Graduate School
Graduate School
Current Students Academic Support

Manual of Basic Formatting Requirements for Theses and Dissertations

The East Carolina University Manual of Basic Requirements for Theses and Dissertations has been written to provide guidance in approaching the task of writing a thesis or dissertation. This publication is intended to serve several purposes in support of this endeavor:

To call the student's attention to the technical demands of clear and clean design and consistency in a form that is an important part of the research process. Such demands are identical to those that editors and publishers place on the writers who publish research findings in technical and professional journals. After meeting the demands of this manual, the student should find adapting to other sets of technical instructions less confusing and time consuming.

To facilitate handling, study, and evaluation of the thesis or dissertation within the university.

To specify uniform size, arrangement, and spacing. Further, technical uniformity in particular types of research reporting makes comparison for information content easier.  

To provide security for students and advisers. Through the use of the manual, they can be certain that a thesis or dissertation will be in an acceptable format. This guide protects the student from arbitrary modification requirements.   

Writers of theses or dissertations are expected to follow this Manual of Basic Requirements. However, students and directors frequently desire to introduce important modifications to improve communication or quality of expression. Desired deviations from this manual can be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval before submitting the final copy.

Students should consult with their committee director and members of their advisory committee to determine the textual arrangement and reference format of the dissertation or thesis. It may be helpful to select a journal, in which portions of your research will likely be published, to use as a style model. The selected style must be consistent throughout the document (Be sure to note that all examples given in this manual are just samples. Check with your department for the style they prefer.). 

Additional assistance in the proper use of a particular style is provided by either Joyner Library or Laupus Library. The libraries may provide access to Bibliographic Citation software which can aid in the proper citation and documentation of research. Currently, the libraries provide access to RefWorks (by Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) or EndNote Web (by The Thomson Corporation). Either citation software is available via either library electronic resources page. Also, tutorials for RefWorks may be found on the RefWorks website. Finally, librarian assistance with citations as they appear in the thesis or dissertation can be found at either library.

RefWorks
RefWorks Tutorial
EndNote

Copyright Issues
Before copyrighted materials are included in the thesis or dissertation, written permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Signed copyright forms must be included in the appendix. Students should consult ProQuest/UMI Dissertations Publishing Guide 5 to determine if permission is required for copyright materials used. A sample permission letter is shown in Appendix B. Students may want to consult with their committee director on this issue.

Preparation of the Thesis and Dissertation Manuscript
The Graduate School requires a specific page order in formatting of each page.  See the Elements of Theses or Dissertations on the first tab.

Preparing your Manuscript for Electronic Submission
(Using Microsoft Word 2010) 

Pagination

Page numbers should be centered at the bottom of the page at least 3/4' from the bottom edge. Both Arabic and lowercase Roman numerals are used according to the system described below.

Prefatory pages: All pages from the title page to the first page of the body of the thesis or dissertation are prefatory, i.e., the title page, copyright page, signature page acknowledgement page, etc.

Although these prefatory pages are counted, no page number is to appear on them. These pages receive lowercase Roman number pagination in the Table of Contents (i, ii, iii).

The title page, copyright page and signature page are counted as the first page of the prefatory material.

The first page number appearing in the body of the text will be page number 2 (second page of the first chapter. ALTHOUGH COUNTED AS PAGES, NO PAGE NUMBER APPEARS ON THE FIRST PAGE OF ANY CHAPTER OR SECTION  (REFERENES, APPENDICES, etc.)

When you want to add page numbers to the document starting on a particular page, first type the page and then (Microsoft 2010):

  • On the first page of the first section, Select on the 'Insert' tab. Then click 'Page Number', place the mouse over the 'Bottom of page' then 'Plain number 3'.

  • The 'Header & Footer Tools' tab should come up automatically. If not, Double click on the bottom of the first page, then select 'Different First Page'.

  • Click the 'Close Header and Footer' button on the 'Header and Footer Tools' tab, or double-click on the body of your document.

  • On the last page of the first section select 'Page Layout' tab, then 'Breaks', then 'Next Page'.

  • Double click on the bottom of the first page of the second section, select 'Insert', then 'Page Number', then 'Format Page #'s, then select 'Continue from previous section'.

  • Select 'Link to Previous' in the Navigation portion of the 'Header & Footer Tools' toolbar.

  • Same as above for the following sections.

