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Mechanical Requirements for the Traditional Dissertation

Basic Guidelines
  • There is a table of contents written in detail to guide the reader including all headings and subheadings from the document.
  • Formal written English is used with clarity and style, and demonstrates competence in writing mechanics (e.g., spelling and grammar). There are no typographical or standard usage errors. Paragraphs of introduction, summaries, and transitions are used when needed throughout the document.
  • The document adheres to APA style requirements from the most current edition of the Style Manual, with the exception of any formatting requirements listed in the Doctoral Handbook that differ from APA style.

  • The charts, tables, figures and appendices are in proper APA form, are easily read, and are explained in the text of the document near where they are placed.
  • The reference list properly documents all in-text citations, and does not include any references not found elsewhere in the document. In-text citations match reference list items.
Specific Guidelines

The parts of the dissertation are listed below.  Preliminaries should appear in the following order:

  • Title Page

    The Title Page must follow the form of the linked sample (above) exactly. The title, which should appear in capital letters, should be succinct, elaborated in the subtitle if necessary. For example, “Faculty Trust in Urban Elementary Schools” would be preferred to “An Analysis of the Most Influential Factors in the Development of Faculty Trust in Urban Elementary Schools.” Short titles for the spine of the bound dissertation, together with the author’s last name, should not exceed fifty characters. No page number should appear on the title page.

  • Approval Sheet

    Each copy of the thesis or dissertation must contain an Approval Sheet that lists the names of the author, dissertation chair and committee members.  This page will not include committee members’ signature.  A signed Dissertation Defense Verification form will accompany the electronic dissertation as a supplemental form to provide the signatures of the chair and committee members.

  • Dedication (if any)
  • Acknowledgments (if any)
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables (if any)
  • List of Illustrations, Figures, etc. (if any)
  • Abstract

    The abstract should be a concise summary of the focus, scope, results, and conclusions of the study, contained on one double-spaced page of not more than 250 words and, regardless of the discipline, written to be understood by an intelligent layperson.

    Each page of these preliminaries, beginning with the Title Page, is to be included in numbering, even though the page number does not appear on the Title or Half-Title pages. In these preliminary pages, lower case Roman numerals are used and are always centered at the bottom of the page.

  • Half-Title

The Half-Title page, which immediately follows the Abstract, should consist only of the title, centered four inches from the top.

  • Text
  • Reference material should appear in the following order:
    • References
    • Appendices (if any)
    • Vita -The Vita is a one-page autobiographical sketch of the author, containing full name, date and place of birth, educational background, degrees and dates, and other pertinent training or experience.
  • Footnotes (if any) should appear at the bottom of the page in which they are used an placed in the footer of the page
  • Pagination
    • Arabic numerals are used in numbering the pages of the text. Although the half-title is page one of the text, no number should appear on this page. The first page of the Introduction or, if none, of Chapter 1, is numbered page 2, and the pages following are numbered in sequence through the reference material to the end of the thesis or dissertation.
    • All page numbers should be aligned at the bottom, center of page, including the first page of each chapter.  Illustrative material such as tables, charts, graphs, illustrations, etc., should not be given a separate page number unless they are an integral part of the text.