1 Yozshumuro

Writing A Phd Dissertation Format

Format checking:

Before students can complete the final submission (deposit) of a major paper, thesis or dissertation, their document must be submitted to the Graduate Studies office for conformity with the format requirements outlined below.





The format requirements are applicable to the following research documents:

  • Doctoral dissertation and Master’s thesis (all programs), and Master’s creative writing project (English);
  • Master’s major paper (all programs) and major internship paper (Political Science).

Students are advised to consult the Office of Graduate Studies or refer to the SAMPLE document template before they begin writing the final version of their document.   

A student has not completed the requirements leading to a degree until the major paper, thesis or dissertation has been deposited in the Office of Graduate Studies, and may miss tuition refund or convocation deadlines or be required to register for an additional term if the document needs substantial revisions in order to meet Office of Graduate Studies guidelines.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies guidelines, derived from those set by Library and Archives Canada, concern copyrightauthorship, and physical format. No particular style of presentation is recommended for the body of the thesis document (e.g. style of chapter headings and sub-headings, heading levels, style for references, etc.). The single most important aspect of style is consistency: the same style must be followed throughout.
If your program does not recommend any particular style manual, the following are widely-accepted examples of the numerous style manuals available: 


Students may choose between two format types for the thesis or dissertation: the traditional format or the manuscript format.

(1) Traditional format
This format organizes chapters around a central problem and is normally used when no part of the thesis has been published or submitted for publication.

(2) Manuscript format
The manuscript format comprises the text of one or more papers/manuscripts that have been, or will be, submitted for publication. These texts must follow the guidelines for format given elsewhere in this document with respect to font size, line spacing and margin sizes. The document must be more than a collection of manuscripts, however, in that all the components must be brought together into one cohesive unit, with logical progression from one chapter to the next and following one consistent style throughout the document in each chapter, e.g. chapter headings, sub-headings, heading levels, style for references, etc. 


Note: pages marked with an asterisk [*] are optional.

(1) Traditional format

Title page

Copyright page (if separate)

Approval page

either Declaration of Originality orDeclaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication


*Dedication (where applicable)

*Acknowledgements (where applicable)

Table of Contents

*List of Tables (where applicable)

*List of Figures (where applicable)

*List of Appendices (where applicable)

*List of Abbreviations, Symbols,
*Nomenclature (where applicable)

Body of thesis(divided into various chapters)

Bibliography/References (note that the Bibliography/References section can either precede or follow the Appendices)

*Appendices(include copyright releases here, if applicable).

Vita Auctoris

-(2) Manuscript format

Title page
Copyright page (if separate)
Approval page
Declaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication
*Dedication (where applicable)
*Acknowledgements (where applicable)
Table of Contents
*List of Tables (where applicable)
*List of Figures (where applicable)
*List of Appendices (where applicable)
*List of Abbreviations, Symbols,
*Nomenclature (where applicable)
Body of thesis, divided into:

  • Introductory chapter to the entire thesis with its own bibliography, where applicable.
  • Each subsequent chapter presented in a manuscript format without an abstract, but with its own bibliography/references, and following consistently the same style throughout, e.g. style of chapter headings, sub-headings, heading levels, same style for references, etc. regardless of the citation formats of the journals in which the manuscript has appeared or will be published.
  • Final chapter (general discussions and conclusions) to relate the separate studies to each other and to a relevant discipline or field of study. 

This section to contain details of methodology, tabulated data, and other pertinent data. Copyright releases from previous publications may be included in the Appendices. Remove any private information from appended materials, such as signatures, personal phone numbers, addresses, etc.

Vita Auctoris

The preliminary pages should appear in the following order:

Note: pages marked with an asterisk [*] are optional, depending on the demands of the thesis and the wishes of the author.

