How To Format A Dissertation: The Complete Guide


You may have worked for countless hours and weeks getting a dissertation done but here is some less than great news. If this content is not formatted properly, you may have it tossed back to you. It doesn’t matter how clear your arguments are or how groundbreaking the research you conducted, the thesis has to be formatted in a certain way. One reason is that your work may be submitted to a professional journal and the formatting makes it easier for publishers to insert the dissertation into a journal copy. Here’s a guide to help you do a proper job when you have to format the text.


  • Check Your Departmental Guidelines. You no doubt have received information from your academic advisor or committee beforehand. These guidelines were not suggestions. Instead, there what is expected of you and you need to follow them.

  • Take Advantage of Any Tutorials. The guidelines might be a little bit of a challenge and the department may provide a tutorial to help. This is an opportunity for you to have a better understanding of what you have to do. The process of preparing the dissertation is not going to be an easy one. The tutorial is going to be a very useful guide to what margins and punctuation are going to be expected.

  • Refer Back to Your Guidelines Continuously. You should be moving carefully through the process, making certain that no extra mistakes are being made. The only way to prevent problems is to make a habit of continually referring back to your dissertation formatting rules. Do not assume. If you have any doubt about a paragraph or margin it is worth your while to double check.

  • Be Ready for a Format Check. Your department may require it and if so, there is no getting around it. This may sound like a hassle, but really is to your advantage. The check will make certain that your dissertation is prepared the way that it should be. Frankly, the department is doing you a favor because the alternative would be to have everything rejected at the last minute.

Preparing your dissertation in the proper format moves that work closer to the final conclusion. You are that much closer to receiving the degree by making sure that the content is in the proper style. Academic departments are very firm about how the final paper is prepared. Sticking to the rules and using tutorials is going to help you be successful in this very important part of the process.

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