Thesis/Dissertation Manuscript Requirements*
BASICS OF THESIS WRITING
Type Size and Style
Page Order And Numbering
Epigraph or Frontispiece
Table Of Contents
List Of Tables, List Of Figures
List Of Symbols, List Of Abbreviations, List Of Nomenclature, List Of Definitions, etc.
Figures And Tables
Foldouts and Overlays
Plates, Maps, Charts and Disks
APPENDIX (or APPENDICES)
The underlying philosophy in the preparation of this document was to:
encourage writers of theses and dissertations to prepare their manuscripts for publication in scientific journals; and then
facilitate as few modifications as possible before deposit of the theses so that manuscripts conform to some minimum standards of format and content before they are shelved at the NMT library.
BASICS OF THESIS WRITING
This document provides requirements and some simple guidelines to help you in writing your thesis or dissertation. The requirements are intended to provide a minimum level of uniformity in theses and dissertations that are shelved at the library. It is strongly recommended that you do not use previous theses as examples for formatting your manuscript. Rather rely on the guidelines presented here. Some faculty may recommend these guidelines for independent studies as well. For simplicity, the term "thesis" will be employed in the general sense to include all options (theses, dissertations and independent study papers). The guidelines are the same.
Your thesis must be written in clear, concise, and correct English. Grammatical errors and mistakes in spelling or punctuation are unacceptable and will cause your advisory committee and the Graduate Office to reject your completed manuscript. All graduate students are urged to obtain assistance in polishing and proofreading their final work: what may seem clear and obvious to you, might not seem so to another.
A thesis can be broadly separated into four parts: preliminaries, text, reference materials and other appendices. The preliminaries present information to help a reader find information in your thesis. The text is the written presentation of your work. Reference materials are the references actually cited in your thesis. Appendices typically include the basic data obtained during your research. Some departments might ask you to use a different organization, but any deviation from this basic pattern requires the prior approval of the Graduate Dean. It is important that all of your research, methods, and basic data are presented so that they are accessible to readers.
Your graduate research and the written report of this work (the thesis) are among the most important aspects of your graduate studies. Outstanding research presented poorly, defeats the entire endeavor. Research and writing require concentrated, scholarly effort and creativity. I do not recommend selecting any previous thesis as the model for your manuscript. Rather, ask your advisor for guidance. If your advisor feels that there is an appropriate example in a previous thesis, use that. Alternatively, your advisor may suggest that you model your manuscript after the style used in a journal appropriate for your material. Before you begin writing your thesis, you may find it helpful to review one of the accepted style manuals available that include a consideration of theses.
Copyright law protects authors and artists against unauthorized copying or reproduction of their work. This protection applies to both published and unpublished works. Publication is not necessarily limited to the printed page. Copyright law applies to online material as well as other media. Certainly all materials appropriated from other works must be attributed in the text of your thesis and in the References Cited. In some instances (e.g. where you reproduce a figure from another work) the written permission of the copyright holder is required and that permission must be acknowledged in the thesis. The copyright usually resides with the publisher and that is typically the starting point for obtaining permission. At the time you submit your degree completion materials, you must attach photocopies of all correspondence relating to the granting of permission to you for use of copyright materials.
If you are working with copyrighted materials, it is strongly recommended that you review the following online resources:
Your final deposit thesis copies must be copied, printed and/or typed using permanent ink or toner on archival (acid-free), 20-pound bond paper measuring 8 ½" x 11" (U.S. standard size). The three required copies must be identical. All pages of a final deposit are to be clean, evenly dark, and with no visible evidence of correction.
When you print, type or photocopy the final copies of your manuscript, all text and figures in the deposited copies must fit within unbound (top, bottom, and right) margins that are 1 inch or more, and a bound (usually left) margin that is no less than 1½ inches. Some photocopiers may enlarge or shift the printed area. Wider margins are acceptable if used consistently.
The text of the thesis must be double-spaced (except for long quotations), typed/printed on one side only and unbound at the time of deposit. If you are concerned about readability of your manuscript in microfilm copies, text and their corresponding superscript text numbers should be reproduced in a font no smaller than 10 point.
