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Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019

So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.

To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .

Dissertation structure and layout - the basics

*The Caveat *

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).

So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.  

Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis

  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents , list of figures and tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list

As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:

  • The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
  • The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
  • The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
  • The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .

In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.

Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.

The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:

  • Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
  • Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)

Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:

  • The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or  mixed methods ).

For example:

A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].

Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).

Dissertations stacked up


This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.

So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:

  • Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
  • Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
  • Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
  • Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .

For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):

  • Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
  • Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
  • Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
  • Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?

So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.

In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .

Need a helping hand?

thesis chapter style

Table of contents

This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:

If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.

Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
  • Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
  • What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
  • How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
  • How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?

These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.

If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.

Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:

  • What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
  • Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
  • How does your research contribute something original?
  • How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Dissertation writing

Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…

In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:

  • Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.

In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!

You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.

Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.

Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).

What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.

Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.

The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).

Dissertation and thesis prep

Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings? In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?

Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!

This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.

It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:

Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.

The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.

Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!

Time to recap…

And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:

  • Acknowledgments page

Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the  Grad Coach Blog .

thesis chapter style

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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many thanks i found it very useful

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.


Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!


what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much


Thanks so much this helped me a lot!

Ade Adeniyi

Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.

Thanks Ade!


Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..

You’re welcome!

Jp Raimundo

Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?

Karmelia Renatee

Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment

You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.


best ever benefit i got on right time thank you

Krishnan iyer

Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .

I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these

You have given immense clarity from start to end.

Alwyn Malan

Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?


Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!

yemi Amos

Thanks ! so concise and valuable

Kgomotso Siwelane

This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.

dauda sesay

Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.

Patrick Mwathi

Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times

Adao Bundi

Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.


Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills

mwepu Ilunga

Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear


Very nice and easy to understand. Thank you .

Chrisogonas Odhiambo

That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!


My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!


Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?

It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂


Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!

Simon Le

Great video; I appreciate that helpful information

Brhane Kidane

It is so necessary or avital course


This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you


Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates

Emmanuel Manjolo

wow this is an amazing gain in my life

Paul I Thoronka

This is so good

Tesfay haftu

How can i arrange my specific objectives in my dissertation?


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Thesis and Dissertation Guide

  • « Thesis & Dissertation Resources
  • The Graduate School Home

pdf icon

  • Introduction
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication, Acknowledgements, Preface (optional)
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations
  • List of Abbreviations
  • List of Symbols

Non-Traditional Formats

Font type and size, spacing and indentation, tables, figures, and illustrations, formatting previously published work.

  • Internet Distribution
  • Open Access
  • Registering Copyright
  • Using Copyrighted Materials
  • Use of Your Own Previously Published Materials
  • Submission Steps
  • Submission Checklist
  • Sample Pages

Thesis and Dissertation Guide

II. Formatting Guidelines

All copies of a thesis or dissertation must have the following uniform margins throughout the entire document:

  • Left: 1″ (or 1 1/4" to ensure sufficient room for binding the work if desired)
  • Right: 1″
  • Bottom: 1″ (with allowances for page numbers; see section on Pagination )
  • Top: 1″

Exceptions : The first page of each chapter (including the introduction, if any) begins 2″ from the top of the page. Also, the headings on the title page, abstract, first page of the dedication/ acknowledgements/preface (if any), and first page of the table of contents begin 2″ from the top of the page.

Non-traditional theses or dissertations such as whole works comprised of digital, artistic, video, or performance materials (i.e., no written text, chapters, or articles) are acceptable if approved by your committee and graduate program. A PDF document with a title page, copyright page, and abstract at minimum are required to be submitted along with any relevant supplemental files.

Fonts must be 10, 11, or 12 points in size. Superscripts and subscripts (e.g., formulas, or footnote or endnote numbers) should be no more than 2 points smaller than the font size used for the body of the text.

Space and indent your thesis or dissertation following these guidelines:

Spacing and Indentation with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • The text must appear in a single column on each page and be double-spaced throughout the document. Do not arrange chapter text in multiple columns.
  • New paragraphs must be indicated by a consistent tab indentation throughout the entire document.
  • The document text must be left-justified, not centered or right-justified.
  • For blocked quotations, indent the entire text of the quotation consistently from the left margin.
  • Ensure headings are not left hanging alone on the bottom of a prior page. The text following should be moved up or the heading should be moved down. This is something to check near the end of formatting, as other adjustments to text and spacing may change where headings appear on the page.

Exceptions : Blocked quotations, notes, captions, legends, and long headings must be single-spaced throughout the document and double-spaced between items.

Paginate your thesis or dissertation following these guidelines:

  • Use lower case Roman numerals (ii, iii, iv, etc.) on all pages preceding the first page of chapter one. The title page counts as page i, but the number does not appear. Therefore, the first page showing a number will be the copyright page with ii at the bottom.
  • Arabic numerals (beginning with 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) start at chapter one or the introduction, if applicable. Arabic numbers must be included on all pages of the text, illustrations, notes, and any other materials that follow. Thus, the first page of chapter one will show an Arabic numeral 1, and numbering of all subsequent pages will follow in order.
  • Do not use page numbers accompanied by letters, hyphens, periods, or parentheses (e.g., 1., 1-2, -1-, (1), or 1a).
  • Center all page numbers at the bottom of the page, 1/2″ from the bottom edge.
  • Pages must not contain running headers or footers, aside from page numbers.
  • If your document contains landscape pages (pages in which the top of the page is the long side of a sheet of paper), make sure that your page numbers still appear in the same position and direction as they do on pages with standard portrait orientation for consistency. This likely means the page number will be centered on the short side of the paper and the number will be sideways relative to the landscape page text. See these additional instructions for assistance with pagination on landscape pages in Microsoft Word .

Pagination example with mesaurements described in surrounding text

Format footnotes for your thesis or dissertation following these guidelines:

Footnote spacing  with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Footnotes must be placed at the bottom of the page separated from the text by a solid line one to two inches long.
  • Begin at the left page margin, directly below the solid line.
  • Single-space footnotes that are more than one line long.
  • Include one double-spaced line between each note.
  • Most software packages automatically space footnotes at the bottom of the page depending on their length. It is acceptable if the note breaks within a sentence and carries the remainder into the footnote area of the next page. Do not indicate the continuation of a footnote.
  • Number all footnotes with Arabic numerals. You may number notes consecutively within each chapter starting over with number 1 for the first note in each chapter, or you may number notes consecutively throughout the entire document.
  • Footnote numbers must precede the note and be placed slightly above the line (superscripted). Leave no space between the number and the note.
  • While footnotes should be located at the bottom of the page, do not place footnotes in a running page footer, as they must remain within the page margins.

Endnotes are an acceptable alternative to footnotes. Format endnotes for your thesis or dissertation following these guidelines:

Endnotes with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Always begin endnotes on a separate page either immediately following the end of each chapter, or at the end of your entire document. If you place all endnotes at the end of the entire document, they must appear after the appendices and before the references.
  • Include the heading “ENDNOTES” in all capital letters, and center it 1″ below the top of the first page of your endnotes section(s).
  • Single-space endnotes that are more than one line long.
  • Number all endnotes with Arabic numerals. You may number notes consecutively within each chapter starting over with number 1 for the first note in each chapter, or you may number notes consecutively throughout the entire document.
  • Endnote numbers must precede the note and be placed slightly above the line (superscripted). Leave no space between the number and the note.

Tables, figures, and illustrations vary widely by discipline. Therefore, formatting of these components is largely at the discretion of the author.

For example, headings and captions may appear above or below each of these components.

These components may each be placed within the main text of the document or grouped together in a separate section.

Space permitting, headings and captions for the associated table, figure, or illustration must be on the same page.

The use of color is permitted as long as it is consistently applied as part of the finished component (e.g., a color-coded pie chart) and not extraneous or unprofessional (e.g., highlighting intended solely to draw a reader's attention to a key phrase). The use of color should be reserved primarily for tables, figures, illustrations, and active website or document links throughout your thesis or dissertation.

The format you choose for these components must be consistent throughout the thesis or dissertation.

Ensure each component complies with margin and pagination requirements.

Refer to the List of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations section for additional information.

If your thesis or dissertation has appendices, they must be prepared following these guidelines:

Appendices with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Appendices must appear at the end of the document (before references) and not the chapter to which they pertain.
  • When there is more than one appendix, assign each appendix a number or a letter heading (e.g., “APPENDIX 1” or “APPENDIX A”) and a descriptive title. You may number consecutively throughout the entire work (e.g., 1, 2 or A, B), or you may assign a two-part Arabic numeral with the first number designating the chapter in which it appears, separated by a period, followed by a second number or letter to indicate its consecutive placement (e.g., “APPENDIX 3.2” is the second appendix referred to in Chapter Three).
  • Include the chosen headings in all capital letters, and center them 1″ below the top of the page.
  • All appendix headings and titles must be included in the table of contents.
  • Page numbering must continue throughout your appendix or appendices. Ensure each appendix complies with margin and pagination requirements.

You are required to list all the references you consulted. For specific details on formatting your references, consult and follow a style manual or professional journal that is used for formatting publications and citations in your discipline.

References with mesaurements described in surrounding text

Your reference pages must be prepared following these guidelines:

  • If you place references after each chapter, the references for the last chapter must be placed immediately following the chapter and before the appendices.
  • If you place all references at the end of the thesis or dissertation, they must appear after the appendices as the final component in the document.
  • Select an appropriate heading for this section based on the style manual you are using (e.g., “REFERENCES”, “BIBLIOGRAPHY”, or “WORKS CITED”).
  • Include the chosen heading in all capital letters, and center it 1″ below the top of the page.
  • References must be single-spaced within each entry.
  • Include one double-spaced line between each reference.
  • Page numbering must continue throughout your references section. Ensure references comply with margin and pagination requirements.

