A Comprehensive Thesis Format Guide for Beginners

thesis format

The thesis is a type of academic writing that is based on original research. Students should have to submit this at the end of their degree.

However, for the thesis, following the proper format is necessary. Teachers advise students to follow the formatting requirements strictly. Otherwise, your thesis may lead to rejection and delay in the conferral of the degree.

Therefore, if you don't know the proper thesis format, continue reading this blog and know everything about it.

What is the Proper Thesis Format?

For writing a thesis, you must follow the proper format. Without it, the thesis is a useless piece of paper. It helps the readers to navigate the ideas more easily.

Sometimes the thesis format is provided by the professors, and the students should have to follow them. However, if your professor is not giving any specific instructions, then follow the basic structure.

The following is a thesis format for your ease.

Thesis Format

Preliminary Pages

  • Title Page
  • Acknowledgment
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • List of tables and figures
  • List of abbreviation

Main Body

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion

Ending Section

  • Reference List / Bibliography
  • Appendices

Let's discuss them in detail.

Preliminary Pages

The preliminary pages are the main chapters of the thesis, and they appear at the beginning of the final document. These pages are in chronological order and divide the various sections logically.

Below are the main parts of the preliminary pages.

  • Title Page
  • The title page is the first page of the thesis. This page is counted but not numbered, and it contains:

    • Thesis title
    • Your name
    • Department name
    • Degree program
    • Institution
    • Submission date

    However, sometimes the university logo, student number, and supervisor’s name are also included. It depends on your teacher’s and university requirements.

  • Acknowledgment
  • This section is normally optional and allows you to acknowledge everyone who helped you in writing the thesis. It includes your supervisor, parents, advisors, or any other person who supported you in writing the thesis.

  • Abstract
  • An abstract is the summary of the thesis, and it should be clear and concise. It gives the reader a synopsis of your document’s problem, method, results, and conclusions. Also, it appears at the top of the thesis under the title.

    Furthermore, the abstract can save the readers an enormous amount of time and explain what the paper is all about.

    However, for a good abstract, you should mention:

    • The main aims of the research.
    • The main results.
    • The methods and state the main approach to solving the problem.
    • The conclusion.
  • Table of Contents
  • The table of contents is used when your document is longer than ten pages. It gives an overview and helps the readers to move around in the document easily. Also, it lists all your chapters and subheadings with their page numbers.

  • List of Tables and Figures
  • You can include tables and figures if your thesis has, but place them in the ordered list. Also, you can easily add multiple figures on one page without compromising their legibility.

  • List of Abbreviations
  • Some documents use a large number of abbreviations so that you can include them in the abbreviation list. It helps the readers to understand its meaning.

    Sometimes teachers ask the students to add the research proposal with their thesis. A thesis proposal is a seperate document that is usually submitted before the paper or thesis itself.

Main Body

It is the main section of the thesis, and you should provide the analysis and narrative of your work. The main body includes the following elements:

  • Introduction
  • An thesis introduction gives an idea to the reader what they expect from the entire paper. It will contain some of the material of the abstract. However, it doesn’t mean that you restate the abstract in the introduction.

    A good thesis introduction should:

    • Define the main problem and explain why this problem is important.
    • Mention the scope of the research.
    • State the research question.
    • Provide the relevant background information.
  • Literature Review
  • The literature review is a part in which you mention the work that already exists on your topic. To write a good literature review for a thesis, you must read the previous work and do in-depth research.

    Also, you should gather relevant information from credible sources. Research on the topic as much as possible, so you can easily write the literature review.

    In the literature review, you should:

    • Address the research gap.
    • Define the key theories.
    • Answer the research question.
  • Methodology
  • In this section, you describe how you conduct your research. It also outlines the data gathering methods and how you analyzed your data.

    Therefore you should explain the method you chose when you start writing this and why it is the most appropriate.

    In the methodology section, you should include:

    • The tools that you used for your research.
    • Difficulties that you faced when conducting the research.
    • Type of research methods.
  • Results
  • The result is the section in which you address the findings from your data analysis. In some disciplines, the results and discussion are different entities. However, in some universities, they are explained together.

    In this section, you should not mention subjective interpretations or speculation. Also, add figures and tables to help the reader to understand your results.

  • Discussion
  • The discussion section discusses the results and significance in detail in relation to the research question. However, when you start writing this section, you should have to keep some points in mind:

    • Organize all the material in order.
    • Identify important patterns in the data and relationships between variables.
    • Results are explained in detail.
  • Conclusion
  • The conclusion is the last but main section of the main thesis body. Sometimes, the professors will not read the entire document, and they only read the conclusion. Therefore, try to make it strong and powerful.

Ending Section

It is the section in which you include the bibliography and appendices. Also, it plays a main role in avoiding plagiarism.

  • Reference List/Bibliography
  • The reference list/bibliography includes all the sources that you cite in your thesis. Also, use a proper format for citation and consult your professor to choose the right format.

  • Appendices
  • Appendices contain information that is not part of your main body text. In the appendices, you can include:

    • Surveys
    • Long lists
    • Additional diagrams
    • Questionnaires
    • Transcripts

    Take a look at this template and get a better understanding.

    Thesis Format Template (PDF)

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Thesis Format Examples

Below are some examples that give you a better idea of the thesis format.

Thesis Format Sample (PDF)

APA Thesis Format (PDF)

MLA Thesis Format (PDF)

MLA Thesis Format

PHD Thesis Format (PDF)

PHD Thesis Format

Baby Thesis Format (PDF)

Undergraduate Thesis Format (PDF)

Research Thesis Format (PDF)

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Expert Tips to Format a Thesis

Here are some tips that you should follow to format your thesis in the correct way.

  • If you have more appendices, label them.
  • For headings and subheadings, use bold text.
  • Mention the table of contents list.
  • Mention the list of figures in a numbered form.
  • Use double spacing and Roman numerals for page numbers.
  • Use single spacing for quotations.
  • The page numbers are placed at the bottom of the page.

Now, you can easily format your thesis with the help of this guide. However, if you are a graduate school student and need help writing the thesis, simply consult GradSchoolGenius.

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