Spelling and Usage
- Webster’s New International Dictionary
- Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
Table of Contents and Leader (Dots)
The dots are called Leaders, and often are referred as leader Dots.
The dots can be created by using the table of contents template. However, this will import Word's font, size and style, which will not match your document layout. If using Word's template, you will modify the setup of choose the correct font and size.
- Verify the margins are Left 1.5" and Right 1.0".
- Verify the table of contents is Left Aligned. If not,
- at the top of your screen, on the Home tab, is the box Paragraph. Select Left Aligned.
- Turn on Show/Hide. This reveals the spaces surrounding your titles and extraneous spaces.
- Remove the dots.
- Highlight the table of contents.
- At the top of your screen, on the Home tab, is the box Paragraph. Select this.
- At the bottom of the front tab labeled Indents and Spacing is a box labeled Tabs. Select this.
- Select the box labeled Clear All.
- Select OK.
- You have returned to the table of contents and the material is still highlighted. Keep this material highlighted.
- Go back to Paragraph, then to Indents and Spacing, and then to Tabs.
- Enter the number 6 in the Tab stop position box. This represents six inches from the left margin.
- Move to the section labeled Alignment. Select Right.
- Move to the section labeled Leader. Select 2.......
- Select the box labeled Set.
- Select OK
- You have retrned to the table of contents. The material is no longer highlighted.
- At this moment, your material may have moved to the right edge of the paper and there are dots to the left of that material.
- Move your cursor to the end of your title. Press the Tab key one time. The dots should stream to the right margin. Place the page number immediately beside the last dot. The dots will adjust automatically for the numbering and spacing.
- Place the cursor next to the material that was tabbed/offset to indicate subheadings.
- At the top of the screen; on the Home tab; return to the box labeled Paragraph. Select the function Increase Indent. Select this function one time for one indentation. The indent is defaulted to 0.5". If the document used less than 0.5" for the tab, you may change the indent stop to match the original set up.
This process may also be applied to the list of tables, list of figures, and list of abbreviations.
Purdue Thesis Requirements
The IUPUI Graduate Office offers a formatting worshop for Purdue theses and dissertations in both Fall and Spring semesters. You can view the most recent Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Workshop Guidelines here »
For full details, visit: http://purdue.edu/gradschool/research/thesis/index.html