Dissertation Writing Tutorial: What About Chapters Formatting?

How to Format Dissertation Chapters in a Proper Way

A dissertation is a complicated assignment that requires solid research, hours of writing, and formatting. Once your chapters are written down, you have to put in much effort to format them and proofread the text. Visit the office of research and doctoral studies at your university to check the requirements. Your supervisor may also give you advice on how to format the dissertation in a certain style. However, general rules apply, so read the guidelines below and save your time.

Choose the Formatting Style

Doctoral candidates often can choose one of the popular formatting styles. The doctoral committee can give you an advice, but it is recommendatory. It makes sense to choose the style you are familiar with. For example, you have formatted your articles for scholarly journals in one of the following styles:

  • The Chicago Style Manual (CSM).
  • The American Psychological Association (APA).
  • The Modern Language Association (MLA).

Use the most recent versions of the chosen manual, and visit the university’s writing center if you have any questions.

Consider Text Format Details

It is necessary for your text to look readable and neat, so try to print the final version and look carefully at the appearance of your text, graphics, and tables.

All pages should have 1 ½ inches for the left and right margins. The top and bottom margins should be 1 ¼ inches. It is better to use 12 point font, because 10 point often looks too small. However, the latter is appropriate for tables. Keep the text left aligned and use double spacing. Choose whether you use italics or underlining for source titles, symbols, and definitions. Do not use both formatting styles.

The pages of the chapters should be numbered with Arabic numbers. The title and copyright pages are counted, but the numbers are not put down. Acknowledgements, table of contents, list of figures, etc. are numbered with lower case roman numerals.

Chapter Titles and Subtitles

The titles begin 2 inches from the top of the page. The main ideas of the information provided should be stated in the title. A heading can follow another one, but they should be separated with a double space (one blank line). The first letters of each word of the title should be capitalized except prepositions, articles, and conjunctions.

The titles and subtitles should not be placed at the bottom of the page. If so, make sure there are at least two lines of text beneath them. Your professor may have special requirements, e.g. about the length of the chapter and sub-chapter titles.