Thesis/Dissertation: Expectations and Common Problems

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare your thesis or dissertation for submission.

What the Graduate School Expects:

  • Prefatory pages must conform exactly to the sample pages provided in the Graduate School Style Manual.
  • Appropriate choice of font size: large enough to be easily read and microfilmed.
  • Consistency throughout: specifically in spacing and wording of headings, subheadings, captions, citations, text decisions, and tables and figures.
  • Selection of a style appropriate for your discipline with consistent use of the style's policy (i.e.: Chicago, Turabian, APA, MLA, ACS, or a journal in your field). You must provide the name of the text and citation style you have chosen when you submit your document. If you have used a journal for formatting, you must also submit style guidelines for that journal.
  • A professional document. 

Common Problem Areas:

  • Watch your margins. Left and right margins must be 1.25 inches, and the top and bottom margins must be 1 inch.
  • Use the official Department names found here-- Thesis or Dissertation
  • Page numbers go in a footer and must be 0.75 inches from the bottom of the paper.
  • Do not allow "widows and orphans." An "orphan" is the first line of a paragraph or a subheading that appears alone at the bottom of a print page. A "widow" is the last line of a paragraph when it is carried over to the top of the following page. These can be automatically controlled in MS Word.
  • Use the correct month that corresponds to the term of graduation. Do not include the day or a comma. Examples of how the month should appear on the title page and the abstract are as follows:
Fall term - December 2017
Winter term - March 2018
Spring term - June 2018
Summer term - September 2018
  • The month of the degree is not necessarily the month in which you defend. Don't forget to use the correct year.
  • Use your official name of record.



Contact the Graduate School by calling (541) 346-5129 or contact the Graduate School Editor by e-mail at


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