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Formatting - Master's Thesis/Project

After reading this page, as an optional learning tool, you may wish to take the format quiz to test your comprehension/retention of the information presented. 

Master's theses and projects are University records. As such, they must conform to a standardized "look and feel" in order to achieve consistency.

The University Library keeps two permanent copies of your thesis/project as a matter of record. One copy circulates and the other copy is stored in the University Archives.

A Library thesis reviewer must sign off on the format (not content) of your thesis/project before you may graduate.

You must make an appointment for a "preliminary " Library format review approximately 30 days before the final submission deadline for turning your work into the Graduate Studies Office. (We recommend scheduling this appointment during the time period when your committee is reviewing your paper.)  Be sure to do this before you give the signature page to your department/committee for their signatures. (Please note:  Your project or thesis must be submitted for preliminary review at least two weeks before the binding deadline.  If you can't make this deadline, there is no guarantee that you can graduate in that respective quarter). 

After receiving the approval and signatures of all members of your committee, you must schedule the "final" Library format review appointment.  The Library reviewer will verify that you have made any necessary format revisions/corrections following your preliminary review appointment and will sign off on the binding instructions form.

Please note, however, that the library reviewer will not sign off on your binding instructions form(PDF) until you have all signatures on your signature page and you have sucessfully followed the format rules and sequence of parts.

Formatting Rules


Paper used for the two library copies must be white, at least 25%  cotton, 20 pound, 8.5" x11".  Paper for other additional copies may be of lower quality.  Suitable paper is available at the University bookstore and most office supply stores. 


Theses/Projects must be typed double-spaced on one side of the page. Font size must be no smaller than 10 points or larger than 12 points.

Standard typefaces such as Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman are required. When in doubt regarding type font, format, illustrations or non-printed materials, consult the Library Reviewer before the final copy is prepared.

When making the final printout, the printer must be of letter quality with standard typefaces. Erasures and corrections are not acceptable. 


Margins on the top, right and bottom must be 1", and the left margin must be 1.5" (to have room for binding). [Exceptions: The Title Page and Signature Page should each have 2" margins at the top.] All material to be included (including appendices) must fit within the margins.  Double check with a ruler before submitting. Margins are measured from the edge of the text to the edge of the sheet.


Beginning with the first page of the main body of the text, pages are numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). All pages preceding the first page of the body are counted and numbered with lower case Roman numerals (ii, iii, iv, etc.). The title page is counted but the number is not printed on the page. 

Photographs and Illustrations

Complete sets of photographs must be submitted for each copy of the thesis/project if required by those who receive copies. Large photographs must fit within the specified margins. Smaller photographs should allow space for captions.

Scanned or digital photographs may also be inserted into the text and printed out.

All photographs, illustrations, graphs, tables, drawings, and charts must fit within the specified margins.


If a CD-ROM or DVD is included, it must be listed under "Special Requirements" on the Binding Instructions form and one disk for every bound copy MUST be provided. Label the CD-Rom or DVD with your name and title of your thesis or project.  An extra binding fee is charged for these accompanying materials. 

Sequence of Parts

1. Cover sheet

The cover sheet is a blank page. 

2. Title page [counted but no page number printed]

Title Page template for (PROJECT)(DotX)

Title Page template for (THESIS)(DotX)

The title page templates show the rrequired form and spacing.

3. Signature page [page ii]

Signature Page Template for (PROJECT) (DotX)

Signature Page Template for (THESIS) (DotX)

The Signature Page templates show the required form and spacing. The name of each member of the committee must be included with the department or discipline identification, and the chair is always listed first, as shown in the templates. Your name, on this page, should be consistent with how it appears on the title page. In the Date area, indicate the quarter and year submitted.

4. Acknowledgments (optional) [page iii]

An acknowledgment page is optional.

5. Abstract [page iii or, iv.]

The abstract should be 250 words or less. 

6. Table of Contents (includes all parts listed in this Sequence of Parts section, with the exception of the title page) [each page counted and numbered].

Table of Contents Template(DotX)

This template is an example of one format, but you may use other formats as directed by your department/College. Check for correct page numbers before final printing.

7. List of Tables (if applicable) [each page counted and numbered].

List of Tables template(DotX)

This template is an example of one format, but you may use other formats as directed by your department/College.

8. List of Figures (if applicable) [each page counted and numbered].

List of Figures template(DotX)

This template is an example of one format, but you may use other formats as directed by your depatment/College. 

9. Text [ page 1, 2, 3, etc.]

The student's department will specify which style manual is to be followed.  It is the responsibility of the student to check with the department for the style manual required for their discipline.  It is the responsibility of the student's thesis/project committee to verify that the style manual is followed.  For examples of commonly used formats check:  Citing Sources (Duke University Libraries).  Style manuals are available at the university bookstore and in the University Library. When the thesis/project is presented to the Library format reviewer for approval, you will be asked to identify the style manual used.

10. References (or Works Cited or Bibliography) [each page counted and numbered].

COMPLETE CITATIONS ARE REQUIRED. Follow the style manual to construct your bibliography or list of references. Take special care to note the full citation information when referencing electronic or web resources.  It is the responsibility of the student's thesis/project committee to verify that proper bibliographic forms are followed. 

11. Appendices (if applicable) [each page counted and numbered consecutively].