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Formatting Dissertation

Formatting a dissertation is one of the most important aspects of the final presentation. However well written is the dissertation, if it is not put up in good format, it would not be presentable and would cause a lot of inconvenience to the readers.

Dissertations are required to follow and adhere to the requirements of formatting as specified by the institution. However, there are certain guidelines that would help the dissertation’s effective formatting.

Choosing the Style Manual

Most often the policies of the faculties leave the style manual choice to the student. The choice can be made from the following style manuals:

• American Psychological Association


• The Chicago manual of style, and others.

Whichever style is chosen, it is important that the recent editions of the style manuals are followed.

Print Quality

Most often the dissertations are requested in print as well as softcopy form. It is important that print copies present consistent margins and black margins. It is important that all of the supporting materials, like tables, drawings, figures, and pictures, are legible.


The typefaces that are used in the dissertation should be between 10 and 12 points. Nevertheless, since point 10 appears quite small, it is generally preferred that 12 point is used. In case of tables and figures, a smaller typeface could be put to use that makes them appropriately adjusted across a page. Nonetheless, not many points should be mixed in a dissertation and it should be kept regular till the extent possible. Italics and underlining might be put to use for book titles, statistical symbols, and/or definitions. The margins should be kept aligned towards the left.

Not much of blank lines should be left after paragraphs or a section. The maximum of white space that should be left is two inches. This is equally applicable to the figures, text, and tables.

Line Spacing

Mostly double space of the whole manuscript is required for the text. However, most often the following are exempted from tis rule:

Titles of chapter, title of appendix, headings as well as subheadings;

Headings of column;


Captions of figures;

In appendices the line spacing varies as per the content and the source.

While numbering the pages, you can start from the title page. The copyright page mostly follows the title page and is page two. However, the numbers are hidden and not exhibited on these pages. For all of the following pages, the roman numerals in lower cases is used till the text starts..

From here, the pages are numbered as Page 1 of Chapter I. The use of Arabic numbers is made and continues throughout the dissertation till the last page.

Order of Sections

The dissertation should include all of the below mentioned sections:

  • Ttitle page;
  • Page for copyright;
  • Page for acknowledgment;
  • Table of contents page;
  • Page that includes list of figures, tables, charts, illustrations, graphs, etc., if applicable;
  • The main body of dissertation;
  • References and bibliography;
  • Appendix, if applicable.

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