Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

University Thesis and Dissertation Templates

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Theses and dissertations are already intensive, long-term projects that require a lot of effort and time from their authors. Formatting for submission to the university is often the last thing that graduate students do, and may delay earning the relevant degree if done incorrectly.

Below are some strategies graduate students can use to deal with institutional formatting requirements to earn their degrees on time.

Disciplinary conventions are still paramount.

Scholars in your own discipline are the most common readers of your dissertation; your committee, too, will expect your work to match with their expectations as members of your field. The style guide your field uses most commonly is always the one you should follow, and if your field uses conventions such as including all figures and illustrations at the end of the document, you should do so. After these considerations are met, move on to university formatting. Almost always, university formatting only deals with things like margins, font, numbering of chapters and sections, and illustrations; disciplinary style conventions in content such as APA's directive to use only last names of authors in-text are not interfered with by university formatting at all.

Use your university's formatting guidelines and templates to your advantage.

If your institution has a template for formatting your thesis or dissertation that you can use, do so. Don't look at another student's document and try to replicate it yourself. These templates typically have the necessary section breaks and styles already in the document, and you can copy in your work from your existing draft using the style pane in MS Word to ensure you're using the correct formatting (similarly with software such as Overleaf when writing in LaTeX, templates do a lot of the work for you). It's also often easier for workers in the offices that deal with theses and dissertations to help you with your work if you're using their template — they are familiar with these templates and can often navigate them more proficiently.

These templates also include placeholders for all front matter you will need to include in your thesis or dissertation, and may include guidelines for how to write these. Front matter includes your table of contents, acknowledgements, abstract, abbreviation list, figure list, committee page, and (sometimes) academic history or CV; everything before your introduction is front matter. Since front matter pages such as the author's academic history and dissertation committee are usually for the graduate school and not for your department, your advisor might not remember to have you include them. Knowing about them well before your deposit date means you won't be scrambling to fill in placeholders at the last minute or getting your work returned for revision from the graduate school.

Consider institutional formatting early and often.

Many graduate students leave this aspect of submitting their projects until it's almost too late to work on it, causing delays in obtaining their degree. Simply being aware that this is a task you'll have to complete and making sure you know where templates are, who you can ask for help in your graduate office or your department, and what your institution's guidelines are can help alleviate this issue. Once you know what you'll be expected to do to convert to university formatting, you can set regular check-in times for yourself to do this work in pieces rather than all at once (for instance, when you've completed a chapter and had it approved by your chair). 

Consider fair use for images and other third-party content.

Most theses and dissertations are published through ProQuest or another publisher (Harvard, for instance, uses their own open publishing service). For this reason, it may be the case that your institution requires all images or other content obtained from other sources to fall under fair use rules or, if an image is not considered under fair use, you'll have to obtain permission to print it in your dissertation. Your institution should have more guidance on their specific expectations for fair use content; knowing what these guidelines are well in advance of your deposit date means you won't have to make last-minute changes or removals to deposit your work.

  • Formatting Your Dissertation
  • Introduction

Harvard Griffin GSAS strives to provide students with timely, accurate, and clear information. If you need help understanding a specific policy, please contact the office that administers that policy.

  • Application for Degree
  • Credit for Completed Graduate Work
  • Ad Hoc Degree Programs
  • Acknowledging the Work of Others
  • Advanced Planning
  • Dissertation Submission Checklist
  • Publishing Options
  • Submitting Your Dissertation
  • English Language Proficiency
  • PhD Program Requirements
  • Secondary Fields
  • Year of Graduate Study (G-Year)
  • Master's Degrees
  • Grade and Examination Requirements
  • Conduct and Safety
  • Financial Aid
  • Registration

On this page:

Language of the Dissertation

Page and text requirements, body of text, tables, figures, and captions, dissertation acceptance certificate, copyright statement.

  • Table of Contents

Front and Back Matter

Supplemental material, dissertations comprising previously published works, top ten formatting errors, further questions.

  • Related Contacts and Forms

When preparing the dissertation for submission, students must follow strict formatting requirements. Any deviation from these requirements may lead to rejection of the dissertation and delay in the conferral of the degree.

The language of the dissertation is ordinarily English, although some departments whose subject matter involves foreign languages may accept a dissertation written in a language other than English.

Most dissertations are 100 to 300 pages in length. All dissertations should be divided into appropriate sections, and long dissertations may need chapters, main divisions, and subdivisions.

  • 8½ x 11 inches, unless a musical score is included
  • At least 1 inch for all margins
  • Body of text: double spacing
  • Block quotations, footnotes, and bibliographies: single spacing within each entry but double spacing between each entry
  • Table of contents, list of tables, list of figures or illustrations, and lengthy tables: single spacing may be used

Fonts and Point Size

Use 10-12 point size. Fonts must be embedded in the PDF file to ensure all characters display correctly. 

Recommended Fonts

If you are unsure whether your chosen font will display correctly, use one of the following fonts: 

If fonts are not embedded, non-English characters may not appear as intended. Fonts embedded improperly will be published to DASH as-is. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that fonts are embedded properly prior to submission. 

Instructions for Embedding Fonts

To embed your fonts in recent versions of Word, follow these instructions from Microsoft:

  • Click the File tab and then click Options .
  • In the left column, select the Save tab.
  • Clear the Do not embed common system fonts check box.

For reference, below are some instructions from ProQuest UMI for embedding fonts in older file formats:

To embed your fonts in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • In the File pull-down menu click on Options .
  • Choose Save on the left sidebar.
  • Check the box next to Embed fonts in the file.
  • Click the OK button.
  • Save the document.

Note that when saving as a PDF, make sure to go to “more options” and save as “PDF/A compliant”

To embed your fonts in Microsoft Word 2007:

  • Click the circular Office button in the upper left corner of Microsoft Word.
  • A new window will display. In the bottom right corner select Word Options . 
  • Choose Save from the left sidebar.

Using Microsoft Word on a Mac:

Microsoft Word 2008 on a Mac OS X computer will automatically embed your fonts while converting your document to a PDF file.

If you are converting to PDF using Acrobat Professional (instructions courtesy of the Graduate Thesis Office at Iowa State University):  

  • Open your document in Microsoft Word. 
  • Click on the Adobe PDF tab at the top. Select "Change Conversion Settings." 
  • Click on Advanced Settings. 
  • Click on the Fonts folder on the left side of the new window. In the lower box on the right, delete any fonts that appear in the "Never Embed" box. Then click "OK." 
  • If prompted to save these new settings, save them as "Embed all fonts." 
  • Now the Change Conversion Settings window should show "embed all fonts" in the Conversion Settings drop-down list and it should be selected. Click "OK" again. 
  • Click on the Adobe PDF link at the top again. This time select Convert to Adobe PDF. Depending on the size of your document and the speed of your computer, this process can take 1-15 minutes. 
  • After your document is converted, select the "File" tab at the top of the page. Then select "Document Properties." 
  • Click on the "Fonts" tab. Carefully check all of your fonts. They should all show "(Embedded Subset)" after the font name. 
  •  If you see "(Embedded Subset)" after all fonts, you have succeeded.

The font used in the body of the text must also be used in headers, page numbers, and footnotes. Exceptions are made only for tables and figures created with different software and inserted into the document.

Tables and figures must be placed as close as possible to their first mention in the text. They may be placed on a page with no text above or below, or they may be placed directly into the text. If a table or a figure is alone on a page (with no narrative), it should be centered within the margins on the page. Tables may take up more than one page as long as they obey all rules about margins. Tables and figures referred to in the text may not be placed at the end of the chapter or at the end of the dissertation.

  • Given the standards of the discipline, dissertations in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning often place illustrations at the end of the dissertation.

Figure and table numbering must be continuous throughout the dissertation or by chapter (e.g., 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, etc.). Two figures or tables cannot be designated with the same number. If you have repeating images that you need to cite more than once, label them with their number and A, B, etc. 

Headings should be placed at the top of tables. While no specific rules for the format of table headings and figure captions are required, a consistent format must be used throughout the dissertation (contact your department for style manuals appropriate to the field).

Captions should appear at the bottom of any figures. If the figure takes up the entire page, the caption should be placed alone on the preceding page, centered vertically and horizontally within the margins.

Each page receives a separate page number. When a figure or table title is on a preceding page, the second and subsequent pages of the figure or table should say, for example, “Figure 5 (Continued).” In such an instance, the list of figures or tables will list the page number containing the title. The word “figure” should be written in full (not abbreviated), and the “F” should be capitalized (e.g., Figure 5). In instances where the caption continues on a second page, the “(Continued)” notation should appear on the second and any subsequent page. The figure/table and the caption are viewed as one entity and the numbering should show correlation between all pages. Each page must include a header.

Landscape orientation figures and tables must be positioned correctly and bound at the top so that the top of the figure or table will be at the left margin. Figure and table headings/captions are placed with the same orientation as the figure or table when on the same page. When on a separate page, headings/captions are always placed in portrait orientation, regardless of the orientation of the figure or table. Page numbers are always placed as if the figure were vertical on the page.

If a graphic artist does the figures, Harvard Griffin GSAS will accept lettering done by the artist only within the figure. Figures done with software are acceptable if the figures are clear and legible. Legends and titles done by the same process as the figures will be accepted if they too are clear, legible, and run at least 10 or 12 characters per inch. Otherwise, legends and captions should be printed with the same font used in the text.

Original illustrations, photographs, and fine arts prints may be scanned and included, centered between the margins on a page with no text above or below.

Use of Third-Party Content

In addition to the student's own writing, dissertations often contain third-party content or in-copyright content owned by parties other than you, the student who authored the dissertation. The Office for Scholarly Communication recommends consulting the information below about fair use, which allows individuals to use in-copyright content, on a limited basis and for specific purposes, without seeking permission from copyright holders.

Because your dissertation will be made available for online distribution through DASH , Harvard's open-access repository, it is important that any third-party content in it may be made available in this way.

Fair Use and Copyright 

What is fair use?

