Your master’s thesis must comply with certain formatting guidelines. Be sure to read the list of requirements thoroughly before you begin, and check the list carefully before you submit.

Your formatting requirements vary depending on whether your degree is conferred through IU or Purdue.

IU Thesis Requirements

The links below will explain to you all of the formatting requirements for your thesis, including fonts, required sections, numbering pages, and more.

Before you turn in your copies for binding, make sure that all of the pages are in correct numerical order and that they are right-side up.

  • Paper

    Check with your program for paper requirements.

  • Fonts

    Font size is 11 pt or 12 pt. Font choice is variable but must be legible. Be consistent with your font throughout all materials including page numbers. Script fonts (e.g., Monotype Corsica) and italicizing large sections of text are not allowed for the main body of your thesis, although italics may be used appropriately.

  • Spacing
    • The material may be 1.5 spacing or double-spaced.
    • Long quotations within the text should be typed single-spaced with wider margins.
  • Photographs and Images

    If photographs or detailed graphics are part of the work, make sure they are crisp and clear when printed. It is OK to use special laser or photo paper for the page of the thesis that contains images to achieve the best possible quality.

  • Margins
    • Pages for most theses are printed on one side of the paper only. Margins should be 1½” on the left and 1” on the top, right and bottom.
    • These margin requirements apply to all materials included in the thesis, including figures, tables, maps, plates, etc., and any preliminary material you choose to include.
  • Page Layout

    Ordinarily, the text and any other materials will appear on the right-hand page only. If, however, you and your committee agree that it is necessary to include facing material on the left-hand page as well, be sure to leave 1½” on the right-hand side of the facing page.

  • Page Numbers
    • Page numbers are required to be in the header or footer. They are centered left to right and placed at 0.5" from the edge of the paper.
    • Font and size match the font and size of the document.
    • Page numbers must be clear, consecutive, and printed on every page, including appendixes, tables, figures, maps, charts photographs, etc., except for the title page and resume/curriculum vitae (vita) page.
    • Lowercase Roman numbers (e.g., i, ii, iii) are used for the pages preceding the main body of work.
    • Arabic numerals (e.g., 1, 2, 3) are used in the body of the work, the bibliography, and the appendices.
    • The title page counts as page i but does not bear a number.
    • Begin the actual numbering with the acceptance page as page ii, and continue with lowercase Roman numerals until the start of the actual body of the thesis. That page, whether part of your full introduction or of your first chapter, should be numbered using the Arabic numeral 1, and every page thereafter should be numbered consecutively until you reach the vita page.
  • Language

    Theses should be written in English, unless you and your department/committee have decided otherwise.

  • References, Citations, Bibliography, and Notes

    Check with your department on this requirement. This format depends largely on your particular field or topic.

    For example, notes can appear on the page where the annotation occurs (footnotes), or at either the end of each chapter or the end of the thesis (endnotes). Be sure to follow the conventions of your department or discipline.

  • Recommended Style Manuals
    • The Chicago Manual of Style
    • Turabian, Kate L., A Manual for Writers
    • Modern Language Association (MLA) style sheet
    • American Psychological Association (APA) style sheet
    • LaTeX
  • Recommended Dictionaries for Spelling and Usage
    • Webster’s New International Dictionary
    • Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
  • Required and Optional Sections

    Your master’s thesis must include the required sections, listed in order.  Please view the example.

    Title Page

    The title page should be your first page. All content on this page should be centered horizontally and vertically. Keep in mind that the title approved by your committee is the title that must appear on the title page. Please view the example.

    * The month and year is the date when all requirements have been completed for the awarding of your master’s degree by the University Graduate School. This is not necessarily the month in which you submit your thesis.

    Acceptance Page

    The acceptance page confirms the committee's approval and acceptance of your thesis.

    The acceptance page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. The first sentence should be centered, “Master’s Thesis Committee” should be left-justified, and all other content should be right-justified. Please view the example.

    When uploading the format-approved document to ScholarWorks, the acceptance page will not contain signatures. A copy of the signed acceptance page will be submitted separately to the University Graduate School at

    Copyright Page–Optional

    The copyright page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. All content on this page should be centered. Please view the example.

    © [year]

    [Student's name as it appears on the thesis title page]

    Dedication, Acknowledgements, or Preface–Optional

    Depending on your personal inclination, you may wish to include a dedication, a preface, or a set of acknowledgments. The latter is designed to recognize people or agencies to whom you feel grateful for any academic, technical, financial, or personal aid in the preparation of your thesis. As a matter of courtesy, you would ordinarily mention the members of your committee here, as well as institutions that provided funding or anyone else who helped.

    Abstract–Unsigned and Optional by Department

    The abstract should be a separate page. Your name and the thesis title should be centered, while the rest of the content format will match your document, and is limited to 350 words.

    Many people will learn about your work through your abstract published in the ScholarWorks Repository, so take care in the composition of both the abstract and the title. Try to convey the flavor of your work, not just the bare bones of your findings. You should also phrase your title so that it truly describes the contents and will be easily found in the index of the database. The index is based on key words, so be as specific as you can be about your subject. Please view the example.

    Table of Contents

    Include a table of contents to guide readership of your thesis. The table of contents will contain the material occurring after the table of contents.  The curriculum vitae entry will not have a page number.

    Supplemental Materials–If Appropriate

    Supplemental materials will include lists of tables, figures, appendixes, abbreviations, or other materials, if appropriate.

    Curriculum Vitae

    Include your Curriculum Vitae at the END of the thesis. The Curriculum Vitae entry will not have a page number. Please view the example.

Purdue Thesis Requirements

The IUPUI Graduate Office offers a formatting worshop for Purdue theses and dissertations in both Fall and Spring semesters. You can view the most recent Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Workshop Guidelines here »

For full details, visit: