Formatting an Honors Thesis

Consult with your advisor or department on whether they require a paper copy of the honors thesis and on any specific requirements within your particular discipline.  Please also review Faculty Legislation on the Honors Thesis.  In general, the following guidelines may be helpful when preparing your thesis:

Parts of the Thesis:

The honors thesis should include a short abstract of the work, in English, preceding the title page.

Parts of the thesis should be arranged in the following order: abstract; title page; acknowledgment; table of contents or outline; table of charts, figures, or diagrams, if any; preface and/or introduction; main text by chapters or parts; summary or conclusion; appendices, if any; bibliography or literature cited.

The LITS e-thesis management system allows you to set access permissions to your work during the submission process, so you do not need to include a permissions page at the beginning of your thesis.


It is recommended that you use a font such as Times Roman, Palatino, or Courier in 12 point.

Spacing and pagination:

Five spaces indentation is recommended for paragraphs in the double-spaced matter in the text and appendices; for footnotes and bibliography, three spaces indentation is suggested.

Page numbers and Arabic figures should appear in the upper right hand corner of the page in line with the text margin.

Pages should normally be numbered sequentially. Pages with charts, diagrams, illustrations, or photographs may be assigned lower-case letters after the number of the page they follow, e.g., 14a, but the thesis should be internally consistent in its treatment of such pages.

Each chapter or division should begin on a new page, the heading and title dropped about two inches from the top of the page, centered and written in full capitals.


Footnotes may be placed at the bottom of the page below a line drawn completely across under the text, at the end of the chapter, or following the summary or conclusion. Acknowledgment of sources should follow the accepted practice in the discipline concerned. The thesis director can refer the student to a style manual that will set forth acceptable practices. Quotations of five or more lines should be singlespaced and indented five spaces from the left margin, without framing quotation marks. 

If a single paragraph or part of one is quoted consecutively, indent the first line of each three spaces. Verse quotations of a single line or part of a line should be run on, in quotation marks, in the text; longer verse quotations should be centered. For ellipsis within a sentence, use three . . . spaced periods, leaving a space before the first period 

Printing guidelines: PLEASE CONSULT YOUR ADVISOR ON ANY PRINTING REQUIREMENTS--many departments do not require special paper or bound copies.

Some departments may require the honors thesis be printed on 20 to 24 pound white bond paper of good rag or cotton fiber content (at least 25% to 50%), 8 1/2 X 11.

If printing is required, it should be on one side of the paper only, and the text should be double spaced throughout except that footnotes, bibliography, and quotations of five or more lines should be single-spaced.

If you are required to bind your thesis, the left margin should be two inches wide to allow for binding, the right, not less than one inch, and about 1 1/4 inches should be left at the top and bottom of the page.

All illustrations, tables, maps, etc., should come within the limits of the page margins; folding is permissible, but the folded page should be narrower than the thesis page so that it will not be caught in the binding (if it needs to be bound).