In some cases, students gain approval from their academic program to include in their thesis or dissertation previously published (or submitted, in press, or under review) journal articles or similar materials that they have authored. For more information about including previously published works in your thesis or dissertation, see the section on Use of Your Own Previously Published Materials and the section on Copyrighting.

If your academic program has approved inclusion of such materials, please note that these materials must match the formatting guidelines set forth in this Guide regardless of how the material was formatted for publication.

Some specific formatting guidelines to consider include:

Formatting previously published work with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Fonts, margins, chapter headings, citations, and references must all match the formatting and placement used within the rest of the thesis or dissertation.
  • If appropriate, published articles can be included as separate individual chapters within the thesis or dissertation.
  • A separate abstract to each chapter should not be included.
  • The citation for previously published work must be included as the first footnote (or endnote) on the first page of the chapter.
  • Do not include typesetting notations often used when submitting manuscripts to a publisher (i.e., insert table x here).
  • The date on the title page should be the year in which your committee approves the thesis or dissertation, regardless of the date of completion or publication of individual chapters.
  • If you would like to include additional details about the previously published work, this information can be included in the preface for the thesis or dissertation.

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Organizing and Formatting Your Thesis and Dissertation

thesis chapter style

Learn about overall organization of your thesis or dissertation. Then, find details for formatting your preliminaries, text, and supplementaries.

Overall Organization

A typical thesis consists of three main parts – preliminaries, text, and supplementaries. Each part is to be organized as explained below and in the order indicated below:

1. Preliminaries:

  • Title page (required)
  • Copyright page (required)
  • Abstract (required) only one abstract allowed
  • Acknowledgments (optional) located in the Preliminary Section only
  • Preface (optional)
  • Autobiography (optional)
  • Dedication (optional)
  • Table of Contents (required)
  • List of Tables (optional)
  • List of Figures (optional)
  • List of Plates (optional)
  • List of Symbols (optional)
  • List of Keywords (optional)
  • Other Preliminaries (optional) such as Definition of Terms

3. Supplementaries:

  • References or bibliography (optional)
  • Appendices (optional)
  • Glossary (optional)
  • List of Abbreviations (optional)

The order of sections is important


These are the general requirements for all preliminary pages.

  • Preliminary pages are numbered with lower case Roman numerals.
  • Page numbers are ½” from the bottom of the page and centered.
  • The copyright page is included in the manuscript immediately after the title page and is not assigned a page number nor counted.
  • The abstract page is numbered with the Roman numeral “ii”.
  • The remaining preliminary pages are arranged as listed under “Organizing and Formatting the Thesis/Dissertation” and numbered consecutively.
  • Headings for all preliminary pages must be centered in all capital letters 1” from the top of the page.
  • Do not bold the headings of the preliminary pages.

Preliminaries have no page number on the first two. Then it is numbered with roman numerals.

A sample Thesis title page pdf is available here ,  and a sample of a Dissertation title page pdf is available here.

Refer to the sample page as you read through the format requirements for the title page.

  • Do not use bold.
  • Center all text except the advisor and committee information.

The heading “ Thesis ” or “ Dissertation ” is in all capital letters, centered one inch from the top of the page.

  • Your title must be in all capital letters, double spaced and centered.
  • Your title on the title page must match the title on your GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form

Submitted by block

Divide this section exactly as shown on the sample page. One blank line must separate each line of text.

  • Submitted by
  • School of Advanced Materials Discovery 
  • School of Biomedical Engineering
  • Graduate Degree Program in Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Graduate Degree Program in Ecology

If your department name begins with “School of”, list as:

  • School of Education
  • School of Music, Theatre and Dance
  • School of Social Work

If you have questions about the correct name of your department or degree, consult your department. Areas of Study or specializations within a program are not listed on the Title Page.

Degree and Graduating Term block

  • In partial fulfillment of the requirements
  • For the Degree of
  • Colorado State University
  • Fort Collins, Colorado (do not abbreviate Colorado)

Committee block

  • Master’s students will use the heading Master’s Committee:
  • Doctoral students will use the heading Doctoral Committee:
  • The Master’s Committee and Doctoral Committee headings begin at the left margin.
  • One blank line separates the committee heading and the advisor section.
  • One blank line separates the advisor and committee section.
  • Advisor and committee member names are indented approximately half an inch from the left margin.
  • Titles before or after the names of your advisor and your members are not permitted (Examples – Dr., Professor, Ph.D.).

Copyright Page

  • A sample copyright page pdf is available here.
  • A copyright page is required.
  • A copyright page is included in the manuscript immediately after the title page.
  • This page is not assigned a number nor counted.
  • Center text vertically and horizontally.
  • A sample abstract page pdf is available here – refer to the sample page as you read through the format requirements for the abstract.
  • Only one abstract is permitted.
  • The heading “ Abstract ” is in all capital letters, centered one inch from the top of the page.
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) must be between the “ Abstract ” heading and your title.
  • Your title must be in all capital letters and centered.
  • The title must match the title on your Title Page and the GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) must be between the title and your text.
  • The text of your abstract must be double-spaced.
  • The first page of the abstract is numbered with a small Roman numeral ii.

Table of Contents

  • A sample Table of Contents page pdf is available.
  • The heading “ Table of Contents ” is in all capital letters centered one inch from the top of the page.
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) follow the heading.
  • List all parts of the document (except the title page) and the page numbers on which each part begins.
  • The titles of all parts are worded exactly as they appear in the document.
  • Titles and headings and the page numbers on which they begin are separated by a row of dot leaders.
  • Major headings are aligned flush with the left margin.
  • Page numbers are aligned flush with the right margin.

The text of a thesis features an introduction and several chapters, sections and subsections. Text may also include parenthetical references, footnotes, or references to the bibliography or endnotes.

Any references to journal publications, authors, contributions, etc. on your chapter pages or major heading pages should be listed as a footnote .

Text and Supplementaries use Arabic numbering starting at 1

  • The entire document is 8.5” x 11” (letter) size.
  • Pages may be in landscape position for figures and tables that do not fit in “portrait” position.
  • Choose one type style (font) and font size and use it throughout the text of your thesis. Examples: Times New Roman and Arial.
  • Font sizes should be between 10 point and 12 point.
  • Font color must be black. 
  • Hyperlinked text must be in blue. If you hyperlink more than one line of text, such as the entire table of contents, leave the text black. 
  • Margins are one inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right).
  • Always continue the text to the bottom margin except at the end of a chapter.

1 inch Margins

  • Please see preliminary page requirements .
  • Body and references are numbered with Arabic numerals beginning with the first page of text (numbered 1).
  • Page numbers must be centered ½” from the bottom of the page.

Major Headings

  • A sample page pdf for major headings and subheadings is available here.
  • Use consistent style for major headings.
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) need to be between the major heading and your text.
  • Each chapter is started on a new page.
  • The References or Bibliography heading is a major heading and the formatting needs to match chapter headings.


  • A sample page pdf for major headings and subheadings is available here .
  • Style for subheadings is optional but the style should be consistent throughout.
  • Subheadings within a chapter (or section) do not begin on a new page unless the preceding page is filled. Continue the text to the bottom of the page unless at the end of a chapter.
  • Subheadings at the bottom of a page require two lines of text following the heading and at least two lines of text on the next page.

Running Head

Do not insert a running head.

When dividing paragraphs, at least two lines of text should appear at the bottom of the page and at least two lines of text on the next page.


The last word on a page may not be divided. No more than three lines in succession may end with hyphens. Divide words as indicated in a standard dictionary.

  • The text of the thesis is double-spaced.
  • Bibliography or list of reference entries and data within large tables may be single-spaced. Footnotes should be single spaced.
  • Footnotes and bibliography or list of reference entries are separated by double-spacing.
  • Quoted material of more than three lines is indented and single-spaced. Quoted material that is three lines or fewer may be single-spaced for emphasis.

Poems should be double-spaced with triple-spacing between stanzas. Stanzas may be centered if lines are short.

  • Consult a style manual approved by your department for samples of footnotes.
  • Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis.
  • Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page on which the reference is made.
  • Footnotes are single-spaced.
  • Consult a style manual approved by your department for samples of endnotes.
  • Endnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis.
  • Endnotes may be placed at the end of each chapter or following the last page of text.
  • The form for an endnote is the same as a footnote. Type the heading “endnote”.

Tables and Figures

  • Tables and figures should follow immediately after first mentioned in the text or on the next page.
  • If they are placed on the next page, continue the text to the bottom of the preceding page.
  • Do not wrap text around tables or figures. Text can go above and/or below.
  • If more clarity is provided by placing tables and figures at the end of chapters or at the end of the text, this format is also acceptable.
  • Tables and Figures are placed before references.
  • Any diagram, drawing, graph, chart, map, photograph, or other type of illustration is presented in the thesis as a figure.
  • All tables and figures must conform to margin requirements.
  • Images can be resized to fit within margins
  • Table captions go above tables.
  • Figure captions go below figures.
  • Captions must be single spaced.

Landscape Tables and Figures

  • Large tables or figures can be placed on the page landscape or broadside orientation.
  • Landscape tables and figures should face the right margin (unbound side).
  • The top margin must be the same as on a regular page.
  • Page numbers for landscape or broadside tables or figures are placed on the 11” side.


These are the general requirements for all supplementary pages.