Fair use is a provision in copyright law that allows the use of a certain amount of copyrighted material without seeking permission. Fair use is format- and media-agnostic. This means fair use may apply to images (including photographs, illustrations, and paintings), quoting at length from literature, videos, and music regardless of the format. 

How do I determine whether my use of an image or other third-party content in my dissertation is fair use?  

There are four factors you will need to consider when making a fair use claim.

1) For what purpose is your work going to be used?

  • Nonprofit, educational, scholarly, or research use favors fair use. Commercial, non-educational uses, often do not favor fair use.
  • A transformative use (repurposing or recontextualizing the in-copyright material) favors fair use. Examining, analyzing, and explicating the material in a meaningful way, so as to enhance a reader's understanding, strengthens your fair use argument. In other words, can you make the point in the thesis without using, for instance, an in-copyright image? Is that image necessary to your dissertation? If not, perhaps, for copyright reasons, you should not include the image.  

2) What is the nature of the work to be used?

  • Published, fact-based content favors fair use and includes scholarly analysis in published academic venues. 
  • Creative works, including artistic images, are afforded more protection under copyright, and depending on your use in light of the other factors, may be less likely to favor fair use; however, this does not preclude considerations of fair use for creative content altogether.

3) How much of the work is going to be used?  

  • Small, or less significant, amounts favor fair use. A good rule of thumb is to use only as much of the in-copyright content as necessary to serve your purpose. Can you use a thumbnail rather than a full-resolution image? Can you use a black-and-white photo instead of color? Can you quote select passages instead of including several pages of the content? These simple changes bolster your fair use of the material.

4) What potential effect on the market for that work may your use have?

  • If there is a market for licensing this exact use or type of educational material, then this weighs against fair use. If however, there would likely be no effect on the potential commercial market, or if it is not possible to obtain permission to use the work, then this favors fair use. 

For further assistance with fair use, consult the Office for Scholarly Communication's guide, Fair Use: Made for the Harvard Community and the Office of the General Counsel's Copyright and Fair Use: A Guide for the Harvard Community .

What are my options if I don’t have a strong fair use claim? 

Consider the following options if you find you cannot reasonably make a fair use claim for the content you wish to incorporate:

  • Seek permission from the copyright holder. 
  • Use openly licensed content as an alternative to the original third-party content you intended to use. Openly-licensed content grants permission up-front for reuse of in-copyright content, provided your use meets the terms of the open license.
  • Use content in the public domain, as this content is not in-copyright and is therefore free of all copyright restrictions. Whereas third-party content is owned by parties other than you, no one owns content in the public domain; everyone, therefore, has the right to use it.

For use of images in your dissertation, please consult this guide to Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media , which is a great resource for finding images without copyright restrictions. 

Who can help me with questions about copyright and fair use?

Contact your Copyright First Responder . Please note, Copyright First Responders assist with questions concerning copyright and fair use, but do not assist with the process of obtaining permission from copyright holders.

Pages should be assigned a number except for the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate . Preliminary pages (abstract, table of contents, list of tables, graphs, illustrations, and preface) should use small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.). All pages must contain text or images.  

Count the title page as page i and the copyright page as page ii, but do not print page numbers on either page .

For the body of text, use Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) starting with page 1 on the first page of text. Page numbers must be centered throughout the manuscript at the top or bottom. Every numbered page must be consecutively ordered, including tables, graphs, illustrations, and bibliography/index (if included); letter suffixes (such as 10a, 10b, etc.) are not allowed. It is customary not to have a page number on the page containing a chapter heading.

  • Check pagination carefully. Account for all pages.

A copy of the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate (DAC) should appear as the first page. This page should not be counted or numbered. The DAC will appear in the online version of the published dissertation. The author name and date on the DAC and title page should be the same. 

The dissertation begins with the title page; the title should be as concise as possible and should provide an accurate description of the dissertation. The author name and date on the DAC and title page should be the same. 

  • Do not print a page number on the title page. It is understood to be page  i  for counting purposes only.

A copyright notice should appear on a separate page immediately following the title page and include the copyright symbol ©, the year of first publication of the work, and the name of the author:

© [ year ] [ Author’s Name ] All rights reserved.

Alternatively, students may choose to license their work openly under a  Creative Commons  license. The author remains the copyright holder while at the same time granting up-front permission to others to read, share, and (depending on the license) adapt the work, so long as proper attribution is given. (By default, under copyright law, the author reserves all rights; under a Creative Commons license, the author reserves some rights.)

  • Do  not  print a page number on the copyright page. It is understood to be page  ii  for counting purposes only.

An abstract, numbered as page  iii , should immediately follow the copyright page and should state the problem, describe the methods and procedures used, and give the main results or conclusions of the research. The abstract will appear in the online and bound versions of the dissertation and will be published by ProQuest. There is no maximum word count for the abstract. 

  • double-spaced
  • left-justified
  • indented on the first line of each paragraph
  • The author’s name, right justified
  • The words “Dissertation Advisor:” followed by the advisor’s name, left-justified (a maximum of two advisors is allowed)
  • Title of the dissertation, centered, several lines below author and advisor

Dissertations divided into sections must contain a table of contents that lists, at minimum, the major headings in the following order:

  • Front Matter
  • Body of Text
  • Back Matter

Front matter includes (if applicable):

  • acknowledgements of help or encouragement from individuals or institutions
  • a dedication
  • a list of illustrations or tables
  • a glossary of terms
  • one or more epigraphs.

Back matter includes (if applicable):

  • bibliography
  • supplemental materials, including figures and tables
  • an index (in rare instances).

Supplemental figures and tables must be placed at the end of the dissertation in an appendix, not within or at the end of a chapter. If additional digital information (including audio, video, image, or datasets) will accompany the main body of the dissertation, it should be uploaded as a supplemental file through ProQuest ETD . Supplemental material will be available in DASH and ProQuest and preserved digitally in the Harvard University Archives.

As a matter of copyright, dissertations comprising the student's previously published works must be authorized for distribution from DASH. The guidelines in this section pertain to any previously published material that requires permission from publishers or other rightsholders before it may be distributed from DASH. Please note:

  • Authors whose publishing agreements grant the publisher exclusive rights to display, distribute, and create derivative works will need to seek the publisher's permission for nonexclusive use of the underlying works before the dissertation may be distributed from DASH.
  • Authors whose publishing agreements indicate the authors have retained the relevant nonexclusive rights to the original materials for display, distribution, and the creation of derivative works may distribute the dissertation as a whole from DASH without need for further permissions.

It is recommended that authors consult their publishing agreements directly to determine whether and to what extent they may have transferred exclusive rights under copyright. The Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) is available to help the author determine whether she has retained the necessary rights or requires permission. Please note, however, the Office of Scholarly Communication is not able to assist with the permissions process itself.

  • Missing Dissertation Acceptance Certificate.  The first page of the PDF dissertation file should be a scanned copy of the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate (DAC). This page should not be counted or numbered as a part of the dissertation pagination.
  • Conflicts Between the DAC and the Title Page.  The DAC and the dissertation title page must match exactly, meaning that the author name and the title on the title page must match that on the DAC. If you use your full middle name or just an initial on one document, it must be the same on the other document.  
  • Abstract Formatting Errors. The advisor name should be left-justified, and the author's name should be right-justified. Up to two advisor names are allowed. The Abstract should be double spaced and include the page title “Abstract,” as well as the page number “iii.” There is no maximum word count for the abstract. 
  •  The front matter should be numbered using Roman numerals (iii, iv, v, …). The title page and the copyright page should be counted but not numbered. The first printed page number should appear on the Abstract page (iii). 
  • The body of the dissertation should be numbered using Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, …). The first page of the body of the text should begin with page 1. Pagination may not continue from the front matter. 
  • All page numbers should be centered either at the top or the bottom of the page.
  • Figures and tables Figures and tables must be placed within the text, as close to their first mention as possible. Figures and tables that span more than one page must be labeled on each page. Any second and subsequent page of the figure/table must include the “(Continued)” notation. This applies to figure captions as well as images. Each page of a figure/table must be accounted for and appropriately labeled. All figures/tables must have a unique number. They may not repeat within the dissertation.
  • Any figures/tables placed in a horizontal orientation must be placed with the top of the figure/ table on the left-hand side. The top of the figure/table should be aligned with the spine of the dissertation when it is bound. 
  • Page numbers must be placed in the same location on all pages of the dissertation, centered, at the bottom or top of the page. Page numbers may not appear under the table/ figure.
  • Supplemental Figures and Tables. Supplemental figures and tables must be placed at the back of the dissertation in an appendix. They should not be placed at the back of the chapter. 
  • Permission Letters Copyright. permission letters must be uploaded as a supplemental file, titled ‘do_not_publish_permission_letters,” within the dissertation submission tool.
  •  DAC Attachment. The signed Dissertation Acceptance Certificate must additionally be uploaded as a document in the "Administrative Documents" section when submitting in Proquest ETD . Dissertation submission is not complete until all documents have been received and accepted.
  • Overall Formatting. The entire document should be checked after all revisions, and before submitting online, to spot any inconsistencies or PDF conversion glitches.
  • You can view dissertations successfully published from your department in DASH . This is a great place to check for specific formatting and area-specific conventions.
  • Contact the  Office of Student Affairs  with further questions.

CONTACT INFO

Katie riggs, explore events.

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, automatically generate references for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates

Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates

Published on 8 June 2022 by Tegan George .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical early steps in your writing process . It helps you to lay out and organise your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation, such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review, research methods, avenues for future research, etc.)

In the final product, you can also provide a chapter outline for your readers. This is a short paragraph at the end of your introduction to inform readers about the organisational structure of your thesis or dissertation . This chapter outline is also known as a reading guide or summary outline.

Table of contents

How to outline your thesis or dissertation, dissertation and thesis outline templates, chapter outline example, sample sentences for your chapter outline, sample verbs for variation in your chapter outline, frequently asked questions about outlines.

While there are some inter-institutional differences, many outlines proceed in a fairly similar fashion.

