Formatting Options

Choosing a format guide

Each discipline has a generally accepted style guide that accompanies their form of scientific writing. Journal formats are also accepted by the College of Graduate Studies.

Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines:

All thesis and dissertations must generally follow the thesis guidelines. There are some rules in the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines which supercede your style or journal formats. These include: spacing, front pages, references, and table or figure placements. For specifics see pages 6 and 7 of the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.

APA 6th and 7th Editions

The College of Graduate Studies will accept either APA 6th or APA 7th. You may not combine the two style guides, except for the use of gender-neutral terms which are not allowed in APA 6th, but will be accepted if you choose that style guide. The two style guides are significantly different. Of note, APA 7th requires that figure descriptions be above the figure. Although this violates the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines, it should be adhered to. See our Tips and Tricks section for more information.

Note to Ed.D. students: By agreement of the College of Graduate Studies and your department, APA (either 6th or 7th) is the required format for your dissertations.


The College of Graduate Studies has an approved Engineering I.E.E.E. style guide which can be found here. If you do not choose to use this particular LaTex tool, your thesis must nonetheless conform to this approved style. This is a template [pdf] you can follow. Note, APA is not a suitable format for Engineering.


The College of Graduate Studies accepts LaTeX formatting, but it must adhere to the Thesis Guidelines with regard to spacing, page numbers, etc. Use the I.E.E.E. template to help you conform to Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.


The College of Graduate Studies is presently using Chicago Style Manual, 17th. This is a quick Chicago Style Guide to help you properly format authors, notes, etc.

Other recognized style guides

There are many other style guides that may be specific to your discipline: These include the American Chemical Society (ACS), MLA, and AMA, just to name a few. Please let us know if you are using a style guide not specifically listed on your Thesis/Dissertation Information Form. You may use departmental style guides as long as you update them to follow the current Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.

Journal Formatting

For many disciplines including Marine Science, Geography, Meterology, Environmental Studies, and several other science and social science programs, using a journal format may be the best option. Front pages should remain the same as required by the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines. It is recommended that the thesis have three chapters: Introduction, Article, Conclusion and references that include those works cited in addition to the journal article itself. Submit your Thesis Information Form with the name of the journal and a link to the author's instructions and a sample article (that is retrievable by our office). Note the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines rules regarding multiple authorship.Your work must be reflected as yours alone.

Formatting Resources

Our Resources page offers several different guidelines to assist you including a checklist to make sure you have followed the Thesis Guidelines and a spacing example so that your Word program is set correctly.

Most reference generators are not completely accurate. If you use one, make sure and go through each reference for accuracy.