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  • Table of contents template (DOC)

This Microsoft Word document can be saved to your computer to use as a template. It was created using Microsoft Office 2013 version of Word. Please email [email protected] if you have problems with the download.

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University Thesis and Dissertation Templates

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Theses and dissertations are already intensive, long-term projects that require a lot of effort and time from their authors. Formatting for submission to the university is often the last thing that graduate students do, and may delay earning the relevant degree if done incorrectly.

Below are some strategies graduate students can use to deal with institutional formatting requirements to earn their degrees on time.

Disciplinary conventions are still paramount.

Scholars in your own discipline are the most common readers of your dissertation; your committee, too, will expect your work to match with their expectations as members of your field. The style guide your field uses most commonly is always the one you should follow, and if your field uses conventions such as including all figures and illustrations at the end of the document, you should do so. After these considerations are met, move on to university formatting. Almost always, university formatting only deals with things like margins, font, numbering of chapters and sections, and illustrations; disciplinary style conventions in content such as APA's directive to use only last names of authors in-text are not interfered with by university formatting at all.

Use your university's formatting guidelines and templates to your advantage.

If your institution has a template for formatting your thesis or dissertation that you can use, do so. Don't look at another student's document and try to replicate it yourself. These templates typically have the necessary section breaks and styles already in the document, and you can copy in your work from your existing draft using the style pane in MS Word to ensure you're using the correct formatting (similarly with software such as Overleaf when writing in LaTeX, templates do a lot of the work for you). It's also often easier for workers in the offices that deal with theses and dissertations to help you with your work if you're using their template — they are familiar with these templates and can often navigate them more proficiently.

These templates also include placeholders for all front matter you will need to include in your thesis or dissertation, and may include guidelines for how to write these. Front matter includes your table of contents, acknowledgements, abstract, abbreviation list, figure list, committee page, and (sometimes) academic history or CV; everything before your introduction is front matter. Since front matter pages such as the author's academic history and dissertation committee are usually for the graduate school and not for your department, your advisor might not remember to have you include them. Knowing about them well before your deposit date means you won't be scrambling to fill in placeholders at the last minute or getting your work returned for revision from the graduate school.

Consider institutional formatting early and often.

Many graduate students leave this aspect of submitting their projects until it's almost too late to work on it, causing delays in obtaining their degree. Simply being aware that this is a task you'll have to complete and making sure you know where templates are, who you can ask for help in your graduate office or your department, and what your institution's guidelines are can help alleviate this issue. Once you know what you'll be expected to do to convert to university formatting, you can set regular check-in times for yourself to do this work in pieces rather than all at once (for instance, when you've completed a chapter and had it approved by your chair). 

Consider fair use for images and other third-party content.

Most theses and dissertations are published through ProQuest or another publisher (Harvard, for instance, uses their own open publishing service). For this reason, it may be the case that your institution requires all images or other content obtained from other sources to fall under fair use rules or, if an image is not considered under fair use, you'll have to obtain permission to print it in your dissertation. Your institution should have more guidance on their specific expectations for fair use content; knowing what these guidelines are well in advance of your deposit date means you won't have to make last-minute changes or removals to deposit your work.

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What’s Included: The Dissertation Template

If you’re preparing to write your dissertation, thesis or research project, our free dissertation template is the perfect starting point. In the template, we cover every section step by step, with clear, straightforward explanations and examples .

The template’s structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research projects such as dissertations and theses. The template structure reflects the overall research process, ensuring your dissertation or thesis will have a smooth, logical flow from chapter to chapter.

The dissertation template covers the following core sections:

  • The title page/cover page
  • Abstract (sometimes also called the executive summary)
  • Table of contents
  • List of figures /list of tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction  (also available: in-depth introduction template )
  • Chapter 2: Literature review  (also available: in-depth LR template )
  • Chapter 3: Methodology (also available: in-depth methodology template )
  • Chapter 4: Research findings /results (also available: results template )
  • Chapter 5: Discussion /analysis of findings (also available: discussion template )
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion (also available: in-depth conclusion template )
  • Reference list

Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language , followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover within each section. We’ve also included practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required in each section.

The cleanly-formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

FAQs: Dissertation Template

What format is the template (doc, pdf, ppt, etc.).

The dissertation template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for?

The template follows the standard best-practice structure for formal academic research projects such as dissertations or theses, so it is suitable for the vast majority of degrees, particularly those within the sciences.

Some universities may have some additional requirements, but these are typically minor, with the core structure remaining the same. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalise your structure.

Will this work for a research paper?

A research paper follows a similar format, but there are a few differences. You can find our research paper template here .

Is this template for an undergrad, Masters or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. It may be slight overkill for an undergraduate-level study, but it certainly won’t be missing anything.

How long should my dissertation/thesis be?

This depends entirely on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, Masters-level projects are usually 15,000 – 20,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects are often in excess of 60,000 words.

What about the research proposal?

If you’re still working on your research proposal, we’ve got a template for that here .

We’ve also got loads of proposal-related guides and videos over on the Grad Coach blog .

How do I write a literature review?

We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack how to write a literature review from scratch. You can check out the literature review section of the blog here.

How do I create a research methodology?

We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack research methodology, both qualitative and quantitative. You can check out the methodology section of the blog here.

Can I share this dissertation template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template. If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.

Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?

Within the template, you’ll find plain-language explanations of each section, which should give you a fair amount of guidance. However, you’re also welcome to consider our dissertation and thesis coaching services .

Free Webinar: Literature Review 101

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Thesis / dissertation formatting manual (2024).

