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Formatting Requirements: Text

General Formatting Requirements

The text follows the preliminary pages and is numbered with Arabic numerals. Page numbers of the text are in the upper right corner of the page centered between the top of the page and the bottom of the top margin. The number is placed so that it does not extend into the right margin. Pages with MAIN HEADINGS (the first page of chapters or main sections that are used in the place of chapters) are counted in sequence with the rest of the text (beginning with page 1); however, no number appears on main heading pages. 

The organization of the text is the responsibility of the student and the supervisory committee and varies by discipline and subject. The text must be well organized and must adhere to standards in the student’s field. The text may begin with a separate introduction, or the introduction may form all or a portion of the first chapter or main section. 

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all language used follows Standard American English grammar and punctuation rules (some exceptions may apply for creative works). Manuscripts submitted with extensive grammar and punctuation deficiencies will be returned unprocessed. Please use Grammarly on your Thesis or Dissertation prior to submitting it to the Thesis Office for review. Using Grammarly can speed up the approval of your manuscript and make the Thesis Release process smoother and more efficient. 

Text may be divided into chapters, numbered with Roman or Arabic numerals (but not both), each chapter having its own title. Another option is to divide the text into main sections. If this option is chosen, the section divisions may or may not be numbered. For example, if the text is divided into INTRODUCTION, REVIEW OF LITERATURE, METHODS, RESULTS, and DISCUSSION (or other similar divisions), the INTRODUCTION may be assigned the number “1” and other sections numbered sequentially or only the word INTRODUCTION may stand as the section title. Note that such section titles are in all capital letters. See Figure 2.8. 

The heading of each chapter or main section (e.g., CHAPTER 1, CHAPTER 2, INTRODUCTION) is placed 2 inches from the top of the page in all capital letters. If the word chapter is used, the title for numbered chapters appears in all capital letters a heading space below the word chapter. Following another heading space, the text begins. If chapter numbers are not used, a heading space separates the title from the first paragraph of text. 

The text must be double-spaced throughout (except for entries in the table of contents, references, lists of figures and tables, and block quotes, all of which are single spaced as illustrated in this handbook). No additional space is inserted between paragraphs. All paragraphs must be uniformly indented. *Please note that some word processing software will automatically add extra space between each paragraph and care must be taken to ensure that the double spaces between paragraphs are the same size as all other double spaces within the manuscript. 

For helpful hints in formatting refer to the FAQ and Student Resources on the Thesis Office website. 

Parts Composed of Related Chapters

On rare occasions, long manuscripts may be divided into separate parts composed of related chapters. Individual parts may or may not be titled, but they must be numbered. Each part is then preceded by a part-title page (see the Appendices at the end of the handbook). The part number and title (if used) are typed in all capital letters, centered within the thesis margins and between the top and bottom margins of the page. If both part number and title are used, there is a heading space after the number and before the title. The page is counted in sequence with the rest of the manuscript, but no number appears on the page. The chapter number or title of the first titled section of the first part begins on the page following the part-title page 2 inches below the top of the page. The chapters or titled sections, if numbered, are numbered consecutively throughout the text. The numbering does not begin over with new parts. Page numbering is also consecutive.

If part-title pages are used to designate separate parts in a manuscript, they also must be used before each appendix (if used) and before the references (or selected bibliography). Format and numbering are the same as described in the preceding paragraph. When part-title pages are used with appendices and references, the title of each section is not repeated on the following page, and the text begins 1 inch from the top of the page.

If a reprint of a previously published article is incorporated as a chapter, a part-title page will precede the first page of the reprint. The chapter title is placed on the part-title page. A full credit line (stating “Reprinted with permission from” followed by the source) must be placed on the part-title page.  Publishers will frequently require specific wording.  See Figure 2.9 for an example.


