Additional Component/ Formatting Information

Additional components, including those discussed in this guide, may be included at the discretion of your supervisory committee.


The two copies for the Library Archives must be bound and printed or photocopied onto white paper. The paper must be 20 pound weight, usually what we call acid-free, and of standard 8½ by 11 inch size. Acid-free paper deteriorates less over time and is thus required for the archives. The paper is available at a variety of local sources. Simply use a good quality xeroxing paper.


The following minimum margins must be observed:

  • Top: 1 inch (including page numbers & headers) except first page of each chapter — 2 inch top

  • Bottom: 1 inch

  • Left: 1½ inch (this allows for proper binding.)

  • Right: 1 inch (unjustified)

  • All printed matter, including page numbers, tables, and appendices must be contained within the margins.

Page Numbering

  • The title page is not counted or numbered.

  • The copyright page is not counted or numbered.

  • The signature page is not counted or numbered.

  • The fair use and duplication page is not counted and not numbered.

  • All preliminary pages that follow (beginning with the abstract page) are counted and numbered with lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.).

  • For chapters, page 1 is the first page of the Introduction and is numbered “1” at the bottom center of this page. The remainder of the document is numbered with Arabic numerals. All subsequent major sections, such as first pages of chapters or appendices, are numbered with the centered number at the bottom. Numbering is consecutive through references and appendices.


The VSU Guide asks for a full-capped title for each chapter; no bold faced type. Remember—the first page of each chapter has a 2 inch top margin. One blank line falls between the heading, the capitalized title, and the beginning paragraph. An example of Chapter I follows:

Chapter I


Line Spacing

The body of the text must be double-spaced. Additional line spaces may be used to set off headings. Long quotations, formulas, endnotes, etc. are to follow the spacing indicated in the style manual approved by your program. For APA, this rule also refers to the reference list. Quotations of more than 40 words should be indented five spaces from the left and five spaces from the right and single-spaced.

Word Processing

See APA Style Manual, MLA Style Manual, or Turabian as appropriate for examples of acceptable type style. Times New Roman is recommended as the font. The font should be at least 10 point with 12 point being preferred for readability. Dot matrix print, script, or other nonstandard typefaces are acceptable in the appendices of the final manuscript only. All other portions must be in a standard font or typeface. If pen work (drawing) is needed, use black permanent drawing ink. Any freehand material must look professional—consider hiring a specialist to do this.


Be sure that your paper looks the same from section to section. Different margins, different heading formats, and different fonts are very apparent and detract from the presentation of your work (and are not acceptable). Take the time to look over the paper from beginning to end and notice things that don’t match or line up. As mentioned in the capitalization section, be consistent in your use of upper case letters and abbreviations. There may be several correct ways to refer to the title or place or item, but once you select one, use it throughout your paper.


The nature of a research document at this level requires a certain level of restatement of your purpose, problem, and method. However, try to paraphrase enough to avoid making the redundancy an exact duplicate of previously presented material. Some duplication is OK — but after the third exact restatement, the reader might begin thinking you are incapable of explaining your research in meaningful ways.


It is recommended that you have a professional editor read and edit your final draft. This does not come cheaply, but the results have been impressive. If this is not feasible, find someone who knows nothing about your project (and is not your spouse unless he or she happens to be a professional editor) who you know is an accomplished writer. This person will be able to find the format inconsistencies, typos, verb agreement problems, etc., that your committee may not have time to work on. Ultimately, your committee chair will determine which corrections will be made, and it is appropriate to consider this person the final authority on composition and structure. Correct format per your style manual is not negotiable.


The original final copy must be printed, one-sided, directly onto the appropriate paper by a laser-quality printer or laser printer. Ink jet printers must be set on the highest quality. Dot matrix printing is not acceptable. Additional required copies may be produced in the same manner as the original, or they must be professionally photocopied onto the appropriate paper. All copies must be crisp, clear, and free of smudges, erasures, or corrections.

Tables, Graphs, Photographs, and Figures

Illustrative materials may add a great deal to your thesis or dissertation if properly used. These should be placed in your text as closely following your first reference to them as possible. An illustration may share a page with text, as long as it does not take up more than half the page. Photographs are always placed on their own page. Tables, figures, graphs, and photographs should be numbered under separate numbering systems, and a list for each should be provided if you have three or more of one type of graphic. Always refer to a graphic in the text by number. Never write, “As seen in the following figure;” rather state, “As seen in Figure 4. . .”

All illustrative materials should be incorporated into the text. Appendices should be reserved for explanatory material (non-essential data), samples of documents, IRB approval, etc. Tables, charts, graphs and the like should all appear with some text included on these pages. If you need to reduce the table or figure, make sure the page number appears in the proper place on the page, e.g. like all the other pages. Also, the title of the chart or graph should appear in the regular size font being used for the rest of the document.

No materials may be pasted into the document. If you have such items, paste each into place and then photocopy the page. This rule applies to photographs. If you need to include photographs, prepare them in black and white half-tone exposure and photocopy the item into the text. Documents that contain pasted items will not be accepted.

Pockets can be used for oversize maps or drawings. Fold and insert in appendices. If possible, reducing these to standard 8.5 x 11 inches and including them in the text is preferred. Some style manuals allow you to place graphics in an appendix rather than in the text. Refer to the manual approved by your program, and check with your committee before you assume that this is appropriate.

Ink Color

The text must be printed in black ink. Colored ink is permissible for tables, figures, graphics and illustrations as appendices.  Colored ink deteriorates over time; it is also difficult to copy and thus, not recommended. Change web site references to black ink.

The exception: all signatures on the signature page are to be in indelible blue ink.


All official copies of the thesis or dissertation—those placed in the library or kept by a department—must be bound. It is also a normal courtesy to ask all members of the committee if they would like a bound copy and to provide a copy for each member who desires one. Binding is done by the Odum Library with the student being responsible for all binding fees, delivery and pick up of material. The library will get two original copies. Students should submit the ORIGINAL binding fee form with copies to be bound (see the link below). The graduate school should receive a copy of the form after it is marked paid by the Bursary.

Before preparing the final copies for binding, make sure you have obtained the dean of the Graduate School’s signature which indicates final approval of your thesis or dissertation.

Thesis Committee Appointment Form (PDF format)

Library Binding Fee Form (PDF format)

V-Text Form (permission form for submitting electronic copy of thesis or dissertation to Odum Library Archives - submit when dropping off hard copies of theses and dissertations to be bound) Word format

The following form is active-enter information directly to the form then print:



VSU expects all students to meet high standards of academic conduct, and this is particularly true of graduate students.  Graduate students have been through the experience of completing undergraduate degree programs, and they should be familiar with the expected standards of conduct within academe.  Some of the key principles relating to these standards are found in the Thesis and Dissertation Guide.  Students may also consult individual program standards. See Academic Honesty at VSU for additional information.