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Master's Thesis & Capstone Project Guide: Formatting Your Manuscript

This provides general guidance for authors of master's theses and creative project reports prepared while at at Dominican University of California. Please read the guidelines carefully and consult with your thesis advisor and the Library.

Formatting Your Manuscript

Introductory Pages

All material preceding the actual body of the text is counted with lowercase Roman numerals (e.g., i, ii, iii, iv).  These numbers are placed at the bottom center of the page except where the page is counted but the number is suppressed. For the introductory pages, the required order is:

Page Number Page
i Title Page (number does not appear on the page)
ii Advisor's Page
iii Copyright Page
iv Table of Contents
v List of Tables(if needed)
vi List of Figures(if needed)
vi Abstract
vii Acknowledgements/Dedication (optional) 

The Body 

The body of the thesis, generally beginning with an Introduction section or Chapter One, is numbered with Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) that are placed either at the bottom center or the top right hand corner of the page.  Once you have decided where to place page numbers, be consistent throughout the thesis, and make sure that the page numbers are always aligned throughout.  Appendices must also include page numbers and be listed in the table of contents with their title included.

Formatting Tutorials

  • Choose a font that is clear and business-like; avoid unusual or difficult to read fonts.  We recommend using standard fonts (e.g.Times New Roman or Arial). 
  • Use 12 point font size.   
  • The size and clarity of text contained in figures and tables should not be neglected.  Readers should not have to struggle to understand the data presented in the thesis.

Manuscripts should be double-spaced except for:

  • extended quotations
  • bibliographies
  • footnotes
  • and other material for which single spacing is appropriate.

Although many style guides ask for double spacing for some of this special material, single spacing is preferred.  Each item in the bibliography or works cited section should be single-spaced with double-spacing between entries.  In addition, double columns, typical in journal formats, should not be used.

Spacing of words on a line should be such that the line can be easily read. Crowding words together or leaving excessive spaces is not permitted.  Right margin justification is prohibited because it can produce large gaps between words and also breaks words at the ends of sentences.  Such gaps and breaks are not permitted and, if left, could require revision of the entire document.

The following margins must always be used, regardless of the instructions given by other style manuals. Giving yourself some extra space for the left margin will allow you to print out and bind your thesis if want to: 

Left 1 1/2 inches
Top and Bottom 1 inch
Right 1 inch


Certain materials in appendices, as well as tables, figures, or other images may need to be photo reduced to conform to margin requirements.  All material, except for the page numbers of your thesis, should fit within the required margins. 

Footers are prohibited, except when used for pagination, unless they are part of a department format.  Footnotes, however, are acceptable since they are not placed in the footer section of the page.

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