Quotations three lines of print or fewer require double quotation marks. They also must have citation and page numbers listed for them. Quotations longer than three lines of print must be in block quote form. They are indented from the left margin the same amount that the first line of new paragraphs are indented. They may be single or double spaced. Whether double or single spaced, they are separated from the text by a double space. Quotation marks are not used with a block quotation unless quotation marks appear within the source quoted. Citation and page numbers must be listed for block quotations. 

Headings and Subheadings

Headings establish the organization of the manuscript. There are two types of headings in any manuscript: main headings and subheadings. 

Main Headings

Main headings always begin on a new page, are centered 2 inches down from the top of the page, printed in all capital letters, and used for chapters or main sections (e.g., CHAPTER 1, INTRODUCTION), the titles of the preliminary divisions of the paper (i.e., ABSTRACT, TABLE OF CONTENTS, LISTS, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS), and other major sections of the paper (APPENDIX, REFERENCES).


Main headings start 2 inches from the top of the page and are always followed by a heading space. Main headings more than two lines are always double spaced. If the main heading is preceded by the word “CHAPTER” and its numerical designation, the word “CHAPTER” and the Roman or Arabic numeral following it begin 2 inches from the top of the page. After a heading space, the title of the chapter follows. The text begins after a heading space if no subheadings are used. If a subheading follows the main heading, the text begins after a double space. 


Main headings over 5 inches in length are split and placed on two or more lines so that the lines appear visually balanced. 


Subheadings are used for divisions of the various chapters or sections of the manuscript. There are two types of subheadings: freestanding and paragraph. Freestanding subheadings are always higher in level than paragraph subheadings. See the glossary for the definitions of freestanding and paragraph subheadings. 

Appearance and Order

Subheadings must be used in hierarchical order, levels cannot be skipped (e.g., a first-level subhead followed by a third-level subhead would be incorrect), they and must be used consistently throughout the manuscript. Many students use no more than one or two levels of subheadings. Some, however, require additional levels (see Figure 2.10 for a description and illustration of main headings, subheadings, and spacing). Subheadings must follow the subheading scheme as outlined in Figure 2.10. If the student wants to use paragraph subheadings, they may eliminate some of the higher levels of subheadings as long as the new scheme is done consistently throughout the manuscript. 


Unlike main headings, subheadings are not printed in all capital letters. Either a headline style or sentence style capitalization scheme is used for subheadings. Although capitalization schemes may vary across subheading levels, within each level capitalization schemes must be consistent (e.g., all first-level subheadings could be headline style while all second-level subheadings could be sentence style). 


For a subheading to end the page there must be room for the heading space, the subheading and at least two lines of text. If there is not enough room, the subheading moves to the top of the next page. This is the only time a gap is allowed in the text when it is not the end of a chapter or before an equation too long to fit at the bottom of a page. 


Freestanding subheadings (i.e., all subheadings except paragraph headings) are preceded by a heading space and followed by a double space. Two or more freestanding subheadings in a row are separated only by a double space. Paragraph subheadings are preceded by a double space only and are indented the same amount as the regular paragraphs in the manuscript. (See Appendix B for a comparison of spacing requirements.) Subheadings of two or more lines are double spaced. 

Heading Spaces

A heading space is a space that is larger than the double spaces used in a document. Heading spaces are used below main headings (a title in ALL CAPS) and above freestanding subheadings. Regardless of the word processing program being used to write the document, the heading spaces must be created consistently throughout the document so that they are always the same size.
There are only a few instances when a heading space is not required:

  1. When a freestanding subheading begins the page
  2. Above a paragraph subheading
  3. When two or more subheadings are in a row (without text between). In this case, the subheadings are separated by a double space (not a heading space) 

Again, all heading spaces must be the same size. Please see Figure 2.10 for an example. 


In some disciplines, subheadings are numbered with a local numbering system. If this system is used, chapters or main sections must be numbered with Arabic numerals. The first subheading is then numbered 1.1 followed by the title, the second 1.1.1, and so on. If this system is used, all chapters/main sections and all levels of subheads (including paragraph subheadings) must be numbered. 

