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Format Requirements

The format requirements are applicable to the following research documents:

  • Doctoral dissertation and Master’s thesis (all programs), and Master’s creative writing project (English);
  • Master’s major paper (all programs) and major internship paper (Political Science).

Upon completion of the final oral defense and prior to completing the final submission (deposit), the document must be submitted to the Graduate Studies office to be reviewed for conformity with the format requirements outlined below. Review the instructions for format checking and final submission (deposit). 

Template & How to Prepare - Physical Format - Page Order - Page margins, numbering, and other formatting - Contact  - Page Samples


Template & How to Prepare:

The Faculty of Graduate Studies guidelines, derived from those set by Library and Archives Canada, concern copyright, authorship, and physical format. No particular style of presentation is recommended for the body of the thesis document (e.g. style of chapter headings and sub-headings, heading levels, style for references, etc.). The single most important aspect of style is consistency: the same style must be followed throughout.
If your program does not recommend any particular style manual, the following are widely-accepted examples of the numerous style manuals available: 

  1. The Chicago Manual of Style
  2. American Psychological Association (APA) style manual
  3. Turabian Kate. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Students in engineering and the sciences should consult their advisors for information about style manuals. Review also Research Guidelines and Resources​.


Physical Format:

Students may choose between two format types for the thesis or dissertation: the traditional format or the manuscript format.

  1. Traditional format
    • This format organizes chapters around a central problem and is normally used when no part of the thesis has been published or submitted for publication.
  2. Manuscript format
    • The manuscript format comprises the text of one or more papers/manuscripts that have been, or will be, submitted for publication. These texts must follow the guidelines for format given elsewhere in this document with respect to font size, line spacing and margin sizes. The document must be more than a collection of manuscripts, however, in that all the components must be brought together into one cohesive unit, with logical progression from one chapter to the next and following one consistent style throughout the document in each chapter, e.g. chapter headings, sub-headings, heading levels, style for references, etc. 

Page order:

The document consists of three main sections:

  1. front matter: the pages preceding the thesis body
  2. thesis body
  3. back matter: the pages following the thesis body

Details are outlined below. Pages marked with an asterisk (*) are optional.

(1) Traditional format:

Front matter section:

  1. Title page
  2. Copyright page (only if separate)
  3. Approval page
  4. Either Declaration of Originality or Declaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication 
  5. Abstract
  6. *Dedication (where applicable)
  7. *Acknowledgements (where applicable)
  8. Table of Contents
  9. *List of Tables (where applicable)
  10. *List of Figures (where applicable)
  11. *List of Appendices (where applicable)
  12. *List of Abbreviations, Symbols,
  13. *Nomenclature (where applicable)

Thesis body:

Body of thesis (divided into various chapters)

Back matter section:

Bibliography/References (note that the Bibliography/References section can either precede or follow the Appendices)

*Appendices (include copyright releases here, if applicable).

Vita Auctoris

(2) Manuscript format

Front matter section (similar to the traditional thesis format except for the Declaration):

  1. Title page
  2. Copyright page (only if separate)
  3. Approval page
  4. Declaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication
  5. Abstract
  6. *Dedication (where applicable)
  7. *Acknowledgements (where applicable)
  8. Table of Contents
  9. *List of Tables (where applicable)
  10. *List of Figures (where applicable)
  11. *List of Appendices (where applicable)
  12. *List of Abbreviations, Symbols,
  13. *Nomenclature (where applicable)

Thesis body for manuscript format - divided into chapters as follows:

  • Introductory chapter to the entire thesis with its own bibliography
  • Each subsequent chapter presented in a manuscript format without an abstract, but with its own bibliography and following consistently the same style, e.g. style of chapter headings, sub-headings, heading levels, same style for references, etc. regardless of the citation formats of the journals in which the manuscript may have appeared or will be published.
  • Final chapter (general discussions and conclusions) to relate the separate studies to each other and to a relevant discipline or field of study. 

Back matter section:

*Appendices (include copyright releases here, if applicable).

Vita Auctoris


Front matter section (the pages preceding the thesis body) should appear in the following order:

Title page

  • Assigned page number one (i), but not physically numbered. 
  • A title page must follow exactly the layout and wording as shown in the example under Page Samples.
  • In selecting your title, keep in mind that the systems used by libraries to retrieve the information contained in your document rely on title keywords. The title should therefore be accurate, specific, and brief.