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UCI Libraries maintains the following  templates to assist in formatting your graduate manuscript. If you are formatting your manuscript in Microsoft Word, feel free to download and use the template. If you would like to see what your manuscript should look like, PDFs have been provided. If you are formatting your manuscript using LaTex, UCI maintains a template on OverLeaf.

  • Annotated Template (Dissertation) 2024 PDF of a template with annotations of what to look out for
  • Word: Thesis Template 2024 Editable template of the Master's thesis formatting.
  • PDF Thesis Template 2024
  • Word: Dissertation Template 2024 Editable template of the PhD Dissertation formatting.
  • PDF: Dissertation Template 2024
  • Overleaf (LaTex) Template
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  • Last Updated: Feb 20, 2024 2:09 PM
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  • Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples

Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples

Published on 15 May 2022 by Tegan George .

The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.

The table of contents (TOC) should be placed between the abstract and the introduction. The maximum length should be two pages. Depending on the nature of your thesis, dissertation, or paper, there are a few formatting options you can choose from.

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Table of contents

What to include in your table of contents, what not to include in your table of contents, creating a table of contents in microsoft word, table of contents examples, updating a table of contents in microsoft word, other lists in your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, frequently asked questions about the table of contents.

Depending on the length of your document, you can choose between a single-level, subdivided, or multi-level table of contents.

  • A single-level table of contents only includes ‘level 1’ headings, or chapters. This is the simplest option, but it may be too broad for a long document like a dissertation.
  • A subdivided table of contents includes chapters as well as ‘level 2’ headings, or sections. These show your reader what each chapter contains.
  • A multi-level table of contents also further divides sections into ‘level 3’ headings. This option can get messy quickly, so proceed with caution. Remember your table of contents should not be longer than 2 pages. A multi-level table is often a good choice for a shorter document like a research paper.

Examples of level 1 headings are Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, and Bibliography. Subsections of each of these would be level 2 headings, further describing the contents of each chapter or large section. Any further subsections would be level 3.

In these introductory sections, less is often more. As you decide which sections to include, narrow it down to only the most essential.

Including appendices and tables

You should include all appendices in your table of contents. Whether or not you include tables and figures depends largely on how many there are in your document.

If there are more than three figures and tables, you might consider listing them on a separate page. Otherwise, you can include each one in the table of contents.

  • Theses and dissertations often have a separate list of figures and tables.
  • Research papers generally don’t have a separate list of figures and tables.

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All level 1 and level 2 headings should be included in your table of contents, with level 3 headings used very sparingly.

The following things should never be included in a table of contents:

  • Your acknowledgements page
  • Your abstract
  • The table of contents itself

The acknowledgements and abstract always precede the table of contents, so there’s no need to include them. This goes for any sections that precede the table of contents.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, be sure to first apply the correct heading styles throughout the document, as shown below.

  • Choose which headings are heading 1 and which are heading 2 (or 3!
  • For example, if all level 1 headings should be Times New Roman, 12-point font, and bold, add this formatting to the first level 1 heading.
  • Highlight the level 1 heading.
  • Right-click the style that says ‘Heading 1’.
  • Select ‘Update Heading 1 to Match Selection’.
  • Allocate the formatting for each heading throughout your document by highlighting the heading in question and clicking the style you wish to apply.

Once that’s all set, follow these steps:

  • Add a title to your table of contents. Be sure to check if your citation style or university has guidelines for this.
  • Place your cursor where you would like your table of contents to go.
  • In the ‘References’ section at the top, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Here, you can select which levels of headings you would like to include. You can also make manual adjustments to each level by clicking the Modify button.
  • When you are ready to insert the table of contents, click ‘OK’ and it will be automatically generated, as shown below.

The key features of a table of contents are:

  • Clear headings and subheadings
  • Corresponding page numbers

Check with your educational institution to see if they have any specific formatting or design requirements.

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Write yourself a reminder to update your table of contents as one of your final tasks before submitting your dissertation or paper. It’s normal for your text to shift a bit as you input your final edits, and it’s crucial that your page numbers correspond correctly.

It’s easy to update your page numbers automatically in Microsoft Word. Simply right-click the table of contents and select ‘Update Field’. You can choose either to update page numbers only or to update all information in your table of contents.

In addition to a table of contents, you might also want to include a list of figures and tables, a list of abbreviations and a glossary in your thesis or dissertation. You can use the following guides to do so:

  • List of figures and tables
  • List of abbreviations

It is less common to include these lists in a research paper.

All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.

The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .

Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract   in the table of contents.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Apply heading styles throughout the document.
  • In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
  • Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.

Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.

The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction.

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George, T. (2022, May 15). Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 22 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/contents-page/

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How to create a table of contents for a dissertation (apa), published by steve tippins on june 20, 2022 june 20, 2022.

Last Updated on: 2nd February 2024, 05:06 am

thesis contents page template

APA Dissertation Table of Contents Format Guidelines

  • The table of contents should be double spaced with one-inch margins on all sides. 
  • It should be written in the same font and size as the rest of your dissertation.  
  • At the top of the page, write Table of Contents , centered and in bold.
  • Although in the body of the paper you can use up to five levels of headings, up to three levels are usually provided in the Table of Contents. Including lower-level headings is optional. 
  • Indent each subheading five spaces. 
  • Write all text in title case. In title case, the first letter of major words is capitalized.
  • Provide the page number where the main headings and subheadings begin, and provide dotted lines between the heading and the page number.
  • Page numbers for the Dedication, Acknowledgements, and Preface should be in lower case Roman Numbers (i, v, x, l, c, d and m.). The page numbers for the rest of the text should be in Arabic numerals (1,2, 3, 4, etc.).

