Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Formatting Requirements
ETDs must be approved for content by the student's committee before submission to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS). The final post-defense copy submitted electronically to OGS must be the version that has been approved by your appointed thesis/dissertation committee. Submitting an alternate version of your ETD to OGS may be a violation of the PSU Student Code of Conduct and may result in sanctions up to and including revocation of the degree.
OGS reviews your ETD for formatting only. We do not proofread, verify appropriate use of style guidelines (APA, MLA, etc.), check for plagiarism, or otherwise audit your document for professional-level standards. Ensuring these standards is your responsibility as the author of your thesis/dissertation, as well as the responsibility of your appointed thesis/dissertation Chair and committee.
You may follow whatever formatting requirements are standard in your discipline (e.g. APA, MLA, etc.), but if there are discrepancies between OGS requirements and the guidelines you are using, you must defer to the OGS requirements. OGS formatting requirements also supersede those provided by UMI.
Do not use another student's thesis/dissertation as a formatting model. Formatting requirements have changed over time, and special arrangements could have been made that would not apply in all cases.
Any formatting issue not specified here is at the discretion of OGS. Feel free to contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-725-8410.
All text must be professional quality font, i.e. no script, italic, or ornamental font is permitted. Bold and italics should be kept to a minimum; this is a professional document that should reflect a conservative style.
All fonts in your ETD must be embedded. Embedding fonts ensures that your entire document can be properly viewed on any computer, even ones that do not have installed the fonts you used. To embed your fonts, use the ETD Administrator FAQ for "How do I embed my fonts?" available here.
All text, including chapter titles and headings, must be 12 point font, with the following four exceptions:
- Tables may be reduced to a minimum 10 point font.
- Figures and appendices do not have a minimum font requirement but must be legible.
- Captions for tables and figures may be reduced to a minimum 10 point font.
- Footnotes and endnotes may be reduced to a minimum 10 point font.
All text must be double spaced, with the following exceptions:
- Table of Contents
- List of Tables and List of Figures
- Chapter titles and headings
- Block quotes
- Bulleted and numbered lists
- Tables and figures
- Captions for tables and figures
- Footnotes and endnotes
- Terminal reference section
Page Numbers and Header/Footers
Every page following the Title page and the Copyright Notice page (if included) is numbered, and page numbers must be printed on every page. Page numbers may be placed in one of three locations: upper right corner, bottom right corner, or bottom center. The page number location must be consistent throughout the document. You may include a running header/footer if you wish. (See additional information in Margins.)
The prefatory pages, beginning with the Abstract, are numbered with lower-case Roman numerals, ie., i, ii, iii, iv, etc. Beginning with the first page of Chapter 1, the pagination changes to Arabic numerals, i.e., 1, 2, 3, etc, beginning with page 1. Arabic numeration continues to the end of the document. (See additional information in Order of the ETD.)
Minimum margins are required on every page: 1.5" on the left and 1" on the top, bottom, and right. These margins apply to the page numbers and a running header/footer as well.
NOTE: MS Word automatically places page numbers in the header/footer. The default setting for the header/footer is .5" from the edge of the page, so you will have to adjust this manually from the File/Page Setup menu (Format/Document menu on a Mac). If you are placing your page numbers at the top of the page, adjust the header to 1", then adjust the top margin to 1.2" (to allow space between the page number and the top of the text). If you are placing the page numbers at the bottom of the page, adjust the footer to 1", then adjust the bottom margin to 1.2".
The body of the ETD must be divided into chapters or major sections. Each chapter must begin at the top of a new page.
Chapters or major sections must be titled. Chapter titles as provided in the body of the ETD and in the Table of Contents must match.
Most students choose to number their chapters, however, this is not required. If you number your chapters, the numbering system used in the body of the ETD and in the Table of Contents must match. For example, if the chapters in the Table of Contents are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc., the chapters in the body of the ETD must be numbered 1, 2, 3, etc., not I, II, III, etc., or One, Two, Three, etc.
Tables and Figures
A table is any set of data arranged in a tabular format. All other items (charts, graphs, maps, photographs, drawings, etc.) are figures. Mathematical formulas, schemas, and computer code do not need to be identified as figures.
If tables and/or figures are included in your ETD, you must provide a List of Tables and/or a List of Figures in your prefatory pages. (See additional information in Order of the ETD.) Both the List of Tables and List of Figures must begin on the top of a new page. Tables and figures in the appendices should not be listed in the List of Tables or List of Figures.
Tables may be reduced to a minimum 10 point font. Figures do not have a minimum font requirement but must be legible. Captions for tables and figures may be reduced to a minimum 10 point font.
Tables and figures, as well as their captions, may be double or single spaced.
Throughout the body of your ETD, tables and figures must be numbered in sequential order, and they must be listed in the List of Tables and List of Figures in the same order that they appear in your ETD. Bearing in mind that sequential numbering is required, you have discretion about the specific format used to number your tables and figures. For example, you could number all tables from the beginning of the document Table 1, Table 2, etc., or you could number all tables in Chapter 1 as Table 1.1, 1.2, etc, then tables in Chapter 2 as Table 2.1, 2.2, etc. Whatever numbering format you use, you must be consistent throughout the ETD.
