Thesis/Capstone Format

Your thesis should be bound using spiral plastic binding (available at Kinko’s), with a clear plastic outer cover and a black cover stock back cover. The front cover should contain the title of your thesis, your name, and the date of the thesis.

Preliminary Pages

Lowercase Roman numerals should be used for page numbers for each of the following:

  1. Title Page (numeral i is assigned but not shown on the page) (Sample title page)
  2. Vita (Vita guidelines)
  3. Abstract
  4. Table of Contents
  5. List of Tables*
  6. List of Figures*
  7. List of Appendix Figures*
  8. List of Abbreviations (or Nomenclature or List of Symbols)

* Not all theses will have tables, figures, or special nomenclature.

Suggested Style Guides


  • All pages, including figures, tables, and appendix material must conform to the margin requirements. If wide tables or figures require the page to be in the landscape position, the tops of the figures/tables must be at the binding edge (the side with the 1.50″ margin). The page number will remain in portrait position.
  • 1.50″ left margin (binding margin)
  • 1.25″ top and right
  • 1.0″ from the bottom edge of the page for the page number. In Word, be sure to set the footer margin to 1.0″. If you do not set the footer, your bottom margin will not be 1.0″. Setting the bottom margin as described here will automatically result in the distance between the last line and the page number being 0.25″. See “standard typing rules” for an exception to the .25″ margin (this distance may be larger in some instances, but never smaller).


It is appropriate to consult one of the styles manuals published by professional societies in your field. You may also wish to consult one of the following published style manuals. Some departments may require the use of a particular manual. Before adopting a style guide, check with your thesis advisor.

  • Slade, Campbell, and Ballou. Form and Style: Research Papers, Reports and Theses (9th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994.
  • Gibaldia, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (4th ed.). New York: The Modem Language Association of America, 1995. (Used widely in the humanities.)
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (4th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1994. (Used in psychology and education.)
  • Turabian, Kate. Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (5th ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style (13th ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.