Accessibility of Headings and Subheadings

In order to ensure that our publications are accessible to readers and researchers who are visually impaired, headings and subheadings must be tagged or styled as headings so that screen reading software can distinguish the headings and subheadings from the rest of the text of the manuscript. This function is built into the official Word template offered by the Thesis Office. If students wish to use a different word processing or layout program to create their manuscript, they must use the accessibility tools within the program to ensure accessibility. 

Tables and Figures

A table is a compilation of data in columns or rows (tabular form). A figure is a visual or graphic presentation or illustration. Photographs, maps, diagrams, plates, or schematic presentations all are figures. Tables and figures must be referred to by number in numerical order in the text. The expressions “the following table/figure” or “the table/figure below” or “see the table/figure on p.##” may not be used. It is incorrect to refer to the placement of a table or figure in a manuscript. 

Accessibility Issues for Figure and Tables

It is necessary to create tables and figures that are accessible to readers who are visually impaired. Print within a figure must be sharp and legible. Figure captions and table titles should be coded in such a way that a screen reader parsing the converted PDF can distinguish the figure caption and table title from the rest of the text. The official Word template provided by the Thesis Office has this function built in. If students use a different word processing or layout program, they should utilize the accessibility tools within the program. Color should not be relied upon to convey information in a figure unless it is necessary. If color is necessary, high contrast colors must be used. Alternate text must be inserted within the manuscripts for any images and tables. Further information about color and suitable alt text for figures and tables can be found in Appendix A. 

Table and figure order

The first reference to a table or figure must be in numerical order (e.g., Table 1.1, Table 1.2, Table 1.3, and so forth). Once the table/figure has been referred to, it can be mentioned again out of its numerical order (e.g., it would be perfectly appropriate at this point in the handbook to refer to Figure 2.1 because it has been mentioned previously. It is not appropriate to refer to Figure 2.13, however, because Figure 2.12 has not been mentioned yet). Each table and figure must be mentioned in the text. Each figure or table appears only once; a figure or table cannot be used twice. Refer to previous tables and/or figures if relevant. 

Table and figure placement

The easiest placement of tables and figures is by type (all figures grouped together and all tables grouped together) in numerical order at the end of the chapter or main section in which they are first referenced. They appear after the first-level subheading “Figures” and/or “Tables. Whether you place figures first or tables first is at the student’s discretion but must be consistent from chapter to chapter. Each table and figure must be accompanied by a title or caption. In other words, a list of titles or captions may not be placed prior to the tables and figures, as is common in some journal submission formats. 

A large table or figure is placed by itself on the page, centered within the thesis margins. Although it is not necessary for large tables or figures to be centered precisely between the top and bottom margins of the paper, tables and figures should be placed so that they look balanced on the page. If the entire caption cannot fit on the same page with its figure, create a part-title page for the caption and place the figure on the page following (see the section on Part-title pages later in this chapter, as well as Figure 2.10). 

If two or more items are placed on a page, they must be separated by a space larger than a double space to separate the items visually. 

When a table or figure continues to a second page, the number and the word “continued” are placed at the bottom of the figure or at the top of the table. On continued tables, column heads should also be repeated. 

See Appendix D for other methods of figure and table placement. 

Figure numbering and captions

All figures must be numbered consecutively (1, 2, 3 . . .) throughout the manuscript and appendices or numbered locally with decimals (1.1, 1.2 . . . 3.1 . . . A.1) by chapter. If figures are numbered locally with decimals, the divisions of the manuscript must be numbered with Arabic numerals. Figures cannot be numbered by subsection (within subheadings). The number and caption are placed below the figure within the thesis margins (note that this is different from tables, where the title is placed above). In the case of long captions or captions for figures with parts, the first sentence needs to be a general caption that describes the whole figure. Subsequent sentences explain the individual parts. The first sentence of the caption appears in the list of figures, if used. Parts must be labeled (a, b, c, d). Figure captions must be in one consistent format throughout the manuscript. All captions for figures should be single spaced. If there are super- or subscript numbers in the figure captions, however, lines may be double spaced. All figure captions must be in the same font style and size as the text. Figures should not be enclosed in thick-lined boxes if they can be avoided. 

