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Durham University

Graduate School

Part 2.1: Thesis Format & Appearance

Advice on the Production of a Thesis

These notes are intended as a practical guide to the production of a thesis. They should be read in conjunction with the appropriate University regulations on submission (the Rules for the Form of Compositions and the Submission of Work for Higher Degrees) and note should be taken of any instruction issued by the candidate’s department.


The text, as far as possible, should be laser printed on international A4 (297 mm x 210 mm) white paper of within the range 70g/m2 to 100g/m2.

The size of character used in the main text, including displayed matter, should be at least 10 points, with body text (i.e. other than headings) not exceeding 12 points. Character size should be not less than 2.0 mm for capitals and 1.5 mm for x-height (i.e. the height of lower-case x). Accessibility should be taken into account when selecting fonts.

The text of the thesis should be double-sided on paper that is sufficiently opaque to avoid show-through. The margin at the binding edge of the page should not be less than 40mm (mirrored margins). Other margins should not be less than 15mm. Running heads and page numbers should be within the recommended margin.

Double or 1.5 spacing should be used throughout, except for:

  • indented quotations, footnotes, endnotes and the bibliography where single spacing may be used;
  • lines that include diacritical marks or mathematical formulae where additional space may be required.

Words should be evenly or proportionately spaced and word division at the end of lines should be avoided. Using Arabic numerals, pages should be numbered consecutively through the thesis, including preliminaries and appendices. A single sequence of numbers should be used throughout a multi-volume work.

Order of Contents


Material Abstract

Headed with the author and title of the thesis, the abstract should occupy one side of one sheet and should not exceed 300 words.

Title Page
  • the full title and sub-title. The title should describe the subject matter accurately and comprehensively, as it will subsequently appear in bibliographies which will be consulted by other researchers;
  • the total number of volumes, if more than one, and the number of the particular volume (if applicable);
  • the full name of the author including forenames;
  • the qualification for which the thesis is submitted;
  • the department(s) in which the research was conducted;
  • the name of the institution, i.e. Durham University, to which the thesis is submitted;
  • the year of submission.

Table of Contents

Immediately following the title page, the table of contents should list, with page numbers, all the subdivisions of the thesis. For theses comprising more than one volume, the contents of the whole thesis should be shown in the first volume and the contents of the subsequent volumes in a separate contents list in the appropriate volume.

List of Tables (optional: to be used if applicable/desired)

The List of Tables should include page numbers.

List of Illustrations (optional: to be used if applicable/desired)

The List of Illustrations should include page numbers.

List of Abbreviations (if applicable)

The List of Abbreviations should include page numbers.


This should be included if:

  • material contained in the thesis has previously been submitted for a degree in this or any other institution;
  • the thesis is based on joint research.

In the case of the latter, the declaration should stipulate what part of the research is the author’s individual contribution.

Statement of Copyright

The following statement of copyright should be included to safeguard the author’s rights if copies are made of the thesis:

“The copyright of this thesis rests with the author. No quotation from it should be published without the author's prior written consent and information derived from it should be acknowledged.”

Acknowledgements (if any)
Dedication (if any)

Main Text of Thesis

Divided into chapters, each with a clear title and started on a new page.

Appendices (if any)

Each with a clear title and started on a new page.


Indexes (if any)


A clear and consistent form of referencing should be used throughout the thesis. As there are many referencing styles, candidates should follow departmental recommendations.