Standard Line Spacing For Dissertation
All thesis text should be double spaced (except for the cases noted below)
- Check that the line spacing in your Word (document) application is set for double spacing
- Don't leave extra space between paragraphs; simply indent new paragraphs ½” from left-hand margin
Single spacing is used for:
- Extensive figure captions
- Long quotations (i.e. more than four lines - often called "block quotes")
- Introduce the quotation with a sentence in the main text, typically followed by a colon
- Double-space before the beginning of a block quote
- To visually distinguish the quotation from a new paragraph indentation, indent block quotes 1” from left-hand margin
- Reference list / Bibliography
- Single space within each entry; but add a double space between entries
Headings and subheadings have very specific formats
- When instructions call for quadruple spacing (e.g., after a chapter title or before an "A-heading"), hit enter/return twice to create 2 double spaces
Page Numbers can follow one of these styles:
- Centered on bottom, 1/2" from bottom edge of page
- Placed in top right corner, 1" from the right side of page
Page Number Suggestions
- Leave the printed number off the first page of a new chapter
- Typically omit printed numbers from figures and/or tables that take up a full page but be consistent across all tables/figures
- When doing this, still count pages as if they were numbered (e.g., if a full page for Table 4 follows page 25, then the page after Table 4 should be page 27)
- Should be 12-point font for text
- Should not be smaller than 10-point font for notes
- Times New Roman is preferred
- Don't select right justify
- Use the same font in all headers, page numbers, tables, figures and footnotes
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
1: Title page
Title page - no page number
2: Preliminary pages
(Roman page numbers)
Approval page – always page ii
Required if the research was subject to ethics approval
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Required if the document contains tables
List of Figures
Required if the document contains figures
List of Acronyms
3: Main body
(Arabic page numbers)
Chapters—always beginning with page 1
Chapters and subsections may be numbered or unnumbered
You may use a single reference section at the end of the document or include references at the end of each chapter
File format, file size, and page size
The final copy of the thesis must be converted to .pdf for submission to the Library (maximum 256mb).
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.
Arial 11 point
Word template default
Times New Roman 12 point
Recommended serif font for Word
LaTeX template default
Arial is the preferred font for SFU thesis submissions. You may use other fonts with the approval of your committee. See the Thesis Template Instructions for directions to change the default template font.
The default template line spacing is 1.5 for text, with single-spaced block quotations.
Margins should be set to:
- 1.25" left/right
- 1" top/bottom
All pages must be numbered, 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.
SFU Library does not require a specific citation style. Consult your supervisor, your department’s graduate handbook, or a liaison librarian for help 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, 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.
For theses written in a language other than English, the Library requires a second complete English title page. Supporting documentation must be in English.
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 in the thesis must be removed before publication.
Optional pages in the thesis template may be removed if not used.