Table numbering and titles

Tables also are numbered consecutively (1, 2, 3 . . .) throughout the manuscript and appendices or numbered locally with decimals (1.1, 1.2 . . . 3.1 . . . A.1) by chapter or numbered section. Tables cannot be numbered by subsection (within subheadings). The number and title of each table is placed above the table (note that this is different from figures, where the caption is below). Table titles may be double- or single-spaced, but the spacing should be consistent throughout the manuscript. One consistent format must be used throughout. All table titles must be in the same font style and size as the text. Table titles are separated from the table by a double space. Regardless of the style guide selected, there are solid, horizontal lines spanning the data presented, below the title, after the column headings, and at the end of the table. Generally, vertical lines are not necessary in a table. Tables should not be enclosed in thick-lined boxes. Spacing between entries in a table is dependent on the best method of presenting the material. When a table continues to a second page, the table number and the word “continued” are placed above repeated column headers before the table continues. While text within the table may be in a different font or font size than the rest of the text in the manuscript, print within a table must be crisp and legible regardless of size. To increase accessibility, color should not be relied upon to convey meaning in a table (see Appendix A for more information). 

Local numbering

If tables and figures are numbered locally with decimals (i.e., within each chapter or main section), the first table or figure within the first main heading is given the number 1.1, the second 1.2, and so on. If local numbering is used for figures, it also is used for tables. If local numbering is used, the main divisions of the manuscript must be numbered with Arabic (1, 2, 3) numerals. Tables or figures in the appendices of a manuscript numbered locally are numbered A.1, A.2, B.1 and so on. Local numbering of tables and figures never exceeds one decimal place (i.e., tables and figures are never numbered according to the number assigned to a subheading). 

Landscape (broadside) placement

Tables and figures may be placed on landscape-oriented pages to better accommodate width. If the title or caption to a full-page landscaped table or figure is on a separate page, however, the title or caption is placed on a portrait-oriented page. 

Page number placement 

Page numbers are placed in the upper right corner on all pages with figures or tables. Page numbers throughout should be placed in the same position. 


Tables and figures may be reduced to fit within the thesis margins, but the title or caption must be the same size print as the rest of the manuscript. Print size in a reduced table or figure must be crisp and legible. 

Oversize tables and figures

Oversize tables and figures can be reproduced electronically, but the print may not be readable. Therefore, two hard copies of any oversize table or figure are required: one to be submitted to the Thesis Office to be forwarded to Special Collections in the Marriott Library and one students submit to their department. 

Part-title pages

A long table title or a long figure caption may be placed on a part-title page preceding the item if the table or figure is so large that the caption or title cannot be accommodated on the page. When a part-title page is used, the caption or title begins at or slightly above mid-page (depending on length) and is single spaced. (The caption or title may be double spaced if there are super- or subscript numbers within.) 

If part-title pages are used for titles or captions, the pages are counted and numbered in sequence with the manuscript. Page numbers appear in the upper right corner in the same position as page numbers in the text. The page number that is listed in the List of Tables or List of Figures is the number of the part-title page. 



Format of display equations is dictated by the style guide the student is following. Short equations are centered within the thesis margins. All equations are set off from preceding and following text by a double space. 

In general, equations that are numbered should be numbered at the right margin of the manuscript with the number either in brackets or parentheses. Equations may be numbered consecutively or locally with decimals. If they are locally numbered, the main divisions of the manuscript must be numbered with Arabic numerals. Local numbering of equations never exceeds one decimal place (i.e., equations are never numbered according to the number assigned to a subheading). Equation numbers must be aligned with each other throughout the manuscript. 

Footnote and Reference Citations

Whether a student uses a footnote or a reference citation system depends upon the discipline. The format of footnotes or reference citations should adhere to the format specified in the department-approved style manual the student has selected. Footnotes must adhere to the same margins as the rest of the text. Font should be a minimum of 2 millimeters. 