How to Create an APA Table of Contents Using Microsoft Word

Step 1. Instead of manually trying to write and format the table of contents, you can create a generated one using Microsoft Word. To do this, first go to the Home tab. This is where you will choose the styles for the table of contents. 

Step 2. The top-level headings will be your chapter titles, so on the right side of the tab, apply the Heading 1 style. 

Step 3. The second-level headings will be your subheadings, so apply the Heading 2 style. This will place your subheadings underneath your main headings.

screenshot of formatting a heading in Microsoft word

Step 4. You will now produce page links to your document. In the top ribbon, click on the References tab and select Table of Contents . 

thesis contents page template

Step 5. If the style does not indicate APA, such as the one below, use the drop down arrow to select APA. 

Step 6. Next, choose the number of levels that you want. In this case, you want to be able to have up to three levels, so choose Automatic Table 2 , which has the appropriate heading for a dissertation. 

Step 7. Click ok , and you are all set. Microsoft word will automatically generate your dissertation’s table of contents as you write it.

screenshot of table of content formatting in microsoft word

List of Tables and Figures

Your list of tables and figures will be written at the end of the list of information in the body of your paper. You will create these lists the same way that you created the main table of contents. 

However, the headings will be different. 

Instead of the heading “Table of Contents,” the headings will be “List of Tables” and “List of Figures.” (An example is provided in the table of contents example below.)

Example of Table of Contents

In the example below, there are three level headings. The list of tables and figures are provided at the bottom of the other contents. The sections in your table of contents may be different depending on your college’s requirements. 

screenshot of APA Dissertation Table of Contents formatting

Updating the Table of Contents

As you continue working on your dissertation, you will need to update the page numbers because they may change. 

thesis contents page template

To update the page numbers, right-click on the table of contents in your document and select the Update field . Then, the Update Table of Contents box will appear. 

You can choose to Update page numbers only or all the information in the table of contents by clicking on Update entire table . 

screenshot of updating page numbers in microsoft word

Note: For more information, refer to the APA Manual 7 th edition , sections 2.2-2.27.

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Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

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How to Create the Best Table of Contents for a Dissertation

Published by Owen Ingram at August 12th, 2021 , Revised On September 20, 2023

“A table of contents is an essential part of any article, book, proceedings, essay , and paper with plenty of information. It requires providing the reader’s guidance about the position of the content.”

When preparing a  dissertation , you may cram as much information into it as appropriate. The dissertation may be an extremely well-written one with a lot of valuable information to offer. Still, all that information could become perplexing if the reader cannot easily find the information.

The length of dissertations usually varies from a few pages to a few hundred pages, making it very difficult to find information that you may be after.

Instead of skimming through every page of the dissertation, there is a need for a guideline that directs the reader to the correct section of the dissertation and, more importantly, the correct page in the section.

Also read:   The List of Figures and Tables in the Dissertation .

What is the Table of Contents in the Dissertation?

The table of contents is the section of a dissertation that guides each section of the dissertation paper’s contents.

Depending on the detail level in a table of contents, the most useful headings are listed to provide the reader concerning which page the said information may be found.

The table of contents is essentially a list found at the beginning of a  dissertation , which contains names of the chapters, section titles and/or very brief descriptions, and page numbers indicated for each.

This allows the reader to look at the table of contents to locate the information needed from the dissertation. Having an effective table of contents is key to providing a seamless reading experience to the reader.

Here in this article, we will uncover every piece of information you need to know to write the dissertation’s abstract.

This article helps the readers on how to create the best table of contents for the dissertation. An important thing to note is that this guide discusses creating a table of contents in Microsoft Word.

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Styles for Dissertation Table of Contents

Making an effective table of contents starts with identifying headings and designating styles to those headings.

Using heading styles to format your headings can save a lot of time by automatically converting their formatting to the defined style and serves as a tool to identify the heading and its level, used later when creating a thesis table of contents .

Each heading style already has predefined sizes, fonts, colours, spacing, etc. but can be changed as per the user’s requirements. This also helps once all headings have been created and you intend to change the style of a certain type of heading.

All that is needed to change the style of a type of heading is automatically reflected on all headings that use the style.

Below is how the styles menu looks like;

Style-menus

To allocate a style to a heading, first select a heading and then click on one of the styles in the ‘Styles’ menu. Doing so converts the selected heading to the style that is selected in the Styles menu.

You can style a similar heading level in the same style by selecting each heading and then clicking on the style in the Style menu.

It is important to note that it greatly helps and saves time if you allocate styles systematically, i.e., you allocate the style as you write.

The styles are not limited to headings only but can be used for paragraphs and by selecting the whole paragraph and applying a style to it.

Changing Appearance of Pre-Defined Styles

To change the appearance of a style to one that suits you,

  • You would need to right-click on one of the styles to open a drop-down menu.

Changing-Apperance-of-Predefined-Styles

  • Select ‘Modify’ from the menu. This would display a window with various formatting and appearance options. You can select the most appropriate ones and click ‘OK.’ The change that you made to the style reflects on all headings or paragraphs that use this style.

Changing-Apperance-of-Predefined-Styles

Further changes can be made to headings, but using styles is an important step for creating the table of contents for the thesis. Once this step is completed, you can continue to create a thesis table of contents.

Also Read:  What is Appendix in Dissertation?

