Dissertation & Thesis Handbook

The Handbook – Summary Considerations

Dissertation/Thesis Preparation

  • Was the style manual for your discipline your best friend during the writing process? Whether APA, Chicago, MLA, or some other style, the manual should have been used to format your in-text references and entries for the sources section. Note, however, that spacing and subheading conventions as outlined in the Dissertation & Thesis Handbook take precedence over those of any style guide.
  • Throughout the entire document and in all sections, the MARGINS must be 1.5 " on the LEFT and 1" on the top, bottom, and right. Everything, including page numbers, must be within these margins.
  • The TABLE OF CONTENTS must accurately reflect heading levels and their exact wording and capitalization from the text.
  • The TABLE OF CONTENTS and any LISTS must have leader dots with the section's page number set at the right-hand end of the dots. The page numbers will readily align if a right tab is set at 6".
  • FRONT MATTER must be in this order, when included: Copyright, Abstract, Dedication, Acknowledgments, Table of Contents, Lists. All of these pages are listed on the Table of Contents along with their page number, except the Copyright Page and Table of Contents.
  • Running heads (i.e., headers repeated on consecutive pages) are NOT permitted.
  • CHAPTERS are necessary, and each chapter begins a new page. Chapter 1 always begins on page 1.
  • A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF SOURCES, such as "Bibliography" or "References Cited," must be included after the last chapter. Its format will vary by discipline.
  • All CITATIONS mentioned in the text must have a full bibliographic entry in the comprehensive list of sources. Irretrievable data, such as an oral interview, are excluded.
  • If you are ready to submit your document, have you reviewed it as a whole? No discernible difference should exist between the part that constituted your proposal a few years ago and the conclusion you wrote this morning. Your dissertation or thesis is a single work that is broken into chapters that should cohesively contribute to the premise of your document.


  • Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 6 culminating credits of 9994, 9998, and 9999 — with a minimum of 2 credits in 9999 — AFTER achieving candidacy and BEFORE graduation.
  • Registration is required in the defense/submission semester, whether Fall, Spring, or Summer, for both doctoral and master's students.


  • When the end is in sight, ensure that you have applied for graduation. The deadlines for applying for graduation for the 2015-2016 academic year are as follows:
    • Fall 2015/December 2015 graduation: October 1, 2015
    • Spring 2016/May 2016 graduation: February 1, 2016
    • Summer 2016/July 2016 graduation: May 18, 2016
  • To access the application, go to TUportal and select Self Service Banner (SSB). When in SSB, select Student » Student Records » Apply to Graduate. Upon accessing the graduation application, verify that the correct degree and program are indicated. If the wrong degree or program is listed, STOP. This will be required if you are applying for a diploma for a degree to which you were not officially admitted (e.g., admitted to the Ph.D. but picking up an M.A. along the way). Contact your advisor to submit a Graduate Change of Program Work Flow. When the Registrar confirms via email that the Change of Program has been completed, return to the SSB graduation application and submit.
  • Note that individual schools and colleges may have additional filing requirements. Check with your dean's office to ensure that all graduation requirements have been satisfied and to learn about graduation procedures, such as fees, regalia, invitations, and "walking."
  • Remember that the dissertation/thesis processing fee is required. This $50 fee must be paid through the Bursar and applied to FOAPAL 100000 24800 4981 04; it cannot be paid online. A Treasurer's Receipt must then be presented to the school/college as proof of payment of the dissertation/thesis processing fee.