  • Supplementary pages are arranged as listed under “Organizing and Formatting the Thesis/Dissertation” and numbered consecutively.
  • Headings for all supplementary pages are major headings and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.

Arabic numbers continue into the supplementaries.

References or Bibliography

  • The References or Bibliography heading is always a major heading and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.
  • References or Bibliography are ordered after each chapter, or at the end of the text.
  • References or Bibliography must start on a new page from the chapter text.
  • References are aligned flush with the left margin.
  • The style for references should follow the format appropriate for the field of study.
  • The style used must be consistent throughout the thesis.
  • Appendices are optional and used for supplementary material.
  • The Appendices heading is a major heading and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.
  • As an option the appendix may be introduced with a cover page bearing only the title centered vertically and horizontally on the page. The content of the appendix then begins on the second page with the standard one inch top margin.
  • Quality and format should be consistent with requirements for other parts of the thesis including margins.
  • Page numbers used in the appendix must continue from the main text.

A Foreign Language Thesis

Occasionally, theses are written in languages other than English. In such cases, an English translation of the title and abstract must be included in the document.

  • Submit one title page in the non-English language (no page number printed).
  • Submit one title page in English (no page number printed).
  • Submit one abstract in the non-English language (page number is ii).
  • Submit one abstract in English (page number is numbered consecutively from previous page – example: if the last page of the abstract in the foreign language is page ii the first page of the abstract in English is numbered page iii).

Multipart Thesis

In some departments, a student may do research on two or more generally related areas which would be difficult to combine into a single well-organized thesis. The solution is the multi-part thesis.

  • Each part is considered a separate unit, with its own chapters, bibliography or list of references, and appendix (optional); or it may have a combined bibliography or list of references and appendix.
  • A single abstract is required.
  • The pages of a multi-part thesis are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis, not through each part (therefore, the first page of Part II is not page 1).
  • The chapter numbering begins with Chapter 1 for each part, or the chapters may be numbered consecutively.
  • Pagination is consecutive throughout all parts, including numbered separation sheets between parts.
  • Each part may be preceded by a separation sheet listing the appropriate number and title.
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  • Writing Tips

How to Write a Thesis Chapter Outline

4-minute read

  • 30th April 2023

Are you writing a thesis ? That’s amazing! Give yourself a pat on the back, because reaching that point in your academic career takes a lot of hard work.

When you begin to write, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. That’s where outlines come in handy. In this article, we’ll break down an effective outline for a thesis chapter – one that you can follow for each section of your paper.

What Is a Thesis Chapter?

Your thesis will be broken up into several sections . Usually, there’s an introduction, some background information, the methodology, the results and discussion, and a conclusion – or something along those lines.

Your institution will have more specific guidelines on the chapters you need to include and in what order, so make sure you familiarize yourself with those requirements first. To help you organize the content of each chapter, an outline breaks it down into smaller chunks.

The Outline

While the content and length of each chapter will vary, you can follow a similar pattern to organize your information. Each chapter should include:

1.   An Introduction

At the start of your chapter, spend some time introducing what you’re about to discuss. This will give readers the chance to quickly get an idea of what you’ll be covering and decide if they want to keep reading.

You could begin with a link to the previous chapter, which will help keep your audience from getting lost if they’re not reading it from start to finish in one sitting. You should then explain the purpose of the chapter and briefly describe how you will achieve it.

Every chapter should have an intro like this, even the introduction ! Of course, the length of this part will vary depending on the length of the chapter itself.

2.   The Main Body

After introducing the chapter, you can dive into the meat of it. As with the introduction, the content can be as brief or as lengthy as it needs to be.

While piecing together your outline, jot down which points are most important to include and then decide how much space you can devote to fleshing out each one. Let’s consider what this might look like, depending on the chapter .

If your thesis is broken up into an introduction, a background/literature review section, a methodology chapter, a discussion of the results, and a conclusion, here’s what the main body could include for each:

●  Introduction : A brief summary of the problem or topic and its background, the purpose of the thesis, the research questions that will be addressed, the terminology you’ll be using, and any limitations or unique circumstances.

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●  Background/literature review : A more thorough explanation of the problem, relevant studies and literature, and current knowledge and gaps in knowledge.

●  Methodology : A detailed explanation of the research design, participants and how they were chosen, and how the data was collected and analyzed.

●  Results/discussion : A thorough description of the results of the study and a discussion of what they could mean.

●  Conclusion : A summary of everything that’s been covered, an explanation of the answers that were (or weren’t) found to the research questions, and suggestions for future research.

This is a rough plan of what the main body of each chapter might look like. Your thesis will likely have more chapters, and some of these topics may be broken down into multiple paragraphs, but this offers an idea of where to start.

3.   A Conclusion

Once you’ve detailed everything the chapter needs to include, you should summarize what’s been covered and tie it all together. Explain what the chapter accomplished, and once again, you can link back to the previous chapter to point out what questions have been answered at this point in the thesis.

If you’re just getting started on writing your thesis, putting together an outline will help you to get your thoughts organized and give you a place to start. Each chapter should have its own introduction, main body, and conclusion.

And once you have your draft written, be sure to send it our way! Our editors will be happy to check it for grammar, punctuation, spelling, references, formatting, and more. Try out our service for free today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you outline a thesis chapter.

Each chapter of your thesis should have its own introduction, the main content or body of the chapter, and a conclusion summarizing what was covered and linking it to the rest of the thesis.

How do you write a thesis statement?

A thesis statement should briefly summarize the topic you’re looking into and state your assumption about it.

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  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation

How to Write a Dissertation | A Guide to Structure & Content

A dissertation or thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on original research, submitted as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it is usually divided into at least four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter).

The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes:

  • An introduction to your topic
  • A literature review that surveys relevant sources
  • An explanation of your methodology
  • An overview of the results of your research
  • A discussion of the results and their implications
  • A conclusion that shows what your research has contributed

Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an argument by analysing primary and secondary sources . Instead of the standard structure outlined here, you might organise your chapters around different themes or case studies.

Other important elements of the dissertation include the title page , abstract , and reference list . If in doubt about how your dissertation should be structured, always check your department’s guidelines and consult with your supervisor.

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Table of contents

Acknowledgements, table of contents, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review / theoretical framework, methodology, reference list.

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation’s title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo. Many programs have strict requirements for formatting the dissertation title page .

The title page is often used as cover when printing and binding your dissertation .

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The acknowledgements section is usually optional, and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you.

The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150-300 words long. You should write it at the very end, when you’ve completed the rest of the dissertation. In the abstract, make sure to:

  • State the main topic and aims of your research
  • Describe the methods you used
  • Summarise the main results
  • State your conclusions

Although the abstract is very short, it’s the first part (and sometimes the only part) of your dissertation that people will read, so it’s important that you get it right. If you’re struggling to write a strong abstract, read our guide on how to write an abstract .

In the table of contents, list all of your chapters and subheadings and their page numbers. The dissertation contents page gives the reader an overview of your structure and helps easily navigate the document.

All parts of your dissertation should be included in the table of contents, including the appendices. You can generate a table of contents automatically in Word.

If you have used a lot of tables and figures in your dissertation, you should itemise them in a numbered list . You can automatically generate this list using the Insert Caption feature in Word.

If you have used a lot of abbreviations in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetised list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

If you have used a lot of highly specialised terms that will not be familiar to your reader, it might be a good idea to include a glossary . List the terms alphabetically and explain each term with a brief description or definition.

In the introduction, you set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance, and tell the reader what to expect in the rest of the dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving necessary background information to contextualise your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of the research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your objectives and research questions , and indicate how you will answer them
  • Give an overview of your dissertation’s structure

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant to your research. By the end, the reader should understand the what , why and how of your research. Not sure how? Read our guide on how to write a dissertation introduction .

Before you start on your research, you should have conducted a literature review to gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic. This means:

  • Collecting sources (e.g. books and journal articles) and selecting the most relevant ones
  • Critically evaluating and analysing each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g. themes, patterns, conflicts, gaps) to make an overall point

In the dissertation literature review chapter or section, you shouldn’t just summarise existing studies, but develop a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear basis or justification for your own research. For example, it might aim to show how your research:

  • Addresses a gap in the literature
  • Takes a new theoretical or methodological approach to the topic
  • Proposes a solution to an unresolved problem
  • Advances a theoretical debate
  • Builds on and strengthens existing knowledge with new data

The literature review often becomes the basis for a theoretical framework , in which you define and analyse the key theories, concepts and models that frame your research. In this section you can answer descriptive research questions about the relationship between concepts or variables.

The methodology chapter or section describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to assess its validity. You should generally include:

  • The overall approach and type of research (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, experimental, ethnographic)
  • Your methods of collecting data (e.g. interviews, surveys, archives)
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Your methods of analysing data (e.g. statistical analysis, discourse analysis)
  • Tools and materials you used (e.g. computer programs, lab equipment)
  • A discussion of any obstacles you faced in conducting the research and how you overcame them
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Your aim in the methodology is to accurately report what you did, as well as convincing the reader that this was the best approach to answering your research questions or objectives.

Next, you report the results of your research . You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your objectives and research questions. In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined.

For example, for qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis, while in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning. If you’re unsure, consult with your supervisor and look at sample dissertations to find out the best structure for your research.

In the results section it can often be helpful to include tables, graphs and charts. Think carefully about how best to present your data, and don’t include tables or figures that just repeat what you have written  –  they should provide extra information or usefully visualise the results in a way that adds value to your text.

Full versions of your data (such as interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix .

The discussion  is where you explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research questions. Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data and discuss any limitations that might have influenced the results.

