Below is a brief overview of the required formatting for theses and dissertations. For complete details and explanations, you should review the Dissertation & Thesis Manual. Numbers in parentheses in the paragraphs below refer to the relevant sections in the thesis manual.

Are you using “full justification” for your thesis or dissertation? To avoid line and/or word spacing errors later, you must change the default settings in Adobe Acrobat to embed all fonts, before you convert to PDF! Please see section 10.4.3 in the thesis manual, or below in the section entitled “A Final Word About Fonts.”


Important notes from chapter 5:

  • A separate abstract file (Word nor PDF) is no longer required. 
  • Within Vireo, you will need to enter the abstract *text* in the appropriate box: do not include a header paragraph.
    IMPORTANT: Do not use citations in the text.  Abstracts are stand-alone documents without reference lists or bibliographies, so citations in the text are non-informative, dead-end orphans.        
  • The Graduate Reader will use this text to construct the abstract page (including header paragraph) that will be inserted into the final approved PDF.

UNT Manual Trumps All (section 3.3)

The UNT thesis manual was never intended to address every possible formatting question, so it is always necessary to use another style guide to supplement the thesis manual. However, university guidelines always take precedence. That is, if any instruction in your guide conflicts with the guidelines specified in the thesis manual, you must follow the thesis manual instead of the supplemental guide.

Document Elements and Order (section 4.2)

  1. Title Page (required)
  2. Copyright Notice (required)
  3. Acknowledgments (as appropriate; length limited to 1 page)
  4. Table of Contents (required)
  5. List of Tables (as appropriate)
  6. List of Illustrations (as appropriate)
  7. Body of Work (required)
  8. Appendix (as appropriate)
  9. References/Bibliography (required)

Page Numbering (section 4.5)

Every page of a thesis or dissertation must bear a number except the title page. Regardless of orientation, page numbers must be bottom center, 0.5 inch above bottom edge of page. The first page of the body of the document (usually the first page of the first chapter) is numbered Arabic numeral 1.

Everything that occurs before page 1 is collectively referred to as "front matter." Front matter pages should be numbered with small Roman numerals (e.g., ii, iii, etc.), beginning with copyright notice page as page ii; title page is always page i but the page number never appears. 


Margins are 1 inch on all sides for all pages (section 4.3).

Font Style (section 4.6)

Use a single typeface (i.e., font style) throughout your document for all text, figures, tables, etc. Bold or headline typeface, small caps, script, handwriting or decorative fonts are not allowed. With a few exceptions as noted in the thesis manual, the entire document should be in 12 point font size. Newer versions of Microsoft Word default to 11 point – this must be changed to 12 point.

Headings (section 4.7)

In Text
First level headings should be in all caps, centered on the line and must begin on a new page. Second level headings should be formatted in headline style cap and centered on line. Heading levels below second level should follow the format specified in the style manual relevant to your discipline.

Optionally, authors are permitted to insert an extra double-space above subheading titles that are preceded by text. Authors must be consistent, however.

In the Table of Contents (section 6.4)
Only first level headings (label and title) appear in all caps. All other headings should use headline style capitalization.  HL5 and lower should not appear at all.

Headline vs. Sentence Style Capitalization (section 8.5)
In headline style capitalization, the first letter of the following words are capitalized: first word, first word following a colon (i.e., first word of a subtitle), proper nouns, major words, last word. In sentence style, only the first word, first word following a colon and proper nouns are capitalized.

Optional, but Important

  • Landscape pages can be left in landscape orientation. There is no need to rotate them 90 degrees. Page numbers should be bottom center, regardless of orientation (section 4.1).
  • Sans serif fonts like Arial or Calibri are strongly encouraged.  Serif font like Times Roman can still be used but Courier is strongly discouraged (section 4.6).

A Final Word About Fonts

Fonts must be from the same typeface throughout the entire thesis or dissertation (section 4.6). Please make sure all ancillary elements (footnotes, page numbers, etc.) match. Microsoft Office does not change these fonts to match by default. Browse Microsoft's tutorial on how to change the default font to prevent any varied-font errors.

Additional Resources

Thesis and Dissertation Fellowship

TGS Writing Resources

UNT Libraries Copyright Basics