If you elect to put all of your tables and figures in one group at the end of the document, they must come immediately before the terminal reference section.
If you need to turn the orientation of a table or figure from portrait to landscape, rotate the image 90 degrees counterclockwise. The "top" of your image will now be on the left margin, which has a 1.5" margin requirement. Your page number will need to remain in the same location as on all other pages with a portrait orientation. Instructions for how to achieve this effect in MS Word are available here.
Appendices must be divided into A, B, C, etc. sections. If you have only one Appendix, you can label it simply "Appendix" instead of "Appendix A".
Appendices must have titles (like chapter titles). The titles of the appendices in the Table of Contents and in the body of the ETD must match.
Appendices do not have a minimum font requirement but must be legible.
Tables and figures in the appendices should not be listed in the List of Tables or List of Figures. The numbering of tables and figures in the appendices is at your discretion; it can continue from the numbering in the body of the ETD (e.g., if the final table in your ETD is Table 37, the first table in your appendices can be Table 38), or it can be independent from the numbering in the body of your ETD (e.g., the first table in your appendices can be Table A.1).
If your ETD contains materials such as audio files, video files and/or spreadsheets, these should be submitted as supplemental files.
Please Note: Supplemental files must be listed and described in an appendix of the ETD and identified by name, file type, size, required application software, and any special hardware requirements.
For information about accepted file types for supplemental files, please click here.
- Title page (this page does not carry a page number).
- Copyright Notice page (this page does not carry a page number). This page is required if you have registered your copyright; otherwise it is optional but recommended.
- Prefatory pages. The following pages are numbered with lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.). A page number must be printed on every page. Each of these sections must begin on the top of a new page.
All of the sections above (that are included in your ETD) must be listed in the Table of Contents (however, do not list the Table of Contents in the Table of Contents).
- Abstract (required)
- Dedication (optional)
- Acknowledgments (optional)
- Table of Contents (required)
- List of Tables (required if tables included in the ETD)
- List of Figures (required if figures included in the ETD)
- Glossary or List of Abbreviations/Symbols (optional)
- Preface (optional)
- Text of the ETD. Beginning with the first page of Chapter 1, all pages are numbered with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.); this pagination continues to the end of the document. A page number must be printed on every page.
- Body of the ETD, divided into chapters or major sections
- Endnotes, if used in your ETD
- Terminal references
- Appendices, divided into A, B, C, etc., divisions
OGS formatting guidelines require that you have no page number on the Title page, Roman numeral pagination in the prefatory pages, and Arabic numeral pagination for the remaining text. For all three of these sections to exist in one Word document, you need to use section breaks. Information about the use of section breaks in MS Word is available here for the 2003 version and here for the 2007 version.
Formatting of Specific Pages
Your Title Page must be formatted to the exact specifications of our samples pages. See our Title Page samples with and without markups, and the information below, for details about formatting your Title Page.
Specific items to note about the Title page:
- The title must be in Title case, that is, the first letter of each significant word must be capitalized.
- You may choose the form of your name that you wish, but we strongly encourage the you use the most formal and fullest form of your name possible, for example, Katharine Ann Jones instead of Katharine A. Jones, Katharine Jones, or Katie Jones. This is a professional document that calls for a full name (not a nickname), and the fullest form of your name will help to distinguish you from other authors with a name similar to yours. However you choose to list your name, it must match on your Title page and in the UMI/ETD Administrator.
- With committee members, there are no titles (Dr., etc.) listed before the names and no degrees (Ph.D., J.D., etc.) after.
- For your committee member names, we would again suggest full names be used (e.g., Michael instead of Mike). However, common courtesy recommends that you ask each of your committee members how they would like their name to appear on this document.
- The year under "Portland State University" is your year of graduation, not the year you completed your ETD or any other date.
Copyright Notice page
If you choose to register your copyright, you must include a Copyright Notice page immediately following your Title page. Even if you do not choose to register your copyright, you still own your copyright and may include a Copyright Notice page if you wish; in fact, we encourage you to do so. This page does not carry a page number. The formatting of this page is the copyright symbol (©) followed by the year your ETD is submitted to OGS and your name exactly as it appears on your Title page, centered on one line. For a sample Copyright Notice page, click here.
For additional information about registering your copyright, click here.
If you choose to add a Creative Commons license to your ETD, add the appropriate text and image to the Copyright Notice Page, double spaced below the copyright notice. For more information about Creative Commons, visit their web page here.
The Word "Abstract" appears centered at the top of the page, then the text of your Abstract begins. This page is always numbered page i. The two introductory sentences that were previously used for paper theses and dissertations are not included in ETDs. Do not use footnotes or add keywords to your Abstract. For a sample Abstract click here.
Table of Contents
The Table of Contents must meet all the formatting requirements listed above (font size, margins, etc.), but specific formatting for the Table of Content is at your discretion. However, many students ask what a typical Table of Contents looks like, so we provide a sample here.
ETD Formatting Checklist
When finalizing your format, please use our ETD Formatting Checklist to check for the most common formatting errors. (Using this Checklist is not a substitute for carefully reviewing the ETD Formatting Requirements.)