Your doctoral dissertation must comply with certain formatting guidelines. Be sure to read the list of requirements thoroughly before you begin, and check the list carefully before you submit.

  • Required and Optional Sections

    Dissertation front matter should be in the following order. The front matter refers to the title page through the end of the table of contents/supplemental materials.Required sections are indicated in bold while optional sections are italicized.

    • Title Page (required)
    • Acceptance Page (required)
    • Copyright Page (optional)
    • Dedication (optional)
    • Acknowledgements (optional)
    • Preface (optional)
    • Abstract (required)
    • Table of Contents (required)
    • Supplemental Materials (lists of tables, figures, appendices, etc) (optional)

    Additionally, all students are required to include their resume/curriculum vitae at the end of their dissertation.

    For more information about each section, please see below.

    Title Page—Required

    The title page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. All content on this page should be centered horizontally and vertically. Keep in mind that the title must be able to fit on the spine of a bound manuscript.


    Author's Name

    Submitted to the faculty of the University Graduate School

    in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree

    Doctor of Philosophy

    in the Department [or School] of [Department/School Name],

    Indiana University

    *Month Year

    * The month and year is the date when all requirements have been completed for the awarding of your doctoral degree by the University Graduate School. This is not necessarily the month in which you defend your dissertation.

    Acceptance Page – Required

    This page confirms the committee's approval and acceptance of your dissertation.

    The acceptance page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. Adding lines for the signatures is optional. The first sentence should be centered, “Doctoral Committee,” and the date of dissertation defense should be left-aligned, and all other content should be right-aligned.

    Have your committee sign the page at the defense.

    Accepted by the Graduate Faculty, Indiana University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

    Doctoral Committee

    [Chairperson’s signature]

    [Chairperson’s name typed, Ph.D.]

    [Second reader’s signature]

    [Name typed]

    [Third reader’s signature]

    [Name typed]

    [Fourth reader’s signature]

    [Name typed]

    [Month Day, Year of dissertation defense]

    If you are submitting electronically, the acceptance page cannot contain signatures. Signatures should only be on the loose copy submitted to the University Graduate School.

    If you are submitting via the unbound paper method, the page with the original signatures should be included after the title page in the first bound copy of yoru dissertation. A photocopy of the original, signed acceptance page must be submitted to the University Graduate School and a photocopy of the signed acceptance page should be used in any additional bound volumes.

    Learn about submission methods »

    Copyright Page – Optional

    If you choose to copyright your dissertation, you should include a copyright page. The copyright page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. All content on this page should be centered.

    Copyright © [year]

    [Student's Name]

    Dedication, Acknowledgements, or Preface - Optional

    Depending on your personal inclination, you may wish to include a dedication, a preface, or a set of acknowledgments. The latter are designed to recognize people or agencies to whom you feel grateful for any academic, technical, financial, or personal aid in the preparation of your thesis. As a matter of courtesy, you would ordinarily mention the members of your committee here, as well as institutions that provided funding or anyone else who helped.

    Abstract – Required

    The abstract page should be a separate page with your name, centered, on the top line of the page. The dissertation title centered and either underlined or in all capital letters below your name. Do not type “Abstract” at the top of the page. The abstract content should be left-justified. After the content, there should be a blank line for each committee member with their typed name under the line. The blank lines and typed names should be right justified.

    The abstract is double-spaced and limited to 350 words. In an average abstract, there will be about 70 characters per line, with a maximum of 35 lines.

    As many people will learn about your work through your abstract published in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database, you should spend a good bit of effort in the composition of both the abstract and the title of your work. Try to convey the flavor of your work, not just the bare bones of your findings. You should also work to phrase your title so that it truly describes the contents and will be easily found in the index of the database. The index is based on key words, so be as specific as you can be about your subject. Go to the database »

    Have your committee sign the page at the defense and submit the signed abstract to the University Graduate School. Regardless of your method of submission (electronic or the unbound paper method), the abstract page included in your final dissertation should be a blank, unsigned version of the abstract page.

    [Student's Name, centered]


    Content of abstract, left justified, double spaced, and limited to 350 words.

    [Chairperson’s signature line right justified]

    [Chairperson’s name & title, typed and right justified]

    [Second reader’s signature line right justified]

    [Name & title, typed and right justified]

    [Third reader’s signature line right justified]

    [Name & title, typed and right justified]

    [Fourth reader’s signature line right justified]

    [Name & title, typed and right justified]                                         

    Table of Contents – Required

    Include a table of contents to guide readership of your dissertation.

    Supplemental Materials – Optional

    Include lists of tables, figures, appendixes, abbreviations, or other supplemental materials, if appropriate.

    Resume/Curriculum Vitae - Required

    Include a resume/curriculum vitae at the end of the dissertation, after the main content. Do not add any page number(s) to the resume/curriculum vitae.