  • Working Title
  • ‘Elevator pitch’ of your work (often written last).
  • Introduce your area of study, sharing details about your research question, problem statement , and hypotheses . Situate your research within an existing paradigm or conceptual or theoretical framework .
  • Subdivide as you see fit into main topics and sub-topics.
  • Describe your research methods (e.g., your scope, population , and data collection ).
  • Present your research findings and share about your data analysis methods.
  • Answer the research question in a concise way.
  • Interpret your findings, discuss potential limitations of your own research and speculate about future implications or related opportunities.

To help you get started, we’ve created a full thesis or dissertation template in Word or Google Docs format. It’s easy adapt it to your own requirements.

 Download Word template    Download Google Docs template

Chapter outline example British English

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of overusing the same words or sentence constructions, which can make your work monotonous and repetitive for your readers. Consider utilising some of the alternative constructions presented below.

Example 1: Passive construction

The passive voice is a common choice for outlines and overviews because the context makes it clear who is carrying out the action (e.g., you are conducting the research ). However, overuse of the passive voice can make your text vague and imprecise.

Example 2: IS-AV construction

You can also present your information using the ‘IS-AV’ (inanimate subject with an active verb) construction.

A chapter is an inanimate object, so it is not capable of taking an action itself (e.g., presenting or discussing). However, the meaning of the sentence is still easily understandable, so the IS-AV construction can be a good way to add variety to your text.

Example 3: The I construction

Another option is to use the ‘I’ construction, which is often recommended by style manuals (e.g., APA Style and Chicago style ). However, depending on your field of study, this construction is not always considered professional or academic. Ask your supervisor if you’re not sure.

Example 4: Mix-and-match

To truly make the most of these options, consider mixing and matching the passive voice , IS-AV construction , and ‘I’ construction .This can help the flow of your argument and improve the readability of your text.

As you draft the chapter outline, you may also find yourself frequently repeating the same words, such as ‘discuss’, ‘present’, ‘prove’, or ‘show’. Consider branching out to add richness and nuance to your writing. Here are some examples of synonyms you can use.

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organise your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.

The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .

Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract   in the table of contents.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

George, T. (2022, June 08). Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved 12 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/outline-thesis-dissertation/

Is this article helpful?

Tegan George

Tegan George

Other students also liked, dissertation table of contents in word | instructions & examples, how to write a dissertation proposal | a step-by-step guide, thesis & dissertation acknowledgements | tips & examples.

Grad Coach (R)

What’s Included: The Dissertation Template

If you’re preparing to write your dissertation, thesis or research project, our free dissertation template is the perfect starting point. In the template, we cover every section step by step, with clear, straightforward explanations and examples .

The template’s structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research projects such as dissertations and theses. The template structure reflects the overall research process, ensuring your dissertation or thesis will have a smooth, logical flow from chapter to chapter.

The dissertation template covers the following core sections:

  • The title page/cover page
  • Abstract (sometimes also called the executive summary)
  • Table of contents
  • List of figures /list of tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction  (also available: in-depth introduction template )
  • Chapter 2: Literature review  (also available: in-depth LR template )
  • Chapter 3: Methodology (also available: in-depth methodology template )
  • Chapter 4: Research findings /results (also available: results template )
  • Chapter 5: Discussion /analysis of findings (also available: discussion template )
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion (also available: in-depth conclusion template )
  • Reference list

Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language , followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover within each section. We’ve also included practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required in each section.

The cleanly-formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

FAQs: Dissertation Template

What format is the template (doc, pdf, ppt, etc.).

The dissertation template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for?

The template follows the standard best-practice structure for formal academic research projects such as dissertations or theses, so it is suitable for the vast majority of degrees, particularly those within the sciences.

Some universities may have some additional requirements, but these are typically minor, with the core structure remaining the same. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalise your structure.

Will this work for a research paper?

A research paper follows a similar format, but there are a few differences. You can find our research paper template here .

Is this template for an undergrad, Masters or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. It may be slight overkill for an undergraduate-level study, but it certainly won’t be missing anything.

How long should my dissertation/thesis be?

This depends entirely on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, Masters-level projects are usually 15,000 – 20,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects are often in excess of 60,000 words.

What about the research proposal?

If you’re still working on your research proposal, we’ve got a template for that here .

We’ve also got loads of proposal-related guides and videos over on the Grad Coach blog .

How do I write a literature review?

We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack how to write a literature review from scratch. You can check out the literature review section of the blog here.

How do I create a research methodology?

We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack research methodology, both qualitative and quantitative. You can check out the methodology section of the blog here.

Can I share this dissertation template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template. If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.

Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?

Within the template, you’ll find plain-language explanations of each section, which should give you a fair amount of guidance. However, you’re also welcome to consider our dissertation and thesis coaching services .

Free Webinar: Literature Review 101

Graduate School

  • Make a Gift

Organizing and Formatting Your Thesis and Dissertation

dissertation formatting examples

Learn about overall organization of your thesis or dissertation. Then, find details for formatting your preliminaries, text, and supplementaries.

Overall Organization

A typical thesis consists of three main parts – preliminaries, text, and supplementaries. Each part is to be organized as explained below and in the order indicated below:

1. Preliminaries:

  • Title page (required)
  • Copyright page (required)
  • Abstract (required) only one abstract allowed
  • Acknowledgments (optional) located in the Preliminary Section only
  • Preface (optional)
  • Autobiography (optional)
  • Dedication (optional)
  • Table of Contents (required)
  • List of Tables (optional)
  • List of Figures (optional)
  • List of Plates (optional)
  • List of Symbols (optional)
  • List of Keywords (optional)
  • Other Preliminaries (optional) such as Definition of Terms

3. Supplementaries:

  • References or bibliography (optional)
  • Appendices (optional)
  • Glossary (optional)
  • List of Abbreviations (optional)

The order of sections is important

Preliminaries

These are the general requirements for all preliminary pages.

  • Preliminary pages are numbered with lower case Roman numerals.
  • Page numbers are ½” from the bottom of the page and centered.
  • The copyright page is included in the manuscript immediately after the title page and is not assigned a page number nor counted.
  • The abstract page is numbered with the Roman numeral “ii”.
  • The remaining preliminary pages are arranged as listed under “Organizing and Formatting the Thesis/Dissertation” and numbered consecutively.
  • Headings for all preliminary pages must be centered in all capital letters 1” from the top of the page.
  • Do not bold the headings of the preliminary pages.

Preliminaries have no page number on the first two. Then it is numbered with roman numerals.

A sample Thesis title page pdf is available here ,  and a sample of a Dissertation title page pdf is available here.

Refer to the sample page as you read through the format requirements for the title page.

  • Do not use bold.
  • Center all text except the advisor and committee information.

The heading “ Thesis ” or “ Dissertation ” is in all capital letters, centered one inch from the top of the page.

  • Your title must be in all capital letters, double spaced and centered.
  • Your title on the title page must match the title on your GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form

Submitted by block

Divide this section exactly as shown on the sample page. One blank line must separate each line of text.

  • Submitted by
  • School of Advanced Materials Discovery 
  • School of Biomedical Engineering
  • Graduate Degree Program in Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Graduate Degree Program in Ecology

If your department name begins with “School of”, list as:

  • School of Education
  • School of Music, Theatre and Dance
  • School of Social Work

If you have questions about the correct name of your department or degree, consult your department. Areas of Study or specializations within a program are not listed on the Title Page.

Degree and Graduating Term block

  • In partial fulfillment of the requirements
  • For the Degree of
  • Colorado State University
  • Fort Collins, Colorado (do not abbreviate Colorado)

Committee block

  • Master’s students will use the heading Master’s Committee:
  • Doctoral students will use the heading Doctoral Committee:
  • The Master’s Committee and Doctoral Committee headings begin at the left margin.
  • One blank line separates the committee heading and the advisor section.
  • One blank line separates the advisor and committee section.
  • Advisor and committee member names are indented approximately half an inch from the left margin.
  • Titles before or after the names of your advisor and your members are not permitted (Examples – Dr., Professor, Ph.D.).

Copyright Page

  • A sample copyright page pdf is available here.
  • A copyright page is required.
  • A copyright page is included in the manuscript immediately after the title page.
  • This page is not assigned a number nor counted.
  • Center text vertically and horizontally.
  • A sample abstract page pdf is available here – refer to the sample page as you read through the format requirements for the abstract.
  • Only one abstract is permitted.
  • The heading “ Abstract ” is in all capital letters, centered one inch from the top of the page.
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) must be between the “ Abstract ” heading and your title.
  • Your title must be in all capital letters and centered.
  • The title must match the title on your Title Page and the GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) must be between the title and your text.
  • The text of your abstract must be double-spaced.
  • The first page of the abstract is numbered with a small Roman numeral ii.

Table of Contents

  • A sample Table of Contents page pdf is available.
  • The heading “ Table of Contents ” is in all capital letters centered one inch from the top of the page.
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) follow the heading.
  • List all parts of the document (except the title page) and the page numbers on which each part begins.
  • The titles of all parts are worded exactly as they appear in the document.
  • Titles and headings and the page numbers on which they begin are separated by a row of dot leaders.
  • Major headings are aligned flush with the left margin.
  • Page numbers are aligned flush with the right margin.

The text of a thesis features an introduction and several chapters, sections and subsections. Text may also include parenthetical references, footnotes, or references to the bibliography or endnotes.

Any references to journal publications, authors, contributions, etc. on your chapter pages or major heading pages should be listed as a footnote .

Text and Supplementaries use Arabic numbering starting at 1

  • The entire document is 8.5” x 11” (letter) size.
  • Pages may be in landscape position for figures and tables that do not fit in “portrait” position.
  • Choose one type style (font) and font size and use it throughout the text of your thesis. Examples: Times New Roman and Arial.
  • Font sizes should be between 10 point and 12 point.
  • Font color must be black. 
  • Hyperlinked text must be in blue. If you hyperlink more than one line of text, such as the entire table of contents, leave the text black. 
  • Margins are one inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right).
  • Always continue the text to the bottom margin except at the end of a chapter.

1 inch Margins

  • Please see preliminary page requirements .
  • Body and references are numbered with Arabic numerals beginning with the first page of text (numbered 1).
  • Page numbers must be centered ½” from the bottom of the page.