The discussion should reference other scholarly work to show how your results fit with existing knowledge. You can also make recommendations for future research or practical action.

The dissertation conclusion should concisely answer the main research question, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your central argument. Wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you did and how you did it. The conclusion often also includes recommendations for research or practice.

In this section, it’s important to show how your findings contribute to knowledge in the field and why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known?

You must include full details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list (sometimes also called a works cited list or bibliography). It’s important to follow a consistent reference style . Each style has strict and specific requirements for how to format your sources in the reference list.

The most common styles used in UK universities are Harvard referencing and Vancouver referencing . Your department will often specify which referencing style you should use – for example, psychology students tend to use APA style , humanities students often use MHRA , and law students always use OSCOLA . M ake sure to check the requirements, and ask your supervisor if you’re unsure.

To save time creating the reference list and make sure your citations are correctly and consistently formatted, you can use our free APA Citation Generator .

Your dissertation itself should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents you have used that do not fit into the main body of your dissertation (such as interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with full figures) can be added as appendices .

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Writing Your Doctoral Thesis with Style

  • First Online: 29 November 2022

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thesis chapter style

  • Patricia Gosling 3 &
  • Bart Noordam 4  

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All the raw material for your thesis is ready—at least it should be if you’ve successfully worked your way through the countdown plan described in Chap. 19.

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Gosling, P., Noordam, B. (2022). Writing Your Doctoral Thesis with Style. In: Mastering Your PhD. Springer, Cham.

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Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument. You'll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, "This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be."

An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. "Reasons for the fall of communism" is a topic. "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" is a fact known by educated people. "The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe" is an opinion. (Superlatives like "the best" almost always lead to trouble. It's impossible to weigh every "thing" that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn't that be "the best thing"?)

A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.

Steps in Constructing a Thesis

First, analyze your primary sources.  Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author's argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)

Once you have a working thesis, write it down.  There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. And by writing down your thesis you will be forced to think of it clearly, logically, and concisely. You probably will not be able to write out a final-draft version of your thesis the first time you try, but you'll get yourself on the right track by writing down what you have.

Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction.  A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.

Anticipate the counterarguments.  Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay. (Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument.)

This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.

Some Caveats and Some Examples

A thesis is never a question.  Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question ("Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?") is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.

A thesis is never a list.  "For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" does a good job of "telegraphing" the reader what to expect in the essay—a section about political reasons, a section about economic reasons, a section about social reasons, and a section about cultural reasons. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.

A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational.  An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil." This is hard to argue (evil from whose perspective? what does evil mean?) and it is likely to mark you as moralistic and judgmental rather than rational and thorough. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading.

An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim.  "While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline" is an effective thesis sentence that "telegraphs," so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim."

A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible.  Avoid overused, general terms and abstractions. For example, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite's inability to address the economic concerns of the people" is more powerful than "Communism collapsed due to societal discontent."

Copyright 1999, Maxine Rodburg and The Tutors of the Writing Center at Harvard University

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Research Method

Home » Thesis Format – Templates and Samples

Thesis Format – Templates and Samples

Table of contents.

Thesis Format

Thesis Format

Thesis format refers to the structure and layout of a research thesis or dissertation. It typically includes several chapters, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of the research topic .

The exact format of a thesis can vary depending on the academic discipline and the institution, but some common elements include:


Literature review, methodology.

The title page is the first page of a thesis that provides essential information about the document, such as the title, author’s name, degree program, university, and the date of submission. It is considered as an important component of a thesis as it gives the reader an initial impression of the document’s content and quality.

The typical contents of a title page in a thesis include:

  • The title of the thesis: It should be concise, informative, and accurately represent the main topic of the research.
  • Author’s name: This should be written in full and should be the same as it appears on official university records.
  • Degree program and department: This should specify the type of degree (e.g., Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral) and the field of study (e.g., Computer Science, Psychology, etc.).
  • University: The name of the university where the thesis is being submitted.
  • Date of submission : The month and year of submission of the thesis.
  • Other details that can be included on the title page include the name of the advisor, the name of the committee members, and any acknowledgments.

In terms of formatting, the title page should be centered horizontally and vertically on the page, with a consistent font size and style. The page margin for the title page should be at least 1 inch (2.54 cm) on all sides. Additionally, it is common practice to include the university logo or crest on the title page, and this should be placed appropriately.

Title of the Thesis in Title Case by Author’s Full Name in Title Case

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Department Name at the University Name

Month Year of Submission

An abstract is a brief summary of a thesis or research paper that provides an overview of the main points, methodology, and findings of the study. It is typically placed at the beginning of the document, after the title page and before the introduction.

The purpose of an abstract is to provide readers with a quick and concise overview of the research paper or thesis. It should be written in a clear and concise language, and should not contain any jargon or technical terms that are not easily understood by the general public.

Here’s an example of an abstract for a thesis:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Adolescents

This study examines the impact of social media on mental health among adolescents. The research utilized a survey methodology and collected data from a sample of 500 adolescents aged between 13 and 18 years. The findings reveal that social media has a significant impact on mental health among adolescents, with frequent use of social media associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. The study concludes that there is a need for increased awareness and education on the risks associated with excessive use of social media, and recommends strategies for promoting healthy social media habits among adolescents.

In this example, the abstract provides a concise summary of the thesis by highlighting the main points, methodology, and findings of the study. It also provides a clear indication of the significance of the study and its implications for future research and practice.

A table of contents is an essential part of a thesis as it provides the reader with an overview of the entire document’s structure and organization.

Here’s an example of how a table of contents might look in a thesis:


I. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………..1

A. Background of the Study………………………………………..1

B. Statement of the Problem……………………………………….2

C. Objectives of the Study………………………………………..3

D. Research Questions…………………………………………….4

E. Significance of the Study………………………………………5

F. Scope and Limitations………………………………………….6

G. Definition of Terms……………………………………………7

II. LITERATURE REVIEW. ………………………………………………8

A. Overview of the Literature……………………………………..8

B. Key Themes and Concepts………………………………………..9

C. Gaps in the Literature………………………………………..10

D. Theoretical Framework………………………………………….11

III. METHODOLOGY ……………………………………………………12

A. Research Design………………………………………………12

B. Participants and Sampling……………………………………..13

C. Data Collection Procedures…………………………………….14

D. Data Analysis Procedures………………………………………15

IV. RESULTS …………………………………………………………16

A. Descriptive Statistics…………………………………………16

B. Inferential Statistics…………………………………………17

V. DISCUSSION ………………………………………………………18

A. Interpretation of Results………………………………………18

B. Discussion of Finding s …………………………………………19

C. Implications of the Study………………………………………20

VI. CONCLUSION ………………………………………………………21

A. Summary of the Study…………………………………………..21

B. Limitations of the Study……………………………………….22

C. Recommendations for Future Research……………………………..23

REFERENCES …………………………………………………………….24

APPENDICES …………………………………………………………….26

As you can see, the table of contents is organized by chapters and sections. Each chapter and section is listed with its corresponding page number, making it easy for the reader to navigate the thesis.

The introduction is a critical part of a thesis as it provides an overview of the research problem, sets the context for the study, and outlines the research objectives and questions. The introduction is typically the first chapter of a thesis and serves as a roadmap for the reader.

Here’s an example of how an introduction in a thesis might look:


The prevalence of obesity has increased rapidly in recent decades, with more than one-third of adults in the United States being classified as obese. Obesity is associated with numerous adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Despite significant efforts to address this issue, the rates of obesity continue to rise. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and obesity in young adults.

The study will be conducted using a mixed-methods approach, with both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. The research objectives are to:

  • Examine the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and obesity in young adults.
  • Identify the key lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity in young adults.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of current interventions aimed at preventing and reducing obesity in young adults.

The research questions that will guide this study are:

  • What is the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and obesity in young adults?
  • Which lifestyle factors are most strongly associated with obesity in young adults?
  • How effective are current interventions aimed at preventing and reducing obesity in young adults?

By addressing these research questions, this study aims to contribute to the understanding of the factors that contribute to obesity in young adults and to inform the development of effective interventions to prevent and reduce obesity in this population.

A literature review is a critical analysis and evaluation of existing literature on a specific topic or research question. It is an essential part of any thesis, as it provides a comprehensive overview of the existing research on the topic and helps to establish the theoretical framework for the study. The literature review allows the researcher to identify gaps in the current research, highlight areas that need further exploration, and demonstrate the importance of their research question.

April 9, 2023:

A search on Google Scholar for “Effectiveness of Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic” yielded 1,540 results. Upon reviewing the first few pages of results, it is evident that there is a significant amount of literature on the topic. A majority of the studies focus on the experiences and perspectives of students and educators during the transition to online learning due to the pandemic.

One recent study published in the Journal of Educational Technology & Society (Liu et al., 2023) found that students who were already familiar with online learning tools and platforms had an easier time adapting to online learning than those who were not. However, the study also found that students who were not familiar with online learning tools were able to adapt with proper support from their teachers and institutions.

Another study published in Computers & Education (Tang et al., 2023) compared the academic performance of students in online and traditional classroom settings during the pandemic. The study found that while there were no significant differences in the grades of students in the two settings, students in online classes reported higher levels of stress and lower levels of satisfaction with their learning experience.

Methodology in a thesis refers to the overall approach and systematic process that a researcher follows to collect and analyze data in order to answer their research question(s) or achieve their research objectives. It includes the research design, data collection methods, sampling techniques, data analysis procedures, and any other relevant procedures that the researcher uses to conduct their research.

