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Master's Thesis & Capstone Project Style Guide

This provides required formatting guidelines for authors of master's theses, capstone projects ,and creative projects prepared for Dominican University of California. Please read the guidelines carefully and consult with your thesis advisor and the Schol

Introduction and Student Responsibilities


Note: Different departments may use different terms in referring to a graduate student's culminating paper or project. While the guidelines refer to "thesis" throughout, they also pertain to creative project reports, capstone projects, manuals, or any culminating product required for graduating master's level students.

The Dominican University of California Master’s Thesis Guidelines (hereafter referred to as the Guidelines) were developed for use by graduate students and thesis advisors when preparing or reviewing a master’s thesis to ensure that it meets:

  • Compliance with the Dominican University of California thesis requirements
  • A level of professional representation of your work

This guide will cover information about:

  • Format and style of your thesis
  • Organization of your thesis
  • Copyright (i.e. using images) and Intellectual Property
  • ADA compliance
  • Submitting your thesis to Dominican Scholar
  • Tutorials and webinars about formatting in Microsoft Word

In order to ensure that the correct sequence of steps is taken to complete the thesis requirements, it is crucial for students to read and understand the information presented in these guidelines and to contact the Library when clarification is needed.

Use of Style Guides

In addition to the guidelines, a style guide appropriate to your discipline must be selected (e.g. APA, MLA, or Chicago Manual of Style).  Some departments provide more complete format and style instructions, the interpretation of which rests primarily with the advisor.  While the Dominican Master’s Thesis Guidelines take precedence over other style guide requirements, students will find discipline-specific details about the appropriate formatting for a scholarly paper in the commonly available style guides.


It is important to remember that the submission of the thesis to the Library occurs after all of your thesis advisors have approved the thesis.  Your department may require that you submit your thesis to the Library in order to graduate, be sure to check with your thesis advisor.

Time is critical during the "thesis season."  A student must allow enough time for:

  1. preparation of the draft,
  2. consideration by thesis advisors by deadline dates set in the department,
  3. review by the Library,
  4. and the inevitable corrections. 
  5. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all advisors are available to review the thesis such that it can be submitted in final form to the Library by the posted deadline.  Theses will be posted once the Library receives a fully signed copy of the candidate's Signature Page.


During the drafting of your thesis, it's recommended that you meet with a librarian, early in the process, for issues concerning copyright and formatting. If corrections are needed in relation to copyright, it is better to find out as soon as possible rather than when you are ready to turn in your thesis. Begin the process of acquiring copyright permissions as early as possible.  If, upon submittal, the Library determines that the thesis does not meet the requirements described in this document, the thesis will not be accepted, and corrections will need to be made before you graduate.

Read more about copyright in the section titled Copyright and Use of Images

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