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Formatting the Thesis, Dissertation, or Manuscript

The following guidelines apply to formatting your thesis, dissertation, or manuscript degree.

General Formatting

Use a font that is easy to read. Times, Times New Roman, or Arial (11 or 12 point) are safe choices.

Every page of your thesis, dissertation, or manuscript must have a one-inch margin on all sides, top, bottom, left, and right. The only element that may be placed outside of the one-inch margin is the page number, which should print no closer than one-half inch from the edge of the paper.


Double spacing should be used except in those places where conventional usage calls for single spacing such as footnotes, indented quotations, and tables. This includes the abstract and dedication pages.


All pages must be numbered except the title page.

Page numbers may be placed at the top or bottom of the page, and may be center or right justified, but must be consistently placed throughout the document.

Preliminary pages must be numbered sequentially using lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc).

The title page counts as page “i,” but the number should not be printed on the page.

For numbering the remainder of the manuscript, including the main body text, illustrations, bibliography, appendices, and library release form, use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc).

Do not use letter suffixes, such as 21a, 21b.

Orientation and Page Size

All pages in your final document must be in the portrait orientation, and all pages must be 8.5” X 11” (standard US letter size).

If you must use landscape orientation for certain elements of the document (such as a wide, horizontal chart or graph) to fit on the page, rotate the image 90 degrees counter-clockwise, so that the bottom of the element is on the right side of the page. Text should be oriented in the same way as the graphic. However, note that the page number must still be in the same location, and have the same orientation, as on all other pages.

Charts, Figures, Illustrations

All images and illustrations must appear within the required one-inch page margins. When scanning or saving images, be sure to set the resolution for at least 300 dpi.

Using Previously Published Materials

With the approval of your committee and graduate program, material that you have previously published may be accepted as part of a thesis or dissertation. The published material must meet all formatting requirements, which may necessitate reduction of the published material.

Assembling the Document Elements

Preliminary Pages

Put the preliminary elements in the following order:

Title page:

Dedication and acknowledgments: You may wish to acknowledge the help and support from particular people during the course of your work. If you are using published material, you may need to include a reference to the publication in which the material originally appeared, including co-authors, multiple published papers, or copyrighted material.

Abstract: The abstract should not be longer than 350 words.

Table of contents: The table of contents should consist of the chapter titles and page numbers (this page should be double spaced).

List of tables: The list of tables, if applicable, should be in the same format as the table of contents, i.e. the names/numbers of the tables, and corresponding page numbers (this page should be double spaced).

List of figures and/or Illustrations: The list of illustrations, if applicable, should also be in the same format as the table of contents, giving the figure or illustration names/numbers and corresponding page numbers (this page should be double spaced).

Main Body

Place the following elements, which make up the main body of your document, in the following order after the preliminary pages listed above:


The first page of the main body of the manuscript should be numbered with Arabic numeral “1” and all subsequent pages (including those with charts, graphs, illustrations, photographs, the bibliography, appendices, and library release form) should be numbered with consecutive Arabic numerals (2, 3, 4, 5 and so on).


Footnotes, citations, and bibliographic references may vary by graduate program. Consult your committee for the footnote style used by your program.


This section will contain supporting material. You may need to reduce the size of some material to fit within the margins. Appendices must be numbered in consecutive order as part of the main body of the manuscript. For example, if the last page of your text is 100, then the appendix should begin on page 101.

Publishing Agreement

It is the policy of the ASIO to encourage the distribution of all theses, dissertations, and manuscripts. Copies of all theses, dissertations, and manuscripts will be routed to the library via the Graduate Division. The library will make all theses, dissertations, and manuscripts accessible to the public and will preserve these to the best of their abilities, in perpetuity.


 Publication of the Thesis, Dissertation, or Manuscript


 Once your thesis, dissertation, or manuscript has been accepted by the Graduate Division, it is submitted for publication to the ASIO, where it will become available to other academic institutions and to the general public.

Publishing with ASIO Dissertation Publishing: Effects on Publishing your Content Elsewhere

The first thing to remember is that YOU own your copyright; unlike most scholarly publishers, ASIO does NOT acquire copyright when we publish your dissertation or thesis. You are free to re-publish your work in whole or in part, with whomever you choose without asking our permission.

Some authors are concerned that journals and other publishers will not accept content that has been published in or as a dissertation or thesis. This concern is less valid in the case of peer-reviewed journals, and potentially more valid in the case of commercial book publishers.