For example, let’s consider a thesis on the impact of social media on mental health among teenagers. The methodology for this thesis might involve the following steps:

Research Design:

The researcher may choose to conduct a quantitative study using a survey questionnaire to collect data on social media usage and mental health among teenagers. Alternatively, they may conduct a qualitative study using focus group discussions or interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and perspectives of teenagers regarding social media and mental health.

Sampling Techniques:

The researcher may use random sampling to select a representative sample of teenagers from a specific geographic location or demographic group, or they may use purposive sampling to select participants who meet specific criteria such as age, gender, or mental health status.

Data Collection Methods:

The researcher may use an online survey tool to collect data on social media usage and mental health, or they may conduct face-to-face interviews or focus group discussions to gather qualitative data. They may also use existing data sources such as medical records or social media posts.

Data Analysis Procedures:

The researcher may use statistical analysis techniques such as regression analysis to examine the relationship between social media usage and mental health, or they may use thematic analysis to identify key themes and patterns in the qualitative data.

Ethical Considerations: The researcher must ensure that their research is conducted in an ethical manner, which may involve obtaining informed consent from participants, protecting their confidentiality, and ensuring that their rights and welfare are respected.

In a thesis, the “Results” section typically presents the findings of the research conducted by the author. This section typically includes both quantitative and qualitative data, such as statistical analyses, tables, figures, and other relevant data.

Here are some examples of how the “Results” section of a thesis might look:

Example 1: A quantitative study on the effects of exercise on cardiovascular health

In this study, the author conducts a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of exercise on cardiovascular health in a group of sedentary adults. The “Results” section might include tables showing the changes in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other relevant indicators in the exercise and control groups over the course of the study. The section might also include statistical analyses, such as t-tests or ANOVA, to demonstrate the significance of the results.

Example 2: A qualitative study on the experiences of immigrant families in a new country

In this study, the author conducts in-depth interviews with immigrant families to explore their experiences of adapting to a new country. The “Results” section might include quotes from the interviews that illustrate the participants’ experiences, as well as a thematic analysis that identifies common themes and patterns in the data. The section might also include a discussion of the implications of the findings for policy and practice.

A thesis discussion section is an opportunity for the author to present their interpretation and analysis of the research results. In this section, the author can provide their opinion on the findings, compare them with other literature, and suggest future research directions.

For example, let’s say the thesis topic is about the impact of social media on mental health. The author has conducted a survey among 500 individuals and has found that there is a significant correlation between excessive social media use and poor mental health.

In the discussion section, the author can start by summarizing the main findings and stating their interpretation of the results. For instance, the author may argue that excessive social media use is likely to cause mental health problems due to the pressure of constantly comparing oneself to others, fear of missing out, and cyberbullying.

Next, the author can compare their results with other studies and point out similarities and differences. They can also identify any limitations in their research design and suggest future directions for research.

For example, the author may point out that their study only measured social media use and mental health at one point in time, and it is unclear whether one caused the other or whether there are other confounding factors. Therefore, they may suggest longitudinal studies that follow individuals over time to better understand the causal relationship.

Writing a conclusion for a thesis is an essential part of the overall writing process. The conclusion should summarize the main points of the thesis and provide a sense of closure to the reader. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the research process and offer suggestions for further study.

Here is an example of a conclusion for a thesis:

After an extensive analysis of the data collected, it is evident that the implementation of a new curriculum has had a significant impact on student achievement. The findings suggest that the new curriculum has improved student performance in all subject areas, and this improvement is particularly notable in math and science. The results of this study provide empirical evidence to support the notion that curriculum reform can positively impact student learning outcomes.

In addition to the positive results, this study has also identified areas for future research. One limitation of the current study is that it only examines the short-term effects of the new curriculum. Future studies should explore the long-term effects of the new curriculum on student performance, as well as investigate the impact of the curriculum on students with different learning styles and abilities.

Overall, the findings of this study have important implications for educators and policymakers who are interested in improving student outcomes. The results of this study suggest that the implementation of a new curriculum can have a positive impact on student achievement, and it is recommended that schools and districts consider curriculum reform as a means of improving student learning outcomes.

References in a thesis typically follow a specific format depending on the citation style required by your academic institution or publisher.

Below are some examples of different citation styles and how to reference different types of sources in your thesis:

In-text citation format: (Author, Year)

Reference list format for a book: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Example: In-text citation: (Smith, 2010) Reference list entry: Smith, J. D. (2010). The art of writing a thesis. Cambridge University Press.

Reference list format for a journal article: Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range.

Example: In-text citation: (Brown, 2015) Reference list entry: Brown, E., Smith, J., & Johnson, L. (2015). The impact of social media on academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(3), 393-407.

In-text citation format: (Author page number)

Works Cited list format for a book: Author. Title of Book. Publisher, Year of publication.

Example: In-text citation: (Smith 75) Works Cited entry: Smith, John D. The Art of Writing a Thesis. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Works Cited list format for a journal article: Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, date, pages.

Example: In-text citation: (Brown 394) Works Cited entry: Brown, Elizabeth, et al. “The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance.” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 108, no. 3, 2015, pp. 393-407.

Chicago Style

In-text citation format: (Author year, page number)

Bibliography list format for a book: Author. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Example: In-text citation: (Smith 2010, 75) Bibliography entry: Smith, John D. The Art of Writing a Thesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Bibliography list format for a journal article: Author. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal volume number, no. issue number (date): page numbers.

Example: In-text citation: (Brown 2015, 394) Bibliography entry: Brown, Elizabeth, John Smith, and Laura Johnson. “The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance.” Journal of Educational Psychology 108, no. 3 (2015): 393-407.

Reference list format for a book: [1] A. A. Author, Title of Book. City of Publisher, Abbrev. of State: Publisher, year.

Example: In-text citation: [1] Reference list entry: A. J. Smith, The Art of Writing a Thesis. New York, NY: Academic Press, 2010.

Reference list format for a journal article: [1] A. A. Author, “Title of Article,” Title of Journal, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Month year.

Example: In-text citation: [1] Reference list entry: E. Brown, J. D. Smith, and L. Johnson, “The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance,” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 108, no. 3, pp. 393-407, Mar. 2015.

An appendix in a thesis is a section that contains additional information that is not included in the main body of the document but is still relevant to the topic being discussed. It can include figures, tables, graphs, data sets, sample questionnaires, or any other supplementary material that supports your thesis.

Here is an example of how you can format appendices in your thesis:

  • Title page: The appendix should have a separate title page that lists the title, author’s name, the date, and the document type (i.e., thesis or dissertation). The title page should be numbered as the first page of the appendix section.
  • Table of contents: If you have more than one appendix, you should include a separate table of contents that lists each appendix and its page number. The table of contents should come after the title page.
  • Appendix sections: Each appendix should have its own section with a clear and concise title that describes the contents of the appendix. Each section should be numbered with Arabic numerals (e.g., Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc.). The sections should be listed in the table of contents.
  • Formatting: The formatting of the appendices should be consistent with the rest of the thesis. This includes font size, font style, line spacing, and margins.
  • Example: Here is an example of what an appendix might look like in a thesis on the topic of climate change:

Appendix 1: Data Sources

This appendix includes a list of the primary data sources used in this thesis, including their URLs and a brief description of the data they provide.

Appendix 2: Survey Questionnaire

This appendix includes the survey questionnaire used to collect data from participants in the study.

Appendix 3: Additional Figures

This appendix includes additional figures that were not included in the main body of the thesis due to space limitations. These figures provide additional support for the findings presented in the thesis.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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because LaTeX matters

Fancy latex chapter styles.

Many books, theses and reports are written in LaTeX using the report or book document classes. Often, the authors make use of the default chapter style. There are, however, a great number of alternative styles available, some of which being very fancy or playful. This post is a collection of alternative chapter styles available, some as packages, others simply in form of LaTeX code.

Default chapter style

The default chapter style is often used in (academic) books and theses. Here is an example:


Package titlesec

The titlesec package allows basic changes to the standard chapter style, including setting the font style and size or placement of the title. You can do great things with titlesec package and the titleformat command in particular, just be creative (and let me know below)!

Here is a neat example:


See the documentation for more details.

Package fncychap

The fncychap package has a nice set of predefined chapter styles. The style is set through the optional argument when loading the package. Available styles include: Sonny, Lenny, Glenn, Conny, Rejne, Bjarne, and Bjornstrup. The package documentation has examples for all available styles. The package will use the LaTeX default chapter style in case the optional argument is not set (i.e. \usepackage{fncychap} ).

Examples of Glenn and Bjornstrup chapter styles provided from the fncychap package:


Chapter styles with memoir

The memoir document class is more flexible in terms of chapter styles than report or book.

I will not go into detail since there is extensive documentation on the memoir document class (see page 83 onwards). Furthermore, there is additional documentation describing the memoir chapter styles including code examples and output. Below you’ll find one of the examples taken from that document named hansen .


Styling the chapter

Henrik Stuart wrote this article in 2007 with a series of great chapter styles. They are also based on the memoir document class and the PGF/TikZ package . Here is an example that I like a lot, simply beautiful!


A few more resources worth checking out

I found a discussion on tex.SX quite enlightening with lots of rather fancy chapter style examples.

This greatly colored example is another chapter style based on PGF/TikZ and titlesec . You can get the code and screenshots from  or texample .


  Did I forget anything? Drop me a comment.

Share this:


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3. July 2012 at 16:00

Thank you…

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4. July 2012 at 8:40

I really like the “Less is More” style – it’s just what I’ve been looking for. Thanks!