Title page

Assigned page number one (i), but not physically numbered. Format should follow that of Example 1 (for a Master's thesis, the caption should begin “A Thesis Submitted...”, for students in the Creative Writing Program – “A Creative Writing Project Submitted…”) and the wording of the caption should follow the one in Example 1, with the correct Department name and respective Degree.
In selecting your title, keep in mind that the systems used by libraries to retrieve the information contained in your document rely on title keywords. The title should therefore be accurate, specific, and brief.

Copyright page*

Assigned page number two (ii), but not physically numbered. Not necessary if copyright symbol appears on the title page.

Approval page

Assigned page number two (ii) or three (iii), but not physically numbered. For details see Example 2.

  • the unsigned approval page must be included within the thesis document.
  • the printed and signed approval page with signatures of all committee members must be submitted to Graduate Studies at the time of hte final deposit. 

Begin physically numbering pages after the Approval page.

either Author’s Declaration of Originality or Declaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication:

Author’s Declaration of Originality
Assigned page number "iii" or "iv" and physically numbered. This declaration should be used in the traditional thesis format when the thesis does not include materials based on joint research or material that has been published or submitted for publication. Download and insert the declaration in your thesis.

Declaration of Co-Authorship/Previous Publication

  • Assigned page number iii or iv and physically numbered. This statement should be used as an alternative to “Author’s Declaration of Originality”, when the thesis incorporates material based on joint research (published or unpublished), and/or when the thesis incorporates the text of one or more papers that the student has published or submitted for publication. In the case of previous publications, it is the responsibility of the student to obtain proper permission from the journal/copyright holder to use the published material in their thesis. For details refer to Using previously copyrighted material.
  • This declaration is normally used in the manuscript thesis format (or in the traditional format, in case of co-authorship). Download and insert the declaration in your thesis.


Assigned a page number and physically numbered. All theses, dissertations, and major papers as well as creative writing projects must contain an abstract, which should not exceed 2 pages double-spaced (for Doctoral dissertations), and 1 page double-spaced (for Master's theses, major research papers, and creative writing projects).  


Assigned a page number and physically numbered.


Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

Table of Contents

Assigned a page number and physically numbered. The Table of Contents should follow the format of Example 3 (a) or 3 (b). All preliminary pages should be listed, except for the title page, the copyright page, the approval page and the table of contents itself. All pages following the body of the text must be listed too, including the Vita Auctoris page.

When subheadings are included in the Table of Contents, they may be indented differently from the chapter titles or set in another type style.

List of Tables*

- should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style - list not only the table captions but also their page number. Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

List of Figures*

- should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style - list not only the figure captions but also their page number. Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

List of Appendices*

- should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style. Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

List of Abbreviations (or Nomenclature)*

- should match the Table of Contents in font size and general style. Assigned a page number and physically numbered.

The body of the thesis follows, divided into chapters. Remember that pages in the body of the thesis are assigned Arabic numerals (beginning with "1") which run consecutively to the very end of the thesis (including the Vita Auctoris page).
No particular style of presentation is recommended for the body of the thesis document (e.g. style of chapter headings and sub-headings, heading levels, etc.). The single most important aspect of style is consistency: the same style must be followed throughout. If using the manuscript format, each chapter should have its own bibliography/references section. If using the traditional format, the bibliography normally follows at the end of the text.

Back matter (the pages following the thesis body) should appear in the following order:

References (or Bibliography)

No particular style for references is recommended so students should consult their supervisors about the appropriate style for their discipline. In the traditional format, the References/Bibliography section appear at the end after the body of the thesis, and can either precede or follow the Appendices. In the manuscript format, the References/Bibliography must appear after each chapter within the thesis body.


Copyright releases from publications may be included in the Appendices. Remove any private information from appended materials, such as signatures, personal phone numbers, addresses, etc.