Major Headings

  • A sample page pdf for major headings and subheadings is available here.
  • Use consistent style for major headings.
  • Three blank lines (single-spaced) need to be between the major heading and your text.
  • Each chapter is started on a new page.
  • The References or Bibliography heading is a major heading and the formatting needs to match chapter headings.

Subheadings

  • A sample page pdf for major headings and subheadings is available here .
  • Style for subheadings is optional but the style should be consistent throughout.
  • Subheadings within a chapter (or section) do not begin on a new page unless the preceding page is filled. Continue the text to the bottom of the page unless at the end of a chapter.
  • Subheadings at the bottom of a page require two lines of text following the heading and at least two lines of text on the next page.

Running Head

Do not insert a running head.

When dividing paragraphs, at least two lines of text should appear at the bottom of the page and at least two lines of text on the next page.

Hyphenation

The last word on a page may not be divided. No more than three lines in succession may end with hyphens. Divide words as indicated in a standard dictionary.

  • The text of the thesis is double-spaced.
  • Bibliography or list of reference entries and data within large tables may be single-spaced. Footnotes should be single spaced.
  • Footnotes and bibliography or list of reference entries are separated by double-spacing.
  • Quoted material of more than three lines is indented and single-spaced. Quoted material that is three lines or fewer may be single-spaced for emphasis.

Poems should be double-spaced with triple-spacing between stanzas. Stanzas may be centered if lines are short.

  • Consult a style manual approved by your department for samples of footnotes.
  • Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis.
  • Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page on which the reference is made.
  • Footnotes are single-spaced.
  • Consult a style manual approved by your department for samples of endnotes.
  • Endnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis.
  • Endnotes may be placed at the end of each chapter or following the last page of text.
  • The form for an endnote is the same as a footnote. Type the heading “endnote”.

Tables and Figures

  • Tables and figures should follow immediately after first mentioned in the text or on the next page.
  • If they are placed on the next page, continue the text to the bottom of the preceding page.
  • Do not wrap text around tables or figures. Text can go above and/or below.
  • If more clarity is provided by placing tables and figures at the end of chapters or at the end of the text, this format is also acceptable.
  • Tables and Figures are placed before references.
  • Any diagram, drawing, graph, chart, map, photograph, or other type of illustration is presented in the thesis as a figure.
  • All tables and figures must conform to margin requirements.
  • Images can be resized to fit within margins
  • Table captions go above tables.
  • Figure captions go below figures.
  • Captions must be single spaced.

Landscape Tables and Figures

  • Large tables or figures can be placed on the page landscape or broadside orientation.
  • Landscape tables and figures should face the right margin (unbound side).
  • The top margin must be the same as on a regular page.
  • Page numbers for landscape or broadside tables or figures are placed on the 11” side.

Supplementaries

These are the general requirements for all supplementary pages.

  • Supplementary pages are arranged as listed under “Organizing and Formatting the Thesis/Dissertation” and numbered consecutively.
  • Headings for all supplementary pages are major headings and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.

Arabic numbers continue into the supplementaries.

References or Bibliography

  • The References or Bibliography heading is always a major heading and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.
  • References or Bibliography are ordered after each chapter, or at the end of the text.
  • References or Bibliography must start on a new page from the chapter text.
  • References are aligned flush with the left margin.
  • The style for references should follow the format appropriate for the field of study.
  • The style used must be consistent throughout the thesis.
  • Appendices are optional and used for supplementary material.
  • The Appendices heading is a major heading and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.
  • As an option the appendix may be introduced with a cover page bearing only the title centered vertically and horizontally on the page. The content of the appendix then begins on the second page with the standard one inch top margin.
  • Quality and format should be consistent with requirements for other parts of the thesis including margins.
  • Page numbers used in the appendix must continue from the main text.

A Foreign Language Thesis

Occasionally, theses are written in languages other than English. In such cases, an English translation of the title and abstract must be included in the document.

  • Submit one title page in the non-English language (no page number printed).
  • Submit one title page in English (no page number printed).
  • Submit one abstract in the non-English language (page number is ii).
  • Submit one abstract in English (page number is numbered consecutively from previous page – example: if the last page of the abstract in the foreign language is page ii the first page of the abstract in English is numbered page iii).

Multipart Thesis

In some departments, a student may do research on two or more generally related areas which would be difficult to combine into a single well-organized thesis. The solution is the multi-part thesis.

  • Each part is considered a separate unit, with its own chapters, bibliography or list of references, and appendix (optional); or it may have a combined bibliography or list of references and appendix.
  • A single abstract is required.
  • The pages of a multi-part thesis are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis, not through each part (therefore, the first page of Part II is not page 1).
  • The chapter numbering begins with Chapter 1 for each part, or the chapters may be numbered consecutively.
  • Pagination is consecutive throughout all parts, including numbered separation sheets between parts.
  • Each part may be preceded by a separation sheet listing the appropriate number and title.

Annotated Samples

Formatting examples.

Below you will find Microsoft Word templates and examples you can use for formatting your thesis/dissertation. These files are formatted to meet all the requirements of the graduate college. Additionally, the templates contain detailed instructions for using them to ensure that your thesis/dissertation is formatted correctly. However, even when using the templates, it is possible to accidentally re-format some content.

For best results, turn on hidden characters by clicking the ¶ (paragraph) symbol in the Home ribbon of Microsoft Word. When pasting text into the template, right-click where you want to paste the text, and then select the “Paste text only” option to clear all formatting attributes from the source document. Use the  formatting checklist  to check that all of your content is formatted according to Graduate College requirements. Finally,  schedule a format check  with a CCE thesis/dissertation consultant to get feedback on your formatting.

Including a Title Page is  required . Some of the most common thesis/dissertation mistakes are made on the title page. Follow the bullets below, paying close attention to capitalization, spacing, line breaks, actual date of graduation, and copyright statement. These bullets will guide you through the title page.

  • No page number is displayed on the title page.  It is always assumed page 'i' .
  • Title is at top of page.
  • Title is single spaced.
  • Title does not contain a period.
  • The first word in the title and the first word following a colon are capitalized.
  • Proper nouns and acronyms in the title are capitalized
  • The word "by" is lowercase.
  • BOLD  your name and the title.
  • Student name should match name in AccessPlus.
  • If student name does not match name in AccessPlus, include AccessPlus name in parenthes is under the name you are using.
  • The word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is used in the “fulfillment of requirements” statement
  • The phrase “MASTER OF...” or “DOCTOR OF...” is used
  • Only the Major(s) and (if applicable) the specialization(s) are listed (minors  are  not listed)
  • Do not include Dr., Esq., Ph.D., AIA, or other titles or affiliations before or after your name or faculty names.
  • “Major Professor” is listed after the respective faculty’s name.
  • For Co-major Professors, list both as “Co-major Professor”; do not use “Major Professor”
  • Committee member names are single spaced
  • The word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is used in the “responsibility of content” statement
  • Iowa State University is listed
  • Ames, Iowa is listed
  • Graduation year is listed
  • Copyright statement is written as: Copyright © Name as Shown on AccessPlus, Graduation Year. All rights reserved.

Annotated Examples

Sample Title Page

Master's Title Page

Master's Title Page_Co-Majors

Master's Title Page_Specialization

Master's Title Page _2 Specializations

Master's Title Page_2 Majors and 3 Specializations

Mater's Title Page_Double Degree

PhD Title Page

PhD Title Page_Co-Majors

PhD Title Page_Specialization

PhD Title Page_2 Specializations

PhD Title Page_2 Majors and 3 Specializations

Sample Title Page with Alternative Student Name

Table of Contents

Including a Table of Contents is  required . The Table of Contents shows the reader the organization of the document as well as displays the correct page numbers. The bulleted items explain various heading styles for you to follow. They also demonstrate various preliminary pages' formats.

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS, Heading Level 0 (not in ToC).
  • Do not list 'TABLE OF CONTENTS' in the Table of Contents.
  • DEDICATION, if used, precedes the table of contents. Its page number is 'ii'.
  • The order for the preliminary pages that follow the table of contents are LIST OF TABLES (optional), LIST OF FIGURES (optional), NOMENCLATURE (optional), ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (optional), ABSTRACT (required).
  • Preliminary page numbers are lower case Roman numerals in the same font as the document's text, top center.
  • No text in the page number column. Wrap the text.
  • Single-space chapter headings and subheadings. Double-space before a new chapter.
  • Chapter titles are uppercase letters, same size and font.
  • Chapter 1 begins with Arabic numeral '1' in the same font as the text.
  • Indent first and second level headings below the major headings. No underlining, boldface, or italics.
  • Ensure page numbers in the Table of Content agree with the text.
  • All headings must match the corresponding headings in text.
  • No single line of text at the top or bottom of page.
  • Force a page break to ensure at least two lines of the same heading level are together at the top or bottom of the page.

Traditional Format Table of Contents

Journal Format Table of Contents

Single Journal Format Table of Contents

MFA Format Table of Contents

List of Tables or Figures

Including a List of Tables and/or a List of Figures is  optional . If you have one list, you must have the other list. Each list starts on a new page regardless of how many entries are on the page.

  • LIST OF FIGURES or LIST OF TABLES in Heading Level 0 (included in TOC)
  • If you have one of these lists, then you have the other as well
  • Page number columns are right justified
  • "Page" is written above the page numbers column (only on the first page of the list) and is right justified
  • Page is numbered using lower case Roman numerals, top center
  • The word “Table” or “Figure” comes before the title or figure number (e.g., “Table 1. Title”)
  • Titles of tables and figures do not run into the page number column
  • Titles have all the same capitalization, size, and same font
  • If table/figure captions are longer than two lines, align figure and table captions under the text, not the figure or table number
  • Indent the second line of a title if it is wrapped to a second line
  • Single-space list entries
  • Double-space between list entries
  • Entries should not be bolded or italicized
  • Traditional format: Continue numbers throughout the document (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3)
  • Option 1:  Restart Figure/Table caption number for each chapter (e.g. Figure 1, Table 1),  write "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", Chapter X, etc. to separate each chapter section in the List of Figures and/or List of Tables. 
  • Option 2: Use Figure/Table caption number with each chapter number, (e.g. Figure 2.1, Figure 2.2, etc. or Table 2.1, Table 2.2, etc.), write Figure/Table + Chapter number followed by figure/table number for the respective chapter.