Copyright page (*optional)

  • Assigned page number two (ii), but not physically numbered.
  • Not necessary if copyright symbol appears on the title page.

Approval page:

Note: For the final submission (deposit), one copy of the Approval page must be submitted in a separate document and signed by your committee members; however, leave the Approval page unsigned within your final thesis PDF document. Review the instructions for format checking and final submission (deposit) for details.

Begin physically numbering pages after the Approval page.

Either Declaration of Originality or Declaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication:

Declaration of Originality:

  • Assigned page number "iii" or "iv" and physically numbered.
  • This declaration should be used in the traditional thesis format when the thesis does not include materials based on joint research or material that has been published or submitted for publication.
  • Download and insert the declaration in your thesis.

Declaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication:

  • Assigned page number iii or iv and physically numbered.
  • This statement should be used as an alternative to “Author’s Declaration of Originality”, when the thesis incorporates material based on joint research (published or unpublished), and/or when the thesis incorporates the text of one or more papers that the student has published or submitted for publication.
  • In the case of previous publications, it is the responsibility of the student to obtain proper permission from the journal/copyright holder to use the published material in their thesis.
  • For details refer to using previously copyrighted material.
  • This declaration is normally used in the manuscript thesis format (or in the traditional format, in case of co-authorship). 
  • Download and insert the declaration in your thesis.

Abstract:

  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.
  • All theses, dissertations, and major papers as well as creative writing projects must contain an abstract, which should not exceed 2 pages double-spaced (for Doctoral dissertations), and 1 page double-spaced (for Master's theses, major research papers, and creative writing projects).  
  • Note: no particular style is recommended for the titles of pages within the Front matter section, however, the font and style of each title within the front matter must be consistent, for example, all titles in the same font size, centered on the page, in UPPERCASE,  and in bold text (e.g.  “DECLARATION OF ORIGINALITY”, “ABSTRACT”, etc.).

Dedication (*optional):

  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

Acknowledgements (*optional):

  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

Table of Contents:

  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.
  • All preliminary pages should be listed, except for the title page, the copyright page, the approval page and the table of contents itself.
  • All pages following the body of the text must be listed too, including the Vita Auctoris page.
  • When subheadings are included in the Table of Contents, they may be indented differently from the chapter titles or set in another type style.
  • Examples of Traditional and Manuscript format title pages can be found below under Page Samples

List of Tables (*optional):

  • Should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style - list not only the table captions but also their page number. 
  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

List of Figures (*optional):

  • Should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style - list not only the figure captions but also their page number. 
  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

List of Appendices (*optional):

  • Should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style.
  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.
  • This section to contain details of methodology, tabulated data, and other pertinent data.
  • Copyright releases from previous publications may be included in the Appendices.
  • Remove any private information from appended materials, such as signatures, personal phone numbers, addresses, etc.

List of Abbreviations, or Nomenclature (*optional):

  • Should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style.
  • Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

Body of the Thesis:

  • The body of the thesis follows, divided into chapters.
  • Remember that pages in the body of the thesis are assigned Arabic numerals beginning with one ("1") which run consecutively to the very end of the thesis (including the Vita Auctoris page).
  • No particular style of presentation is recommended for the body of the thesis document (e.g. style of chapter headings and sub-headings, heading levels, etc.).
  • The single most important aspect of style is consistency: the same style must be followed throughout.
  • If using the manuscript format, each chapter should have its own bibliography/references section.
  • If using the traditional format, the bibliography follows at the end of the thesis body.

Back matter (the pages following the thesis body) should appear in the following order:

Note: similarly to the Front matter, no particular style is recommended for the titles of pages within the Back matter section, however, the font and style of each title within the back matter must be consistent, for example, all titles in the same font size, centered on the page, in UPPERCASE,  and in bold text (e.g.  “REFERENCES”, “APPENDICES”, etc.).

References (or Bibliography):

  • No particular style for references is recommended so students should consult their supervisors about the appropriate style for their discipline.
  • In the traditional format, the References/Bibliography section appear at the end after the body of the thesis, and can either precede or follow the Appendices.
  • In the manuscript format, the References/Bibliography must appear after each chapter within the thesis body.

Appendices (*optional):

  • Copyright releases from publications may be included in the Appendices.
  • Remove any private information from appended materials, such as signatures, personal phone numbers, addresses, etc.