Things to Consider when Making APA Style Table of Contents

  • The pages before the body of the dissertation, known as the ‘Prefatory Pages,’ should not have page numbers on them but should be numbered in the Roman Numerals instead as (i, ii, iii…).
  • Table of Contents and the Abstract pages are not to contain any numbers.
  • The remaining pages would carry the standard page numbers (1,2,3…).
  • The section titles and page numbers in the dissertation table of contents should have dotted lines between them.
  • All the Prefatory pages, Sections, Chapter Titles, Headings, Sub Headings, Reference Sections, and Appendices should be listed in the contents’ thesis table. If there are a limited number of Tables or Figures, they may be listed in the dissertation’s table contents.
  • If there are many figures, tables, symbols, or abbreviations, a List of Tables, List of Figures , List of Symbols, and List of Abbreviations should be made for easy navigation. These lists, however, should not be listed in the thesis table of contents.
  • The thesis/dissertation must be divided into sections even if it is not divided into chapters, with all sections being listed in the table of contents for the thesis.

Generating Dissertation Table of Contents

First, to generate the Table of Contents, start by entering a blank page after the pages you need the table of contents to follow.

  • To do so, click on the bottom of the page you want before the Table of Contents.
  • Open the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘Page Break’.
  • This will create a page between the top and bottom sections of the Table of Contents area.

Generating-Table-of-Contents-for-Your-Dissertation

By the time you reach this section, you would have given each heading or sub-heading a dedicated style, distinguishing between different types of headings. Microsoft Word can automatically generate a Table of Contents, but the document, particularly the headings, needs to be formatted according to styles for this feature to work. You can assign different headings levels, different styles for Microsoft Word to recognize the level of heading.

How to Insert Table of Contents

  • Place the cursor where you want to place the Table of Contents on the page you added earlier.
  • On the ‘References’ tab, open the Table of Contents group. This would open a list of different Table of Contents designs and a  table of contents sample.

Inserting-Table-of-Contents

  • You can select an option from the available Table of Contents or make a Custom Table of Contents. Although the available Table of Contents samples is appropriate, you may use a custom table of contents if it is more suitable to your needs. This allows you to modify different formatting options for the Table of Contents to satisfy your own

Inserting-Table-of-Contents-1

Updating the Table of Contents

As you proceed with editing your dissertation, the changes cause the page numbers and headings to vary. Often, people fail to incorporate those changes into the Table of Contents, which then effectively serves as an incorrect table and causes confusion.

It is thus important to update the changes into the table of contents as the final step once you have made all the necessary changes in the dissertation and are ready to print it.

These changes may alter the length of the  thesis table of contents , which may also cause the dissertation’s formatting to be altered a little, so it is best to reformat it after updating the table of contents.

To update the table of contents,

  • Select ‘Update Table’ in the References tab.
  • This would open a dialogue box. Select ‘Update Entire Table’ to ensure that all changes are reflected in the contents table and not just the page numbers. This would display all changes and additions you have made to the document (Anon., 2017).

Using this guide, you should understand how to create the best table of contents for the dissertation. The use of a Table of Contents, while being important for most written work, is even more critical for dissertations, especially when the proper methodology of creating the table of contents is followed.

This includes the guidelines that must be considered to correctly format the table of contents so that it may be shaped so that it follows the norms and is effective at helping the reader navigate through the content of the dissertation.

The use of Microsoft Word’s Table of Contents generation feature has greatly helped people worldwide create, edit, and update the table of contents of their dissertations with ease.

Here in this article, we will uncover every piece of information you need to know  how to write the dissertation’s abstract .

Are you in need of help with dissertation writing? At ResearchProspect, we have hundreds of Master’s and PhD qualified writers for all academic subjects, so you can get help with any aspect of your dissertation project. You can place your order for a proposal ,  full dissertation paper , or  individual chapters .

Is it essential to add a table of content to the dissertation?

Yes, it is important to add a table of content in a dissertation .

How to make an effective table of contents for the dissertation?

Using heading styles to format your headings can save a lot of time by automatically converting their formatting to the defined style and serves as a tool to identify the heading and its level, used later when creating a thesis table of contents.

How do I update the table of contents?

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Home » Thesis Format – Templates and Samples

Thesis Format – Templates and Samples

Table of contents.

Thesis Format

Thesis Format

Thesis format refers to the structure and layout of a research thesis or dissertation. It typically includes several chapters, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of the research topic .

The exact format of a thesis can vary depending on the academic discipline and the institution, but some common elements include:

Introduction

Literature review, methodology.

The title page is the first page of a thesis that provides essential information about the document, such as the title, author’s name, degree program, university, and the date of submission. It is considered as an important component of a thesis as it gives the reader an initial impression of the document’s content and quality.

The typical contents of a title page in a thesis include:

  • The title of the thesis: It should be concise, informative, and accurately represent the main topic of the research.
  • Author’s name: This should be written in full and should be the same as it appears on official university records.
  • Degree program and department: This should specify the type of degree (e.g., Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral) and the field of study (e.g., Computer Science, Psychology, etc.).
  • University: The name of the university where the thesis is being submitted.
  • Date of submission : The month and year of submission of the thesis.
  • Other details that can be included on the title page include the name of the advisor, the name of the committee members, and any acknowledgments.

In terms of formatting, the title page should be centered horizontally and vertically on the page, with a consistent font size and style. The page margin for the title page should be at least 1 inch (2.54 cm) on all sides. Additionally, it is common practice to include the university logo or crest on the title page, and this should be placed appropriately.

Title of the Thesis in Title Case by Author’s Full Name in Title Case

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Department Name at the University Name

Month Year of Submission

An abstract is a brief summary of a thesis or research paper that provides an overview of the main points, methodology, and findings of the study. It is typically placed at the beginning of the document, after the title page and before the introduction.