From this point forward in your document, when you get to the end of a chapter, insert a 'Next Page Break' by clicking 'Insert', then 'Page Break'. Double click in the footer of the new page and remove the 'Link to Previous' (by clicking the button found in the 'Navigation' portion of the 'Header & Footer Tools' toolbar), so the first page of each section will not have a number.

For additional assistance with pagination, please refer to page 12 of the University of Michigan Library's document, " Using Microsoft 2010 for Your Dissertation."

Margins

Left: 1"; Right 1"; Top and Bottom: 1". Applies to all material except page numbers, including figures, headers/footers, footnotes/endnotes, and full-page images. Page numbers: at least ¾" from bottom edge of page.

Fonts

It is best to use standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial for better viewing in all mediums used by ProQuest. If using unusual fonts, be sure to use embeddable Type 1 or TrueType fonts. In Word, you can also choose to embed fonts as you prepare the document by choosing Tools, Save, and check "Embed TrueType Fonts." Fonts that are available to all pdf viewers and do not need to be embedded include: Arial, Courier, and Helvetica (Bold, Oblique and BoldOblique), Times (Roman, Bold, Italic, BoldItalic), Symbol, and ZapfDingbats. For more information on embedded fonts, visit the ProQuest ETD submission website: http://dissertations.umi.com.ecu.

Line Space

Double-space: abstract, dedication, acknowledgements, table of contents, and body of the manuscript, except for quotations as paragraphs, captions, items in tables, lists, graphs, charts, and bibliographic entries.

Single space: footnotes/endnotes, and lists in appendices.

Color

PDF and Print reproductions will include all color material. Microfilm reproductions will NOT preserve color; colors will appear in shades of gray. 

Columns

Use tables without borders instead of tabs to format text or numbers into neat columns.

Equations

MS Word users should not use Word's Equation Editor. Instead, use italic Times New Roman font and Symbol font, along with superscripts and subscripts to create equations.

Graphics

The best method to include graphics is to use EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files rather than bitmaps, GIFs, or JPEG images. Use a high resolution such as 600 dpi. Avoid using graphic editors that are part of a word processor.

Landscape Page Numbers

Remember that page numbers must be placed in footer in portrait orientation even when the text of the page is in landscape orientation. For detailed instructions on how to make this change in Word, visit the Microsoft website: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;265436

For additional assistance with landscape page numbers, please refer to page 14 of the University of Michigan Library's document, "Using Microsoft 2010 for Your Dissertation."

Multimedia Objects

In Word, use the Edit, Copy and Paste functions to add a multimedia object in your document. Remember to reference the figure in the text and to provide a figure number and title.

Spacing

Use tabs to align text instead of a series of spaces. Use line breaks to force a new line instead of starting a new paragraph. Insert page breaks instead of a series of paragraphs or returns to start a new page. Use section breaks to change the format between pages in the document (for example, sections where pagination style differs).

Table of Contents

  1. The key to structuring the Table of Contents is the use of tabs. First, be sure the ruler bar is visible at the top of your page. In Word, select Format, Tabs. To place the word "Page" at the right margin Choose the right margin as the ruler from the dialog box and position for your first tab (6 for example). Then, for Alignment, choose right. For leader, choose none. Set and OK. At the left margin on your Table of Contents, press tab and type the word "Page"-(should position itself right flush).
    • Make sure the ruler bar is visible at the top of your document
    • Choose 'Right' margin from the ruler in the dialog box
    • Position the first tab
    • For leader choose 'None'
    • Click 'Set' and 'Ok'


  2. If you have preliminary items to list before the chapters (ie. List of Tables, List of Figures, etc.), the next tab will set the position for the page number with dot leaders. In the dialog box, choose the right margin as the ruler position (6 for example). Then, for Alignment, choose right. For leader, choose 2, set and OK.
    • Set the position for the page numbers with dot leaders
    • Choose 'Right' margin as the ruler position in the dialog box (6 for example)
    • For alignment choose 'Right'
    • For leader choose '2'
    • Click 'Set' and 'Ok'


  3. After the word CHAPTER, begin setting the tabs for the Roman numerals, chapter titles, and page numbers with dot leaders and any subtitles. First, in the dialog box, choose the location for the Roman numerals. Type in the ruler position (.04 for example). Then, for Alignment, choose decimal. For Leader, choose none. Set and OK.
    • Choose the location for the Roman numerals in the dialog box
    • Type in the ruler position (.04 for example)
    • For alignment choose 'Decimal'
    • For leader choose 'None'
    • Click 'Set' and 'Ok'