Vita Auctoris

(or life of the author). The Vita Auctoris is a required thesis element, however, there are no specific requirements / restrictions about its format or contents: it should include as a minimum the author's name, year and place of birth, and education and degrees (for privacy concerns, students should NOT include personal information such as home address and phone numbers, full date of birth, etc.). Other information may be included, but should be directly related to the thesis or academic discipline (e.g., list of student’s publications/conference presentations resulting from their thesis research, etc.). See sample Vita Auctoris pages. The Vita Auctoris page must be the last page of the document, it must be assigned a number and listed in the Table of Contents.


Use paper of good quality, 8½ x 11 inches (21.5 x 28 cm). Do not use erasable paper or thin computer paper. If maps or charts necessitate the use of larger sheets of paper, check with the Office of Graduate Studies for advice.


Every page must have the same margins: 1 inch all around, preferably a larger margin (1½ inches) on the left. If sufficient margins are not observed text or diagrams extending into the margins could be destroyed in the binding process.

Typing & Line spacing

The pages must bear print on only one side of the sheet. The spacing of the typed lines should be at least 1½ spaces, with the exception of notes, long quotations, figure and table captions, and references.  The typeface must be clear and the font size should be 10 points or larger; a smaller font size may be used for graphs, formulas and appendices. Computer printers must produce letter quality print. If in doubt about acceptability of print, bring a sample to the Office of Graduate Studies. 


The document must use 2 numeration systems: Roman numerals for the front matter/ preliminary pages, and Arabic numerals for the thesis body and thereafter through the end of the document. Each page must be assigned a page number.

  • Front matter (preliminary pages): All preliminary pages (those preceding the body/main text of the thesis) are assigned Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.), however, the number does not appear on the following preliminary pages even though they must be accounted for in the numbering system: title page, copyright page (if separate), and approval page. See further details under Page order where each page is listed. Beginning with the declaration (numbered three (iii) or four (iv)), all pages must be physically numbered.
  • Body of thesis and back matter: pages within the body of the thesis are assigned Arabic numerals, beginning with one ("1") at the beginning of chapter 1/introduction, consecutively to the end of the thesis.

Do not begin new pagination sequences at the beginning of appendices. If appendices include material taken from other sources on which page numbers already appear (permission to reproduce this material having been received, if necessary), they must also carry numbers conforming to the pagination of the thesis or dissertation.

Illustrative Material

Keep illustrative material within the margins defined above. If this is not possible, such material may be inserted into a pocket at the back of the bound document, or uploaded as a supplementary file as part of the online submission. Consult with the Office of Graduate Studies for details.
The format of tables, figures, etc. must follow one style consistently. Check with your research supervisor for advice on your program’s preferred style. 

Use of colour

Colour graphs or figures can be printed either in colour or black-and-white, provided contrast is acceptable. If printing in black-and-white ensure identification of lines on a graph is clear by line symbols rather than by variation of colour. For better contrast, use cross-hatching rather than colour for shaded areas.

Grammar and Spelling

It is the student’s responsibility (and an important courtesy to the readers) to ensure that grammar and spelling conventions are observed.

Other Questions

For questions contact the Office of Graduate Studies, Room 309, Chrysler Hall Tower, or call 519-253-3000, extension 2104.


Example 1: Title Page
[Follow exactly the wording of the paragraph beginning with “A Dissertation submitted to…” below. Note that this example is for a Doctoral dissertation; if you are a Master’s student substitute “A Dissertation” with “ A Thesis”, "A Creative Writing Project", “A Major  Research Paper”, or "A Major Internship Paper" and use the correct program name and degree, e.g. “Master of Arts”, “Master of Science”, etc.]