The purpose of an abstract is to provide readers with a quick and concise overview of the research paper or thesis. It should be written in a clear and concise language, and should not contain any jargon or technical terms that are not easily understood by the general public.

Here’s an example of an abstract for a thesis:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Adolescents

This study examines the impact of social media on mental health among adolescents. The research utilized a survey methodology and collected data from a sample of 500 adolescents aged between 13 and 18 years. The findings reveal that social media has a significant impact on mental health among adolescents, with frequent use of social media associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. The study concludes that there is a need for increased awareness and education on the risks associated with excessive use of social media, and recommends strategies for promoting healthy social media habits among adolescents.

In this example, the abstract provides a concise summary of the thesis by highlighting the main points, methodology, and findings of the study. It also provides a clear indication of the significance of the study and its implications for future research and practice.

A table of contents is an essential part of a thesis as it provides the reader with an overview of the entire document’s structure and organization.

Here’s an example of how a table of contents might look in a thesis:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………..1

A. Background of the Study………………………………………..1

B. Statement of the Problem……………………………………….2

C. Objectives of the Study………………………………………..3

D. Research Questions…………………………………………….4

E. Significance of the Study………………………………………5

F. Scope and Limitations………………………………………….6

G. Definition of Terms……………………………………………7

II. LITERATURE REVIEW. ………………………………………………8

A. Overview of the Literature……………………………………..8

B. Key Themes and Concepts………………………………………..9

C. Gaps in the Literature………………………………………..10

D. Theoretical Framework………………………………………….11

III. METHODOLOGY ……………………………………………………12

A. Research Design………………………………………………12

B. Participants and Sampling……………………………………..13

C. Data Collection Procedures…………………………………….14

D. Data Analysis Procedures………………………………………15

IV. RESULTS …………………………………………………………16

A. Descriptive Statistics…………………………………………16

B. Inferential Statistics…………………………………………17

V. DISCUSSION ………………………………………………………18

A. Interpretation of Results………………………………………18

B. Discussion of Finding s …………………………………………19

C. Implications of the Study………………………………………20

VI. CONCLUSION ………………………………………………………21

A. Summary of the Study…………………………………………..21

B. Limitations of the Study……………………………………….22

C. Recommendations for Future Research……………………………..23

REFERENCES …………………………………………………………….24

APPENDICES …………………………………………………………….26

As you can see, the table of contents is organized by chapters and sections. Each chapter and section is listed with its corresponding page number, making it easy for the reader to navigate the thesis.

The introduction is a critical part of a thesis as it provides an overview of the research problem, sets the context for the study, and outlines the research objectives and questions. The introduction is typically the first chapter of a thesis and serves as a roadmap for the reader.

Here’s an example of how an introduction in a thesis might look:

Introduction:

The prevalence of obesity has increased rapidly in recent decades, with more than one-third of adults in the United States being classified as obese. Obesity is associated with numerous adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Despite significant efforts to address this issue, the rates of obesity continue to rise. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and obesity in young adults.

The study will be conducted using a mixed-methods approach, with both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. The research objectives are to:

  • Examine the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and obesity in young adults.
  • Identify the key lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity in young adults.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of current interventions aimed at preventing and reducing obesity in young adults.

The research questions that will guide this study are:

  • What is the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and obesity in young adults?
  • Which lifestyle factors are most strongly associated with obesity in young adults?
  • How effective are current interventions aimed at preventing and reducing obesity in young adults?

By addressing these research questions, this study aims to contribute to the understanding of the factors that contribute to obesity in young adults and to inform the development of effective interventions to prevent and reduce obesity in this population.

A literature review is a critical analysis and evaluation of existing literature on a specific topic or research question. It is an essential part of any thesis, as it provides a comprehensive overview of the existing research on the topic and helps to establish the theoretical framework for the study. The literature review allows the researcher to identify gaps in the current research, highlight areas that need further exploration, and demonstrate the importance of their research question.

April 9, 2023:

A search on Google Scholar for “Effectiveness of Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic” yielded 1,540 results. Upon reviewing the first few pages of results, it is evident that there is a significant amount of literature on the topic. A majority of the studies focus on the experiences and perspectives of students and educators during the transition to online learning due to the pandemic.

One recent study published in the Journal of Educational Technology & Society (Liu et al., 2023) found that students who were already familiar with online learning tools and platforms had an easier time adapting to online learning than those who were not. However, the study also found that students who were not familiar with online learning tools were able to adapt with proper support from their teachers and institutions.

Another study published in Computers & Education (Tang et al., 2023) compared the academic performance of students in online and traditional classroom settings during the pandemic. The study found that while there were no significant differences in the grades of students in the two settings, students in online classes reported higher levels of stress and lower levels of satisfaction with their learning experience.

Methodology in a thesis refers to the overall approach and systematic process that a researcher follows to collect and analyze data in order to answer their research question(s) or achieve their research objectives. It includes the research design, data collection methods, sampling techniques, data analysis procedures, and any other relevant procedures that the researcher uses to conduct their research.

For example, let’s consider a thesis on the impact of social media on mental health among teenagers. The methodology for this thesis might involve the following steps:

Research Design:

The researcher may choose to conduct a quantitative study using a survey questionnaire to collect data on social media usage and mental health among teenagers. Alternatively, they may conduct a qualitative study using focus group discussions or interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and perspectives of teenagers regarding social media and mental health.

Sampling Techniques:

The researcher may use random sampling to select a representative sample of teenagers from a specific geographic location or demographic group, or they may use purposive sampling to select participants who meet specific criteria such as age, gender, or mental health status.

