Your master’s thesis must comply with certain formatting guidelines. Be sure to read through this list of requirements thoroughly before you submit.

Before you turn in your copies for binding, make sure that all of the pages are in correct numerical order and that they are right-side up.

  • Required and Optional Sections

    Here is the order of pages your master’s thesis must include. Optional pages are listed as such.

    Note that the resume/curriculum vitae belongs at the end of the thesis, after the main content, whereas all other sections belong before the main content.

    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

    Master of [Arts or Science]

    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 master’s degree by the University Graduate School. This is not necessarily the month in which you submit your thesis.

    Acceptance Page – Required

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

    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, “Master’s Thesis Committee” should be left-aligned, and all other content should be right-aligned.

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

    Master's Thesis Committee

    [Chairperson's signature]

    [Chairperson's name typed, Ph.D.]

    [Second reader's signature]

    [Name typed]

    [Third reader's signature]

    [Name typed]

    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 a bound version, the page with the original signatures should be included in one of the bound copies after the title page. Photocopies of the signed acceptance may be used in additional bound volumes.

    Learn about submission methods »

    Copyright Page – Optional

    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 – Unsigned and Optional by Department

    The abstract page should be a separate page and no longer than one page. Your name and the thesis title should be centered, while the rest of the content should be left-justified. Do not type “Abstract” at the top of the page.

    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 »

    [Student's Name]

    [Thesis Title (may be underlined or in caps)]





    Table of Contents – Required

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

    Supplemental Materials – If Appropriate

    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 thesis, after the main content. This should not include page numbers.

  • Fonts

    Script fonts (e.g., Monotype Corsica) and italicizing large sections of text are not allowed for the main body of your text, although italics may be used appropriately.

  • 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 acceptable to use special laser or photo paper for the page of the thesis that contains images to achieve the best possible quality. The IU Seal or Branding should not be used on any portion of the submission. These items may be used only with the written permission of the university.

  • Margins
    • Top, Right, and Bottom margins must be one inch. If dissertation will only be electronically accessed, a one inch left margin is acceptable. Left margin should be one inch if the dissertation will be bound in paper form by ProQuest. If using a bindery other than ProQuest, please consult with the bindery about the size of the left margin needed for their binding process.

    Learn about submission methods »

    • Tip: Make sure that when photocopied or printed, your documents have this much actual white space—it is critical for proper binding. 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 thesis, including figures, tables, maps, plates, etc., and any preliminary material you choose to include.
  • Page Layout

    Running heads are not used in thesis submissions. Please limit the content of your header and footer space to the page number, only.

  • 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 from matter.
    • 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 thesis. 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

    Theses 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.

  • 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