Dissertation & Thesis Handbook

The Handbook – Basic Manuscript Preparation


         TOPICS KEY
Page Numbering
Line Spacing
Widows and Orphans
Quoted Material
PDF Preparation



  • Margins are consistently set at 1.5" at LEFT and 1" at RIGHT, TOP, and BOTTOM.
  • Margin requirements are the same for the entire document, including front matter, body, notes, sources, and back matter.
  • Page numbers should NOT be set in the margin.

Page Numbering

  • Every page of the document is counted, BUT not all pages are numbered (e.g., the Title Page is page i, but does not show a page number).
  • Two page numbering systems are used, including:
    • Consecutive lower-case Roman numerals (e.g., ii, iii, iv, v) for the front matter beginning with i.
    • Consecutive Arabic numbers (e.g., 1, 2, 3) for the text and all pages thereafter, beginning with 1 for the first page of Chapter 1.
  • Pages numbered 1a, 1b, and the like are NOT acceptable.
  • Page numbers may not be closer than 1" to the edge of any page.



  • Headings differ in appearance based on level of importance, but all headings of the same level must look the same. See the sample Table of Contents in Appendix C.
  • Two formats for headings are accepted by the Graduate School:
    • The first is based on APA guidelines, as shown in Appendix D1. This style of heading can be used regardless of your discipline or style guide.
    • The second consists of designating subheadings with numerical prefixes that reflect the chapter and level of the subheading. This system may be used only by those in the "hard sciences," such as Engineering and Statistics, as shown in Appendix D2.
  • Only major division headings (i.e., level fives) are totally capitalized. The sections of the front matter, each chapter, and the sources section are all major divisions and begin on a new page. End the previous page with a page break to create a new page for the next major division.
  • Formatting of headings must be consistently correct throughout the entire work, not just in one chapter. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Spacing between headings and text.
    • Spacing between text and headings.
    • Placement of same level headings (e.g., centered or flush left).
    • Appearance of same level headings (e.g., capitalization, italics).


Line Spacing

  • Double spacing is used for the:
    • Abstract
    • Dedication
    • Acknowledgments
    • Preface
    • Body of the manuscript
  • Single spacing is used for block quotations, which are indented 1/2" from both the left and right margins.
  • A combination of single and double spacing is used for:
    • Table of Contents and Lists of Tables/Figures/Illustrations: Single-space within subheadings and titles of two or more lines; double-space between individual subheadings and titles. Align multiple-line subheadings and titles under the first word of the first line.
    • Notes: For numbered entries (as opposed to parenthetical entries in APA style), single-space within entries, and double-space between entries. Each first line must be indented 1/2". If an entry must split across pages, ensure a minimum of two lines of the entry appears on both pages.
    • Bibliography/References Cited: Single-space within entries, and double-space between entries — or double-space within and between entries. The first line begins at the left margin, and all subsequent turnover lines indent 1/2" — or the first line is indented 1/2", and all subsequent turnover lines align at the left margin. If an entry must split across pages, ensure a minimum of two lines of the entry appears on both pages.
  • Space between headings and text, text and block quotations, block quotations and text, etc. must be consistent throughout the manuscript.
  • No careless spacing or centered text should be utilized.


Widows and Orphans

  • Widows and orphans, which are single lines of text at the top or bottom of a page, are to be avoided.
    • "Widow" is defined as the last line of a paragraph when it is carried over to the top of the following page away from the rest of the paragraph.
    • "Orphan" is defined as the first line of a paragraph when it appears alone at the bottom of a page.
  • Starting a page with the last line of a list is also a widow and must be avoided.
  • Ending a page with a subheading is another type of orphan and must be avoided.

Quoted Material

  • Long quotations (i.e., quoted material consisting of 40 or more words) are formatted as a free-standing block of type and must:
    • Be single-spaced.
    • Be indented 1/2" from the left and right margins.
    • Have NO surrounding quotation marks.
    • Have the source citation after the ending punctuation of the quoted material.
  • Short quotations (i.e., quoted material with fewer than 40 words) are integrated into the text and distinguished by surrounding the quote in quotation marks. The source citation is placed after the ending quotation mark, but before the ending punctuation of the sentence.


PDF Preparation

 File Format

Adobe PDF required. NO compression; NO password protection; NO digital signature. You are responsible for the appearance of your manuscript in PDF. It will appear and be downloaded exactly as you submit it.

Print Quality

Only black ink is acceptable and the work must NOT contain touching or discontinuous characters.


Embedded Post Script Type 1 fonts REQUIRED. Any legible font except script, italic, or ornamental fonts equivalent in scale to 10pt. Arial or 12pt. Times New Roman accepted. Italicized font may be used for non-English words and quotations. Applies to all text, including captions, footnotes/endnotes, citations, etc.


PDF and print reproductions include all color material in color.

Multimedia Files

For digital preservation, upload multimedia content as supplemental files; do not embed multimedia in a PDF. Upload supplementary files during online submission – and provide a description of each file in the Abstract of your manuscript. ProQuest accepts multimedia content in the file types listed below and cannot guarantee that other file types will be migrated:

  • Audio: AIF (.aif); CD-DA; CD-ROM/XA; MIDI (.midi); MPEG-2; SND (.snd); WAV (.wav)
  • Images: GIF (.gif); JPEG (.jpeg); TIFF (.tif)
  • Video: Apple Quick Time (.mov); Microsoft Audio Video Interleaved (.avi); MPEG (.mgp)