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Thesis and Dissertation

Directions on Form, Preparation, and Submission of the Final Copies of Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations

Body of Thesis or Dissertation

The body of each manuscript contains text describing research performed as part of the completion process for a master or doctoral program.  Formatting may vary depending on the style guide used, or whether the document is a journal model or a  creative thesis; however, all manuscripts must adhere to SHSU’s basic format standards:

  • Page numbers:Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), right side, top of page.  Page numbers start with 1 on the first page of the first chapter and continue to the end of the document.

  • Margins:Left margin 1.5 inch.Top, Right, Bottom 1 inch.

  • Font:12 pt.Double-spaced throughout.Use same font style throughout document.

 

DIVIDING THE CONTENT

The first thing you will do when constructing a thesis or dissertation is create a basic outline of your content.  This same outline can be used to generate chapter titles and headings throughout the document. 

Titles and headings help readers understand how you have structured the subject matter, and prepares them for what they are about to read.  A logical and consistent progression of headings helps with this. 

Unless stated otherwise in your specific style manual, the following outlines the basic structure for titles and headings:

  • Each chapter begins with a chapter designation on the top line of the page:

    • Bold

    • Centered

    • ALL CAPS

    • Followed by a Roman numeral:CHAPTER I, CHAPTER II, CHAPTER III, etc.

  • The next line is the chapter title:

    • Bold

    • Centered

    • Headline Style Capitalization. (Use CHPT_HD)

  • Heading style 2:

    • Bold

    • Left-justified

    • Headline Style Capitalization. (Use Heading2)

  • Heading style 3:

    • Bold

    • Indented for paragraph

    • Sentence style capitalization ending with a period.  Regular text starts after period.  (Use Heading3)

  • Heading style 4:

    • Bold

    • Italicized

    • Indented for paragraph

    • Sentence style capitalization ending with a period.  Regular text starts after period.  (Use Heading4)

  • Heading style 5:

    • Italicized

    • Indented for paragraph

    • Sentence style capitalization ending with a period.  Regular text starts after period.  (Use Heading4)

You may not need to use all of these heading formats, but knowing will take some of the guesswork out of the creation process.

 

  • NOTE:  Heading formats must be used in consecutive order.  You cannot skip one heading level in preference for another. 

  • Also, you cannot have only one subsection within a section.  Use at least two, or none at all. 

 

Refer to the page Setting Up Your Document to find out more about heading styles and how to create re-usable font styles in your document.

VIDEO: Macro-Template instructions

CHECKLIST FOR BODY OF THESIS

  • Separated into chapters with chapter titles.
  • Appropriately formatted according to chosen style manual, such as APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, etc.
  • Headings and subheadings are consistently formatted throughout the document.  Do not change heading structure midway through the document.
  • A subheading at the bottom of the page must have at least one line of text beneath it.  Otherwise, the subheading may be moved to the next page.
  • Do not use numbering systems to designate sections and subsections.  For example:
    • Part 2:  Structure of the Elements
    • Part 2. 1:  List of elements
  • Text is double-spaced throughout.  Do not insert extra blank lines or spacing to separate text. 
  • You may insert blank lines at the bottom of one page in order to keep a single Table from breaking, or when inserting a Figure.

 

Special instructions for a Journal Model


A journal model manuscript should contain 2 or more journal articles.  If it does not, then the document should be formatted as a regular thesis or dissertation.

  • First chapter contains an Introduction discussing all research presented in the document, including:  Literature Review, Study Area, and Literature Cited.
  • Each article appears in its own chapter and may have its own List of References. 
  • Last chapter is a Summary or Conclusion of all research.
  • A comprehensive listing of all references appears in a Reference/Bibliography section.

Special instructions for a Creative thesis or dissertation

  • First chapter contains an Introduction to the document with a review of the literature or critical essay unifying the presentation and sets the tone of the work.  The introduction should provide the rationale for the acceptance of a Creative Thesis.  A list of references may appear either directly after this section, or at the end of the document before any Appendices or the Vita.
  • Is divided into Chapters. 
  • Last chapter is a Summary or Conclusion of all research.
  • A comprehensive listing of all references appears in a Reference/Bibliography section.  If no sources are referenced in the Creative section, then a list of references at the end of the Introduction section is sufficient.

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