If a number reference citation system is employed, numbers in the text may be superscript, in brackets, or in parentheses on the line of text depending on the style guide used. Superscript numbers always are placed outside all punctuation marks; if more than one reference is cited at a time, the numbers are separated by commas (e.g., many 6,7,10−12 agree with the findings of Einstein. 4). Numbers in brackets or parentheses on the line of text are placed inside or outside punctuation depending on the style guide followed. A comprehensive reference list in numerical order is placed at the end of the manuscript or, in cases where the manuscript is comprised of journal articles as chapters, at the end of each chapter. 

Note that the Latin term “et al.” stands for “et alii” (and others). “Et” is not an abbreviation; it is never followed by a period. “Al.,” however, is an abbreviation and is followed by a period. The style guide dictates whether “et al.” is italicized. 

Spacing of footnotes and endnotes

Whether footnotes appear at the foot of the pages on which they occur or as notes at the end of each chapter or main section (endnotes), they must be single-spaced within each entry with a double space between entries. If print quality is clear, the footnote entries may be single spaced rather than separated by a double space. The choice of spacing must be consistent from chapter to chapter. Notes at the end of each chapter begin with a new page of text. The word “Notes” or “Endnotes” should appear as a first- level subheading on the page listing them. Entries are single spaced and there is a double space between entries. Notes are not placed at the end of the manuscript; they are more accessible at the end of each chapter or at the foot of the page. In case of error, many notes would have to be renumbered if all were placed at the end of the manuscript. Notes (endnotes) must be listed in the table of contents as a first-level subheading. 

Placement of footnotes

Footnotes placed at the bottom of the page appear in numerical order. If multiple references occur on the same page of text, all the notes referred to must begin on the same page as the reference. In the case of lengthy footnotes, what will not fit above the bottom 1-inch margin should be carried over to the area reserved for footnotes on the following page. 

Footnotes are separated from the text by a solid 20-space line. This line does not extend into the left margin. The first line of the note begins a double space below the solid line and is indented using the same size indent as used in the text. The numeral is raised above the line and the note is not followed by a period or a space before the note begins (see example at foot of page).1 Multiple footnote entries have no space between lines, with a double or single between entries (see example at the foot of the page).2

Appendix or Appendices

If used, an appendix follows the text but precedes the references or bibliography. The pages of the appendix are numbered consecutively with the rest of the text. There is considerable flexibility in the kind of material that may be placed in appendices: computer programs, tables of raw data, questionnaires, letters, original historical source material, etc. Each appendix should be sequenced with upper-case letters of the alphabet (APPENDIX A, APPENDIX B). If there is only one appendix, no letter is used; one appendix may or may not have an explanatory title. If there is more than one appendix, each has an explanatory title. The appendix title(s) must be listed in the table of contents in all upper-case letters. Subheadings in an appendix, however, are not listed in the table of contents. Subheads in an appendix follow the same subhead scheme selected for the main text. 

1 Footnote sample. Note the font style is the same as the rest of the text. The size of the font may be the same size as the text or smaller, so long as it is consistent for all the footnotes. 

2 Footnote sample. Style guide used determines whether the footnote is inside or outside punctuation such as periods, commas, etc. 

The enumeration of any illustrative material (tables, figures, etc.) in the appendix is continuous with the text (e.g., if Table 20 is the last table in the text, the first table in the appendix is Table 21). Or if illustrative materials are locally numbered by chapter or section, the tables, figures, and so forth in the appendix are also locally numbered (e.g., Table A.1 for Appendix A, Table B.1 for Appendix B, etc.). The format and type font used in the appendix must be consistent with the rest of the manuscript. Exceptions are computer programs, reproduced documents, or similar items. Consult with the manuscript editor if there are questions concerning appendix materials. 

Material in the appendix must adhere to the same margin specifications and print size specifications (characters may be no smaller than 2 millimeters) as the rest of the manuscript. 

