Style Manuals

Style is used in both a literary and a technical sense, and you are expected to exhibit reasonable competence in both. In a literary sense, style refers to your use of language, your ability to communicate in a manner that both informs and holds the interest of the reader. In a technical sense, style refers to such mundane things as proper punctuation, page layout, and format.

Consistency is an essential element of style. If you are to produce a professional document, one in which you and VSU can take pride, you must maintain consistency of style. Not only does this add to the document’s appearance, it makes your document more functional. It removes potential distractions from the mind of the reader and allows him or her to focus upon the message you are presenting. Check with your program coordinator to determine which style manual is required for your project and use it.

NOTE: Rules stated in the Formatting Requirements section of these web pages as outlined by the Graduate School, along with any additional requirements specific to your program, take precedence over guidelines in any other manual of style. See Component - Formatting Requirements for details.

Page and Text Format

The body of the text should be left justified, with the right margin ragged.

Avoid placing a heading or subheading at the bottom of the page. You should have at least two lines of text following a heading or subheading on the bottom of the page; if this is not possible, cut the page short, and place the heading or subheading at the top of the next page. Avoid widows and orphans. You should not have the first line of a paragraph at the end of a page, nor the final line of a paragraph at the top of a page. Begin the new paragraph on the next page, or carry the last two lines of a paragraph over to the next page. You must follow accepted punctuation rules. While this topic is beyond a guide such as this, there is one point that will be emphasized. Do not end a page with a hyphen. If you have a compound word or a single word that will not completely fit on the page, carry it over to the next page.


Your typeface or font must be clear and readable. Generally, you should use a typeface with serifs (the small lines projecting from the main strokes of types such as Times New Roman). Sans serif (without serifs such as Arial) typefaces may be used for special purposes, where appropriate. Again, consult your style manual for more information. Old English and Script typefaces are not acceptable.

Standard print or font size (10 or 12 point) must be used. Some font sizes in 10 may be too small. You should check with the Graduate School regarding unusually small or large print. Font size must not affect accepted spacing of major headings and subheadings.

Oversize Elements

Oversize elements are always a problem in a document. The best thing to do about them is to reduce them in size to fit on a normal page. If this is not possible, an oversize element may still be bound, if the vertical page size is eleven inches, the page is folded in accordance with the instructions found in your style manual, and the paper used is the same quality used in the rest of your document. If this cannot be done you may fold the page and place it in a pocket supplement.

Thesis Committee Appointment Form (PDF format)

Helpful Hints for Submitting a Thesis or Dissertation to the Graduate School

Library Binding Fee Form (PDF format)

V-Text Form Word format (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)

ProQuest Instructions (Coming Soon!)


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.