Magdy Bayoumi

A Dissertation
Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies
through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the
University of Windsor

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

© 2017 Magdy Bayoumi

Example 2 - Approval Page

  • the Approval page should not be numbered, although it is counted in the numbering system. The text should be centred except for the defense date at the bottom which should be right-aligned.
  • the names of the committee members must be listed in the following format: no title "Dr.", initial for the first name, e.g. "J. Doe" instead of "Dr. Jane Doe"
  • only the advisor(s) must be indicated – insert the word: “, Advisor” after the advisor’s name as shown below (or “Co-Advisor” if you have two co-supervisors).
  • note that the chair of defense is not listed and does NOT sign the approval page.
  • see sample below or download the Approval page templates (under 'Thesis and dissertation forms')

Example 3(a) (Table of Contents - Traditional format)


Example 3(b) (Table of Contents - Manuscript format)


Examples 4 and 5:


[Note that there is no specific required format for the Vita Auctoris although it is a mandatory element. You may include any information about you, the author, below are some examples. Do NOT include personal information such as telephone numbers, full date of birth, etc.]

Example 4:


Mary Scott was born in 1976 in Windsor, Ontario. She graduated from Assumption High School in 1995. From there she went on to the University of Western Ontario where she obtained a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1999. She is currently a candidate for the Master's degree in Chemistry at the University of Windsor and hopes to graduate in Fall 2001.


Example 5:


Dissertation Formatting Guidelines

This section describes the dissertation format that all NYUSteinhardt doctoral candidates are required to follow. Dissertations must adhere to these requirements in order to be accepted by the Office of Doctoral Studies for the scheduling of the final oral examination. Please read this section carefully and contact the Office of Doctoral Studies if you have any questions.

Choice of Style Manual

Faculty policy leaves the choice of a style manual to the doctoral candidate with the advice and consent of his or her committee. Generally, candidates are urged to learn and use the manual most often required for scholarly writing by journals within their disciplines. Typically, the following style manuals are used by NYUSteinhardt students:

  • American Psychological Association, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Gibaldi, J., & Achtert, W. S., MLA handbook for writers of research papers
  • Turabian, K., A manual for writers of research papers, theses and dissertations
  • The University of Chicago Press, The Chicago manual of style

The most recent editions of the chosen style manuals should be used.

Print and Copy Quality

Your printer must produce consistently black letters and consistent margins. Sufficient darkness is also necessary for any supporting materials, such as tables, figures, drawings, pictures, etc., -- either as originals or as copies -- that you may need to append or insert in your manuscript. Your dissertation will be published by ProQuest UMI which requires clear, high-contrast characters and images. As a guide to the quality that will be obtained, you can photocopy a sample page at 75% reduction to evaluate the readability and clarity of the print.


The School and ProQuest UMI allow students to use typefaces that are between 10 and 12 points; however, because 10 point can appear too small in most typefaces, 12 point is generally preferred. A smaller or condensed typeface can be used for tables that otherwise might not fit across a page within the correct margins, however, mixing typefaces is otherwise not recommended.

Underlining or italics may be used for statistical symbols, book titles, or definitions (but use either one or the other consistently throughout your manuscript, including tables). Headings should be underlined when appropriate and not italicized. Bold type should not be used in the manuscript.

Do not justify the right margin of your text; keep it left aligned like the text shown here.


To assure proper binding and for ease of reading, the following margins are required:

  • Left margin: one and one-half inches for all pages.
  • Right margin: one and one-half inches for all pages, with no intrusion of letters or anything else into the right margin.
  • Top margin: one-and-one-quarter inches for all pages except the first page of the Acknowledgments, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, each chapter, Bibliography, and Appendices which should begin two inches from the top edge of the page.
  • Bottom margin: one-and-one-quarter inches for all pages.
  • Page numbers for all pages preceding page 1 of Chapter I (lower case roman numerals for Acknowledgments, Table of Contents, etc.) should be placed three-quarters of an inch from the bottom of the page, centered between the left and right margins.
  • Page numbers from page 1 of Chapter I through the last page of the last appendix should be placed three-quarters of an inch from the top or bottom, centered between the left and right margins.

See the next section for sample dissertation pages.

White Space

Avoid leaving more than two inches of white space without type. This applies to tables and figures as well as to text. A table or figure should be inserted in the text as soon after it is first referred to where it will fit in its entirety on one page. Leave three blank lines between a table and text or text and a table; the same for figures. Continue your text if you can fit at least four lines after it. You may have more than one table on a page and you may have a table, discussion, and a table. The same procedure applies to all illustrative material.

