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Writing - Thesis Guide for MA students: Thesis Formatting Guide


Librarians are available to assist you with thesis research, writing, formatting, and citation questions. Please contact the library for assistance at 513-233-6136 or:

For guidance on formatting and style questions not answered in this online guide (including questions on punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, citation, etc.), please consult a style manual such as Strunk and White[1] or Turabian[2] or Dreyer's English, all of which are available in Maly Library.

There are many online guides to research, writing, and grammar. Here are two:

[1] William Strunk and E. B. White, The Elements of Style, 4th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1999).

[2] Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).

Recommended Technology

MS Word

The library has created a thesis template in MS Word with all the correct formatting along with notes and explanations. It is highly recommend that you use it. Download the template below. The library has also created short MS Word video tutorials on page numbering, styles, table of contents, etc. Click on the MS Word Tutorials tab above to access.


Zotero is highly recommended for managing and creating citations and bibliographies. See the Zotero tab above for instructions on downloading and using it. There are other citation managers available, but this one is free and the librarians can help you use it.

Backing up your work

Before you type your first word, have a backup system in place that you will actually use regularly and automatically. Be sure to save your work in at least two places, preferably three. A few suggestions: internal hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, email yourself a copy, etc.

Order of Elements

 This chart summarizes the elements in the thesis and how they are to be paginated. Required elements are noted. All other elements are optional. Note that only those items placed after the Table of Contents must be listed in the Table of Contents. For more details on the optional elements, please see Turabian.

Page Title Page Number

Title Page (REQUIRED)

Abstract (REQUIRED)

Approval Page (REQUIRED)

No number (is considered page 1)

No number (is considered page 2)

iii; at center bottom of page

Preliminary materials



   Table of Contents (REQUIRED)

   List of Illustrations

   List of Tables

   List of Abbreviations (may appear in end matter)




Use lowercase Roman numerals. Be sure to count the title page,

abstract and approval page as the first three pages. Begin

numbering the preliminary materials with iv, v, vi, etc.

Place at center bottom of page.








Body of Text (REQUIRED)

1,2,3, etc. at center bottom of page.


End matter



   List of Abbreviations (may appear in preliminary materials)

   Bibliography (REQUIRED)

Continue consecutive numbering at center bottom of page.





Recommended books for research and writing available at Maly Library

Thesis Formatting Checklist

Thesis Deposit

Graduation Requirement

To fulfill the graduation requirements and obtain your degree, you must deposit a final electronic copy of your thesis with the library:

  • As soon as possible after the defense, make any corrections suggested by the examining board.
  • Proofread your manuscript a final time.
  • E-mail your complete, final copy to the Library Director at
    • MS Word format is preferred.
    • PDF format is also acceptable.
  • You must deposit your thesis within one month after your defense and at least one week before graduation.

The Maly Library will print and bind one copy of theses that receive a mark of B+ or higher to keep in the library collection.

If you would like to have a bound personal copy of your thesis, there are several online vendors from which to choose. Below are a few suggestions:

OhioLINK Electronic Theses & Dissertations Center

Upon the recommendation of the thesis defense panel and the permission of the student, a thesis may be added to OhioLINK’s Electronic Theses & Dissertations Center (ETD). If the thesis is approved for inclusion in the ETD, the student will submit it online with the help of the Maly Library staff. When submitting a thesis to the ETD, you give OhioLINK and the Athenaeum of Ohio permission to make your work available for open access on the Internet, including access through major Internet search engines.