While every case is unique, here are some general rules of thumb in examining this issue with regard to your own work:

In most cases, you will not be submitting your dissertation or thesis as is to a peer-reviewed journal (unless it is a journal that publishes a monograph series). Most often, the content submitted for journal publication is an excerpt, chapter, or section of your dissertation or thesis. At the very least, it would be a significantly shorter distillation of your graduate work. The content is likely to be rearranged and reformatted to fit the style of the journal to which you submit. Finally, the content is likely to be revised and updated through the peer-review process and finally the editorial process if it is accepted. All of these processes mean that the material as finally published by a journal is substantively and substantially refined and therefore different from the content that is published as your dissertation or thesis. For this reason, journals are not historically concerned about your content having appeared and been distributed as a published graduate work. This is particularly true in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Academic presses, monograph publishers, and commercial presses are more likely to consider your dissertation or thesis as a book. This is more often the case with the humanities, social sciences, and arts. Still, even if not peer-reviewed, the editorial process that turns your graduate work into a book is likely to change it substantially. The key in this consideration is whether the content changes substantively; i.e., is there a real difference in the content that makes the press comfortable with investing its resources in producing a book from your dissertation/thesis. Historically, presses have not been terribly concerned that distribution of your graduate work would harm potential sales as a book. However, as dissertations and theses have become widely available over the internet through libraries, consortia and institutional repositories as well as from our subscription database, more presses may look more carefully at the question of marketability.

Requests for Delayed Publishing

Classified or Confidential Material

Occasionally there are special circumstances when a student does not want all or part of the dissertation to be published. Such circumstances may involve disclosure of patent rights before a patent is granted, disclosures of facts about persons or institutions that violate professional ethics regarding protection of confidentiality or other circumstances that would be detrimental to the rights of the author. In such cases, the dean of the Graduate Division may permit the entire thesis, dissertation, manuscript or an appendix to be held for a specified period of time, usually not longer than one year. This is called a "publishing embargo."

Time/Deadline Considerations

All requests for embargoes add some time to the dissertation filing process. This is especially important to consider if you are near the end of the term deadline for filing your dissertation. Your request will take at least some time to be reviewed and approved, and the time required to gather additional details from you or others, may bring the actual acceptance date of the dissertation past the end of the deadline for that term. This, in turn, would delay your degree conferral date until the end of the following term, which would require that you be re-registered in that following term in order for the dissertation to be accepted.


To retain the exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell your work you must copyright the material. To copyright your work, you must include in your thesis, dissertation, or manuscript, a copyright page, which directly follows the title page, and bears the following notice at the center of the page just above the bottom margin:

Copyright (year)


(Your name as it appears on the title page)

However, in order to protect your rights in a dispute or to be compensated for damages caused by infringement, you should register your copyright with the Library of Congress. Students may designate UMI to act as their agent in registering the copyright. UMI will file the appropriate forms, submit the fee, and provide a copy to the Library of Congress. If you wish to have UMI register your copyright you may elect to do so during the submission process. You may also register the copyright yourself by paying the registration fee and following the directions provided by the Library of Congress.

Using Previously Published Materials

With the approval of the thesis, dissertation, or manuscript committee and your graduate program, published materials may be accepted as part of the thesis, dissertation & manuscript when:

The publication(s) represents research or scholarship comparable in scope and contribution to the portion of the standard thesis or dissertation it replaces.

The published material is substantially the product of the student's period of study at UCSF and was primarily conducted and written by the student.


An introduction showing the historical development, methods used, and result is required. This may be summarized if already part of the published material.

The usual preliminary pages are required for a thesis, dissertation, or manuscript that includes previously published material. The acknowledgment page of your preliminary pages should include a reference to the publication in which the material originally appeared.

The published material and preliminary pages must meet all other formatting requirements for the thesis, dissertation, or manuscript.

Multiple Published Papers

If several papers from the thesis, dissertation, or manuscript have been published they may be used as individual chapters. Conventional thesis, dissertation, or manuscript chapters may be combined with published papers in the thesis, dissertation, or manuscript. Theses, dissertations, or manuscripts at press should be treated as published papers.


If the published material lists a co-author, and the co-author is the person who directed and supervised the research, then only the student's name is listed as the author in the preliminary pages. However, the acknowledgment page should state: “The text of this thesis/dissertation/manuscript is a reprint of the material as it appears in ______________ (name of publication). The co-author listed in this publication directed and supervised the research that forms the basis for the dissertation/thesis.”

If the published material lists co-authors other than the research advisor, a statement from the research advisor clarifying what work the student completed should be included in the acknowledgment page. This statement should also explain how the work is comparable to a standard thesis or dissertation.