Vita Auctoris ("life of the author"):

  • The Vita Auctoris is a required thesis element, however, there are no specific requirements / restrictions about its format or contents. It should include as a minimum:
    • The author's name.
    • Education and degrees.
  • For privacy concerns, students should not include personal information such as home address and phone numbers, full date of birth, etc.
  • Other information may be included, but should be directly related to the thesis or academic discipline (e.g., list of student’s publications/conference presentations resulting from their thesis research, etc.).
  • The Vita Auctoris page must be the last page of the document, it must be assigned a number and listed in the Table of Contents.
  • The title of the Vita Auctoris must be formatted using the same style (e.g. same font type and font size, etc.) as the titles of the rest of the back matter secitons (e.g. References and Appendices)
  • Examples can be found under Page Samples.

Formatting:

  • The document must use 2 numeration systems: Roman numerals for the front matter/ preliminary pages, and Arabic numerals for the thesis body and thereafter through the end of the document. Each page must be assigned a page number.
  • Front matter (preliminary pages): All preliminary pages (those preceding the body/main text of the thesis) are assigned Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.), however, the number does not appear on the following preliminary pages even though they must be accounted for in the numbering system: title page, copyright page (if separate), and approval page. See further details under Page order where each page is listed. Beginning with the declaration (numbered three (iii) or four (iv)), all pages must be physically numbered.
  • Body of thesis and back matter: pages within the body of the thesis are assigned Arabic numerals, beginning with one ("1") at the beginning of chapter 1/introduction, consecutively to the end of the thesis.
  • Do not begin new pagination sequences at the beginning of appendices. If appendices include material taken from other sources on which page numbers already appear (permission to reproduce this material having been received, if necessary), they must also carry numbers conforming to the pagination of the thesis or dissertation.
  • Use paper of good quality, 8½ x 11 inches (21.5 x 28 cm).
  • Do not use erasable paper or thin computer paper.
  • If maps or charts necessitate the use of larger sheets of paper, check with the Office of Graduate Studies for advice.
  • Every page must have the same margins: 1 inch all around, preferably a larger margin (1½ inches) on the left.
  • If sufficient margins are not observed text or diagrams extending into the margins could be destroyed in the binding process.
  • The pages must bear print on only one side of the sheet.
  • The spacing of the typed lines should be consistent throughout the document. At least 1½ line spacing is recommended, with the exception of notes, long quotations, figure and table captions, appendices, and references. 
  • The typeface must be clear and the font size should be 10 points or larger; a smaller font size may be used for graphs, formulas, figure and table captions, and appendices.
  • Page titles: no particular style is recommended for the titles, however, the font and style of each title within each of the three sections (front matter, thesis body, and back matter) must be consistent.
  • Computer printers must produce letter quality print.
  • If in doubt about acceptability of print, bring a sample to the Office of Graduate Studies. 
  • Keep illustrative material (e.g. graphs, images, figures,e tc.) within the margins defined above, where possible.
  • If sufficient margins for binding purposes cannot be observed for certain illustrative material, such material may be inserted into a pocket at the back of the bound document, or uploaded as a supplementary file as part of the online submission. Consult with the Office of Graduate Studies for details.
  • The format of tables, figures, etc. must follow one style consistently.
  • Check with your research supervisor for advice on your program’s preferred style. 
  • Colour graphs or figures can be printed either in colour or black-and-white, provided contrast is acceptable.
  • If printing in black-and-white ensure identification of lines on a graph is clear by line symbols rather than by variation of colour.
  • For better contrast, use cross-hatching rather than colour for shaded areas.

It is the student’s responsibility (and an important courtesy to the readers) to ensure that grammar and spelling conventions are observed.


Other Questions:

For questions contact the Office of Graduate Studies, Room 309, Chrysler Hall Tower, or call 519-253-3000, extension 2104.

Samples of Pages:

SAMPLE OF AN APPROVAL PAGE FOR A DOCTORAL DISSERTATION:

approval page sample for PhD

SAMPLE OF AN APPROVAL PAGE FOR A MASTER'S THESIS:

sample approval page

SAMPLE OF AN APPROVAL PAGE FOR A MASTER'S MAJOR PAPER OR INTERNSHIP PAPER:sample approval page

Mary Scott was born in 1976 in Windsor, Ontario. She graduated from Assumption High School in 1995. From there she went on to the University of Western Ontario where she obtained a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1999. She is currently a candidate for the Master's degree in Chemistry at the University of Windsor and hopes to graduate in Fall 2001.