Thesis and Capstone Formatting Guidelines



The paper for the two official copies of the manuscript is 8 x 11, at least 20% cotton content. Text should only be printed on one side.


The margins for the text, including page numbers, must be 1 inch at the top, bottom, and right side of the page, and 1 inches on the left side to allow for binding. Page numbers should be included within these margins.


The body of the document must be double-spaced. Tables may be single-spaced. Consult the style manual of your discipline for spacing after title, headings, quotations, references, etc.


The typeface for the text must be 12-point, serif typeface, e.g., Courier, Times Roman. Black ink should be used unless color is approved by the thesis/capstone director.

Page Numbering

Number all preliminary pages with lower case Roman numerals. Place numbers one inch from bottom of page, three spaces to the right of center. Count but do not number the title page. Number the thesis main body with Arabic numbers in the upper right-hand corner of the page one inch from the top with a double space before the first line of text, and 1 inch from the right-hand side of paper edge. Count but do not number the first page of the main body of the text. Also, do not place a running head on this first page.

Page or Section Numbering
Blank Flyleaf Page No number
Title Page Roman numeral i counted, but not printed
Thesis/Capstone Signature Page Roman numeral ii
Abstract Page Roman numeral iii
Acknowledgments (departmental designation) Roman numeral iv (if applicable)
Table of Contents (departmental designation) Roman numeral v (if applicable)
List of Tables (if applicable) Roman numeral vi (if applicable)
List of Figures (if applicable) Roman numeral vii (if applicable)
Main Body Page 1 Arabic numbers, counted, but not printed
Main Body Page 2 through last page Arabic numbers, top right
Bibliography/References/Works Cited Continue from main body, Arabic numbers, top right
Appendix or Appendices Continue from References, Arabic numbers, top right

Preliminary Pages

Title Page. On the title page, the following information is vertically and horizontally centered: the title of the master's thesis; the full name of the author (this must be the name of the student record); "A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of (Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science, etc.)"; "Northeastern State University"; and the month and year in which the degree sought is to be awarded (contact the Graduate College for the correct month and year). There should be an equal number of spaces between title/author text and the degree text and the date.

Signature/Approval Page

The signature/approval page begins with the thesis title keyed two inches down from top of page. Use inverted pyramid for longer titles and center within margins. Double-space typed lines. Include signature lines for all of your committee members and the Graduate College Dean. Instructions on inserting signatures in the final document are available on the web or see your adviser for assistance.


The abstract is a one-paragraph, double-spaced, self-contained summary of the most important elements of the paper. The abstract begins on a new page.

Acknowledgments (departmental designation)

The format of the acknowledgments page is determined by the discipline style manual. An acknowledgments page is included immediately before the table of contents. Acknowledgments should be made of any grants that supported the research. The thesis/capstone advisor, readers and any others who contributed significantly to the project is typically also noted here.

Table of Contents (departmental designation)

The format of the table of contents is determined by the discipline style manual. The table of contents will list the page numbers of the chapters and specific pages that follow. Double space each entry, beginning with the list of tables, if applicable, chapters of the main body, references, and appendices.

List of Tables and Figures (if applicable)

The format of the list of tables and figures is determined by the discipline style manual. Tables are data presented in tabular form (rows and columns) and should not include any artwork or graphics. Tables should be formatted with clear labels for the rows and columns. Figures are any illustrations that are not in table format. Both tables and figures should be designed to communicate information quickly and clearly. Refer to the style manual for your discipline for documenting tables and figures.

Body of Thesis/Capstone

The format of the body of the thesis is determined by the discipline style manual. The text is to be double spaced with paragraph indentions. Margins are one-inch at top, bottom and right. A one and one-half inch margin on left side of the paper will allow for binding. All main body pages are to be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals in the upper right-hand corner of each page (except for the first page which is counted but not numbered), one inch from the top and one inch from the right-hand edge of the paper. Double-space between the page number and the top line of text. Do not use the abbreviation p. or any other mark before the page number.

The number of chapters, chapter titles, headings, and subheadings within chapters should be chosen to present the material in a logical and comprehensible manner and formatted according to the discipline style manual. Thesis/capstone content and form should be discussed with your thesis/capstone committee or thesis/capstone advisor/first reader before you complete the thesis/capstone. Formatting will be according to the style manual used by the discipline.

Bibliography/References/Works Cited

The thesis/capstone must contain documentation for all sources cited in the text. This documentation takes the form of the Bibliography, References, or Works Cited page(s), depending on the style manual used in your discipline. Each source that is mentioned in the text of the thesis/capstone must be documented. Formatting will be according to the style manual used by the discipline.


One or more appendix may be included for material which would detract from the flow of the manuscript, but which is relevant to the thesis/capstone. Examples include large data sets, computer programs, and stimulus materials. Formatting will be according to the style manual used by the discipline.

Order of Pages

The following indicates the correct order of pages. Some pages are required for all theses while other pages are optional and should be included as needed.

Page or Section Required or Optional
Blank Flyleaf Page Required for all copies
Title Page Required
Signature Page Required
Abstract Page Required
Acknowledgments Optional/Departmental Designation
Table of Contents Optional/Departmental Designation
List of Tables Required if tables are included
List of Figures Required if figures are included
Main Body Required
Bibliography/References/Works Cited Required
Appendix or Appendices Optional
Blank Flyleaf Page Required for all copies