Thesenblatt Dissertation Format

Thesis and Dissertation Formatting

Thesis and Dissertation manuscripts adhere to specific format requirements, as detailed in FAU’s Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.

Spring 2018 Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Workshops 

Note: Workshops with the same name are not sequential - topics covered will not differ.

January 18
General Information Session 
10:00-11:00 a.m.
Library, Room 136 (LY-136)

January 24
General Information Session
2:00-3:00 p.m.
College of Education, Room 337 (ED-337)

February 2
General Formatting Lab
9:00-11:00 a.m.
Library, Room 136 (LY-136)

February 5
Signature Page 101
3:00-4:00 p.m.
Library, Room 136 (LY-136)

February 13
Signature Page 101
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Fleming Hall, Room 409 (FL-409)

February 21
General Formatting Lab
1:00-3:00 p.m.
Library, Room 136 (LY-136)

March 1
Formatting 101
10:00-11:00 a.m.
Library, Room 136 (LY-136)

March 14
Formatting 101
2:00-3:00 p.m.
Fleming Hall 409 (FL-409)

March 19
General Formatting Lab
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Library, Room 136 (LY-136)

March 23
Final Manuscript Package Checklist Overview
10:00-11:00 a.m.
Business Building, Room 405 (BU-405)

March 27
Final Manuscript Package Checklist Overview
3:00-4:00 p.m.
Library, Room 135 (LY-136)

March 29
General Formatting Lab
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Library, Room 136 (LY-136)

Please RSVP for any workshops you plan on attending so the Graduate College can plan accordingly. Those who do not register in advance are allowed to attend, but space may be limited.

Thesis and Dissertation Information Session

Understanding the Thesis and Dissertation Submission Timeline and Signature Page Formatting: If you are anticipating graduating this semester, join us for this session to learn about important deadlines to ensure you meet thesis or dissertation submission requirements and learn about formatting your signature page.

General Formatting Lab

Bring your laptop and/or a printed copy of your manuscript to receive personalized guidance and feedback from Degree Completion staff members during this informal formatting lab. 

Signature Page 101

Come learn about the importance of your signature page and proper formatting. 

Formatting 101

At this workshop we review some of the most common mistakes made on theses and dissertations, and how to avoid them. 

Final Manuscript Checklist Review

Learn about what is included in a final manuscript package and have the opportunity to ask questions. Also, important deadlines will be reviewed.

Downloadable Formatting Tutorials

Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Video Tutorials

To better view the videos, click to watch in full screen. Click here to download the thesis and dissertation formatting workshop handout.

The Degree Completion staff members within the Graduate College are available to assist students with formatting questions and University regulations pertaining to a thesis or dissertation. However, they do not provide editing services. The Degree Completion staff is available by appointment only. To schedule assistance with your manuscript, please email

Preparing Your Thesis or Dissertation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Dissertation Defense Announcements

Miami University requires all theses and dissertations to be submitted to OhioLINK’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations service.  Before submission, all documents must be formatted according to a set of guidelines established by the University Graduate School.  These guidelines are spelled out in the Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations which is available at  Theses and dissertations must be submitted to OhioLINK two weeks prior to the conclusion of the semester.  This handout contains information about achieving proper formatting using Microsoft Word 2007.

Document Structure

Your document must be assembled in the following order

  1. Front Matter
    • Certificate for approving the Dissertation(Dissertation only)
    • Abstract
    • Title Page
    • Copyright Page*
    • Table of Contents
    • List of Tables
    • List of Figures
    • Dedication*
    • Acknowledgements*

(* denotes optional sections)

  1. Main Body
  2. Back Matter (Appendices, Reference List)

Basic Formatting Information

Document Assembly

It is important to understand some basic formatting features of MS Word before proceeding.  Many graduate students write their thesis or dissertation a chapter at a time, with each section being a separate file.  Then, when they assemble their work into a single document, they use the enter key to insert paragraph breaks to skip to the next page.  In order to correct this, take the following steps (see figure 1 for illustration):

Figure 1
  • Reveal formatting by clicking on the  button on the toolbar of the home tab.
  • Highlight and delete the unnecessary ¶s.
  • Insert a page break in place of the ¶s (figure 1).

Page Breaks and Section Breaks

Page breaks vs. section breaks

Understanding the function of page breaks and section breaks is critical when using Word to achieve the graduate school formatting guidelines.

  • Page Breaks – Simply forces a new page at the point inserted.  Use to begin a new chapter or section where formatting changes are not needed.
  • Section Breaks – Allows for formatting changes, such as restarting numbering, changing aspect ratio, margins, etc….  Section breaks come in two main varieties; next page and continuous.

How to insert page and section breaks

To insert a page or section break (see figure 2 for an illustration):

  • Select the Page Layout tab
  • Go to Breaks under page setup.
  • Select the necessary type of break

Figure 2





Table of Contents

Microsoft Word can automatically generate your table of contents.  In order to use this feature of the program, you have to employ styles. 

About styles

Styles are often used to create uniform formatting for different parts of a document.  However, they can also be used to tag or identify lines or blocks of text.  It is the latter use of styles that we will use to create a TOC.  Because different style guides (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc…) require different formatting for headings and subheadings, what we will do is to use custom styles which will be devoid of formatting information to mark our headings and subheadings.  We will then use those marked headings to automatically create a TOC.  Please note that although you may use any formatting in your headings, all chapter and sub-chapter headings must be on a single line.  Otherwise, MS Word will only include the first line in the TOC.

How to

  • Highlight your chapter 1 title
  • Select the Home tab
  • Click on the  button on the styles panel (Figure 6)

More Button

Figure 6
  • Select “save selection as a new quick style.”
  • In the QuickStyle creation window (Figure 7), name your style and click OK

Figure 7

  • Repeat  steps 1-5  for any subheading levels you may have
  • Your styles should now appear in the Styles panel of the Home tab.  Go through your document and apply your custom styles to your headings
  • When done, go to the spot in your document where you wish your TOC to appear
    • If you need to, go to the end of your title or copyright page and insert a section break.  If you have a TOC already, copy and paste that into a separate file (in case this process fails).
  • Go to the References tab and click on Table of Contents, and Insert Table of Contents.
  • In the Table of Contents window, click on options.
  • In the TOC options window (figure 8), give your custom headings the proper number in the hierarchy of your document.
    • In this example, Chapter Title is the top level heading so it is assigned the number 1.  Chapter Subtitle is the second level, so it is given the number two.
  • Scroll down and be sure that no other styles are given numbers in the hierarchy.

Mark level here

Figure 8
  • Click on Ok, and then OK again, and Word should create a TOC from your headings.
  • If you should need to change the page numbers in your TOC (perhaps you added or removed content), you simply right-click on the TOC, select Update field and choose Update page numbers only.  If you have added headings, select Update entire table (Figure 9).

Figure 9

Formatting and Page Numbering on Word 2007

Formatting and Page Numbering on Word 2008 for Mac

Using Word to Generate a Table of Contents

Submitting Your Thesis or Dissertation


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