List of Tables Traditional Format

List of Figures Traditional Format

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

Including an abstract is  required . The abstract is a concise summary of the dissertation or thesis’s purpose, highlights the main points, states the method used, provides findings, and states conclusions. Oftentimes, readers only read the abstract to determine if they should read the document.

  • ABSTRACT in Heading Level 0 (included in ToC)
  • Do not include references, images, and complex equations
  • Page numbers use the same font as your text in lower case Roman numerals, top center
  • Double-spaced 
  • Indent paragraphs like other paragraphs in your dissertation/thesis
  • There is no word limit for the ABSTRACT

Abstract Page

Traditional Body Format

There are two format styles—traditional and journal. The traditional format is basically one document; whereas, journal is a compilation of several manuscripts for journal publication. See the  Journal Article Format  section for instructions for papers including journal publications.

  • All chapter titles are written in Heading Level 1 style, which is centered, bold, and all capitalized
  • Begin first page of Chapter 1 with ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text.
  • Indent all paragraphs
  • No blank pages
  • No excessive white space in text. Pages must be ¾ filled, unless it’s the last page of the chapter
  • Organize in a coherent and consistent manner, same size, location, font, etc.
  • All Heading Level 0s (Preliminary Pages, Reference/Bibliography, and Appendix)  must be in all caps, bold, same size font, and located at the top of the page
  • Recommended: Level two headings are bold and centered with initial caps, except for conjunctions, prepositions, and pronouns
  • Recommended: Level three headings are bold, left flush, initial word first letter cap.
  • Use headings in a consistent manner, same size, location, font, etc.
  • Differentiation exists between heading levels.
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page before a paragraph is continued to the next page.
  • Headings or subheadings must include at least two lines of text at the bottom of a page.
  • Include the first page of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval in the appendix. Refer to it in the text.
  • Do not include any signatures; otherwise, redact them.

Journal Article Format

This manuscript format refers to the use of articles and/or book chapters to replace the standard thesis/dissertation chapters. Publication of the manuscript(s) is not a requirement of this format. The graduate student is the major contributor and writer of the manuscript(s). In the case of multiple authorship, the contribution of each author is detailed in the Introduction or footnotes.

  • Chapter 1 must be titled “GENERAL INTRODUCTION” and the final chapter must be titled “GENERAL CONCLUSION”
  • Begin CHAPTER 1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION with page ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text.
  • Author affiliations
  • The following text: Modified from a manuscript published in/under review in/to be submitted to  Journal Name
  • Each manuscript chapter must include an Abstract (Heading Level 2), References or Bibliography (Heading Level 2), and any respective Figures or Tables embedded within the chapter or in a “Figures and Tables” section (Heading Level 2)
  • Recommended: Level two headings are bold and centered with initial caps, except for conjunctions, prepositions, and pronouns.
  • Continue the text of the paper on the same page as the title and abstract. Titles should not stand alone on a page.
  • The references section should appear continuously after the manuscript text; It does not start on a new page; References must be single-spaced, with double-spacing in-between
  • Use headings of the same level in a consistent manner, same size, location, font, etc.
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page. This includes paragraphs that carry over to the next page.
  • Appendices must be included within the respective chapters, NOT as sections at the end of the thesis/dissertation. See the  Appendix section  for more details on specific formatting requirements

Author Affiliation

Bibliography or References

Including a bibliography or reference section is  required . Every thesis/dissertation that uses other sources, either by direct quotation or reference, must have a bibliography or listing of these sources at the end before the Appendices. The organization of references or bibliography according to specific disciplines can be accepted if approved by the committee.

  • For Journal Article format, use Heading Level 2 at the end of each chapter before any appendix(ces); Appears immediately following the body of the text (does not start on a new page)
  • For Traditional format, use Heading Level 0 (included in ToC) after the final chapter before any appendix(ces); Start on a new page
  • Website URLs must contain complete descriptions and dates of the information used and date information accessed.
  • Single space references with double-space between references OR double-spaced references throughout.

Citation Style Guides

Traditional Format References

Journal Format References

Discipline-specific Organization

Use one or more appendices for materials that do not pertain directly, but are relevant, to the main text. Examples of appendix material include survey instruments, Institutional Review Board approval, permission forms, additional data, or raw data. The material within the appendices may be in a different font or use different spacing from the main text of the dissertation/thesis.

  • Appendix. Title
  • Appendix A. Title
  • Appendix B. Title
  • Lettering schema restarts in every chapter
  • APPENDIX. TITLE
  • APPENDIX A. TITLE
  • APPENDIX B. TITLE
  • Number all pages with the same font and location as text pages.
  • Fonts may be different.
  • Letters and documents should not contain signatures or personal information. Redact the information.

Tables, Figures & Schemas

  • Include tables, figures, and schema in the text below their first reference in the text or they can be grouped at the end of each chapter. Use a consistent style throughout.
  • Table, figure, and schema margins should be the same as the manuscript’s pages.
  • Locate table captions at the top of the table.
  • Locate figure captions at the bottom of the figure.
  • Locate schema captions at the top or bottom consistently.
  • Wrap captions longer than one line under the caption’s text. Long captions can be single spaced.
  • There must be 2 lines of the caption on the same page as the figure or table
  • Table/figure/schema too large to fit on one page: use “Table X continued' at the top of the table on each subsequent page. “Figure X continued” under the figure on each subsequent page.
  • Turn landscape tables, figures, and schema so the top of the table/figure is located to the left.
  • Page numbers on landscape pages should not turn with the table/figure. Locate on the 8.5' end of the page in the same position and orientation as the other page numbers.

Table Example

Table Continued Example

Figure Example

Figure Continued Example (Long Caption)

Figure Continued Example (Long Figure)

Figure in Portrait and Landscape Orientation

Page Numbers of Landscape Pages

  • Privacy Policy
  • SignUp/Login

Research Method

Home » Dissertation – Format, Example and Template

Dissertation – Format, Example and Template

Table of Contents

Dissertation

Dissertation

Definition:

Dissertation is a lengthy and detailed academic document that presents the results of original research on a specific topic or question. It is usually required as a final project for a doctoral degree or a master’s degree.

Dissertation Meaning in Research

In Research , a dissertation refers to a substantial research project that students undertake in order to obtain an advanced degree such as a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree.

Dissertation typically involves the exploration of a particular research question or topic in-depth, and it requires students to conduct original research, analyze data, and present their findings in a scholarly manner. It is often the culmination of years of study and represents a significant contribution to the academic field.

Types of Dissertation

Types of Dissertation are as follows:

Empirical Dissertation

An empirical dissertation is a research study that uses primary data collected through surveys, experiments, or observations. It typically follows a quantitative research approach and uses statistical methods to analyze the data.

Non-Empirical Dissertation

A non-empirical dissertation is based on secondary sources, such as books, articles, and online resources. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as content analysis or discourse analysis.

Narrative Dissertation

A narrative dissertation is a personal account of the researcher’s experience or journey. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as interviews, focus groups, or ethnography.

Systematic Literature Review

A systematic literature review is a comprehensive analysis of existing research on a specific topic. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as meta-analysis or thematic analysis.

Case Study Dissertation

A case study dissertation is an in-depth analysis of a specific individual, group, or organization. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as interviews, observations, or document analysis.

Mixed-Methods Dissertation

A mixed-methods dissertation combines both quantitative and qualitative research approaches to gather and analyze data. It typically uses methods such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups, as well as statistical analysis.

How to Write a Dissertation

Here are some general steps to help guide you through the process of writing a dissertation:

  • Choose a topic : Select a topic that you are passionate about and that is relevant to your field of study. It should be specific enough to allow for in-depth research but broad enough to be interesting and engaging.
  • Conduct research : Conduct thorough research on your chosen topic, utilizing a variety of sources, including books, academic journals, and online databases. Take detailed notes and organize your information in a way that makes sense to you.
  • Create an outline : Develop an outline that will serve as a roadmap for your dissertation. The outline should include the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.
  • Write the introduction: The introduction should provide a brief overview of your topic, the research questions, and the significance of the study. It should also include a clear thesis statement that states your main argument.
  • Write the literature review: The literature review should provide a comprehensive analysis of existing research on your topic. It should identify gaps in the research and explain how your study will fill those gaps.
  • Write the methodology: The methodology section should explain the research methods you used to collect and analyze data. It should also include a discussion of any limitations or weaknesses in your approach.
  • Write the results: The results section should present the findings of your research in a clear and organized manner. Use charts, graphs, and tables to help illustrate your data.
  • Write the discussion: The discussion section should interpret your results and explain their significance. It should also address any limitations of the study and suggest areas for future research.
  • Write the conclusion: The conclusion should summarize your main findings and restate your thesis statement. It should also provide recommendations for future research.
  • Edit and revise: Once you have completed a draft of your dissertation, review it carefully to ensure that it is well-organized, clear, and free of errors. Make any necessary revisions and edits before submitting it to your advisor for review.

Dissertation Format

The format of a dissertation may vary depending on the institution and field of study, but generally, it follows a similar structure:

  • Title Page: This includes the title of the dissertation, the author’s name, and the date of submission.
  • Abstract : A brief summary of the dissertation’s purpose, methods, and findings.
  • Table of Contents: A list of the main sections and subsections of the dissertation, along with their page numbers.
  • Introduction : A statement of the problem or research question, a brief overview of the literature, and an explanation of the significance of the study.
  • Literature Review : A comprehensive review of the literature relevant to the research question or problem.
  • Methodology : A description of the methods used to conduct the research, including data collection and analysis procedures.
  • Results : A presentation of the findings of the research, including tables, charts, and graphs.
  • Discussion : A discussion of the implications of the findings, their significance in the context of the literature, and limitations of the study.
  • Conclusion : A summary of the main points of the study and their implications for future research.
  • References : A list of all sources cited in the dissertation.
  • Appendices : Additional materials that support the research, such as data tables, charts, or transcripts.