Data Collection Methods:

The researcher may use an online survey tool to collect data on social media usage and mental health, or they may conduct face-to-face interviews or focus group discussions to gather qualitative data. They may also use existing data sources such as medical records or social media posts.

Data Analysis Procedures:

The researcher may use statistical analysis techniques such as regression analysis to examine the relationship between social media usage and mental health, or they may use thematic analysis to identify key themes and patterns in the qualitative data.

Ethical Considerations: The researcher must ensure that their research is conducted in an ethical manner, which may involve obtaining informed consent from participants, protecting their confidentiality, and ensuring that their rights and welfare are respected.

In a thesis, the “Results” section typically presents the findings of the research conducted by the author. This section typically includes both quantitative and qualitative data, such as statistical analyses, tables, figures, and other relevant data.

Here are some examples of how the “Results” section of a thesis might look:

Example 1: A quantitative study on the effects of exercise on cardiovascular health

In this study, the author conducts a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of exercise on cardiovascular health in a group of sedentary adults. The “Results” section might include tables showing the changes in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other relevant indicators in the exercise and control groups over the course of the study. The section might also include statistical analyses, such as t-tests or ANOVA, to demonstrate the significance of the results.

Example 2: A qualitative study on the experiences of immigrant families in a new country

In this study, the author conducts in-depth interviews with immigrant families to explore their experiences of adapting to a new country. The “Results” section might include quotes from the interviews that illustrate the participants’ experiences, as well as a thematic analysis that identifies common themes and patterns in the data. The section might also include a discussion of the implications of the findings for policy and practice.

A thesis discussion section is an opportunity for the author to present their interpretation and analysis of the research results. In this section, the author can provide their opinion on the findings, compare them with other literature, and suggest future research directions.

For example, let’s say the thesis topic is about the impact of social media on mental health. The author has conducted a survey among 500 individuals and has found that there is a significant correlation between excessive social media use and poor mental health.

In the discussion section, the author can start by summarizing the main findings and stating their interpretation of the results. For instance, the author may argue that excessive social media use is likely to cause mental health problems due to the pressure of constantly comparing oneself to others, fear of missing out, and cyberbullying.

Next, the author can compare their results with other studies and point out similarities and differences. They can also identify any limitations in their research design and suggest future directions for research.

For example, the author may point out that their study only measured social media use and mental health at one point in time, and it is unclear whether one caused the other or whether there are other confounding factors. Therefore, they may suggest longitudinal studies that follow individuals over time to better understand the causal relationship.

Writing a conclusion for a thesis is an essential part of the overall writing process. The conclusion should summarize the main points of the thesis and provide a sense of closure to the reader. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the research process and offer suggestions for further study.

Here is an example of a conclusion for a thesis:

After an extensive analysis of the data collected, it is evident that the implementation of a new curriculum has had a significant impact on student achievement. The findings suggest that the new curriculum has improved student performance in all subject areas, and this improvement is particularly notable in math and science. The results of this study provide empirical evidence to support the notion that curriculum reform can positively impact student learning outcomes.

In addition to the positive results, this study has also identified areas for future research. One limitation of the current study is that it only examines the short-term effects of the new curriculum. Future studies should explore the long-term effects of the new curriculum on student performance, as well as investigate the impact of the curriculum on students with different learning styles and abilities.

Overall, the findings of this study have important implications for educators and policymakers who are interested in improving student outcomes. The results of this study suggest that the implementation of a new curriculum can have a positive impact on student achievement, and it is recommended that schools and districts consider curriculum reform as a means of improving student learning outcomes.

References in a thesis typically follow a specific format depending on the citation style required by your academic institution or publisher.

Below are some examples of different citation styles and how to reference different types of sources in your thesis:

In-text citation format: (Author, Year)

Reference list format for a book: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Example: In-text citation: (Smith, 2010) Reference list entry: Smith, J. D. (2010). The art of writing a thesis. Cambridge University Press.

Reference list format for a journal article: Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range.

Example: In-text citation: (Brown, 2015) Reference list entry: Brown, E., Smith, J., & Johnson, L. (2015). The impact of social media on academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(3), 393-407.

In-text citation format: (Author page number)

Works Cited list format for a book: Author. Title of Book. Publisher, Year of publication.

Example: In-text citation: (Smith 75) Works Cited entry: Smith, John D. The Art of Writing a Thesis. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Works Cited list format for a journal article: Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, date, pages.

Example: In-text citation: (Brown 394) Works Cited entry: Brown, Elizabeth, et al. “The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance.” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 108, no. 3, 2015, pp. 393-407.

Chicago Style

In-text citation format: (Author year, page number)

Bibliography list format for a book: Author. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Example: In-text citation: (Smith 2010, 75) Bibliography entry: Smith, John D. The Art of Writing a Thesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Bibliography list format for a journal article: Author. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal volume number, no. issue number (date): page numbers.

Example: In-text citation: (Brown 2015, 394) Bibliography entry: Brown, Elizabeth, John Smith, and Laura Johnson. “The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance.” Journal of Educational Psychology 108, no. 3 (2015): 393-407.

Reference list format for a book: [1] A. A. Author, Title of Book. City of Publisher, Abbrev. of State: Publisher, year.

Example: In-text citation: [1] Reference list entry: A. J. Smith, The Art of Writing a Thesis. New York, NY: Academic Press, 2010.

Reference list format for a journal article: [1] A. A. Author, “Title of Article,” Title of Journal, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Month year.

Example: In-text citation: [1] Reference list entry: E. Brown, J. D. Smith, and L. Johnson, “The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance,” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 108, no. 3, pp. 393-407, Mar. 2015.