Single-spacing is required for footnotes to text, to tables, and to figures; for bibliographic entries; and for all block quotations. A double space should be used to separate successive footnotes on a single page. Multi-line major headings, subheadings, and table and figure captions as well as appendix material and information within tables and figures may be single-spaced if done in a consistent manner.
If the author wishes to set off his or her own material from text (e.g., a list, hypotheses), the material may be set off by indenting and double-spacing, or by single-spacing and aligning against the left margin. But such items and lists may not be indented and single-spaced (blocked), since this is a format reserved for direct quotation.
Type Size and Style
The same 12-point typeface is to be used for all preliminary pages, text, table and figure captions, appendices, cover sheets, references, and page numbers. The pitch may be either proportional or an established measurement of 10 or 12 characters per inch. Serif fonts like Courier, Times Roman and New Times Roman are preferred and recommended for NMT theses and dissertations. More conservative Sans Serif fonts (like Arial) may be acceptable, but permission should be obtained first. Ornate fonts are unacceptable. Tables and figures proper, appendices, and equations may be reproduced in different size and style fonts than that of the thesis proper. Students are advised to decide on a font style and accommodating printer in the early stages of thesis preparation. This will help avoid later changes in pagination, text alignment, and table or figure formatting. If you have questions about the acceptability of a particular font other than Courier, Times Roman and New Times Roman please contact the Graduate Office in advance.
Boldface may be used for the title of the thesis, all major headings, within the formatting scheme for subheadings, and for table or figure captions (designators and titles). Italics may be used sparingly only for emphasis, foreign words, technical or key terms, mathematical expressions, or book and journal titles. Super- and subscript and footnotes that appear at the bottom of the page may be printed in 10-point typeface. Fourteen-point may be used when reproducing a thesis title or major headings. Handwritten characters, when required, must be drawn neatly and uniformly using a lettering device or template.
Page Order And Numbering
Preliminary pages must be numbered with small Roman numerals at the bottom center of each page, beginning with ii. The title page is considered (i) but it is not printed on that page. The abstract comes next but is not numbered. If an acknowledgement page is used, it follows the abstract and is numbered (ii). The same sequence and location of numbering is continued throughout the remaining pages of the preliminaries except that the approval page (last in the preliminaries) is not numbered.
PRELIMINARIES (required unless otherwise noted) must be in the following order:
The title appears in all capital letters with each line centered. All of the remaining entries on the title page will be in title case (upper- and lowercase). The author's name is the name of the student as it appears in the Registrar's records at the time of graduation. No reference may be made to academic or other degrees or titles. The designation of the degree (major) and the name of the department must be exactly as it appears in the current NMT Catalog. The date is the month and year of the graduation at which the degree is to be conferred.
Dedication: optional, not numbered
The dedication is brief, single-spaced, and centered on the page (horizontally and vertically). No heading is used and the text is presented in upper- and lowercase letters. It customarily begins with the word "To."
Epigraph or Frontispiece: optional, not numbered
The epigraph is centered on its own page (horizontally and vertically). The text is single-spaced and presented in title case format. No heading is used. The source of a quotation used as an epigraph is given below the epigraph and is aligned to end at the right margin of the epigraph. Bibliographic information is usually limited to the author's name and title of the work.
Abstract: mandatory, not numbered
The abstract is a brief résumé of the major contributions and conclusions of the thesis.
You may wish to examine "A
Scrutiny of the Abstract, II" by K.K. Landes for a set of
considerations related to a well constructed abstract. Citations, figures, and data are not appropriate for inclusion in the abstract. The title ABSTRACT in all capital letters is centered 2 inches from the top of the page. The text begins on the fourth line below the heading and is double-spaced.
On the abstract page and double-spaced below the last line of the abstract text,
list two to six keywords or short phrases (up to three words each) that
characterize the major topics in your manuscript. The keyword line will
begin with the word "Keyword" in bold, a colon, and then a list of
each keyword or phrase separated by a semicolon. These will be in the
Keywords: keyword1; keyword2; key phrase3; etc.
Acknowledgement: optional, numbered ii if present
This section begins with the title ACKNOWLEDGMENTS centered in all capital letters 2 inches from the top of the page. The text begins on the fourth line below the heading and is double-spaced. The text is limited to thanks for or recognition of special assistance, but may also recognize permissions granted to the author to use published and/or copyrighted material. It is customary for the Acknowledgements related to the participation of your committee members and faculty to be added after defense of the thesis.
Table Of Contents: mandatory, numbered (example)
The heading TABLE OF CONTENTS in all capital letters is centered without punctuation 2 inches from the top of the first page only; neither a continuation notice nor any part of the heading appears on subsequent pages. A "Page" column header is positioned a double-space below the heading on the first page of the Table of Contents only. The listing of titles begins at the left margin a double-space below the column header.
All headings in the thesis following the Table of Contents are included in the Table of Contents. The headings of major divisions that follow the Table of Contents (sections of the preliminaries, parts, chapters, appendices, etc.) and at least first-order subheads must be listed. All entries must match the corresponding headings in text. Underlining, boldface (used for stylistic purposes in text) and reference numbers appearing within text headings may not be placed in the Table of Contents listing. A page number is placed opposite the last line of each entry in the Table of Contents, and it is the page on which the heading appears. Page numbers are aligned vertically by the rightmost digit. If second-order subdivision headings are entered in the Table of Contents for one section of the thesis, then all of those at that level appearing in the thesis must be entered for consistency. This principle applies to all lower-level subdivision titles.
List Of Tables, List Of Figures: when appropriate, numbered if present
Where tables and figures appear in a manuscript, separate lists must be included for each. The heading LIST OF TABLES or LIST OF FIGURES appears in all capital letters, centered on the page, 2 inches from the top of the first page only; neither a continuation notice nor any part of the heading appears on subsequent pages. Column headers ("Page," "Table," "Figure") should be included on the first page of the list a double-space below the major heading. The first entry begins a double-space below the column headers. (example)
The figure number and entire caption (excluding parenthetical material) must be listed in the List of Tables (Figures). Alternatively, if the caption is lengthy, it may be truncated to the first common point of punctuation (comma, semi-colon, colon, period) for entry in the list (see Captions). However, reference numbers (2a, 2b, etc.) appearing with captions in the text are not carried to the List of Tables/Figures. The practice chosen must be followed consistently for all tables/figures and each caption entry in the list must be unique. A page number is placed opposite the last line of each entry in the list and is the number of the page on which the caption appears. Page numbers are aligned vertically by the rightmost digit.
List Of Symbols, List Of Abbreviations, List Of Nomenclature, List Of Definitions, etc.: when appropriate, numbered if present
The appropriate title in all capital letters is centered 2 inches from the top of the first page only; neither a continuation notice nor any part of the heading appears on subsequent pages. Accompanying material begins on the fourth single-spaced line below the major heading. Follow the form for the list acceptable to your field of study.
Preface: optional, numbered if present
Should a preface be deemed necessary by the student and/or department, it is to be brief. It is limited to statements concerning the candidate's interest in the problem, organization of the thesis (particularly if the text is a compilation of journal manuscripts), brief statements on methodology, and acknowledgments of special assistance in preparation of the document, in which case the "Acknowledgments" section is generally unnecessary. Except when the thesis is a compilation of journal manuscripts, a preface does not include material essential to the reader's use of the text. If used, the section begins with the title PREFACE in all capital letters centered on the page 2 inches from the top of the page. The text is double-spaced and begins on the fourth single-spaced line below the major heading. The preface is a section within the preliminary pages and, as such, must be numbered using lowercase roman numerals.
The body and succeeding pages are numbered with Arabic numerals beginning with the first page. Consecutive page numbering for all succeeding pages (body, references listed and appendices) may be at the top or bottom of the page, and either centered or at the unbound margin. The location chosen must be used consistently throughout the manuscript.
Each major division (chapter, appendix, etc.) begins on a new page, but subdivisions always must follow each other immediately without gaps in text. Major division headings are centered in all capital letters 2 inches from the top of the page, and the text begins on the fourth single-spaced line below the last line of the heading. The major division heading may consist of either a chapter designation, a number (roman, arabic, or spelled out) which is usually preceded by the word CHAPTER, and a descriptive title. In some fields, the heading for each major division consists of a descriptive title only, without the word CHAPTER or a number. Long titles should use several lines of type. Each line of the title is centered on the page. The heading can be either double- or single-spaced; one practice or the other must be followed consistently in the spacing of major division headings throughout the thesis. If chapter designations are used, an "Introduction" may precede the first chapter and a "Conclusion" may be the last major division without a chapter designation (number preceded by the word CHAPTER), in which case the word INTRODUCTION or CONCLUSION appears centered in all capital letters 2 inches from the top of the page.
For appendices, the heading consists of the word APPENDIX followed by the appendix designation (a letter or number), and then the descriptive title. If there is only one appendix, then the letter (number) may be omitted and the word APPENDIX, with or without a descriptive title, constitutes the heading.
Cover sheets may be used in conjunction with major divisions. Rarely should cover sheets be used for chapter headings, but if one chapter of text employs a cover sheet, all must do so. If a cover sheet is used for one appendix, however, cover sheets need not be used for other appendices or other major divisions of text or reference material. The major division heading appears on the cover sheet, all capital letters, horizontally and vertically centered on the page. No part of the heading appears at the top of the page following the cover sheet; text begins immediately at the 1-inch top margin. Cover sheets carry page numbers as do all other pages of the text and reference material.
If major divisions are divided into subdivisions, then these are referred to as first-, second-, third-, etc., order subdivisions according to the complexity of the chapter. Where several levels are involved in subdividing a given chapter, no level may be skipped in the descent pattern. That is, first-order are always followed by second-order subdivisions, second by third, etc. Individual chapters, however, may differ as to the degree of subdivision, both in terms of number of levels and number at a given level. Multi-line subheadings may be single- or double-spaced, so long as spacing is consistent for all such subheadings. A subheading must be followed by at least two lines of text at the bottom of the page.
Each subdivision of the thesis bears a title that is prepared in a style unique to that subdivision level; i.e., each level has a format that is used only for that level of subdivision title throughout the thesis. The subheading scheme must take into account the chapter with the maximum number of subdivision levels, and the hierarchy once chosen must be adhered to throughout all major divisions of the thesis. (example)
In text, chapters may group naturally into parts. A part heading is prepared on a cover sheet (which is paginated) that is placed immediately before the first chapter of the part. The heading consists of the word PART followed by the part designation (letter or number) and the descriptive title, all horizontally and vertically centered on the cover sheet in all capital letters, double-spaced, and underlined throughout.
An Introduction may precede the first part, or a Conclusion may follow the last part, without a part designation. Their entries in the Table of Contents are at the corresponding left margin (aligned with PART entries), not at the indentation level of chapters. Chapters are numbered consecutively throughout the thesis and do not begin with chapter one in each part.
REFERENCE MATERIALS - The reference material includes the appendices and references cited, and provides supporting and supplementary information to the text. It comprises major divisions with pages numbered in arabic numerals that continue the series begun on page 1 of text.
If footnotes are a part of the referencing system selected, they may - depending on the style employed - be placed at the bottom of the pages annotated, grouped at the ends of major divisions, or placed together in a section at the end of the text. Individual notes are to be single-spaced, with double-spacing between notes.
If a style is selected that places footnotes at the bottom of the page, each note must be placed at the bottom of the page it annotates. The last note on a page may be carried to the following page for completion, but it must begin on the page it annotates. As many different notes may be placed on a typed line as can be begun and completed on that line. Footnote material must be formatted so that it does not violate the 1 1/2-inch left margin. A typed separating line (customarily 2 inches in length) must extend from the left margin to separate text from the first footnote at the bottom of the page.
In a style that places notes at the end of each major division, the notes always begin on a new page, under a title, usually "Notes," that uses the first-order subheading style used elsewhere in the text and is placed at the 1-inch top margin.
If it is the practice of the department to collect all notes and put them at the end of the thesis, then this major division is headed with the word NOTES in all capital letters centered 2 inches from the top of the page with the text beginning on the fourth single-spaced line below. The section Notes normally follows all appendices and precedes the references cited. If, however, the references cited are placed before appendices, then the Notes are placed after the last chapter of text and before the references cited. If notes are arranged by chapters within the Notes section, then it is customary to separate notes for chapters by first-order subdivision titles identifying the chapters. These first-order subdivisions follow each other without gaps in text.
Every thesis that makes use of other sources either by direct quotation or by reference must have a listing of these sources at the end of the thesis. The title, usually REFERENCES or REFERENCES CITED (or, if more appropriate, BIBLIOGRAPHY), appears in all capital letters centered 2 inches from the top of only the first page of the section; neither a continuation notice nor any part of the heading appears on subsequent pages. The listing begins four single-spaced lines below. The references cited are normally the last item in the thesis following the appendices. It may precede the appendices if the appendices are devoid of reference citations.
There are many forms for references depending in part on the nature of the material and the discipline involved. The Graduate Office requires that the thesis referencing system correctly and consistently follow established practices of a recognized journal appropriate for the publication of a manuscript like the thesis or academic style sheet. With one exception, only one system of referencing is to be used throughout the thesis, culminating in a single reference list. The exception is for thesis that are compilations of separate manuscripts, each of which have a list or references cited. In this instance, an additional comprehensive list of references cited must be assembled at the end of the thesis.
The selection of particular style instructions to be used is left to the department, committee, and student. The style instructions indicate the method of citation in text-whether one uses author's name and date, footnote numbers, or reference numbers; and the arrangement of the references - whether it is alphabetical by author or numerical by order of use in the thesis or some variation thereof. Individual bibliographic entries are to be single-spaced, with double-spacing between items. (Examples)
Illustrations (figures and tables) appearing in the body of your thesis must be relevant to the discussion (cited in the text) and must be inserted in the order cited at or immediately following the point of first citation. Illustrations subject to copyright from other sources may be reproduced and used only with written permission from the copyright holder. A figure is normally some type of illustrative material that involves a form of graphics-line drawings, photographs, charts, graphs, maps, etc. In some cases, figures may lend themselves to the designation of additional series such as "Plates," "Maps," "Examples," etc. If the department prefers the use of such subsets, then the rules of table/figure preparation apply, and each series is to have its own separate preliminary section of the appropriate name (e.g., LIST OF PLATES) listing captions according to rules for preparation of the List of Tables/Figures. If color must be added to figures, then a nonsmudging, noncorrosive substance must be used. Keep in mind that although use of color (including color photographs) is acceptable, colors become shades of gray in copying and microfilming.
A table usually involves the presentation of items in column and row format, but "Table" may also be a suitable designation for material such as a detailed outline, list, compilation or computer program. Tables and their associated captions must be clearly separated from the text that surrounds them. It is strongly recommended that all tables be either boxed or exhibit full-width horizontal beginning and end lines. The beginning line separates the caption from the column heads and the end line follows the last entry in the table. The lines are equal in length and are the same length as the longest item in a table (including the caption and any notes). Text and numbers used on the page (for page numbers, captions and in figures and tables) must appear in no more than two orientations. These must be oriented so that the page may be read either in the normal fashion (bound edge at left) or with the page rotated so that the bound edge is at the top. Orientations that require viewing with the bound edge at the bottom or with the page inverted are strongly discouraged and may be judged to be unacceptable. Font sizes must be sufficiently large that they can be read without magnification. If photo reduction is employed to make a table fit onto a page, titles and captions should be added after reduction. Figures and tables, which are not cited in the body of the thesis, may be included in the appendices.
All tables are numbered in one series through a thesis; figures are numbered in a separate sequential series. Each table/figure is assigned a unique number in the order of physical appearance in the thesis. The author may elect to use a consecutive arabic or roman numeral series or a double-numbering system (I.1, I.2, II.1) when creating table/figure designators. If tables/figures are related and compared, they are assigned separate numbers, e.g., 10, 11, 12, and are not numbered 10a, 10b, 10c. A single table/figure, however, may consist of several parts, in which case there is a generic table/figure number and caption; subdivision titles may then accompany the parts. (example)
Every table/figure must bear a caption that consists of a number preceded by the word "Table" ("Figure") and followed by a descriptive entry. The entry must direct the reader's attention to the important feature(s) of the illustration. Remember that the entire caption (excluding parenthetical material) must be listed in the List of Tables (Figures). Alternatively, if the caption is lengthy, it may be truncated to the first common point of punctuation (comma, semi-colon, colon, period) for entry in the list (see List Of Tables, List Of Figures). Captions must be typed in the same size and style font used throughout the thesis text, although a figure/table proper may be reproduced in another typefont, reduced, or enlarged to fit on the page. Boldface may be used for reproducing the entire caption. A caption may be single- or double-spaced. Capitalization, punctuation, and layout of the captions must be consistent for all tables/figures in the series, though the style of caption for tables may differ from that of figures. The location of the caption must be the same for all tables/figures - a uniform distance from the top of the table/figure, or a uniform distance from the bottom of the table/figure. A horizontal figure or table must have its top toward the binding (left, 1 1/2-inch) margin, with its caption appearing in the same orientation as the table/figure itself. If a table/figure continues to one or more following pages, then the figure/table number and a "continued" notation (e.g, Table 3-continued) appears on each page after the first. The descriptive title is not repeated in part or full on continuation pages.
Cover sheets may be used for the presentation of figure (but rarely table) captions, either only for those figures where the size precludes placing the full caption on the page with the figure, or for all figures regardless of size. Generally, each cover sheet carries the caption for only one figure, but if the figure has subdivisions, their titles may also appear on the cover sheet. The full caption is placed on the cover sheet vertically centered on the page in the style adopted for figure captions. The page is placed facing the figure, counted and numbered in the series of text and included in the List of Figures/Tables. No part of the caption is to appear on the following figure page(s).
Please note: A small diagram, symbol, mathematical equation, or formula need not be treated as a figure (or table) in the respective series unless the author makes frequent cross-reference to it from other pages. Any table/figure material that is referred to from another location in the thesis must be given a table/figure number and title and be included in the List of Tables/Figures. Tables/figures which appear in appendices, even if the appendix consists solely of a table/figure, must have table/figure captions in the same style as any other table/figure and be entered in the List of Tables/Figures.
Photographs in the thesis are to be handled according to the procedures for figures. The photos must be included in the defense copy of the thesis, although they need not be permanently mounted. The author may choose to submit photographs developed on 8 1/2 x 11-inch photographic paper, original photographs affixed onto archival paper, or good-quality color or black-and-white Xerox illustrations reproduced directly onto archival stock. Photographs must be mounted in the final-deposit copies of the thesis such that the entire back surface of each photo permanently adheres to the page. Methods employing the use of dry-mount sealer (acid-free), Positionable Mount Adhesive (cold-mount adhesive), double-adhesive mounting paper, or wheat paste adhesive are acceptable. Photo-mounting corners, rubber cement, transparent tape, and staples are unacceptable mounting materials.
Pages measuring up to 11" x 17" may be accommodated within the body of the text as foldouts. Material appearing on foldouts must conform to established margins and contain two folds (accordion-style) to fit within the bound (8 ½" x 11") dimension of the thesis. While overlays are discouraged (they photocopy poorly) they may be employed. Overlays must be carefully aligned to the underlying page. An overlay must be treated as a separate page and, consequently, must be included as part of the consecutive numbering system of the thesis. The Graduate Office recommends that the title of the table/figure be put on the undersheet (the "regular" thesis page)
Some illustrations may be so large that they may not be bound conveniently within the body of the text. These may be either bound at the end of the thesis or prepared for insertion into an envelope attached to the inside back cover of the bound thesis. Inclusion of unbound plates or disks requires that the preliminaries include a list of plates/disks noting that these are "In Pocket."
APPENDIX (or APPENDICES)
Examples of material that may be appropriate for appendices include explanations helpful to a reader, but too long for inclusion in footnotes or text, texts of original documents such as letters, laws, questionnaires, listings of material, original data, computer programs, and vitae. Specifications in this manual pertaining to other sections of the thesis apply to preparation of the appendices (e.g., pagination, margins, preparation of major division headings).
* Portions of the Thesis and Dissertation requirements (above) were adapted from those of the University of Iowa Graduate School.