Dissertation Outline

Dissertation Outline is as follows:

Title Page:

  • Title of dissertation
  • Author name
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Date of submission
  • Brief summary of the dissertation’s research problem, objectives, methods, findings, and implications
  • Usually around 250-300 words

Table of Contents:

  • List of chapters and sections in the dissertation, with page numbers for each

I. Introduction

  • Background and context of the research
  • Research problem and objectives
  • Significance of the research

II. Literature Review

  • Overview of existing literature on the research topic
  • Identification of gaps in the literature
  • Theoretical framework and concepts

III. Methodology

  • Research design and methods used
  • Data collection and analysis techniques
  • Ethical considerations

IV. Results

  • Presentation and analysis of data collected
  • Findings and outcomes of the research
  • Interpretation of the results

V. Discussion

  • Discussion of the results in relation to the research problem and objectives
  • Evaluation of the research outcomes and implications
  • Suggestions for future research

VI. Conclusion

  • Summary of the research findings and outcomes
  • Implications for the research topic and field
  • Limitations and recommendations for future research

VII. References

  • List of sources cited in the dissertation

VIII. Appendices

  • Additional materials that support the research, such as tables, figures, or questionnaires.

Example of Dissertation

Here is an example Dissertation for students:

Title : Exploring the Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Academic Achievement and Well-being among College Students

This dissertation aims to investigate the impact of mindfulness meditation on the academic achievement and well-being of college students. Mindfulness meditation has gained popularity as a technique for reducing stress and enhancing mental health, but its effects on academic performance have not been extensively studied. Using a randomized controlled trial design, the study will compare the academic performance and well-being of college students who practice mindfulness meditation with those who do not. The study will also examine the moderating role of personality traits and demographic factors on the effects of mindfulness meditation.

Chapter Outline:

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Background and rationale for the study
  • Research questions and objectives
  • Significance of the study
  • Overview of the dissertation structure

Chapter 2: Literature Review

  • Definition and conceptualization of mindfulness meditation
  • Theoretical framework of mindfulness meditation
  • Empirical research on mindfulness meditation and academic achievement
  • Empirical research on mindfulness meditation and well-being
  • The role of personality and demographic factors in the effects of mindfulness meditation

Chapter 3: Methodology

  • Research design and hypothesis
  • Participants and sampling method
  • Intervention and procedure
  • Measures and instruments
  • Data analysis method

Chapter 4: Results

  • Descriptive statistics and data screening
  • Analysis of main effects
  • Analysis of moderating effects
  • Post-hoc analyses and sensitivity tests

Chapter 5: Discussion

  • Summary of findings
  • Implications for theory and practice
  • Limitations and directions for future research
  • Conclusion and contribution to the literature

Chapter 6: Conclusion

  • Recap of the research questions and objectives
  • Summary of the key findings
  • Contribution to the literature and practice
  • Implications for policy and practice
  • Final thoughts and recommendations.

References :

List of all the sources cited in the dissertation

Appendices :

Additional materials such as the survey questionnaire, interview guide, and consent forms.

Note : This is just an example and the structure of a dissertation may vary depending on the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the institution or the supervisor.

How Long is a Dissertation

The length of a dissertation can vary depending on the field of study, the level of degree being pursued, and the specific requirements of the institution. Generally, a dissertation for a doctoral degree can range from 80,000 to 100,000 words, while a dissertation for a master’s degree may be shorter, typically ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 words. However, it is important to note that these are general guidelines and the actual length of a dissertation can vary widely depending on the specific requirements of the program and the research topic being studied. It is always best to consult with your academic advisor or the guidelines provided by your institution for more specific information on dissertation length.

Applications of Dissertation

Here are some applications of a dissertation:

  • Advancing the Field: Dissertations often include new research or a new perspective on existing research, which can help to advance the field. The results of a dissertation can be used by other researchers to build upon or challenge existing knowledge, leading to further advancements in the field.
  • Career Advancement: Completing a dissertation demonstrates a high level of expertise in a particular field, which can lead to career advancement opportunities. For example, having a PhD can open doors to higher-paying jobs in academia, research institutions, or the private sector.
  • Publishing Opportunities: Dissertations can be published as books or journal articles, which can help to increase the visibility and credibility of the author’s research.
  • Personal Growth: The process of writing a dissertation involves a significant amount of research, analysis, and critical thinking. This can help students to develop important skills, such as time management, problem-solving, and communication, which can be valuable in both their personal and professional lives.
  • Policy Implications: The findings of a dissertation can have policy implications, particularly in fields such as public health, education, and social sciences. Policymakers can use the research to inform decision-making and improve outcomes for the population.

When to Write a Dissertation

Here are some situations where writing a dissertation may be necessary:

  • Pursuing a Doctoral Degree: Writing a dissertation is usually a requirement for earning a doctoral degree, so if you are interested in pursuing a doctorate, you will likely need to write a dissertation.
  • Conducting Original Research : Dissertations require students to conduct original research on a specific topic. If you are interested in conducting original research on a topic, writing a dissertation may be the best way to do so.
  • Advancing Your Career: Some professions, such as academia and research, may require individuals to have a doctoral degree. Writing a dissertation can help you advance your career by demonstrating your expertise in a particular area.
  • Contributing to Knowledge: Dissertations are often based on original research that can contribute to the knowledge base of a field. If you are passionate about advancing knowledge in a particular area, writing a dissertation can help you achieve that goal.
  • Meeting Academic Requirements : If you are a graduate student, writing a dissertation may be a requirement for completing your program. Be sure to check with your academic advisor to determine if this is the case for you.

Purpose of Dissertation

some common purposes of a dissertation include:

  • To contribute to the knowledge in a particular field : A dissertation is often the culmination of years of research and study, and it should make a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge in a particular field.
  • To demonstrate mastery of a subject: A dissertation requires extensive research, analysis, and writing, and completing one demonstrates a student’s mastery of their subject area.
  • To develop critical thinking and research skills : A dissertation requires students to think critically about their research question, analyze data, and draw conclusions based on evidence. These skills are valuable not only in academia but also in many professional fields.
  • To demonstrate academic integrity: A dissertation must be conducted and written in accordance with rigorous academic standards, including ethical considerations such as obtaining informed consent, protecting the privacy of participants, and avoiding plagiarism.
  • To prepare for an academic career: Completing a dissertation is often a requirement for obtaining a PhD and pursuing a career in academia. It can demonstrate to potential employers that the student has the necessary skills and experience to conduct original research and make meaningful contributions to their field.
  • To develop writing and communication skills: A dissertation requires a significant amount of writing and communication skills to convey complex ideas and research findings in a clear and concise manner. This skill set can be valuable in various professional fields.
  • To demonstrate independence and initiative: A dissertation requires students to work independently and take initiative in developing their research question, designing their study, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. This demonstrates to potential employers or academic institutions that the student is capable of independent research and taking initiative in their work.
  • To contribute to policy or practice: Some dissertations may have a practical application, such as informing policy decisions or improving practices in a particular field. These dissertations can have a significant impact on society, and their findings may be used to improve the lives of individuals or communities.
  • To pursue personal interests: Some students may choose to pursue a dissertation topic that aligns with their personal interests or passions, providing them with the opportunity to delve deeper into a topic that they find personally meaningful.

Advantage of Dissertation

Some advantages of writing a dissertation include:

  • Developing research and analytical skills: The process of writing a dissertation involves conducting extensive research, analyzing data, and presenting findings in a clear and coherent manner. This process can help students develop important research and analytical skills that can be useful in their future careers.
  • Demonstrating expertise in a subject: Writing a dissertation allows students to demonstrate their expertise in a particular subject area. It can help establish their credibility as a knowledgeable and competent professional in their field.
  • Contributing to the academic community: A well-written dissertation can contribute new knowledge to the academic community and potentially inform future research in the field.
  • Improving writing and communication skills : Writing a dissertation requires students to write and present their research in a clear and concise manner. This can help improve their writing and communication skills, which are essential for success in many professions.
  • Increasing job opportunities: Completing a dissertation can increase job opportunities in certain fields, particularly in academia and research-based positions.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Thesis Outline

Thesis Outline – Example, Template and Writing...

Research Paper Conclusion

Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and...

Appendices

Appendices – Writing Guide, Types and Examples

Research Report

Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and...

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Scope of the Research

Scope of the Research – Writing Guide and...

  • How it works

service image 										book imgae

Full Dissertation Samples and Examples

Students often face difficulty in starting their dissertations. One way to cater to this problem is to look at samples of full dissertations available online. We understand this problem. Therefore, our professionals have curated expert full dissertation examples for students to get inspired by and start working on their own dissertations.

Full Dissertation Sample

Discipline: Economics

Quality: 1st / 78%

Discipline: Business

Quality: 1st / 74%

Discipline: Big Data

Quality: 2:1 / 68%

Undergraduate

Discipline: Engineering Management

Quality: 2:1 / 69%

Discipline: Business Management

Discipline: Project Management

Quality: 1st / 73%

Discipline: Physiotherapy

Quality: 1st / 79%

Discipline: Marketing

Quality: 1st / 76%

Discipline: HRM

Discipline: Civil Engineering

Theism and Ultimate Explanation of the Existence of God” against ….

Dissertation

Extraversion and Occupational Choice

Feeding and resource buffers in ccpm and the impact of their use …..

Project Management

Impact of the Global Financial Crisis 2008-2009 on the UK ….

Material selection for innovative design of automotive component.

Engineering

Cognitive Process of Entrepreneurs in the Examination ….

Entrepreneurship

The Impact of Gender on Purchase Decision and Buying Behaviour ….

The leadership styles of successful project managers …., why manchester united football club has been one of the most successful sports …., investigating the impact of employee engagement on organisational performance…., should countries implement a constitutional court for fundamental rights breaches, optimising global supply chain operations: a collection of undergraduate dissertation samples.

Supply Chain

Newspaper coverage of refugees from Mainland China between 1937 and 1941 in Hong Kong

Our full dissetation features, customised dissertations.

