Formatting Examples

Below you will find Microsoft Word templates and examples you can use for formatting your thesis/dissertation. These files are formatted to meet all the requirements of the graduate college. Additionally, the templates contain detailed instructions for using them to ensure that your thesis/dissertation is formatted correctly. However, even when using the templates, it is possible to accidentally re-format some content.
 

For best results, turn on hidden characters by clicking the ¶ (paragraph) symbol in the Home ribbon of Microsoft Word. When pasting text into the template, right-click where you want to paste the text, and then select the “Paste text only” option to clear all formatting attributes from the source document. Use the formatting checklist to check that all of your content is formatted according to Graduate College requirements. Finally, schedule a format check with a CCE thesis/dissertation consultant to get feedback on your formatting.


 

 


 Title Page

Including a Title Page is required. Some of the most common thesis/dissertation mistakes are made on the title page. Follow the bullets below, paying close attention to capitalization, spacing, line breaks, actual date of graduation, and copyright statement. These bullets will guide you through the title page.


  • No page number is displayed on the title page. It is always assumed page 'i'.
  • Title is at top of page.
  • Title is single spaced.
  • Title does not contain a period.
  • The first word in the title and the first word following a colon are capitalized.
  • Proper nouns and acronyms in the title are capitalized
  • The word "by" is lowercase.
  • BOLD your name and the title.
  • Student name should match name in AccessPlus.
  • If student name does not match name in AccessPlus, include AccessPlus name in parenthesis under the name you are using.
  • The word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is used in the “fulfillment of requirements” statement
  • The phrase “MASTER OF...” or “DOCTOR OF...” is used
  • Only the Major(s) and (if applicable) the specialization(s) are listed (minors are not listed)
  • Do not include Dr., Esq., Ph.D., AIA, or other titles or affiliations before or after your name or faculty names.
  • “Major Professor” is listed after the respective faculty’s name.
  • For Co-major Professors, list both as “Co-major Professor”; do notuse “Major Professor”
  • Committee member names are single spaced
  • The word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is usedin the “responsibility of content” statement
  • Iowa State University is listed
  • Ames, Iowa is listed
  • Graduation year is listed
  • Copyright statement is written as: Copyright © Name as Shown on AccessPlus, Graduation Year. All rights reserved.

Annotated Examples

 


  Table of Contents

Including a Table of Contents is required. The Table of Contents shows the reader the organization of the document as well as displays the correct page numbers. The bulleted items explain various heading styles for you to follow. They also demonstrate various preliminary pages' formats.


  • TABLE OF CONTENTS, Heading Level 0 (not in ToC).
  • Do not list 'TABLE OF CONTENTS' in the Table of Contents.
  • DEDICATION, if used, precedes the table of contents. Its page number is 'ii'.
  • The order for the preliminary pages that follow the table of contents are LIST OF TABLES (optional), LIST OF FIGURES (optional), NOMENCLATURE (optional), ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (optional), ABSTRACT (required).
  • Preliminary page numbers are lower case Roman numerals in the same font as the document's text, top center.
  • No text in the page number column. Wrap the text.
  • Single-space chapter headings and subheadings. Double-space before a new chapter.
  • Chapter titles are uppercase letters, same size and font.
  • Chapter 1 begins with Arabic numeral '1' in the same font as the text.
  • Indent first and second level headings below the major headings. No underlining, boldface, or italics.
  • Ensure page numbers in the Table of Content agree with the text.
  • All headings must match the corresponding headings in text.
  • No single line of text at the top or bottom of page.
  • Force a page break to ensure at least two lines of the same heading level are together at the top or bottom of the page.

Annotated Examples

Traditional Format Table of Contents

Journal Format Table of Contents

 


  List of Tables or Figures

Including a List of Tables and/or a List of Figures is optional. If you have one list, you must have the other list. Each list starts on a new page regardless of how many entries are on the page.