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4. July 2012 at 8:48

Thanks for dropping a comment! Appreciate it. Tom.

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7. July 2012 at 7:08

First of all: Tom, thank you for an excellent source of TeX and LaTeX information. I reference it frequently.

Second: I just wrote an include for making my chapters look good (to me). Here is the code:

I like the effect (others may not). I offer it PD.

16. July 2012 at 15:21

Thanks for sharing the code! For others to use it the way you designed it however, you would also have to provide the jpg and some things that got lost from the preamble like which packages you load and the color definition of chapterbackground . If you agree, I will send you an e-mail so you can attach the picture. Or if you have a place to upload it to, just send me the link.

Looking forward to seeing your chapter style!

Thanks, Tom.

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8. March 2016 at 18:23

Sir; can you give complete code plz; a running one; Thanks anyways

9. March 2016 at 13:24

I provided complete minimal working example for all chapter styles. Please let me know which example is not running.

Thanks, Tom

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8. July 2012 at 4:57

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16. July 2012 at 15:37

Wonderful examples. I’m always looking for customisations of these types, of which your blog is full of, to finesse my thesis. Thank you.

The new chapter definitions however, don’t seem to work on unnumbered chapters (ie. \chapter*{Name of Unnumbered Chapter}) Any thoughts? Cheers,

16. July 2012 at 15:48

Please tell me which style you are having problems with and I will look into it. Thanks, Tom.

17. July 2012 at 9:45

Initially I have been playing around with your more is less style and the titlesec package. Cheers, JK

19. July 2012 at 5:51

I works perfectly for me (see the code below). Please provide a minimal example illustrating the problem.

19. July 2012 at 15:28

Cheers Tom. The code is working fine for me now too. I must have had something commented out before, else some other random oddity was present.

20. July 2012 at 12:50

Great, I’m glad it worked out. Thanks for the feedback! Tom.

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6. September 2012 at 10:30

hi, I use latex in linux (ubutu). Please tell me how I use fancychapter. For using the same I am have to download any package. From where I download it and tell me the stps.

6. September 2012 at 16:39

Thanks for your question. You are right, the fancychapter package is not included in the standard TeX distributions. However, you can get the style file here . The easiest way would be to just keep the file in your project folder where your tex-file is located. Apart from loading it, that’s all you need.

Hope it works. Best, Tom.

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6. September 2012 at 14:11

Thank you so very much! Been looking all over for this…

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8. October 2012 at 14:29

Thanks for the nice post. This is very helpful. Is there anyway I can give author names and affliations beneath the chapter title?

9. October 2012 at 2:41

Hi Prakash,

You may find the answer to a similar question on tex.SX useful.

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7. November 2012 at 15:59

Good work. Thank you for the post. You are doing a great job.

9. November 2012 at 3:32

Thanks Hassan!

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2. February 2013 at 21:54

Hi Tom, I liked very much the “Less is More” style. But it creates a problem for me! It eats practically APPENDIX word but after comes appendices with letter: A,B etc. How can I fix this? Many thanks.

3. February 2013 at 11:34

Thanks for your question. I’m not sure whether I understand your problem. Please provide a minimal working example which I can run on my computer.

Here is some code that adds the word Chapter and later Appendix to the title. You might find this useful.

3. February 2013 at 19:38

Thank you very much, indeed! But I truly satisfied with the chapter having only number without word “chapter”. I would like only to Have Appendix word before A, B etc appendices ! Could you help with this? Tanks in advance.

4. February 2013 at 7:51

A possible solution is to use the code I provided below with a minor modification, set \chaptername to “empty” for regular chapters. Here is the code:

4. February 2013 at 13:30

Thank you very much Tom!

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3. June 2013 at 6:26

Hi…..! for thesis chapter lay out, i want a particular design, but i couldn’t able to paste an image of that design, how can I post that image for further corresponding, in order to need code for that designing. Currently I am using following package: %Options: Sonny, Lenny, Glenn, Conny, Rejne, Bjarne, Bjornstrup \usepackage[Sonny]{fncychap}

3. June 2013 at 17:44

You can upload it to Dropbox, Picasaweb, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, anywhere you like and share the link. if you would rather not post the design publicly, you can get in touch here .

Cheers, Tom

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3. June 2013 at 18:42

Hi Tom, first of all, thanks dude. I’ve favourited your page, btw, many useful info here. I have a question, what about just “Chapter 1 – Name_of_the_chapter”? How could I do that? Thanks again, keep up the great work. See ya!

5. June 2013 at 3:22

Using the titlesec example from above with a few minor modifications:

8. June 2013 at 12:58

Great Tom! Thanks for your help. That was a hand in the wheel, hahaha! I’ll use that to generate a thesis model to use in my doctorate program. Thank you very much!

4. June 2013 at 11:10

Hi TOM,,,,, I am also sending a link contained a PDF file for a particular chapter design, that i want for my thesis..


5. June 2013 at 3:05

Thanks for the link. I’m generally happy to help with problems. However, if you are asking me for code, at least try yourself first, please. Most of the information can be found in the post above and package documentation.

Anyway, here is what I came up with:

5. June 2013 at 3:50

thanks tom…… Since I am beginner in Latex, that’s why asked for the code, I have tried, but due to some minor errors I didn’t do it. Well after referring your code, I got it, . . . . . I have rectified many things by visiting this blog, really great job,,,,, once again thanks for code….. cheers.

6. June 2013 at 3:50

That’s ok. Please consider creating a minimal working example next time that would let me reproduce the minor errors. By doing so, there is a good change you find a solution and by posting it on my blog, you will help other people with similar issues.

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25. July 2013 at 10:01

Thanks for the extremely usefull information. Personally I very much like the ‘less is more’ style for my thesis. I was wondering though if it were possible to add two horizontal lines: one above and one underneath the title. Is there an easy way to do this?

Either way, thanks a million ! Your resumation was clear and very helpfull.

Greetings, Matthias

25. July 2013 at 12:55

I think I figured it out, but my way might not be according to LaTeX etiquette. My code:

12. August 2013 at 12:28

Hi Matthias,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I’m glad you found a solution that works. Thanks for posting it here. Alternatively, you one could also add the top rule with format ( see the documentation ).

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29. August 2013 at 13:49

Really nice! Thank you very much, Less is More rules! 😀

29. August 2013 at 14:18

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11. November 2013 at 19:24

Hi, I’d like to put the chapter title in the center of a separate page. How to achieve this

12. November 2013 at 13:18

Thanks for your question. Try this and let me know what you think:

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30. September 2014 at 7:05

Hi Tom, I am using the book class for writing my thesis. I am happy with its formatting but I have a issue with its chapter title. It consumes a lot of vertical space and comes in the middle of the page. Is there a way to keep the chapter heading at the top like this:

Power System Analysis and Optimization

Regards, Govind

30. September 2014 at 7:35

I didn’t quite catch whether you wanted to center the heading horizontally. Below is an example that should give you enough flexibility to customize the chapter heading to your needs.

Cheers, Tom.

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15. January 2015 at 16:20

Seems the image links in this blog post are broken :-(… Any chance to get them restored

14. February 2015 at 6:06

Thanks for the notification, I’m working on it 🙂

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7. February 2015 at 22:46

Hi Tom, I am writing my thesis in latex. I just want to change the font size of chapter title (by default it is very big). I used the titlesec package. But the problem is now “Chapter #” disappear and it just appears “# followed by Introduction”.

and the result is

# Introduction

I want to display it as

Chapter # Introduction

or is there any other way to change the font size interactively?

Thanks you very much shastry

14. February 2015 at 5:36

Hi Shastry,

Thanks for your comment. I tried your code and it seems to work fine. Here’s a minimal working example:

If this doesn’t help, please provide a similar complete example and I’ll be happy to take a look.

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26. July 2015 at 15:00

Thank you very much. 🙂

8. March 2016 at 18:18

The text size should be 12; in less is more; and less is less

9. March 2016 at 13:23

The default font size for all standard document classes is 10pt . You can change it to 12pt using:

9. March 2016 at 16:58

Thanks …. i did it, do you have some beautiful thesis template with nice looking chapters?

15. March 2016 at 18:36

Thesis templates are frequently provided by the university and there is not a lot of flexibility. If your institution doesn’t provide an official template, you might use any of the chapter styles described in the post above and change them to your liking. Also, it may be worthwhile to take a look at templates from other universities and adapt them according to your needs/preferences.

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7. June 2016 at 17:43

Tom, is there a way that i can change the language of the default “Chapter 1” ? I need it to say “Capitulo 1”, for example in the “daleif1” chapter style at the top right chapter numeration. I’m using the spanish language package but nothing changes, i think the problem is the default configuration of the chapter style. Thanks..

7. June 2016 at 21:44

Dear Emiliano,

Thanks for your question. I removed the code as I wasn’t able to run it. If you’d like me to look at your code, please provide a minimal working example that I can copy-paste (similar to the example below). In general, you can set the language through babel . This works for me in the example. Alternatively, you can manually redefine \chaptername (code commented out). These approaches are not the same however. Babel also changes the language of other keywords like “Contents”, “List of Figures”, etc.

8. June 2016 at 17:40

Thanks for the reply Tom, but the “\renewcommand\chaptername” suggestion isn’t working, i post here a snippet to see what the problem is, at page 7 the first chapter “Introducción” is generated with “Chapter 1” caption at the top right corner numeration, and subsecuent pages are generated with “Chapter 1. Introducción ” at the header note

9. June 2016 at 22:06

Hi Emiliano,

Thanks for the code. The problem is that you use babel with the option spanish,english which sets it to English. The latter overwrites the former. What you’ll have to do is load babel with spanish only. If you see an error, try commenting out the first line ( nag package ), it seems to only work with english .

