Graduate Studies

Length, Appearance, Typeface, Pagination, Margins, and Spacing

Below are the key formatting requirements for your thesis or project, including guidelines for length, appearance, typeface, pagination, margins, spacing, and more. The guidelines ensure consistency and accessibility throughout your document, making navigating and understanding your work easier for readers.



Although the Office of Graduate Studies does not have a page limit or maximum, we suggest that the graduate student strives for a thesis or project that ranges between 50 and 70 pages.


  • The basic manuscript text must be in a non-italic type font, at a size of 11-point or 12-point, and double-spaced. For accessibility and readability purposes, a sans serif typeface is suggested such as Aptos, Helvetica, Calibri (11-point font), and Arial (11-point font) are recommended. For footnotes, figures, captions, tables, charts, and graphs, a font size of 10-point to 12-point is to be used.
  • Your basic manuscript text must be black, not bolded, and hyperlinks (throughout the document) must be blue and underlined.
  • You may use italics for quotations, words in a foreign language, occasional emphasis, book titles, captions, scientific terms, and footnotes.
  • Textual content needs to be formatted for an 8.5 x 11 page. Visual media projects do not need to meet this requirement.


  • Four sections of the thesis/project manuscript are comprised of the following components:
        • Pre-text pages include: Title, Approval, Dedication, Publication Rights, Preface/Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, List of Symbols or Nomenclature, and Abstract pages (see Master's Thesis and Project Formatting Main page for more information)
        • Text (The chapters and main body of the text)
        • Documentation (e.g., References, Works Cited, etc.)
        • Appendices (if applicable)

          All manuscript pages from the title page to the last page of the appendices are counted, but the title and approval pages in the pre-text section are not paginated.

  • Numbering of Pre-Text Pages
    Number the pre-text pages with lowercase Roman numerals starting with the lowercase Roman numeral iii (page 3) on the page after the approval page (this is typically the Publication Rights page, however, including the Publications Rights page is optional).

  • Numbering of the Text Pages (Chapters)
    Number the text pages with Arabic numerals, beginning with the first page of Chapter I as page number 1.

  • Number of Documentation (e.g., Reference, Works Cited, etc.) Pages and Appendices
    These sections are also numbered with Arabic numerals and follow the pagination of the text pages (For example, the last chapter ends on page 70, the four reference pages are numbered 71-74, and the appendices page numbering starts on page 75 and follows the progression to the end).

  • Page Numbers in the Table of Contents
    Ensure that all page numbers are succinct and are consistent with the pagination used in the pre-text, text, documentation, and appendices. 

  • Placement of Page Numbers
    Page numbers must be positioned either in the upper right corner or the bottom center and must be 1" from the edges. Make sure the margins of the header and footer are set at 1" and that the positioning of your page numbers is accurate and uniform throughout the entire document.Theses and projects published prior to Fall 2014 that can be found in ScholarWorkshad different requirements for pagination. The current requirements accommodate more formatting options for students. 

  • Page Number Tutorial
    The thesis/project document will need to be set up into a minimum of three sections for page numbering. To create a section, use the section break (not to be confused with a page break) between the sections.

    • Section 1 Pre-text Title and Approval pages – No page numbers:
      These pages are counted, but no page numbers are included. Add a section break at the end of the content on the approval page (this will be after the last committee member is listed).
    • Section 2 Pre-text Pages – Lowercase Roman Numeral iii: Starting with the Publication’s Rights page (or the next page in the list of pre-text pages since the publications’ right page is optional). End the lower-case Roman numeral pagination on the last page of the Abstract page.
    • Section 3: Text, Documentation, and Appendices Pages – Arabic Numerals: Starting on the first page of Chapter I, use the number 1 following the progression to the last page of the appendices.
    • Technical Support: there are a lot of resources in the MS Word help feature and on YouTube, and it is easy to find through an online search.
      • The Help feature in MS Word: search the help feature of MS Word or visit Insert a Section Break at Microsoft Support
      • Online search engine: How to number pages of a thesis or dissertation
      • Online search engine: How to create page number sections breaks
      • Online search engine: How to enter Roman numerals and Arabic numbers in the same document

Notes: This can be a challenging part of formatting a thesis/project. Creating the section breaks is key to ensuring you can enter the correct page numbers.

  • Section Breaks and Page Breaks are different.
  • Section breaks will allow for entering different types of page numbers and changing the page's orientation (Portrait vs. Landscape).
  • When entering text into the document and there is a need to start a new page, it is important to create a Page Break (Ctrl+Enter is the shortcut key and should not be confused with a Section Break).


  • Margins
    • All margins must be at least 1" from the edge of the paper.
    • For page numbers, ensure the footer and header margin is set to 1”.
  • Spacing
    • Double Space all text in the body.
    • For readability and accessibility purposes, do not split words between lines with a hyphen.
    • Use the entire page without infringing upon margins.
    • Whenever text is available, all pages must be filled to the bottom 1" margin: do not leave pages partially filled with sections of white space.
      • Note: There may be some exceptions. For example, if a table or figure follows the text and does not fit on the page. If that is the case, there may be unfilled space. Minimize the amount of unfilled space by re-sizing the table or figure, if possible.


  • All paragraphs are ½” indented from the left margin.
  • Block Quotes:
  • Block quotations (direct quotations exceeding four lines) indented ½” from the left margin and single-spaced.
  • Introduce a block quote with a colon.
  • Do not use quotation marks around block quotations.
  • Citation of page number or online resource is required. If the quoted material begins mid-sentence, indicate this with an ellipsis (. . .). For example: ". . . graduate level writing is an important part of academic scholarship."