  • LIST OF FIGURES or LIST OF TABLES in Heading Level 0 (included in TOC)
  • If you have one of these lists, then you have the other as well
  • Page number columns are right justified
  • "Page" is written above the page numbers column (only on the first page of the list) and is right justified
  • Page is numbered using lower case Roman numerals, top center
  • The word “Table” or “Figure” comes before the title or figure number (e.g., “Table 1. Title”)
  • Titles of tables and figures do not run into the page number column
  • Titles have all the same capitalization, size, and same font
  • If table/figure captions are longer than two lines, align figure and table captions under the text, not the figure or table number
  • Indent the second line of a title if it is wrapped to a second line
  • Single-space list entries
  • Double-space between list entries
  • Entries should not be bolded or italicized
  • Numbering of Tables or Figures:
    • Traditional format: Continue numbers throughout the document (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3)
    • Journal article format:
      • Option 1:  Restart Figure/Table caption number for each chapter (e.g. Figure 1, Table 1),  write "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", Chapter X, etc. to separate each chapter section in the List of Figures and/or List of Tables. 
      • Option 2: Use Figure/Table caption number with each chapter number, (e.g. Figure 2.1, Figure 2.2, etc. or Table 2.1, Table 2.2, etc.), write Figure/Table + Chapter number followed by figure/table number for the respective chapter.

Annotated Examples

List of Tables Traditional Format

List of Figures Traditional Format

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

 


  Abstract

Including an abstract is required. The abstract is a concise summary of the dissertation or thesis’s purpose, highlights the main points, states the method used, provides findings, and states conclusions. Oftentimes, readers only read the abstract to determine if they should read the document.


  • ABSTRACT in Heading Level 0 (included in ToC)
  • Do not include references, images, and complex equations.
  • Page numbers use the same font as your text in lower case Roman numerals, top center.
  • Double-spaced 
  • Indent paragraphs like other paragraphs in your dissertation/thesis

Annotated Examples

Abstract Page

 


 Traditional Body Format

There are two format styles—traditional and journal. The traditional format is basically one document; whereas, journal is a compilation of several manuscripts for journal publication. See the Journal Article Format section for instructions for papers including journal publications.


  • All chapter titles are written in Heading Level 1 style, which is centered, bold, and all capitalized
  • Begin first page of Chapter 1 with ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text.
  • Indent all paragraphs
  • No blank pages
  • No excessive white space in text. Pages must be ¾ filled, unless it’s the last page of the chapter
  • Organize in a coherent and consistent manner, same size, location, font, etc.
  • All Heading Level 0s (Preliminary Pages, Reference/Bibliography, and Appendix)  must be in all caps, bold, same size font, and located at the top of the page
  • Recommended: Level two headings are bold and centered with initial caps, except for conjunctions, prepositions, and pronouns
  • Recommended: Level three headings are bold, left flush, initial word first letter cap.
  • Use headings in a consistent manner, same size, location, font, etc.
  • Differentiation exists between heading levels.
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page before a paragraph is continued to the next page.
  • Headings or subheadings must include at least two lines of text at the bottom of a page.
  • Include the first page of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval in the appendix. Refer to it in the text.
  • Do not include any signatures; otherwise, redact them.

 


 Journal Article Format

This manuscript format refers to the use of articles and/or book chapters to replace the standard thesis/dissertation chapters. Publication of the manuscript(s) is not a requirement of this format. The graduate student is the major contributor and writer of the manuscript(s). In the case of multiple authorship, the contribution of each author is detailed in the Introduction or footnotes.


