Newcastle Uni
School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials
Thesis layout
Thesis structure
Flow of contents
Contents of key chapters
Citation styles
The reference list
Numbering and captions
Final remarks
Other resources and tools
(guidelines and tips)

"Layout" refers to the presentation format that the dissertation or thesis should follow, and this is usually dictated by institutional guidelines or regulations. There are many reasons for adopting a standard layout, for example:

  • all institutional libraries hold copies of theses and dissertations written by graduates from their Masters or Doctorate degree programmes. Thus a layout standard ensures a consistent "look and feel" and maintains corporate identity
  • ensures that when the publication is bound, the contents are not obscured or destroyed due to having to trim the pages

Some of the more important issues related to layout are:

  • sizes of page margins and line spacings
  • formats of
    • the title page
    • the contents list
    • appendices
    • the reference list
    • illustrations, figures and tables
  • numbering systems for
    • chapters and sections
    • pages
    • figure and table captions
    • equations
  • font-styles for
    • chapter and section headings
    • other text
    • figure and table captions
    • equations
    • quoted work
    • citations
  • how references are cited
  • how tables, figures and equations are cited
  • whether the publication should be written in a particular tense or "person"

The first thing to do is to find out if there are guidelines or regulations governing the layout for theses or dissertations set by your Institution. This information can normally be found in the library; student progress office or equivalent; graduate school or degree programme handbook. Alternatively, get hold of a dissertation written by a student in your department.

For students at Newcastle, see:

Typically, the layout of a page should be as follows:

  • left margin: 40mm
  • top, bottom and right margins: 25mm
  • text font: 12 point Times-Roman or Times-New-Roman
  • line spacing: 1.5 lines

You will also need to complete the thesis submission forms.

IntroductionStructure of dissertation
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Updated: 14 October, 2009

 Written by Ming Tham. Please email comments and suggestions to: