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Manuscript Guidelines

The guidelines outlined here define minimum standards and point out common problems. Responsibility for final review of the thesis manuscript prior to submission rests with the committee. Manuscripts may be returned by the Graduate School for revision if they do not adhere to format requirements or contain excessive spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors.

Prepare your thesis for optimal viewing as a PDF. If your thesis includes landscape-oriented pages, save your PDF with mixed page orientation.

You may use this File Thesis Template (Word document) as a guide for preparing your PDF document. Because the thesis format requirements have recently changed, do not use a prior thesis from your program as a template. See below for hardcopy signature page requirements.

Required Pages and Sequence

Order Page Name Required? Page Number
1 Committee Signature Page Yes No visible number
2 Library Authorization Page Yes No visible number
3 Title Page Yes No visible number
4 Abstract Yes iv
5 Acknowledgements No v, if applicable
6 Table of Contents Yes v or vi
7 List of Figures and Tables Yes, if applicable Continue in Roman Numerals
8 Text Yes Arabic numerals, starting with "2" on the second page. No visible number on the first page of text.
9 Bibliography/References/ Works Cited Yes Arabic
10 Appendices No Arabic
11 Curriculum Vita No Arabic

Signature Pages

During the disruption in operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, hardcopy signature pages are not required. The degree recommendation esign form will serve as approval of the final thesis by all committee members.

The thesis PDF should still contain a signature page with typed names (no scanned signatures), and a library authorization with the student's typed name and the date of submission.

Title Page

Make sure that your title matches exactly on both pages where it appears, the Committee Signature Page and the Title Page. If your title is long, you may wish to check current cover printing capabilities at Haggard Hall Print and Copy Services to make sure it can be printed on your bound copies.


Format according to the style manual for your discipline.

Acknowledgements (optional)

The language used in the acknowledgement should be consistent with that used in acknowledgements in journal articles in your field. You may use this page to acknowledge those who contributed to the academic endeavors or research of your thesis. Limit the acknowledgements to a single page.

Table of Contents

The first three preliminary pages do not appear in your Table of Contents. The first item to appear should be your Abstract.

Do not include the Table of Contents page in the Table of Contents, but do include the Lists of Tables and Figures. Lists of Tables and Figures should include page numbers.

Supplementary Material

Additional material may be included in appendices or as separate files to be submitted with your PDF. CEDAR can take many file types. Maps, datasets, sound clips, short films, images, and other items can be included. See the CEDAR FAQ for more details.

Format Requirements


Margins should be a minimum of one inch on all sides. Use the same margin dimensions throughout the manuscript, except for indented lengthy quotes.

Page Numbers

Page numbers may be located according to the style commonly used in your discipline, or any standard word processor location. The numbers should appear alone, without any bracketing, dashes, etc. Refer to the chart above for numbering requirements.


Choose a font that is clearly legible on screen as well as in print. Font should be 10- to 12-point type. Use the same font throughout the manuscript. You may bold, italicize or underline words where appropriate. Italicized type may not be used for the entire body of the text.


Double space the text. Block quotes may be single spaced. Thesis projects in poetry, mathematics, and music may be spaced as appropriate to the discipline.


Captions should be in the same font as that used in the text. Locate captions according to the publication style you are using.


Section headings must correspond to the Table of Contents. Heading font and location on the page should be consistent throughout the thesis. Ensure that headings appear on the same page as the corresponding text (i.e. watch for headings orphaned at the bottom of pages). Do not use a running head.


Style differs considerably among disciplines, and even among different journals in one discipline. Confer with your thesis chair to select the appropriate style for your thesis, and be consistent with this style throughout your manuscript.

References and Citations

Be consistent in citation and reference style throughout the thesis, according to the style manual you are following. There must be a reference for every citation in the text. The spelling of the author’s name and the publication year must match between the text and reference entry. Multiple citations between parentheses must be in either chronological or alphabetical order.

Western Libraries offers online quick guides to the most common citation styles and other helpful information.