In writing a thesis, you must conform to accepted standards of organizing and presenting the data clearly and logically, and in applying accepted practices of manuscript form consistently. Strict adherence to the standards outlined here ensures:

  • reader accessibility;
  • the ability to reproduce the thesis on request; and
  • the durability of the archived copy of the thesis


Use standard white printer paper. Do not use glossy, coloured or textured paper.


A 12 character per inch font is required for clear reproduction of the text. Any standard font is acceptable but fanciful typestyles do not copy well and are not allowed. Typing must be on one side of the paper only. All textual material should be double spaced. Spacing may vary on table and figure material. Footnotes and long quotations may be single spaced.


All written and illustrative material on an 8 1/2″ X 11″ page, including page numbers, must fall within the following margins: one and one-half inches on the left margin and one full inch on the other three sides. Margins may be wider but not narrower than the stated requirements.

For theses written in landscape format, please allow one and one-half inches on the top margin and one full inch on the other three sides.


Note: Do not include the signed signature page of your advisors or any other paperwork regarding your defense, in the thesis.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all pages are present, in sequence, and correctly numbered.

Small Roman numerals are used in the preliminary section. All pages are to be numbered except for the title page on which number “i” is implied but not given. Make sure to include your preliminary pages in the Table of Contents. The accepted order for the preliminary pages is as follows:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables
  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Appendices

All pages in the main body of the thesis including text, illustrations, bibliography and appendices must be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals, beginning with page 1 to the last page of the last appendix.

Title Page

Use the Thesis Title Page Template or follow the format exactly, making sure to take note of the following details.

To ensure the accessibility of the thesis through online database searches the title should contain significant words describing accurately and concisely the content of the thesis.

In the title avoid using Greek letters, abbreviations, scientific formulas and symbols. Write out these terms as they often cannot be reproduced in the Library catalogue. Do not underline or use quotation marks around the whole title.

The format of the student name used on the title page is in first name last name order and must be consistent with the name under which the student is registered at Carleton University. This name must be used on all accompanying licenses and paperwork submitted with the thesis.

The following statement is required on the title page: A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Post Doctoral Affairs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of (insert appropriate degree and program)

When indicating the degree write the degree out in full (e.g. Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Applied Science). Include the official and complete program name for the degree you will be awarded. This information is available in the Graduate Calendar.

In the program name do not include other information referring to Department, School, Institute or Faculty. If the program name is the same as the degree it is not necessary to repeat it (e.g. Master of Journalism).

Include the University name and location on the title page.

Copyright in theses or dissertations (as in any published material) is protected by international copyright law. The International Copyright Notice including the copyright symbol © should appear at the bottom of the title page in the thesis. This consists of three elements:

  • a claim of copyright protection (© copyright symbol),
  • year of publication (final submission of thesis) and
  • name of copyright owner (must be the same as the name on the top of the title page)

Thesis Title Page Sample

Thesis Title Page Template


Each thesis must contain an abstract. The abstract should be a synopsis providing the essential topics and conclusions of the thesis. The abstract should be inserted immediately before any acknowledgments and the table of contents. Abstracts must not exceed 150 words (master’s) and 350 words (doctoral).

Illustrative Material

Use an 8 1/2″ x 11″ standard page unless there are strong reasons for a larger size. Oversize materials which cannot be reduced should be carefully folded into the manuscript. The sheet should be folded in such a way that folds allow for the 1.5 inch binding margin.

No text or figures may be placed on the backs of pages. If it is necessary to separate captions or other material from figures or illustrations, the text should be placed on the page preceding the illustration with a reference to the illustration’s page number. Coloured illustrations are allowed but items on black backgrounds do not scan well.

Accompanying Materials

If a thesis contains accompanying material such as a CD or DVD which is an essential part of the thesis, the item should be included with the thesis. The phrase “accompanying material included” must clearly be written on the envelope in which the unbound thesis is submitted.

Copyrighted Material

Please refer to the guidelines in the Copyright section. Permissions must accompany the thesis that is to be submitted to FGPA but must not be included in the thesis itself.

Document Templates

Using document style templates such as WORD or LaTex are permitted and can help in keeping your thesis properly formatted.

Style Guides

Style manuals which may be used in the preparation of a thesis are available in the Library. In the case of bibliographies and footnotes, it is important that you choose (in consultation with your thesis supervisor) one method which conforms to the style and documentation requirements of your discipline.

Electronic Thesis Deposit

Once your final thesis is ready to go (revisions approved), you will need to upload your thesis through Carleton Central. Details on how to do this are available here.

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