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.
Check with your program for paper requirements.
Font size is 11 pt or 12 pt. Font choice is variable but must be legible. Be consistent with your font throughout all materials including page numbers. Script fonts (e.g., Monotype Corsica) and italicizing large sections of text are not allowed for the main body of your thesis, although italics may be used appropriately.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
- Page numbers are required be centered at either the top or the bottom of the page. The margin will be set at 0.5 inches.
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
Recommended Dictionaries for Spelling and Usage
- Webster’s New International Dictionary
- Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
Required and Optional Sections
Your master’s thesis must include the required sections, listed in order. Please view the example.
The title page should be your first page. All content on this page should be centered horizontally and vertically. Keep in mind that the title approved at defense 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.
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 submitting IUPUI ScholarWorks, the acceptance page cannot contain signatures. Signatures should only be on the copy submitted to the University Graduate School at email@example.com.
The copyright page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. All content on this page should be centered. Please view the example.
[Student's name as it appears on the thesis 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 Dissertations & Theses Database, 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.
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 Graduate School at Purdue University details formatting requirements for theses and dissertations at its website. Go to the Purdue Graduate School now »