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Dissertation and Thesis Guidelines

All the steps for submitting your dissertation, thesis, or clinical project to the Leatherby Libraries.

Common Formatting Issues

Below is a list of the most common formatting issues that students are asked to correct before resubmitting their thesis or dissertation.


Title page:

  • The spacing between the three sections of the title page is wrong. There should be one blank line after the author’s name and one blank line after the date.
  • The page is not vertically centered. There should be equal white space on the top and bottom of the page. To do this, you usually just have to hit Enter/Return on your keyboard until the spacing looks roughly even. Do not have the first line (the title) all the way at the top of the page.
  • The date should be the month and year that your degree will be conferred. For spring, this is May; for summer, August; and for winter, December.


Approval page:

  • Your name should match exactly with whatever is on your title page.
  • The date should be the month and year of your defense. This may be different (earlier) than the date on the title page, which is when your degree will be conferred.
  • This page is scanned at a low size or quality. It should be at least 300 dpi and visually match the rest of the thesis or dissertation.
  • There should not be a page number on this page.


Copyright page:

  • This page should be numbered iii or III, not i, I, 1, or anything else.


Page numbers:

  • Use section breaks to divide your document to accommodate the varying page number requirements.
    • To insert a section break in Word: Up on the ribbon bar, go to the Page Layout tab, click "Breaks", and select "Next page" from the drop-down to allow for different pagination on the following page OR select "Continuous" to allow for different pagination starting with the page you are on.
    • Note that within each "Section," you can specify "different first page." You can also set the page numbering to start at a specific number (like "iii").
    • You may need to repeat this once you get the portion of your document that requires Arabic numeral page numbering.
    • Make sure "Link to Previous" is NOT selected for each new section.


Table of Contents, List of Figures, and/or List of Tables:

  • Make sure the page numbers listed match the actual body of your thesis or dissertation.
  • The page numbers listed should be right-aligned.
  • Single-space the entries within each chapter, and double-space between each chapter.
  • Also double-space between the listings for the references, appendices, and each table and figure.
  • For entries that reference a Roman numeral page number, make sure the ToC entries match the actual pages in terms of case (i.e. the page numbers on both the actual pages and the ToC entries should be either upper- or lowercase).
    • If you are using the templates and used lowercase Roman numeral page numbers in the front matter, but the page numbers in the ToC revert to uppercase, highlight the text in the ToC, right-click, and select “Font”. Then uncheck “All Caps.” If you need to change the page numbers in the ToC to uppercase Roman numerals, then make sure the “All Caps” box is checked.

  • If a table or figure spreads across multiple pages, make sure the relevant List states the page number on which the table or figure begins, not ends. If you are using the auto-update feature, it will often list whatever page the caption is on, even if that's at the end of the table or figure. You can edit the page number manually in the appropriate List, but be aware that if you then update the List, it will overwrite your edits. Thus, it may be better to make these sorts of manual updates using Adobe Acrobat after you have converted your thesis or dissertation to a PDF.

Main body of the thesis or dissertation:

  • The first page of the main body of your thesis or dissertation (i.e. the first page of your Introduction, Chapter 1, or however your thesis or dissertation starts) should be page 1. Do not continue the page numbering from the front matter.
  • Tables and figures must fit within the 1” margins.
  • Make sure you don’t have any widows or orphans.
  • Page numbers should be between 1/2" to 3/4" from the bottom edge of the page.
    • Make sure that your Roman and Arabic numeral page numbers are at the same height.


Finally, be sure to review the checklist carefully before submitting your thesis and dissertation so that all the required elements are in compliance. Please also see the Frequently Asked Questions page if you have additional questions about formatting or procedures.