Formatting your thesis: Overall layout and specifications

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Formatting requirements

The Library's Theses Office assists with formatting theses, projects and extended essays for submission to the Library. You are encouraged to use the Library's thesis template to help format your thesis. The requirements stated on this page are default settings for the thesis template

Parts of a thesis

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Section

Page

Required/Optional; notes

1: Title page

Title page - no page number

Required

2: Preliminary pages

(Roman page numbers)

Declaration of Committee page – always page ii

Required

Ethics Statement

Required if the research was subject to ethics approval

Abstract

Required

Dedication

Optional

Acknowledgements

Optional

Table of Contents

Required

List of Tables

Required if the document contains tables

List of Figures

Required if the document contains figures

Other lists

Optional

List of Acronyms

Optional

Glossary

Optional

Preface/Executive Summary/Image

Optional

3: Main body

(Arabic page numbers)

Chapters—always beginning with page 1

Chapters and subsections may be numbered or unnumbered

References

You may use a single reference section at the end of the document or include references at the end of each chapter

Appendix(es)

Optional

Optional pages in the thesis template may be removed if not used.

File format, file size, and page size

The final copy of the thesis must be converted to .pdf (PDF/A format) for submission to the Library (maximum 400 mb). See the guide  Saving your thesis in PDF/A format for instructions.

Theses must be formatted for US Letter (8.5X11) pages. Landscape 8.5X11 and 11X17 pages are permitted. Legal, A4, or other paper sizes are not permitted.

Font

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Arial 11 point

Word template default

Times New Roman 12 point

Recommended serif font for Word

Computer Modern

LaTeX template default

Arial is the preferred font for SFU thesis submissions. See the Thesis Template Instructions for directions to change the default template font.

Please contact the Theses Office at theses@sfu.ca if you would like to use any fonts in your thesis other than the ones recommended.

​The default template line spacing is 1.5 for text, with single-spaced block quotations.

Margins

Margins should be set to:

  • 1.25" left/right
  • 1" top/bottom

Pagination

All pages must be numbered sequentially as outlined below, with the exception of the title page. Page numbers should appear at the bottom centre of each page, at a minimum of 0.5” from the edge of the page.

Preliminary pages of the thesis must be numbered with Roman numerals. On the first page of the main body, page numbers must restart with 1. The thesis template is preset with this numbering style.

Citation style

SFU Library does not require a specific citation style. Consult your supervisor, your department’s graduate handbook, or a liaison librarian for help with determining which style is appropriate for your research.

The default formatting in the library’s thesis template may differ from some requirements of your citation style, but it is acceptable for SFU library submission.

Cumulative theses

Cumulative, or paper-based, theses must use the same general format as other submissions. Consult your supervisor or your department's graduate handbook for more information. If including published papers in a thesis, please consult the Copyright and your thesis FAQ.

Extended essays

Extended essays should be combined into a single document and single submission. For an example of an extended essays title page, see the Title page formatting information.

Language

For theses written in a language other than English, the Library requires a second complete English title page. Supporting documentation must be in English.

Personal information

Individual personal information must be removed from the thesis before publication, including signatures, email addresses, and phone numbers. For example, if you are including a survey instrument or consent form, your own contact information must be removed.

Blank pages

Blank pages in the thesis must be removed before publication.