These examples of a full dissertation are just for reference. We provide work based on your requirements.

Expert Writers

We have professional dissertation writers in each field to complete your dissertations.

Quality Control

These expert full dissertation examples showcase the quality of work that can be expected from us.

Plagiarism Free

We ensure that our content is 100% plagiarism free and checked with paid tools.

Proofreading

The dissertations are proofread by professionals to remove any errors before delivery.

We set our prices according to the affordability of the majority of students so everyone can avail.

Loved by over 100,000 students

Thousands of students have used ResearchProspect academic support services to improve their grades. Why are you waiting?

sitejabber

"I was having the hardest time starting my dissertation. I went online and checked their full dissertation samples. It helped me a lot! "

review image

Law Student

"Trusting someone with your work is hard. I wanted a reliable resource. I saw their full dissertation samples and immediately placed my order. "

review image

Literature Student

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is a complex and comprehensive academic project students must complete towards the end of their degree programme. It requires deep independent research on a topic approved by your tutor. A dissertation contains five chapters – introduction, literature review, methodology, discussion, and conclusion. This is the standard structure for a dissertation unless stated otherwise by your tutor or institution.

Writing a Dissertation Proposal

After selecting a topic, the next step is preparing a proposal. A dissertation proposal is a plan or outline of the research you intend to conduct. It gives a background to the topic, lays out your research aims and objectives, and gives details of the research methodology you intend to use.

If your university accepts your proposal, you can start work on the dissertation paper. If it’s not accepted at first, make amendments to the proposal based on your supervisor’s feedback.

Referencing

Referencing is not some little detail at the end of the paper. Without correct referencing, even a brilliant paper can fail miserably. Citing every source accurately is an absolute must.

Don't Neglect Small Details.

Completing a dissertation proves you can carry out something thoroughly. Therefore, you should attend to each part of the dissertation and omit nothing.

Things like creating a table of contents with the page numbers listed, the reference list, and appendices are all parts of a dissertation. They all contribute to your grade. Look at our dissertation samples and writing guides to get a good understanding.

Choosing Your Dissertation Topic

Choosing a dissertation topic is the first step towards writing a dissertation. However, you should make sure the topic is relevant to your degree programme. It should investigate a specific problem and contribute towards the existing literature.

In order to stay motivated throughout the process, the research topic should be in line with your interests. At ResearchProspect, our expert academics can provide you with unique, manageable topics so you can choose one that suits your needs. Whether you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate student, topics from ResearchProspect can go a long way towards helping you achieve your desired grade.

How to Write a Dissertation

Acceptance of your dissertation proposal is the starting signal. Check out our dissertation writing service and look through our thesis samples to grasp the typical writing style.

Structure of a Dissertation

You have a topic and it’s been accepted. Now comes the structure and format. The first chapter will introduce the topic, the second should then explore it deeply and discuss relevant models, frameworks, and concepts.

The third chapter is where you explain your methodology in detail. The fourth and fifth chapters are for discussing the results and concluding the research, respectively.

Our full dissertation samples and writing guides will help you better understand dissertation structure and formatting.

How ResearchProspect Can Help!

Looking for dissertation help? At ResearchProspect, we know how difficult producing a first-class dissertation is. When you have other projects on, it’s particularly demanding.

Head to our order form. You can place your order today. If you’re not ready to commit yet, just message us about your project and what you’re considering. We have experts to write your full dissertation to your requirements.

Explore More Samples

View our professional samples to be certain that we have the portofilio and capabilities to deliver what you need.

USEFUL LINKS

LEARNING RESOURCES

DMCA.com Protection Status

COMPANY DETAILS

Research-Prospect-Writing-Service

  • How It Works

Chicago 17th (A) Notes and Bibliography

  • Note citation

Bibliography

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Audiovisual and music scores
  • Books and chapters
  • Government sources
  • Images and captions
  • Interviews and personal communication
  • Journal articles
  • News sources
  • Primary sources
  • Sacred and ancient sources

University lectures, theses and dissertations

  • Web, social media, games and apps
  • Print this page
  • Other styles AGLC4 APA 7th Chicago 17th (A) Notes Chicago 17th (B) Author-Date Harvard MLA 9th Vancouver
  • Referencing home

Online lectures

Note number. Lecturer Full Name, "Title of Lecture: Subtitle," Unit Code: Title of Unit . (Lecture, University, Location, Month DD, YYYY). URL.

1. Leah Gerber, “Translation/Transnation: Lecture 3,” APG5555: Translation Studies . (Lecture, Monash University, Caulfield VIC, May 1, 2012). https://echo360.org.au/lesson/G_4fc1005c-0815-63e0-91b6-abbecf_90ad7995-7df3-4bed-baf4-96df922b5e5f_2012-0T11:58:00.000/classroom#sortDirection=desc.

2. Mark Smith, "Baroque Art: Week 4," AHT1111: Art History and Theory. (Lecture, Monash University, Caulfield VIC, July 15, 2021). https://lms.monash.edu/mod/resource/view.php?id=10100789.

Subsequent note entry

3. Gerber, “Translation/Transnation.”

Lecturer Surname, First Name. “Title of Lecture: Subtitle.” Unit Code: Title of Unit . Lecture presented at University Name, Location, Month DD, YYYY. URL.

Gerber, Leah. “Translation/Transnation: Lecture 3.” APG5555: Translation Studies. Lecture presented at Monash University, Caulfield VIC, May 1, 2012. https://echo360.org.au/lesson/G_4fc1005c-0815-63e0-91b6-abbecf_90ad7995-7df3-4bed-baf4-96df922b5e5f_2012-0T11:58:00.000/classroom#sortDirection=desc.

Smith, Mark. "Baroque Art: Week 4." AHT1111: Art History and Theory. Lecture presented at Monash University, Caulfield VIC, July 15, 2021. https://lms.monash.edu/mod/resource/view.php?id=10100789.

  • References to university lecture recordings and presentation slides follow similar patterns to other audiovisual material and presentations.

Online theses or dissertations

Note number. Author Full Name, “Title of Thesis: Subtitle” (Thesis type, University Name, Year of award), page number(s), Database name (Document identifier) or URL.

1. Shakela Carion Johnson, “An Examination of the Social Characteristics and Beliefs of Delinquent and Non-Delinquent Youth” (PhD thesis, Auburn University, 2007), ProQuest (AAI3270975).

2. Ilya Vedrashko, “Advertising in Computer Games” (master’s thesis, MIT, 2006), 59, http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/39144.

3. Johnson, “An Examination of the Social Characteristics and Beliefs of Delinquent and Non-Delinquent Youth”.

Author Surname, First Name. “Title of Thesis: Subtitle.” Thesis type, University Name, Year of award. Database name (Document identifier) or URL.

Johnson, Shakela Carion. “An Examination of the Social Characteristics and Beliefs of Delinquent and Non-Delinquent Youth.” PhD thesis, Auburn University, 2007. ProQuest (AAI3270975).

Vedrashko, Ilya. “Advertising in Computer Games.” Master’s thesis, MIT, 2006. http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/39144.

  • << Previous: Sacred and ancient sources
  • Next: Web, social media, games and apps >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 15, 2024 11:01 AM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.monash.edu/chicago-17-a-notes

University of Leeds logo

  • Study and research support
  • Academic skills

Dissertation examples

Listed below are some of the best examples of research projects and dissertations from undergraduate and taught postgraduate students at the University of Leeds We have not been able to gather examples from all schools. The module requirements for research projects may have changed since these examples were written. Refer to your module guidelines to make sure that you address all of the current assessment criteria. Some of the examples below are only available to access on campus.

  • Undergraduate examples
  • Taught Masters examples

Dissertation and Thesis Deposit

  • Graduate Degrees-Contact Us
  • Graduate Degree Calendar
  • Graduate Groups
  • Graduation FAQs
  • Graduation Application
  • Dissertation Copyright
  • Dissertation Embargo Guidelines
  • Dissertation Templates
  • ETD Administrator
  • Formatting FAQs
  • Sample Dissertation Title Page

Writing and submitting your dissertation or thesis are among the final steps leading to the award of the PhD or Research Master’s degree. 

At the University of Pennsylvania, a doctoral candidate presents and defends the dissertation publicly, and then, with the approval of the dissertation committee and graduate group chair, submits the final manuscript for publication.  Finally, the PhD degree is awarded to the candidate upon the recommendation of the Graduate Council of the Faculties.

Deposit Appointment

Depositing your finalized dissertation is the final step to obtain your degree. Degree candidates must confirm with their  graduate group coordinator that all required forms have been submitted in  Penn Graduate Forms  before the date of their deposit appointment. 

View the  PhD Graduation Checklist  for instructions on how to deposit and guidelines for a  final formatting check . 

Doctoral degree candidates will schedule a deposit appointment; however, this is not a meeting, and you will not be present when your dissertation is reviewed. Deposit appointments are scheduled to manage the flow of degree candidate submissions received from all schools.

Deposit appointments are scheduled via Calend.ly and available during the deposit periods listed on the Graduation Calendar. Students who wish to schedule deposit appointments during peak times (the last three weeks of a term) will be required to attend a formatting pre-check appointment with a Graduate Fellow prior to their appointment. Email  [email protected]  to sign up for peak appointment times.

During the time of your scheduled appointment these graduation requirements will be examined to determine if you are eligible for publication approval and degree clearance:

  • required benchmarks and milestones in  Penn Graduate Forms
  • bursar balance and holds on the  Penn.Pay account
  • completion of two PhD surveys
  • final, approved dissertation submitted in  ETD Administrator

In preparation for the submission of a dissertation, degree candidates should consult the  PhD Dissertation Formatting Guide  and  Formatting Templates  early and often for assistance with the formatting of their work. Formatting will likely take longer than you anticipate, so please set yourself up for success by following the formatting guideless for your own document early in the process or using the dissertation template provided. 

Complete the  PhD Dissertation Formatting Checklist  and make sure your title page looks like the  sample dissertation title pages . 