  • Chapter 1 must be titled “GENERAL INTRODUCTION” and the final chapter must be titled “GENERAL CONCLUSION”
  • Begin CHAPTER 1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION with page ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text.
  • All chapter titles are written in Heading Level 1 style, which is centered, bold, and all capitalized
  • Each manuscript chapter (excluding GENERAL INTRODUCTION and GENERAL CONCLUSION) must include the following information in Body Style text:
    • Authors
    • Author affiliations
    • The following text: Modified from a manuscript published in/under review in/to be submitted to Journal Name
  • Each manuscript chapter must include an Abstract (Heading Level 2), References or Bibliography (Heading Level 2), and any respective Figures or Tables embedded within the chapter or in a “Figures and Tables” section (Heading Level 2)
  • Recommended: Level two headings are bold and centered with initial caps, except for conjunctions, prepositions, and pronouns.
  • Recommended: Level three headings are bold, left flush, initial word first letter cap.
  • Continue the text of the paper on the same page as the title and abstract. Titles should not stand alone on a page.
  • The references section should appear continuously after the manuscript text; It does not start on a new page; References must be single-spaced, with double-spacing in-between
  • Use headings of the same level in a consistent manner, same size, location, font, etc.
  • Differentiation exists between heading levels.
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page. This includes paragraphs that carry over to the next page.
  • Headings or subheadings must include at least two lines of text at the bottom of a page.
  • Appendices must be included within the respective chapters, NOT as sections at the end of the thesis/dissertation. See the Appendix section for more details on specific formatting requirements
  • Include the first page of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval in the appendix. Refer to it in the text.
  • Do not include any signatures; otherwise, redact them.

Annotated Examples

Author Affiliation

 


 Bibliography or References

Including a bibliography or reference section is required. Every thesis/dissertation that uses other sources, either by direct quotation or reference, must have a bibliography or listing of these sources at the end before the Appendices.


  • For Journal Article format, use Heading Level 2 at the end of each chapter before any appendix(ces); Appears immediately following the body of the text (does not start on a new page)
  • For Traditional format, use Heading Level 0 (included in ToC) after the final chapter before any appendix(ces); Start on a new page
  • Website URLs must contain complete descriptions and dates of the information used and date information accessed.
  • Single space references with double-space between references OR double-spaced references throughout.

Annotated Examples

Citation Style Guides

Traditional Format References

Journal Format References

 


 Appendix

Use one or more appendices for materials that do not pertain directly, but are relevant, to the main text. Examples of appendix material include survey instruments, Institutional Review Board approval, permission forms, additional data, or raw data. The material within the appendices may be in a different font or use different spacing from the main text of the dissertation/thesis.

  • For Journal Article style: Appendix(ces) appear within a given chapter, NOT at the end of the document; use Heading Level 2
    • If there is only one appendix in the chapter, the heading must read:
      • Appendix. Title
    • If there are multiple appendices in the chapter, the headings will read:
      • Appendix A. Title
      • Appendix B. Title
      • Etc.
    • Lettering schema restarts in every chapter
  • For Traditional style: Appendix(ces) appear at the end of the document; use Heading Level 0 (included in ToC)
    • If there is only one appendix in your thesis/dissertation, the heading must read:
      • APPENDIX. TITLE
    • If there are multiple appendices in your thesis/dissertation, the headings will read:
      • APPENDIX A. TITLE
      • APPENDIX B. TITLE
      • Etc.
  • Number all pages with the same font and location as text pages.
  • Fonts may be different.
  • Letters and documents should not contain signatures or personal information. Redact the information.

 


 Tables, Figures & Schemas

  • Include tables, figures, and schema in the text below their first reference in the text or they can be grouped at the end of each chapter. Use a consistent style throughout.
  • Table, figure, and schema margins should be the same as the manuscript’s pages.
  • Locate table captions at the top of the table.
  • Locate figure captions at the bottom of the figure.
  • Locate schema captions at the top or bottom consistently.
  • Wrap captions longer than one line under the caption’s text. Long captions can be single spaced.
  • There must be 2 lines of the caption on the same page as the figure or table
  • Table/figure/schema too large to fit on one page: use “Table X continued' at the top of the table on each subsequent page. “Figure X continued” under the figure on each subsequent page.
  • Turn landscape tables, figures, and schema so the top of the table/figure is located to the left.
  • Page numbers on landscape pages should not turn with the table/figure. Locate on the 8.5' end of the page in the same position and orientation as the other page numbers.

Annotated Examples

Table Example

Table Continued Example

Figure Example

Figure Continued Example (Long Caption)

Figure Continued Example (Long Figure)

Figure in Portrait and Landscape Orientation

Page Numbers of Landscape Pages