Brief Introduction To Dissertation Formatting For Newbies

Writing dissertation can be tough enough as it is, but having to follow very specific formatting guidelines adds to the stress. There are more students working on dissertation project for the first time than there are students working on the second one. For this reason we’ve created this helpful introduction to proper dissertation for newbies:

General Formatting Rules

Paper Quality, Margins, Spacing, Font

Use high-quality 20 pound weight acid-free 8 ½” x 11” white paper The text throughout the document should be double-spaced. Indent the first line of each paragraph about 5 spaces. You can set your tab key to automatically indent half an inch for consistency. Margins should be 1” all the way around. Use a font that is sans serif, perhaps Arial or Calibri and set the size to 12 pt.

Page Numbering and Sections

With this kind of assignment you want to make sure that you number each page appropriately as well as create sections and sub-sections to help the reader navigate through the work. Preliminary sections such as the dedication and preface should also be designated with lower case roman numerals (i, ii, iii, and so forth).

Quotations and Citations

Anything you borrow from a reference – whether it is a direct quotation, a paraphrasing of information, or a fact – you need to apply proper citation. Quotations of four more lines need to be included in block quotes; quotations of three or fewer lines should be included within your text. Always include the author’s information and the page number of where it can be found in the original resource.

Specific Formatting Rules

Title Page, Table of Contents, Acknowledgements

When creating a title you should always use optimized keywords to help a research easily locate your study when they are doing their work. Your title should be direct and to the point, placed at about one-thirds of the page down. You should list your name immediately below the title and place all the relevant course and institution information at the bottom center. Your table of contents listing all sections and sub-sections should immediately follow the title page, which is all followed by the acknowledgments.

Main Text

The main text should be broken up into sections. These sections and sub-sections will be ordered depending on the requirements as expressed by your discipline. If you are unsure you should always get a sample copy to reference when crafting your own.


The final piece of the dissertation which you have to ensure is formatted correctly is the bibliography. This is a list of all the sources cited in your work. There are specific rules for different types of resources, so make sure you pick up the right guide associated with your area of study.