An appendix in a thesis is a section that contains additional information that is not included in the main body of the document but is still relevant to the topic being discussed. It can include figures, tables, graphs, data sets, sample questionnaires, or any other supplementary material that supports your thesis.

Here is an example of how you can format appendices in your thesis:

  • Title page: The appendix should have a separate title page that lists the title, author’s name, the date, and the document type (i.e., thesis or dissertation). The title page should be numbered as the first page of the appendix section.
  • Table of contents: If you have more than one appendix, you should include a separate table of contents that lists each appendix and its page number. The table of contents should come after the title page.
  • Appendix sections: Each appendix should have its own section with a clear and concise title that describes the contents of the appendix. Each section should be numbered with Arabic numerals (e.g., Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc.). The sections should be listed in the table of contents.
  • Formatting: The formatting of the appendices should be consistent with the rest of the thesis. This includes font size, font style, line spacing, and margins.
  • Example: Here is an example of what an appendix might look like in a thesis on the topic of climate change:

Appendix 1: Data Sources

This appendix includes a list of the primary data sources used in this thesis, including their URLs and a brief description of the data they provide.

Appendix 2: Survey Questionnaire

This appendix includes the survey questionnaire used to collect data from participants in the study.

Appendix 3: Additional Figures

This appendix includes additional figures that were not included in the main body of the thesis due to space limitations. These figures provide additional support for the findings presented in the thesis.

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  • What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023.

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

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Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
  • In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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thesis contents page template

An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

Research bias

  • Survivorship bias
  • Self-serving bias
  • Availability heuristic
  • Halo effect
  • Hindsight bias
  • Deep learning
  • Generative AI
  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

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How to Create a Table of Contents for Dissertation, Thesis or Paper & Examples

Dissertation Table of Contents

Table of contents

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A dissertation table of contents is a list of the chapters and sections included in a dissertation or thesis, along with their page numbers. It helps to navigate the document easily and locate specific information. Each chapter or section should be listed with its corresponding page number. The table of contents should be formatted according to the guidelines of the specific style guide being used, such as APA or MLA.

We would guess that students usually start working on the table of contents at the last minute. It is quite apparent and makes sense, as this is the list of chapters and sections with page locations. Do you think it's easy? 

From our experience, it can be quite tricky to organize everything according to APA, Chicago, or any other academic writing style. In this blog, we will discuss how to write a table of contents for a research paper , thesis or dissertation in Microsoft Word. We will create it together to guide students through the process. 

Also, here you will find examples of table of contents created by thesis writers at StudyCrumb . Let’s go!

What Is a Table of Contents: Definition

It is obvious that the table of contents (TOC) is an essential manuscript part you can’t skip. If you are dealing with a dissertation, thesis or research paper, you need to know how to build it in accordance with academic guidance. This is a detailed roadmap for your work and outlined structure you can follow for a research presentation. 

In case you are working on an essay or report, you may not include the table of contents, as it is a short academic text. But for the research paper, thesis or dissertation, table of contents is essential and required. It is possible to say the same about any Master’s project. It should be located between the dissertation abstract and introduction chapter. In most cases, it is about 2-3 pages long. 

Our expert dissertation writing service prepared a great template that can be used for your work. Make your research formatting easy with ready solutions!

Types of Table of Contents

How to choose which table of contents will fit your research paper, thesis, dissertation, or report best? Make a decision based on your work length. Some academic writing styles, such as APA paper format or MLA style , have specific formatting for this list. 

However, we will outline the most commonly used typology:

  • Single-level table of contents. At this type, we use only chapters. For instance, you will have an Introduction, Literature Review, methodology, and other chapters with page numbers. It can be used for shorter research work. For long writing forms like manuscripts, it can be too broad, and you will need to go into details.
  • Subdivided table of contents. The most frequently used form to organize the contents table. It will include not only chapters but also sections — a level 2 subheading for each part. It will help to be more specific about what to expect in each part of your research work.
  • Table of contents with multiple levels. This is a more divided structure, including subheadings with a level 3 for each section. Quite often, those subheadings can be rewritten or deleted during the last editing. It is essential to keep them in the right order.

Before you decide which type will work best for you, let us share with you some examples of each formatting style.

Example of Table of Contents With a Single Level

Introduction: The Misinformation Roots ………..…… 3 Literature Review .....................................….....………… 10 Research Methodology and Design ……................. 24 Results.............................................................................. 28 Discussion ....................................................................... 32

Sometimes, you will need to put an extra emphasis on subsections. Check this layout to see how your subheadings can be organized.

Example of Table of Contents Page with Subdivided Levels

Introduction: Information War ............……………….. 3       Background…………………………………….………..…… 4       Current State ……………………………………...…...…… 5       Defining Research Questions………………………. 9 Literature Review………………………...……………..……... 11       The Roots of Information Warfare ………....… 11        Information Wars …………………………….………..… 14        Cyber Wars Research ........................................ 17

If you are working on a lengthy, complex paper, this outline will suit your project most. It will help readers navigate through your document by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable sections.

Multi-Level Table of Contents Page Example

Introduction……………………………………………….......……….… 3       Emergence of Climate Change ………..……....….….. 3       Key Activist Groups in Climate Change .............. 5              Greenpeace International ………..…………......... 9              European Climate Foundation …….……………. 10              WWF ……………………………………….……….............. 11        Significant Movements ……………….………....……… 13 Literature Review ……………………………………......…………. 15

What Sections Should Be Included in a Table of Contents?

