Thesis Style and Formatting

Style Guides

When preparing your honors thesis and citing sources, follow the style guide that is most appropriate to your field of study. For example:

  • Modern Language Association (MLA) style - common in the humanities
  • American Psychological Association (APA) style - common in the social sciences
  • Chicago style - common in history

Check with your faculty supervisor before choosing a style. Style and citation resources are available from the University Libraries.


The following formatting parameters should be strictly followed in most cases. However, certain types of theses, such as collections of poetry, may vary from these guidelines if necessary to the integrity of the work, with the faculty supervisor's assent.

  • Margins: at least 1" on all sides
  • Type size: no smaller than 11 point; 12 point preferred; a smaller font may be used for footnotes or end notes
  • Font: use a standard, easily-readable font, such as Times New Roman
  • Spacing: double space all main text


Sections of the thesis include (and should be sequenced as follows):

  • Title Page: Prepared according to the thesis title page template
  • Acknowledgements (optional)
  • Abstract or Summary: No more than one double-spaced page. For thesis projects in the creative and performing arts, the summary must provide specifics about the exhibition or performance that the written thesis complements.
  • Non-technical Summary: (optional) recommended in cases where the abstract and thesis are too highly technical to be easily understood by non-specialists
  • Table of Contents (optional)
  • Body of the Thesis
  • Appendices (optional)
  • Bibliography or List of Works Cited