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Thesis Formatting Requirements

The senior thesis is a formal document.  Please take care to adhere to the guidelines below when preparing your thesis for final submission.


Required Elements (in order)

Title Page: The title page is unnumbered.  All text of the title page should be centered, and be in the same font as the main text.  The title page should have the following format.

Dedication and/or Acknowledgement (optional): You may include a brief dedication or acknowledgement on a separate page.

Abstract: The thesis must include a formal abstract of 100-200 words at the beginning on its own page immediately following the Title Page (or dedication/acknowledgements, if any).  The thesis abstract presents a concise summary of the thesis (the problem addressed, methods used, and the key results).  There should be no citations in the abstract.

Table of Contents: The TOC should include section and subsection level headings and page numbers.

Maps (optional): Map(s) of the part(s) of the world that you will be discussing is often helpful.  (Optional, as appropriate.)

Main Text

Appendices (as necessary and appropriate): You may collect things like data collection methods, descriptions of the data, survey forms, data analysis code, and any other important information that does not fit well into the main text in appendices.

References Cited:  The thesis should include a complete "References Cited" citation.  Note, this is not a "bibliography" and should include only those works you have cited in your main text, appendices, endnotes, tables, or figures.



Basic typographical requirements

  • Margins: 1 inch.
  • Double spaced, except for the Abstract, TOC, block quotes, footnotes, references cited, and captions.  These elements should be single spaced.
  • Times or Times New Roman font in 12 point size for the main text. (Modulate type size appropriately for elements other than main body, such as headings and footnotes.)
  • Use the same font throughout including title page, table of contents, main text, headings, notes, tables, and (to extent possible) graphics.


  • Don't overquote.  If you must, try to work them into the flow of your own writing.
  • If you are using a long quote (more than a couple of lines), use a block quote format—new paragrah, blank line before and after, indented on both left and right (but first line should not be further indented), single-spaced.
  • Quotes should be exact duplication of the original.  Any formatting (like bold, italics, all-caps) should be reproduced.  If there are spelling or grammatical mistakes in the original, reproduce them exactly followed by [sic]  (the square braces are normal text, "sic" is italics) to show that the error was in the original text.
  • Brackets should be used when you insert your own words for purposes of clarification.
  • Any ommitted words should be indicated by an elipse ...

Citations and Footnotes

  • If writing a "social science" thesis, use in-text Author-Date citations, with full reference information at the end of the thesis in APSR format.
  • If writing a "history" thesis, use Chicago format citations in footnotes.
  • We strongly discourage the use of footnotes for "additional information."  Generally speaking, anything worth saying is worth saying in the main text.  Do not use your footnotes as a dumping ground for surplus material.  If it is necessary to provide commentary, quotations, or other essential information that cannot be worked into the main text, you may do so in footnotes, but do so sparingly.

Figures and Tables

  • All tables (presentation of data, regression results, etc.) should be numbered starting with 1, and should have a short descriptive caption. (e.g. Table 1: Descriptive Title)
  • All figures (maps, graphs, drawings, etc.) should be numbered separately starting with 1, and should have a short descriptive caption. (e.g. Figure 1: Descriptive Title)
  • Citation information should be part of the caption, if appropriate.
  • You should reference any figure or table explicitly in the text. (e.g. "In Table 4, I summarize the results of the regression analysis....")
  • Any figure should be readable, clear, sharp, and properly sized and cropped.

Page Numbering

  • All pages in the thesis should be numbered at the bottom center, except for the Title Page.
  • The Title Page is not numbered.
  • All front matter (Dedication/Acknowledgements, Abstract, TOC, List of Figures, List of Tables) use small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv,...).
  • The rest (Main Text, Appendices, References Cited) use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4...).


Copies to submit

You should submit one (1) electronic copy. The electronic copy should be in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Please submit it as a single file.  The PDF file should be titled: LastName_FirstName_Title.pdf