A separate page for the title of each appendix (i.e., part-title page) is often used when diverse, previously printed materials (e.g., computer printouts, letters used in questionnaire surveys, questionnaires, etc.) are included. If a part-title page is used with one appendix, part-title pages must be used with all appendices. The first line of the title (e.g., APPENDIX A) is centered within the left and right thesis margins and begins either at mid-page or 2 inches from the top of the page in the same spot as the chapter headings or section titles; the choice of placement must be the same for each appendix. The title of the appendix (e.g., QUESTIONNAIRES) follows below a heading space and is centered within the thesis margins. The part-title page is counted in sequence with the rest of the manuscript, but no number appears on the page. The part-title page is considered the first page of the appendix for the purposes of the table of contents (see appendices herein). 

Sometimes students will have large tables or data sets or large numbers of schemes that they want to include as supplementary information, but which are not necessary for inclusion in the main text and increase the length of the manuscript. These appendices can be uploaded directly to ProQuest after the rest of the manuscript is processed through the Thesis Office. In these instances, a part-title page is added to the manuscript as an appendix that lists the titles and file names of the appendices that will be uploaded as supplementary files to ProQuest. Consult with the manuscript editors if you are in doubt about whether something should be included in the final manuscript or as a supplementary file uploaded directly.

Some departments require submission of a DVD. DVDs may not be submitted electronically because of copyright issues. However, students in departments with this requirement must submit two DVDs: one to the Thesis Office to be forwarded to Special Collections in the Marriott Library and one the students submit to their department. 

References or Selected Bibliography

The style of the references or selected bibliography must be patterned after the department-approved style guide the student has selected from the list of department- approved journals and manuals of style on the Thesis Office website (see also Chapter 3 herein). Please note that reference management software, such as EndNote, do not necessarily follow the chosen style guide correctly. It is the students’ responsibility to make sure that all references are correct according to their selected style guides. 

The list of references is placed at the end of the manuscript in numerical or alphabetical order depending upon the system used. Scientific papers usually do not list any material in the references that has not been referenced in the text. The reference section is generally entitled “REFERENCES,” or less commonly, “LITERATURE CITED.” The references must be placed at the end of each chapter or section in manuscripts composed of a series of articles previously published or accepted for publication. In this case, the subtitle “references” is treated as a first-level subheading. 

Writers in the humanities often consult background material that is not directly cited but is included in a bibliography. The compilation of direct and indirect reference material is entitled “SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY.” 

The first page of the references or selected bibliography begins 2 inches from the top of the page with the main heading typed in all capital letters. A heading space follows. Entries are single spaced within an entry and double spaced between each entry. The reference section is listed as the last item in the table of contents (unless a vita is used). 

If a separate part-title page is used with the reference section, the first reference begins 1 inch below the top of the page and no major heading is used on the page with the references (see “Parts Composed of Related Chapters”). 

Citation of Web-accessed Information

Web citations must include name of author, title of publication, and date of publication. These items are formatted according to the style guide selected. In addition, the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) must be provided in the following form: 

  • protocol or access-mode identifier (i.e., http, https), followed by a colon and two forward slashes (e.g., http://) 
  • host name, always typed in lower case (e.g.,
  • pathway to the document, including file names, typed exactly as it appears, including upper and lower case and punctuation 
  • A sample URL is:

URLs may be broken only after a slash or double slash or after a period. Never insert a hyphen, and never break a URL at a hyphen. 


A vita may be included but is not required. If used, it follows the references or selected bibliography and is listed in the table of contents as the last main heading of the manuscript. The author should use a standard short curriculum vita format that includes professionally relevant information such as name, colleges and universities attended, degrees and certificates, professional organizations, positions held, and publications. Do not include personal information such as birthdate, home address, or social security number. 

Note that the spelling of the title of this section may be VITA or CURRICULUM VITA. Vitae is incorrect. 

Last Updated: 5/3/24