Nice chapter style by the way.

10. June 2016 at 2:38

Thanks again Tom, but unfortunately i do have an error, even i’ve commented out the line “\RequirePackage[l2tabu]{nag}”. The error goes:

Introduccion.tex:7: Argument of \@firstofone has an extra }.

\par l.7 \chapter{Introducción}

10. June 2016 at 23:21

Well, it says there is an extra closing brace “}”.

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24. August 2016 at 14:43

Hey Tom, First of all thanks for this awesome tutorial! I am currently trying to put your “Less is more” style to the template I am using but for some reason, the text of the chapter won’t show up ! It would be awesome if you could help me !

24. August 2016 at 16:16

Hi Andreas,

I’m glad you like the chapter style. I hope you don’t mind that I shortened your code to the most relevant bits. The code works if you load titlesec without the explicit option. Please see the titlesec package documentation for more details.

24. August 2016 at 16:22

Wow awesome,

Thank you very much Tom and thanks for the explanation, didn’t figure out it could have its origin in the way the package was loaded.

25. August 2016 at 17:41

No problem, glad to help. Best wishes.

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11. January 2017 at 11:45

Could you please tell me how to make a chapter look like this:

(supposing I am using \usepackage[latin]{babel} for the sake of editing a latin text)

De Lusitanae oppida celebriora Caput undeuicesimum

That is, the numbering in full and with words (not numbers) and after the name of the chapter (that is how the manuscript has it). Thanks a lot.

5. February 2017 at 12:46

Hi Martins,

Thanks for your question. Rearranging the chapter heading is fairly straight forward using the titlesec package . Whereas producing the number as a word is more tricky. Either do it manually with an array-like structure or email the authors of the fmtcount package to add support for latin.

Hope this helps, Tom

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9. February 2017 at 15:34

I really like the Less is More style. However it seems to overwrite my footer. The page numbering on the chapter sides are different from the other pages. I would like them to be identical. My footer is defined as:

Do you know how I can fix this issue?

13. February 2017 at 0:26

Hi Alexander,

Thanks for your comment. By default, for pages with a chapter heading the page-style plain is used. The example below shows how to change that.

22. April 2017 at 13:43

Thanks Tom!

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3. May 2017 at 10:17

I dont have any idea why, but by writing $|$, the line showed up vertically.

3. May 2017 at 14:55

Thanks for your comment. Isn’t that what you would expect? Can you provide a minimal working example to illustrate your problem, please?

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19. May 2017 at 12:28

Hi. I am trying to use the ‘less is more’ chapter style. It works perfectly fine, except that the \chapter* command produces no title. Can you please assist?

23. May 2017 at 22:44

When I use a starred chapter in the example from the post it works as expected. Can you please provide a minimal working example to illustrate your problem.

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7. August 2019 at 6:59

Thanks, it helps me a lot

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Library Subject Guides

4. writing up your research: thesis formatting (ms word).

  • Books on Thesis Writing
  • Thesis Formatting (MS Word)
  • Referencing

Haere mai, tauti mai—welcome! These instructions are designed to be used with recent versions of MS Word. Please note there is no template or specific formatting guidelines for a thesis at UC. Please talk to your supervisor and take a look at theses in the UC Research Repository to see how they are usually formatted.

  • Where to start
  • Show/Hide Formatting
  • Heading Styles
  • Navigation Pane
  • Table of Contents
  • Numbered Headings
  • List of Figures/Tables
  • Page/Section Breaks, Page Numbering & Orientation

Word Thesis Formatting workshops run throughout the year.

Some useful documents.

  • Word Formatting Instructions PDF This PDF contains the same instructions that are available on this page.
  • Sample Thesis Document with No Formatting This sample thesis file can be used to practise formatting. It is not a template for how to format a thesis. UC does not provide any guidelines on formatting a thesis.
  • APA 7th Edition Formatting Example This document is formatted according to APA 7th Edition formatting guidelines. It could be used as a template or as an example to follow. It contains some additional instructions for certain APA formatting in Word.

For more APA formatting advice see the APA Style Blog's excellent Style and Grammar Guidelines .

Finding Examples

Look at examples and ask your supervisor.

The best guide on how to format your thesis is a combination of:

  • Looking at previous theses in your discipline. Search the UC Research Repository  for your subject or department, and browse by issue date to get the most recent.
  • Asking your supervisor for recommendations on specific formatting and details. 

General Recommendations

The following is an example only of preliminaries to the thesis that could be included.

  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Abbreviations
  • Toggle show Home ->Show/Hide formatting

thesis chapter style

Using styles for headings allows you to create an automatic table of contents.

  • Select major headings one at a time and choose Home ->Styles ‘Heading 1’

thesis chapter style

  • Select subheadings and apply Home ->Styles ‘heading 2’ and ‘heading 3’
  • Modify a style by right clicking on it and choosing Modify in the styles pane at the top of the screen.

thesis chapter style

The Navigation Pain is useful for seeing the outline of your document as well as providing links to quickly go to any section of the document.

  • View->check Navigation Pane

thesis chapter style

In order to create an automatic table of contents heading styles must be used.

  • References -> Table of Contents -> Custom Table of Contents (no heading in table)

thesis chapter style

  • Right click table of contents to ‘update field’ and choose ‘update entire table’

thesis chapter style

  • Home->Multilevel list-> choose style with a number level for each heading level

thesis chapter style

  • To change the heading level 1 number to say ‘Chapter 1’ right click on heading level 1 in the styles area Heading 1->Modify .

thesis chapter style

  • In the modify screen click Format->Numbering.

thesis chapter style

  • Then click ‘ Define New Number Format’.

thesis chapter style

  • Then add the word ‘Chapter’ and a space before the ‘1’.

thesis chapter style

To create automatic lists of figures or tables you first have to give a caption to all your figures and tables.

  • Right click figure or table and select Insert Caption

thesis chapter style

  • Choose Label type eg. Figure, Table etc
  • Choose position above or below
  • Give the table or figure a title in the top box
  • Go to the headings for List of Figures and List of tables and then click References->Insert Table of Figures -> select caption label type (Figure or Table)

thesis chapter style

  • On the following menu select caption label type (Figure or Table) and click OK

thesis chapter style

This can be used to have different page numbering styles of different sections of your document or to have certain pages landscape to display a large table or graph.

  • Insert a section break (next page) at the end of the title page ( Layout -> Breaks -> Next Page )

thesis chapter style

  • Insert a section break at chapter 1 ( Layout -> Breaks -> Next Page )
  • Insert page breaks for all other ‘heading 1’ headings ( Layout -> Breaks -> Page )

Adding Page Numbers

  • Insert -> Page Number and choose a position on the page

thesis chapter style

  • Double click on title page header or footer (top or bottom of the page) and tick ‘ Different First Page’ in the Design ribbon that appears

thesis chapter style

  • Click in second page header or footer, right click on the page number and select ‘ format page numbers ’

thesis chapter style

  • Select Roman numerals eg. ‘i, ii, iii, iv’ etc
  • Select start at ‘i’ (start at ‘1’)

thesis chapter style

  • Scroll to chapter 1 and change number style for this section back to ordinary numbers and start at 1

Change Page Orientation

  • Insert a section break before and after the pages you want to change to landscape orientation (See instructions above for inserting a section break)
  • Layout -> Orientation -> Landscape

NOTE:  A section break is usually only needed if page orientation or separate page numbers are required.

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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes First Reviews: A Thoughtful, Visually Stunning, Action-Packed Triumph

Critics say the latest chapter in the apes franchise boasts avatar -level visual effects to match its standout performances and top-notch action, even if it doesn't quite meet the heights of its predecessors..

thesis chapter style

TAGGED AS: Action , First Reviews , movies , Sci-Fi

It’s been seven years since the last Planet of the Apes movie gave the franchise its best Tomatometer score. Now, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes continues the reboot series with a massive time jump, all new characters, and a new director taking the reins. According to the first reviews of this latest installment, there’ll be no topping War for the Planet of the Apes , but it’s also difficult to compare Kingdom to what came before. Directed by Wes Ball and resembling the dystopian adventure of his Maze Runner trilogy, the fourth modern Planet of the Apes movie is a “brilliant” success all its own.

Here’s what critics are saying about Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes :

Is this another triumph in the franchise?

Fans of the franchise should find much to enjoy in this very solid new installment, which points the way forward to a potential new recalibration of the human-ape balance. — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Wes Ball’s brilliant Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes , walks securely in the footsteps of this recent legacy, wearing the Caesar-centric films’ values like fairness, loyalty and communal solidarity on its sleeve with pride. — Tomris Laffly,
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a jaw-dropping spectacle. But more so than that, it retains the heart of the previous three films, engrossing us in the world and getting us to care deeply about each of the newly introduced characters. — Matt Neglia, Next Best Picture
There are some scenes here as lively and as thoughtful as any in this great series’ history. — Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
For what it’s worth, the somewhat talky Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the most ape-ful of the series. — Jim Slotek, Original Sin
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is not quite as transporting as the previous trilogy… but there’s still a tremendous amount to mull over here. — Alissa Wilkinson, New York Times
It has taken the franchise this long to arrive at the place that it arguably should have started at. — Owen Gleiberman, Variety
It’s hard not to compare Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes to what became before it, and, unfortunately, Ball’s take on the Apes isn’t as engrossing as the last run of films. — Ross Bonaime, Collider

Raka (played by Peter Macon), Noa (played by Owen Teague) , and Freya Allan as Nova in 20th Century Studios' KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

(Photo by ©20th Century Studios)

How is Wes Ball’s direction?