To start with, the scientific table of contents should include all chapters and its subheading. It is important to choose the formatting that will give your readers a full overview of your work from the very beginning. However, there are other chapters that you may miss constructing the 2-pager table. So, let's look at all you need to include:

  • Dissertation introduction
  • Literature review
  • Research methodology
  • Results section
  • Dissertation discussion
  • Conclusion of a thesis
  • Reference list. Mention a number of a page where you start listing your sources.
  • Appendices. For instance, if you have a data set, table or figure, include it in your research appendix .

This is how the ideal structured dissertation or research paper table of contents will look like. Remember that it still should take 2 pages. You need to choose the best formatting style to manage its length.

Tables, Figures, and Appendices in TOC

While creating a table of contents in a research paper, thesis or dissertation, you will need to include appendices in each case you have them. However, the formatting and adding tables and figures can vary based on the number and citation style. If you have more than 3 tables or figures, you may decide to have all of them at the end of your project. So, add them to the table of contents. 

Figures, graphics, and diagrams in research papers, dissertations and theses should be numbered. If you use them from another source, ensure that you make a proper citation based on the chosen style guide.

Appendix in Table of Contents Example

Appendix A. Row Data Set…………………………………… 41 Appendix B. IBR Data………………………………………….… 43 Appendix C. SPSS Data………………………………………… 44

What Shouldn't Be Included in a Table of Contents?

When creating a dissertation table of contents, students want to include everything they have in a document. However, some components should not be on this page. Here is what we are talking about:

  • Thesis acknowledgement
  • Paper abstract
  • The content list itself

Acknowledgement and abstract should be located before the content list, so there is no need to add them. You need to present a clear structure that will help your readers to navigate through the work and quickly find any requested information.

How to Create a Table of Contents for a Research Paper or Dissertation In Word?

It may look like working with this list can take a long. But we have one proposal for our users. Instead of writing a table of contents manually, create it automatically in Microsoft Word. You do not need any specific tech knowledge to do this. Let’s go through this process step-by-step and explain how to make a table of contents for a research paper or dissertation in a few clicks.

  • Open Home tab and choose the style for your table of contents (ToC next).
  • Apply heading 1 to your chapters, heading 2 to the subheading, and if needed heading 3 to the level 3 heading.
  • Next, you are going to create a research paper or PhD dissertation table of contents. Open References and choose ToC.
  • Choose the citation style for your work. For example, let’s choose APL for now. Meeting all style requirements (bold font, title formatting, numbers) is essential.
  • Define the number of levels for your dissertation or thesis table of contents. In case you want to have 3 levels, choose Automatic Table 2.
  • You are done! Click ok, and here is your page with listed chapters!

You see how easy it can be! Every time you make changes to your text or headings, it will be automatic.

Updating Your Table of Contents in MS Word

Table of contents of a research paper or dissertation is created, and you continue to edit your work until submission. It is common practice, and with MS Word, you can automate all the updates. 

Let’s outline this process in our step-by-step guide!

  • Right-click on your ToC in a document.
  • Update field section is next.
  • Choose “update ToC."
  • Here, you can update your entire ToC — choose an option that works the best for you!

As you may see, working with automated solutions is much easier when you write a dissertation which has manifold subsections. That is why it is better to learn how to work on MS Word with the content list meaning be able to manage it effectively.

Table of Contents Examples

From our experience, students used to think that the content list was quite a complicated part of the work. Even with automated solutions, you must be clear about what to include and how to organize formatting. To solve the problem and answer all your questions, use our research paper or dissertation contents page example. Our paper writers designed a sample table of contents to illustrate the best practices and various styles in formatting the work. 

Check our samples to find advanced options for organizing your own list.

Example of Table of Contents in Research Paper

Research Paper Table of Contents Example

As you can see, this contents page includes sections with different levels.

Thesis/Dissertation Table of Contents Example

Thesis/Dissertation Table of Contents Example

Have a question about your specific case? Check samples first, as we are sure you can get almost all the answers in our guides and sample sets. 

>> Read more: APA Format Table of Contents

Tips on Creating a Table of Contents

To finalize all that we shared on creating the table of contents page, let’s go through our tips list. We outline the best advice to help you with a dissertation table of contents.

  • Use automated solutions for creating a list of chapters for your report, research papers, or dissertations — it will save you time in the future.
  • Be clear with the formatting style you use for the research.
  • Choose the best level type of list based on the paper length.
  • Update a list after making changes to the text.
  • Check the page list before submitting the work.

Bottom Line on Making Table of Contents for Dissertations/ Papers

To summarize, working with a research paper, thesis or dissertation table of contents can be challenging. This article outlines how to create a table of contents in Word and how to update it appropriately. You can learn what to include in the content list, how long it can be, and where to locate it. Write your work using more than one table of contents sample we prepared for students. It is often easy to check how the same list was made for other dissertations before finalizing yours. We encourage you to learn how to create a list with pages automatically and update it. It will definitely make your academic life easier.

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    In a thesis or dissertation, the table of contents comes between your abstract and your introduction. It should be written in the same font and size as the rest of your text (usually 12 pt Times New Roman). At the top of the page, write Contents, centered and in bold.

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    Thesis & Dissertation Title Page | Free Templates & Examples Published on May 19, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023. The title page (or cover page) of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper should contain all the key information about your document. It usually includes: Dissertation or thesis title Your name

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  21. What Is a Thesis?

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  23. Table of Contents for Dissertation/ Research Paper & Example

    Open Home tab and choose the style for your table of contents (ToC next). Apply heading 1 to your chapters, heading 2 to the subheading, and if needed heading 3 to the level 3 heading. Next, you are going to create a research paper or PhD dissertation table of contents. Open References and choose ToC.