Thesis Guidelines

Thesis Information:

CRJU 7999 Thesis 0-3-1 to 0-18-6 
Graded “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory.”  The student must be registered for CRJU 7998 (3 credits) and CRJU 7999 (3 credits) in the term in which the degree is earned for a total of 6 credit hours. For students developing and writing a thesis and as recommended and approved by the student’s thesis advisor. Students who receive 2 "Unsatisfactory" grades will be dismissed from the program.

Student Theses must be written in the American Psychological Association (APA) publication style. This publication is now in its seventh edition and can be purchased at the university bookstore (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 2001, Seventh Edition). The paper must also be written in a 12-point font such as Courier or Times New Roman and must be double spaced. Pages should also be formatted with one inch margins at the top, bottom, and sides. Substantive format issues should be discussed with a faculty advisor; however, a sample outline is included in these guidelines.

Thesis Information:  (gathered from the V.S.U. graduate school, complete information can be found at

  • The thesis or dissertation represents the culmination of your academic program. It is a major achievement, reflecting your development as a professional in your chosen field. It provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your intellectual capabilities through the production of an original piece of research. While you will have the assistance of many others in completing this project, including faculty and fellow graduate students, the finished thesis or dissertation reflects your work, your effort, and your intellectual development. You should exercise great care in preparing your thesis or dissertation in order to produce a study of which you and Valdosta State University can be proud.
  • Final drafts (already defended) of theses and dissertations are to be submitted to the Graduate School for review no less than two weeks before graduation of each semester. This means the Graduate School will have up until the time of graduation to review theses and dissertations and for students to make corrections (if any) for the Graduate School. Fall's deadline accommodates the Thanksgiving holiday.
    • Check the graduate school website for current deadlines for the semester you intend to defend your thesis.  

Component Checklist: 
(Page order for a thesis or dissertation. Items with asterisks (*) are optional. )

  • Title Page

The title should reflect the actual content of the study by using key words that represent major areas of your investigation. 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. Left margin - 1.5"; top, right, and bottom margins - 1".

  • Copyright 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 2011 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.

  • Signature Page

You must have a signature page with original signatures for each official copy of your dissertation. Each signature must be in blue ink. It is a good idea to have adequate copies of the signature page and an appropriate pen with you when you defend. 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 all signed signature pages with the final draft of your thesis or dissertation and proof of binding fees paid. These pages must all be produced on the 20 pound weight acid- free paper used for your archival copy. Do not count or number.

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.)

  • 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.

  • Abstract

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. It is useful to keep within the guidelines established by University Microforms International, which limits an abstract to 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. Use Roman numerals (for example, Chapter I, Chapter II, etc.); include appendices and their titles. Be sure to check page numbers; if corrections are made the 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 illustrations if needed.

  • Preface (optional)

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.

  • Acknowledgements (optional)

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.

  • Dedication (optional)

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

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. No bold-faced type in headings or sub-headings (for graduate school purposes, follow APA 5th for headings); double space.

  • 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

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

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. A copy of your approved IRB or IACUC proposal (if applicable) must be included here. Be sure to mention the IRB or IACUC in your “Methods” chapter.

  • Autobiographical Statement (optional)

If you wish to provide an autobiographical statement, it should appear as the final component of your document. It should include basic vita information such as schools attended, degrees received, positions held, titles of publications, and honors received. It should not include your address or telephone number, as your thesis or dissertation is a public document.