Many of us couldn’t muster much interest in the Maze Runner movies, but Ball’s time on that YA trilogy has clearly sharpened his storytelling tools in terms of world-building, survival suspense, and vigorous action. — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Ball shares with his predecessor an appreciation for character development and somber stakes, delivering a muscular blockbuster that is far more intelligent and mature than most event movies. — Tim Grierson, Screen International
It’s to Ball’s credit that so much of the film unfurls in a somber register. — Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

How does it look?

The movie avoids the flat artificiality of so much recent “live-action” fare that looks more like animation. It’s not 100 percent photorealistic but it’s a close enough approximation to give the film visceral physicality and visual grandeur. — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Kingdom unleashes some truly stunning Avatar: The Way of Water -style visuals. — Tomris Laffly,
Noa’s trek traverses several memorable environments — some beautiful, some treacherous — and all are vividly rendered. — Tim Grierson, Screen International
Ball and cinematographer Gyula Pados continue the reboot series tradition of cleanly composed, satisfyingly fluid sequences of apes jumping, climbing, swinging and beating the hell out of other apes. — Trace Sauveur, Paste Magazine

A scene still from 20th Century Studios' KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Are the visual effects impressive?

Ever since 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes , this series has boasted excellent special effects — particularly in the motion-capture ape design. Kingdom is especially strong in this regard, the simians’ expressive eyes and rich coats remarkable to behold. — Tim Grierson, Screen International
With Wētā FX once again providing the visual effects, the motion capture here is a predictably exemplary display of the technology, and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is often spellbinding in close-ups that reveal an astonishing range of expressions on the apes’ faces. — Jake Cole, Slant Magazine
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a tremendous visual feat with some of the best effects this franchise has ever seen and certainly the most stunning on the big screen since the release of Avatar: The Way of Water … The team at Wētā FX have outdone themselves yet again. — Matt Neglia, Next Best Picture
The VFX of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes are a visual feast as the film bestows the most impressive visual effects in a film since James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water . — David Gonzalez, The Cinematic Reel
You’d be hard-pressed to find better-looking visual effects from any movie that doesn’t take place on the planet Pandora. The VFX in Rise still hold up over a decade later, but that work is far surpassed by the continued achievements of how real these artists are able to make these apes look. — Trace Sauveur, Paste Magazine
Noa and his ilk are astounding digital creations by the artists from Weta and other special effects houses. I don’t know why the apes of Planet of the Apes tend to look so much better than comparable CGI characters in other modern Hollywood productions, but they do. — Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Noa (played by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios' KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

What about the action?

The large-scaled action is heart-poundingly tense, and more logically constructed than what we often see these days. — Tomris Laffly,
Ball executes some top-flight action sequences but, as with the recent Planet Of The Apes trilogy, Kingdom’ s set pieces are heightened by a respect for the complexity of the characters and the desperation of their mission. — Tim Grierson, Screen International
Ball knows when to put his foot on the accelerator in a movie with no shortage of adrenaline. — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

And the writing?

There is not a single wasted idea or scene that feels randomly introduced without a soundly rewarding payoff that deepens and completes the story. — Tomris Laffly,
At a moment in modern history when autocratic rule is on the rise across the globe, Josh Friedman’s smart screenplay takes its cue from its recent predecessors in reflecting the politics of its time. — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
When the ape and his fellow travelers arrive at their destination, the script seems to lose its nerve, and reverts back to more typical blockbuster fare — still solid, but not nearly as fresh or as unusual as the earlier sections. — Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
The screenplay is so flat it’s kind of an insult to the apes’ intelligence. — Caryn James,

Proximus Caesar (played by Kevin Durand) in 20th Century Studios' KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Do any performances stand out?

Owen Teague delivers an outstanding performance as Noa… Durand’s Proximus Caesar is intimidating and menacing, able to instill fear with just a slight glance. It’s a spellbinding performance from the character actor that instantly ranks as one of his very best. — Matt Neglia, Next Best Picture
Kevin Durand’s performance as Proximus, the leering bonobo monarch, is a piece of insinuating theater. — Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Kevin Durand makes Proximus an intimidating villain. — Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
In a movie full of incredible special effects and motion-capture actors, it’s Peter Macon’s performance under all of that that makes Raka the most delightful addition to this world. — Ross Bonaime, Collider
Freya Allan is terrific. — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
For most of the film, she is the only human against all of the apes, and it says a lot about Allan’s talent that she can simultaneously look incredibly vulnerable and incredibly powerful. — Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

Does it have any major issues?

The movie is too long. — Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ conclusion abandons all the novel things it had brought to the property in favor of far more standard action fare, in a style and tone that seems ripped out of a totally different movie… It’s a big disappointment. — Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
By the time the demands of big-budget spectacle take over in the final act, a film that initially stands out from the pack in imagining a different perspective of the world ends up looking all too disappointingly like everything else in the current mega-budget cinema landscape. — Jake Cole, Slant Magazine
Kingdom feels like table-setting for a more interesting movie that could come later down the line. — Trace Sauveur, Paste Magazine
Behind the impressive CGI, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the definition of generic… The ending teases a sequel that offers a more intriguing conflict ahead, but that doesn’t help us now. — Caryn James,

Freya Allan as Nova in 20th Century Studios' KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Can we go into this one without watching the others?

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes does a wonderful job of weaving in explanations of anything that has happened previously that is important to understanding the story. It is not necessary to have seen any of the previous Apes films. You can absolutely go in to this one cold, and perhaps it will have you interested in going back and watching the older films. — Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky
Set generations beyond the interwoven backstory of over 50 years, a casual moviegoer can pop in and enjoy an easy-to-digest action/adventure sci-fi film for the summer and appreciate it for what it is – an easy-to-watch summer flick. — Christie Cronan, Raising Whasians
It’s surprisingly approachable for those unfamiliar with the previous trilogy, provided they can wrap their heads around the concept of super-intelligent apes. — Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

Does it leave us wanting more from the franchise?

The picture ends with a teaser that suggests more sequels will be coming. Considering how effortlessly Ball returns us to this riveting, sweeping universe, those next installments can be eagerly anticipated. — Tim Grierson, Screen International
There are some hints near the end of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes of what might be next for the franchise, should it be fated to continue. But the uneasy fun of the series is we already know what happens, eventually. — Alissa Wilkinson, New York Times
By the time the film is over, it’s safe to say most audiences will be clamoring for more monkey business. — Matt Neglia, Next Best Picture
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a promising start to a new chapter in this particular franchise. — Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

thesis chapter style

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  1. Dissertation & Thesis Outline

    This is a short paragraph at the end of your introduction to inform readers about the organizational structure of your thesis or dissertation. This chapter outline is also known as a reading guide or summary outline. ... III rather than 1, 2, 3), but each citation style has its own best practices for using numerals. APA Style doesn't allow ...

  2. PDF APA Style Dissertation Guidelines: Formatting Your Dissertation

    Dissertation Content When the content of the dissertation starts, the page numbering should restart at page one using Arabic numbering (i.e., 1, 2, 3, etc.) and continue throughout the dissertation until the end. The Arabic page number should be aligned to the upper right margin of the page with a running head aligned to the upper left margin.

  3. What Is a Thesis?

    Revised on April 16, 2024. A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

  4. Dissertation Structure & Layout 101 (+ Examples)

    Chapter 1: Introduction. Right, now that the "admin" sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you'll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter - as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

  5. Formatting Guidelines

    Footnotes. Format footnotes for your thesis or dissertation following these guidelines: Footnotes must be placed at the bottom of the page separated from the text by a solid line one to two inches long. Begin at the left page margin, directly below the solid line. Single-space footnotes that are more than one line long.

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  7. How to Write a Thesis Chapter Outline

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  8. How to Write a Dissertation

    The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it is usually divided into at least four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter). The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes: An introduction to your topic. A literature review that surveys relevant sources.

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  10. Writing Your Doctoral Thesis with Style

    Adapt the format of your article to that of your thesis. For instance, if you transform a short article or letter into a chapter, insert the headings (Introduction, Results etc.) at the appropriate positions. Include sections of text that did not make it into the final version of the article.

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    A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay. Steps in Constructing a Thesis. First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication.

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  13. Thesis chapter

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  17. 4. Writing up your Research: Thesis Formatting (MS Word)

    Home->Multilevel list-> choose style with a number level for each heading level . To change the heading level 1 number to say 'Chapter 1' right click on heading level 1 in the styles area Heading 1->Modify. In the modify screen click Format->Numbering. Then click 'Define New Number Format'.

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  21. Formatting the thesis chapter title

    I've taken the above, and added font-changing macros ( \chaptertitlefont and \chapternamefont) where needed so you can modify them to suit your needs. Here's a MWE: \documentclass[12pt, a4paper, oneside]{Thesis} \makeatletter. \renewcommand\@chapapp{\chaptername}

  22. Thesis chapter headings, any suggestions?

    You mention that you might like to see other ideas; here's another one, again using the titlesec package but without the explicit option - I have used the tcolorbox package to put a box around the chapter number. I don't know if I'd recommend it for a thesis, but it might give you some further ideas: Here's the code:

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  25. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes First Reviews: A Thoughtful, Visually

    It's been seven years since the last Planet of the Apes movie gave the franchise its best Tomatometer score. Now, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes continues the reboot series with a massive time jump, all new characters, and a new director taking the reins. According to the first reviews of this latest installment, there'll be no topping War for the Planet of the Apes, but it's also ...