  4. Choose a nearby location to start your chapter titles. Type in the ruler position (.07 for example). Then, for Alignment, choose left. For Leader, choose none. Set and OK.
    • Type in the ruler position (.07 for example)
    • For alignment choose 'Left'
    • For leader choose 'none'
    • Click 'Set' and 'Ok'


  5. The next tab will set the position for the page numbers with the dot leaders. In the dialog box, choose the right margin as the ruler position (6 for example). For alignment, choose right. For leader, choose 2, set and OK.
    • Choose 'Right' margin in the dialog box as the ruler position (6 for example)
    • For alignment choose 'Right'
    • For leader choose '2'
    • Click 'Set' and 'Ok'

Add other tab positions as needed to distinguish each new level of subtitles/subheadings.

For additional assistance with creating a table of contents, including information on how to create an automatic table of contents, please refer to page 16 of the University of Michigan Library's document, "Using Microsoft 2010 for Your Dissertation."

Checklist for Preparation of Thesis and Dissertation

Listed below are procedures and requirements to be followed during the preparation and completion of your thesis:

  • Use the manual of style prescribed by your school or department for information on documenting sources.  
  • Schedule your work according to the deadlines established by the Graduate School. See the University Academic Calendar at http://www.ecu.edu/fsonline/senate/fscalend.cfm
  • Follow the East Carolina University Manual of Basic Requirements for Theses and Dissertations.
  • Submit the required number of copies of the thesis/dissertation to your director/chair at least ten days prior to the date of the final oral examination. 
  • Defend your thesis/dissertation during the final oral examination.  
  • Make required corrections to your thesis/dissertation. 
  • Consult with your committee chair concerning copyright questions and the publishing agreement for the ECU Institutional Repository and ProQuest
  • Obtain proper signatures (committee chair, committee members, department/program chair; all but the Dean's Signature) for your thesis/dissertation on the signature page and the ECU Non-Exclusive Distribution Agreement and upload in the Administrative documents step of the submission process. Use an unsigned signature page with committee members' names typed in your PDF document for electronic submission. *Note that the Dean does not sign until the Graduate School completes a full review of the thesis/dissertation.
  • Submit your thesis/dissertation electronically to the Graduate school atwww.etdadmin.com/ecu   for review no later than ten days prior to the last day of classes during the semester in which you plan to graduate. This deadline applies to summer school sessions as well as to the regular semesters.
  • Check the email account used at the time of submission for notifications from the ETD Site Administrator. 
  • If any revisions are requested from the ETD Site Administrator, make the required corrections to your original Word document, reconvert to a PDF and resubmit to the site.
  • When your manuscript has been approved by the Graduate School, an email notification will be sent to you, your degree program, and the Registrar's office. 
  • Your approved thesis/dissertation will be submitted to Proquest for publication at the end of the term upon verification of your graduation by the Registrar's Office.
Final Review

The following are the major reasons that theses and dissertations are not initially approved:

  1. Improper format of abstract.
  2. Improper margins in any part of the thesis or dissertation.
  3. Improper pagination (especially in the prefatory material). 
  4. Incorrect pagination listed in the Table of Contents.
  5. Inconsistent hierarchy of organization from section to section. The same level of organization should be treated consistently as to indention, underlining, fonts, bold lettering, alphanumeric denotations (ex. A, b, I, 1) etc. 
  6. Inconsistent hierarchy of organization between that listed in the Table of Contents and found in the text. 
  7. Inconsistent use of fonts. 
  8. Prefatory material missing List of Tables, List of Figures, etc. Also table/figure titles are not included in the List of Tables, Figures etc. or they have incorrect pagination. 
  9. Incomplete references (Text referrals are not cited in the bibliography/references section). 
  10. Inconsistent style in citing the references in both the text and the bibliography/references section. 
  11. Improper grammar and/or misspelling (to a lesser extent).
  12. Missing IRB, IACUC, or Biosafety Committee  approval form.  

Although all theses and dissertations should comply with the Manual of Basic Requirements of Theses and Dissertations, the Graduate School strongly suggests that each program decide upon a particular style or format by which all of their theses or dissertations will follow beyond that described herein. This format may be either a specific style manual (i.e. APA, Turabian, MLA) or the format of a respected journal in the field. Questions about formatting or the submission process should be addressed with the Graduate School at (252) 328-5792.

Congratulations!