Line Spacing

Double space the entire manuscript with these exceptions (which should be single-spaced):

  • chapter titles, appendix titles, headings, and subheadings of more than one line;
  • block quotations;
  • column headings and lines that run on in tables;
  • bibliography or references entries -- double space between entries;
  • footnotes;
  • figure captions;
  • explanatory material for figures, tables, and illustrations; and
  • appendices -- the spacing will vary depending on the source and content.

APA style requires writers to double space all typed material, including the exceptions noted above. If you are using APA, the above rules supersede APA rules in most cases. You have the option, however, of double spacing your references and block quotations; MLA style users also have this option.


The title page is counted as page one and the copyright page as page two, but numbers do not appear on them. Lower case roman numerals (iii, iv, v, vi, etc.) are used for all subsequent pages up to the first page of the text (page 1 of Chapter I) and should be placed three quarters of an inch from the bottom edge of the paper, centered between the margins.

Beginning with page 1 of Chapter I, Arabic numbers are used and are continuous through the last page including all appendices. Page numbers for all pages in the chapter, including the first page of each chapter or major section, should be placed three quarters of an inch from the top or bottom edge of the paper centered between the margins.

Order of Sections

The material of your manuscript should be ordered as follows:

  1. title page;
  2. copyright page;
  3. acknowledgments;
  4. table of contents;
  5. list(s) of tables, figures, charts, graphs, musical examples, illustrations, etc., if used;
  6. preface or forward, if used;
  7. the text;
  8. bibliography;
  9. and appendices (if any).

Title Page of Dissertation

Please see the sample title page below. You are required to follow that format exactly.

Copyright Page

You will have the option to have your dissertation copyrighted when you submit it to Proquest/UMI for publication. You should include a copyright page with your name and copyright date in the middle of the page, centered left to right (between the margins) and top to bottom. Please note that the copyright date is the year of your degree conferral. Follow this format:


The copyright page is page ii of the pages preceding the text (the title page is understood to be page i), but no number should appear on either the title page or the copyright page.

Table of Contents and Lists of Tables and Figures

Because a dissertation does not have an index, your Table of Contents should be as comprehensive as possible. Include all headings and subheadings, exactly as they appear in the text, up to and including Level 2. Including lower level headings is optional. (See sample Table of Contents in the next section.) Note that the indentation of a heading used in the Table of Contents corresponds to the level of the heading. The following illustrates this:

You should supply the reader with lists of tables, figures, and any other illustrative material used in your dissertation. See the sample lists in the next section. Lists of musical examples or reproductions of art, or information about films, follow the same form as that used for lists of tables and figures.

Chapter Titles and Headings

Chapter headings and titles appear as follows, beginning two inches from the top of the page:


Headings within the chapter should indicate the weight you assign to particular ideas by the form of headings suggested in the style manual you have selected or the form suggested below.

Leave three blank lines (i.e., begin typing after two double spaces) before each heading and after each major section and chapter title. If one heading immediately follows another, leave only one blank line (a double space) between the two. Leave one blank line (a double space) after each heading. Capitalize the first letter of each word of headings except for articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.

The following is one way in which to order headings and to type them. Students following APA style may use the format in the APA Style Guide, however, the format below is preferred for NYU Steinhardt dissertations.


See the sample page 1 in the next section for an example of heading placement.

Be sure that no heading appears at the bottom of a page without at least two lines of text beneath it. The Table of Contents will contain all Level 1 and Level 2 headings exactly as they appear in the text. It is not necessary to include Level 3 or lower-level headings in the Table of Contents, but you may if it provides the reader with more useful information.

Numbering Conventions

Chapter numbers are upper case roman numerals (with no period), e.g., CHAPTER IV, to differentiate them from any other numbers in the text. All other items requiring numbers should have Arabic numbers. Appendices, should be designated by capital letters, e.g., APPENDIX A, APPENDIX B, etc.

