Component Formatting Details
PRINTABLE LIST (PDF) Under revision!
Each component is discussed in the order it appears and must be included in the final document. This applies to all doctoral dissertations and master's and EDS theses. For information about style, see Style Information. Or visit style manual web pages for APA, MLA, Chicago, or APSA (note: some Graduate School requirements may supersede manual styles).
APA Training through Hoonuit. Log into MyVSU first and then go to Hoonuit. Search for APA training. There are multiple modules available for training on APA guidelines.
TEMPLATES ONLY (Sample Word versions are available but will need to be updated to current APA standards - contact the Graduate School at email@example.com!) Please follow APA on any differences other than those specifically noted for the Title Page, Copy Right, Fair Use, Abstract, Table of Contents, Acknowledgements, and Dedication pages.
- DPA Dissertations (sample only)
- EDD/SLPD Dissertations (sample only)
- Theses (History & English students may adapt this style for their use.)
- Sample Signature Page (this is a sample of what your signature page should look like and the information it should contain, ensure you include the defense date!)
The sample pages offered below are adaptations of previous work, used with permission.
Sample A Thesis Pages (title, copyright, signature, fair use, abstract) PDF format
Sample B Thesis Pages (table of contents, list of figures, list of tables) PDF format
Sample DPA, EDD, SLP-D Dissertation Pages (title, copyright, signature, fair use, abstract) See the above templates.
THE FRONT MATTER MATTERS!!! Preliminary pages set the stage for your work. The cardinal rule is to be consistent throughout the document using the same font, margins, page number placement, capitalization and numbering styles!
The title should reflect the actual content of the study by using key words that represent major areas of your investigation. Space text from top to bottom margins (see samples). Avoid using symbols, formulae, and numerals in the title. You should also avoid “jargon” in the title, wherever possible, and avoid being “cute.” Do not count or number this page. Left margin - 1.5"; top, right, and bottom margins - 1". Include month and year of your graduation. Text is centered on this page.
You are strongly encouraged to copyright your thesis or dissertation. The copyright page immediately follows the title page and consists of the following statement, modified only by the correct year and your name as shown on the title page, centered in the page.
© Copyright 2016 Mary Jane Doe
All Rights Reserved
Most word processing packages contain the copyright symbol “©.” The copyright statement must be double-spaced. Do not count or number this page.
(Have you sent your sig page to the Graduate School for proofing before your defense to avoid "redos" later? If not, send to firstname.lastname@example.org)
The signature page signifies that your thesis or dissertation has been reviewed and approved by committee members and the graduate dean. You must have a signature page with original signatures. Each signature must be in blue ink or an electronic signature. Assuming your defense is successful, you can get signatures while your committee is together. (If changes must be made, you may still be able to get signatures from each member of your committee except your major professor, who will sign only after verifying that the changes have been properly made.) Submit the signed signature page with the final version of your thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School. Signature pages must all be produced on the 20 pound weight acid-free paper. Do not count or number this page. Committee members - do not date (only include the defense date at bottom of page)!
For each member of the committee, indicate their full name, academic degree (Ed.D., Ph.D., Ed.S., etc.) and their proper rank and field of study (i.e., Professor of Biology, Associate Professor of Special Education, Assistant Professor of English, etc.). Do not include titles such as department head, director of a lab, etc. When in doubt, contact the Graduate School. COMMITTEE MEMBERS - DO NOT INCLUDE DATE WHEN SIGNING! Only include Defense Date at the bottom of the signature page.
Fair Use and Duplication Release Form
This form must follow your signature page. It states whether or not appropriate personnel in the Odum Library have your permission to act as your agent to release copies of your document if they are requested. The form also lets the reader know that your document is protected under the laws of copyright. Both signature lines and statements should be included on the form. Do not count or number this page.
The abstract should tell the reader your topic, research methods, and major findings. The abstract is double-spaced and should not exceed one page in length. The most common length is approximately 350 words. Begin numbering using Roman numeral i.
Table of Contents
Only material following the table of contents is listed in the table of contents (do not include abstract, figures, tables, acknowledgements, etc. - start with the first chapter). Use Roman numerals (for example, Chapter I, Chapter II, etc.); the chapter title should be in all caps (INTRODUCTION; REVIEW OF LITERATURE; etc.); include appendices and their titles. Be sure to check page numbers; if corrections are made pages may require renumbering.
List of Tables, Figures, or Illustrations
Number and title all tables, figures, photographs, and illustrations. If you have three or more figures and/or illustrations, present a list showing their location after your table of contents. There should be a separate list for Tables, a list for Figures, and one for charts or illustrations if needed. Do not include a list if there are less than three tables or figures. (Hint: When using tables, present a brief summary of the contents before the table is presented rather than repeat all statistics in the narrative. Try to limit tables and figures; if there are more than 15 of each, it is permissible to place in the appendices to avoid disrupting the flow of the narrative.)
The preface may be included in an introductory section of a manuscript. The preface is preliminary to and separate from the main text and explains the purpose, plan, or preparation of the work. A preface is not necessary for most theses or dissertations but may be included if the author believes it serves a useful purpose, and his or her committee agrees. If a preface is included, it normally contains acknowledgments. (Double space.)
Acknowledgements (optional) Sample Acknowledgement Page
While your thesis or dissertation must be your intellectual property, you could not have written it without the assistance of a number of individuals and institutions. The acknowledgements page provides you with the opportunity to thank those who provided that assistance. You may include as many individuals as you desire. This is also the appropriate place to list permission to quote copyrighted material. Single space text.
A dedication is not required but may be included if desired. A dedication should be short and to the point. Single space text.
Body of Text Sample of a Chapter's First Page
Your text should be arranged in a logical order, divided into appropriate chapters. Refer to the style manual approved by your department in this regard. Begin numbering with Arabic number 1. The first page of each chapter should have a 2" top margin; remaining pages 1" top. Left margins: 1.5". Follow APA in regards to headings and sub-headings (remain consistent); double space. (In latest version of Microsoft Word, change default setting - no extra spaces between sections or paragraphs.) (HINT: To obtain a 2" top margin, use two, double-spaced returns to create at least a 1.75" top...that will suffice for the top margins of the first pages of each chapter!) FOR OUR PURPOSES, TYPE 1 OR 2 SPACES AFTER A PERIOD ENDING A SENTENCE (remain consistent throughout)!!
Footnotes, Endnotes, and In-Text References
Footnotes, endnotes, or in-text references (short explanations in parentheses in the text) are acceptable to the Graduate School. You must consult the style manual approved by your department and use its recommended format consistently in your thesis or dissertation.
Bibliography (References or Works Cited)
Consult your program's style. For example, in APA style, a bibliography includes all sources consulted that relate to your research project. A Reference List is used to compile all the sources actually cited in your manuscript. If you are not using APA, consult the appropriate style manual for the proper format preferred by your department.
Appendices Sample Appendix Cover Page
Supplemental material should be placed in appendices. You need a separate appendix for each type of material presented. Some style manuals allow you to place tables, figures, and other graphical representations in an appendix, rather than dispersed throughout your text. Each appendix should have a cover page that identifies it. Reference the cover sheet page number in the Table of Contents. Center the title on the page.A copy of your IRB or IACUC approval or exemption (if applicable) must be included here. Be sure to mention the IRB or IACUC in your “Methods” chapter.
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