  • Paper

    If submitting via the unbound paper method, the document must be printed on paper that meets the following requirements. Learn about submission methods »

    • Watermarked, 100 percent cotton, 20- or 24-pound bond paper, 8½" x 11" sheets.
    • IU Bond, which bears the IU watermark or seal, is not 100 percent cotton and not acceptable.
    • The unbound version and the first of the bound copies must be on paper of this quality.
    • The second bound copy of your dissertation goes to your department and may not need to be on cotton paper. Check your departmental requirements.
  • Fonts

    Font size should be either 11 or 12 point for the entire document with the only exception being the title on the title page, footnotes, tables/charts, and picture/table descriptions. Font up to size 16 point may be used for the document’s title on the title page, only. Font as small as 10 point may be used for footnotes, the content of tables/charts, and picture/table/chart descriptions.

    Be consistent in font style throughout your dissertation. The following font styles are recommended for the ease with which they convert to a PDF. All dissertations have to be converted to a PDF in the electronic submission process.

    •   Arial
    •   Bookman Old Style
    •   Calibri
    •   Cambria
    •   Lucida Bright
    •   Times New Roman  
  • Spacing

    The material should be double-spaced. Long quotations within the text should be typed single-spaced with wider margins.

  • Photographs and Images

    If photographs or detailed graphics are part of the work, make sure they are crisp and clear when printed. It is OK to use special laser or photo paper for the page of the dissertation that contains images to achieve the best possible quality.

  • Margins
    • Margins should be at least 1½" on the left and 1" on the top, right and bottom. One-inch margins on all sides is acceptable for electronic submissions. Learn about submission methods »
    • Make sure that when photocopied or printed, your documents have this much actual white space—it is critical for proper binding. Binderies sew along the left-hand margin and then trim the other sides. Inadequate margins can result in part of your material being lost after the combination of copying and binding. Even if all the material remains, insufficient margins can affect the readability and appearance of your work.
    • These margin requirements apply to all materials included in the dissertation, including figures, tables, maps, plates, etc., and any preliminary material you choose to include.
  • Page Layout

    Ordinarily, the text and any other materials will appear on the right-hand page only. If, however, you and your committee agree that it is necessary to include facing material on the left-hand page as well, be sure to leave 1½" on the right-hand side of the facing page.

  • Page Numbers
    • Page numbers must be clear, consecutive, and printed on every page, including appendixes, tables, figures, maps, charts photographs, etc., except for the title page and vita page.
    • Lowercase Roman numbers (e.g., i, ii, iii) are used for the pages preceding the main body of work.
    • Arabic numerals (e.g., 1, 2, 3) are used in the body of the work, the bibliography and the appendices.
    • The title page counts as page i but does not bear a number.
    • Begin the actual numbering with the acceptance page as page ii, and continue with lowercase Roman numerals until the start of the actual body of the dissertation. That page, whether part of your full introduction or of your first chapter, should be numbered using the Arabic numeral 1, and every page thereafter should be numbered consecutively until you reach the vita page.
    • Ordinarily, page numbers should be centered at the top or bottom of the page, entered midway between the edge of paper and the text to prevent their loss during the binding process.
  • Language

    Dissertations should be written in English, unless you and your department/committee have decided otherwise.

  • References, Citations, Bibliography, and Footnotes

    Check with your department on this requirement. This format depends largely on your particular field or topic.

    For example, footnotes can appear either on the page where the annotation occurs, the end of each chapter, or the end of the thesis. Be sure to follow the conventions of your department or discipline.

  • Binding

    If submitting via the unbound paper method, the document must be bound according to the following requirements.

    Learn about submission methods »

    • Before you have the copies bound, check with your department about whether it prefers to bind the abstract with the rest of the text.
    • The University Graduate School accepts only binding that uses the oversewn method. Velo binding available from some photocopying businesses is not acceptable.
    • Ask the bindery to put the dissertation or thesis title and your full name on the front covers and the title and your last name on the spines of the bound copies. Keep in mind that this title needs to fit along the spine of the bound dissertation.
    • If you are not in town, call one of the binderies we’ve listed, and ask what the normal specs are for an IU dissertation, and then relay that information to a bindery near you. See the list »
    • You may arrange for the bindery to send the finished book directly to the University Graduate School:

      Indiana University Graduate School
      Attn: Shelly Gerber-Sparks (Doctoral)
      Attn: Dana Harden (Master’s)
      Kirkwood Hall 114
      130 S. Woodlawn Avenue
      Bloomington, IN 47405-7104

  • Recommended Style Manuals
    • “The Chicago Manual of Style”
    • Turabian, Kate L., “A Manual for Writers”
    • Modern Language Association (MLA) style sheet
    • American Psychological Association (APA) style sheet (especially for works in the social sciences)
  • Recommended Dictionaries for Spelling and Usage
    • Webster’s Third International Dictionary
    • Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
  • Printing


    If submitting via the unbound paper method, the document must be typed and printed.

    Learn about submission methods >>