Use numbers or letters for other items only when necessary. Use 1) in the text and 1. in a set-off list; a) in the text and a. in a set-off list -- not (1) or 1). or a.), etc. If items in a numbered list run onto two or more lines, you may let the additional lines begin at the margin or indent the entire paragraph to the right of the numbers.

Numbers beginning a sentence, as well as numbers below 10 (or, if you prefer, 12) should be spelled out when they appear within the text.

Reduction of Tables and Other Materials

If a table, appendix, illustration, or graph is too wide or long, or both, to fit within the specified margins, have it reduced, or if textual material, type it using a smaller font. Whenever possible, avoid inserting tables which must be read by turning the book sideways. If such a table is necessary, be sure to insert it with the heading to the spine or binding. You may also use a condensed typeface.

Bibliographic Entries

For style guides other than APA, if you have more than one work by the same author, do not repeat his or her name over and over. Use ten underscore characters, ending with a period if the author is exactly the same as the previous one, or with a comma if the author is the first of a series of new authors, as shown below. Single space the entry; double space between entries. Indent the second and subsequent lines one-half inch.


Note that authors with two initials have a space after the period between each initial, e.g., Smith, A. B., & Jones, M. J. Do not allow initials to break between lines; keep them together on one line or the other.

Regardless of the style guide you use, avoid having one or two lines of an entry on one page and the rest of the citation on the next page. The entry should be cited in its entirety on one page or the other.

Citations in Text

The way you cite an author in your manuscript is based on the context. If you are attributing an idea that you paraphrased to someone, use the name and date (according to APA style) such as (Jones, 2002), or as shown in the first sentence below. If you are

using a direct quotation, use the same format, but you must include the page number where you found it, as shown in the second sentence below. Also, specific information or ideas need a page number even if paraphrased. For example, the following brief passage refers to the same publication by a hypothetical author:


Review the whole manuscript to be sure that every work referred to in the manuscript is cited in the text (or footnotes) and included in the bibliography.

Block (Indented) Quotations

Four or more lines of a quotation should be set off from the main text with a double space, typed single spaced with no quotation marks, and the entire block indented one-half inch. Quotations within these block (or indented) quotations may use double quotations. The first line of the quotation is not indented; however, the first lines of new paragraphs within the quotation should begin with an additional indent of one-half inch. Students using APA or MLA style may double space block quotations.


Each appendix should have the proper designation at the top of the first page. A title page does not need to be inserted before each one. Use the following format, centered between the left and right margins, beginning two inches from the top of the page:



If you have material that, because of its format, needs to have a title page (because the title doesn't fit on the same page as the material), you need to consistently use title pages for all appendices. Avoid it if you can. Again, all material in an appendix must fit within the overall page margins.

Letters of Permission

It is necessary to obtain letters of permission for the reproduction of any copyrighted material which exceeds the Federal law pertaining to "Fair Use." Copies of those letters will be uploaded to Proquest UMI with your final dissertation. Copies of the letters do not need to be included in the dissertation.

The Abstract

The abstract is a brief summary of the contents of the dissertation. Begin typing the abstract two inches from the top of a blank page with no heading. The abstract should be typed double-spaced with the same typeface and margins as the dissertation. The length of the abstract should be limited to 350 words.

The abstract title page is identical to the dissertation title page with one exception: the abstract title page has the words An Abstract of directly above the title (see Sample Title Page in the next section). Each abstract is stapled in the upper left corner and kept separate from the dissertation. The chairperson of the dissertation committee should sign one copy of the abstract title page.

Sample Pages

The following section includes sample dissertation pages which should be followed carefully. Refer to the preceding section for more detailed information on format requirements. Students should follow the instructions on these sample pages rather than using a dissertation from the library (or elsewhere) as a guide. Format requirements differ from year to year and from school to school.

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