One-on-one Formatting Support

One-on-one formatting support is available via Zoom for PhD students with our Dissertation and Thesis Graduate Fellow. The Graduate Fellow is available to meet with students who have formatting questions, need technical support in Word, or just for peace of mind before a deposit appointment. Students can book an appointment directly with the Graduate Fellow at:  https://calendly.com/elwebb/graduatefellow .

Students can also attend weekly drop-in hours in person at the Graduate Student Center for formatting help; check the  Graduate Student Center calendar  for the current schedule. 

Students who plan to deposit during peak periods will be required to attend a pre-deposit appointment with the Graduate Fellow. The dissertation does not need to be finalized for this pre-check appointment, but students should have their preliminary pages (title page, optional copyright notice, table of contents, etc.) ready with their draft of the main text.

Additionally, any student who uploads a dissertation with significant formatting errors will be required to meet virtually with our Graduate Fellow for support before they submit a new draft.

Requirements to Graduate

In the final term of their program, the Research Master’s degree candidate must complete these steps to graduate:

1. Apply to graduate using the  Graduation Application

2. Schedule a  thesis deposit appoint ment

3. Upload the final, approved, and properly formatted thesis  in this Qualtrics form

4. Meet all graduate degree requirements within the program of study

5. Clear their bursar bill in  Penn.Pay .

Graduate Groups that Deposit a Thesis

Only Research Master’s students in the following graduate groups may be required to submit a thesis to the Degree Office.

The Research Master’s thesis must follow the formatting procedures in the  Master’s Thesis Style Guide .

Research Master’s candidates will  schedule a deposit appointment ; however, this is NOT a meeting and you will not be present when your thesis is reviewed. During the time of your scheduled appointment, these graduation requirements will be examined to determine if you are eligible for thesis approval and degree clearance:

  • required benchmarks and milestones
  • bursar balance and holds on the account
  • formatting of final,  submitted  dissertation

For more details, view the graduation checklist for  Research Master’s Students .

Once a dissertation has been submitted and approved in ETD Administrator, it will be delivered in a batch once per term to ProQuest and ScholarlyCommons subject to any embargoes. It may take additional time for dissertations to appear online after submission.  Learn more about embargo options here .

Dissertations at the University of Pennsylvania are available through three primary venues: ProQuest, ScholarlyCommons, and for dissertations prior to 2020, the Penn Libraries stacks. More information about ProQuest and Scholarly Commons can be found in  Dissertation Embargo Guidelines . 

Penn Libraries

Penn Libraries provides physical access to dissertations prior to 2020 on its shelves or through off-site storage and delivery on demand. Any member of the public may come to the Penn Libraries and  access  physical dissertations prior to 2020. Members of the Penn community and members of other US-based libraries participating in interlibrary loan may additionally request and check out dissertations. 

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing - try for free!

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

dissertation formatting examples

Try for free

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, August 15). How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/thesis-statement/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples, how to write topic sentences | 4 steps, examples & purpose, academic paragraph structure | step-by-step guide & examples, what is your plagiarism score.

IMAGES

  1. Harvard Referencing Style & Format: Easy Guide + Examples

    dissertation formatting examples

  2. 6+ Dissertation Outline Template

    dissertation formatting examples

  3. Sample Title Page and Spine Sept2017

    dissertation formatting examples

  4. Dissertation Proposal

    dissertation formatting examples

  5. Formatting Guidelines

    dissertation formatting examples

  6. Sample Dissertation Title Page

    dissertation formatting examples

VIDEO

  1. HOW TO WRITE A WINNING DISSERTATION TOPIC!

  2. How to Write Dissertation Introduction

  3. Dissertation Writing 101: Why You Have To Let Go #shorts

  4. THESIS VS. DISSERTATION VS. RESEARCH

  5. Formatting of Dissertation, Thesis and Independent Study Guide English version

  6. Thesis/ Dissertation Formatting and Guidelines Workshop

COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Dissertation?

    What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed.

  2. Dissertation Structure & Layout 101 (+ Examples)

    *The Caveat * In this post, we'll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia.

  3. Dissertation layout and formatting

    Some examples include Verdana, Times New Roman, and Calibri (which is the default font in Microsoft Word). Font size is best set to 10 or 11. In scientific articles and theses, a line spacing of 1.15 or 1.5 is generally preferred, as it makes the document more readable and enables your supervisor to post comments between the lines of text.

  4. PDF APA Style Dissertation Guidelines: Formatting Your Dissertation

    help with writing/formatting your dissertation, please email . [email protected] . or call (973)- 655-7442 for more information on how to schedule a writing consultation at the CWE. For doctoral students, the Center for Writing Excellence offers the following writing resources: • Writing Your Thesis, Prospectus, or Dissertation • APA 7 th

  5. University Thesis and Dissertation Templates

    Purdue OWL Graduate Writing Thesis & Dissertation University Thesis and Dissertation Templates University Thesis and Dissertation Templates Theses and dissertations are already intensive, long-term projects that require a lot of effort and time from their authors.

  6. Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

    Award: 2018 Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize Title: "A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man": UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947 University: University College London Faculty: Geography Author: Anna Knowles-Smith Award: 2017 Royal Geographical Society Undergraduate Dissertation Prize

  7. Formatting Your Dissertation

    Check the box next to Embed fonts in the file. Click the OK button. Save the document. Note that when saving as a PDF, make sure to go to "more options" and save as "PDF/A compliant". To embed your fonts in Microsoft Word 2007: Click the circular Office button in the upper left corner of Microsoft Word.

  8. How to Write a Dissertation

    Methodology Results Discussion Conclusion Reference list Appendices Title page The very first page of your document contains your dissertation's title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor's name, and the university's logo.

  9. Dissertation & Thesis Outline

    Example 1: Passive construction. The passive voice is a common choice for outlines and overviews because the context makes it clear who is carrying out the action (e.g., you are conducting the research ). However, overuse of the passive voice can make your text vague and imprecise. Example: Passive construction.

  10. PDF The Dissertation Handbook The Dissertation Handbook will make that

    The dissertation is a document in which a student presents his or her research and findings to meet the requirements of the doctorate. It is a substantial scholarly product that represents the student's own work. The content and form of the dissertation are guided by the dissertation committee and the standards of the student's discipline.

  11. Free Dissertation & Thesis Template (Word Doc & PDF)

    How do I create a research methodology? Can I share this dissertation template with my friends/colleagues? Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis? Download Grad Coach's comprehensive dissertation and thesis template for free. Fully editable - includes detailed instructions and examples.

  12. Organizing and Formatting Your Thesis and Dissertation

    1. Preliminaries: Title page (required) Copyright page (required) Abstract (required) only one abstract allowed Acknowledgments (optional) located in the Preliminary Section only Preface (optional) Autobiography (optional) Dedication (optional) Table of Contents (required) List of Tables (optional) List of Figures (optional)

  13. Formatting Examples

    Formatting Examples. Below you will find Microsoft Word templates and examples you can use for formatting your thesis/dissertation. These files are formatted to meet all the requirements of the graduate college. Additionally, the templates contain detailed instructions for using them to ensure that your thesis/dissertation is formatted correctly.

  14. PDF A Complete Dissertation

    OVERVIEW FRONT MATTER Following is a road map that briefly outlines the contents of an entire dissertation. This is a comprehensive overview, and as such is helpful in making sure that at a glance you understand up front the necessary elements that will constitute each section of your dissertation.

  15. Dissertation

    Definition: Dissertation is a lengthy and detailed academic document that presents the results of original research on a specific topic or question. It is usually required as a final project for a doctoral degree or a master's degree. Dissertation Meaning in Research

  16. Dissertation & Thesis Outline

    Example 3: The "I" construction. Another option is to use the "I" construction, which is often recommended by style manuals (e.g., APA Style and Chicago style ). However, depending on your field of study, this construction is not always considered professional or academic. Ask your supervisor if you're not sure.

  17. Dissertation Templates

    Formatting Guide The PhD Dissertation Formatting Guide (updated Spring 2023) is the source of all formatting requirements and guidelines for PhD Dissertations. Make sure to follow the guide when writing your dissertation. Double check your formatting with the PhD Dissertation Formatting Checklist before submission. LaTeX Template The University provides a standard LaTeX template that complies ...

  18. Full University Dissertation Examples & Samples

    Now comes the structure and format. The first chapter will introduce the topic, the second should then explore it deeply and discuss relevant models, frameworks, and concepts. ... The fourth and fifth chapters are for discussing the results and concluding the research, respectively. Our full dissertation samples and writing guides will help you ...

  19. University lectures, theses and dissertations

    Example 1. Shakela Carion Johnson, "An Examination of the Social Characteristics and Beliefs of Delinquent and Non-Delinquent Youth" (PhD thesis, Auburn University, 2007), ProQuest (AAI3270975).

  20. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

  21. Dissertation examples

    Dissertation examples. Listed below are some of the best examples of research projects and dissertations from undergraduate and taught postgraduate students at the University of Leeds. We have not been able to gather examples from all schools. The module requirements for research projects may have changed since these examples were written.

  22. Annotated Samples

    Formatting Examples. Below you will find examples you can use for formatting your thesis/dissertation. These files are formatted to meet all the requirements of the Graduate College. Use the formatting checklist to check that all of your content is formatted according to Graduate College requirements.

  23. Dissertation Deposit

    Formatting. The Research Master's thesis must follow the formatting procedures in the Master's Thesis Style Guide.. Deposit Appointment. Research Master's candidates will schedule a deposit appointment; however, this is NOT a meeting and you will not be present when your thesis is reviewed. During the time of your scheduled appointment, these graduation requirements will be examined to ...

  24. How to Cite a Dissertation in APA Style

    The format for citing someone else's dissertation or thesis in APA Style depends on whether the thesis is available from a database, published somewhere else (e.g. on a university archive or personal website), or unpublished (only available in print form directly from the author or university).

  25. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Example: Thesis statement Despite Oscar Wilde's Aestheticist claims that art needs no justification or purpose, his work advocates Irish nationalism, women's suffrage, and socialism. You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps: Start with a question Write your initial answer Develop your answer Refine your thesis statement