Thesis Resources

Tentative Thesis
Acceptance Form

Notice of Oral
Exam Form

Oral Exam

Digital Commons

Thesis Template

Final Thesis & Oral Exam Form

Thesis Formatting Guide

1. Abstract Formatting Errors

All abstracts must have the below information on the same page as the abstract. This information must match the title page. The only difference between the title page and the abstract is the spacing: the abstract should have single spacing for the degree information. 


By John Doe 

Thesis/Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Marilyn Monroe 

An Abstract of the Thesis/Dissertation Presented
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Science/Master of Fine Arts
(in Chemical Engineering)
May/August/December 2022

*Remove highlights and select either Thesis OR Dissertation; write out your degree; choose which graduation cycle you are in.

2. Pagination 

The Title Page through Chapter 1 should be numbered using Roman numerals (iii, iv, v, …). The title page should be counted but not numbered. The Abstract will not have page numbers nor be counted. 

The body of the dissertation should be numbered using Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, …). The first page of the body of the text should begin with page 1. 

All page numbers should be either top right or bottom center.

3. Figures and Tables

Figures and tables must be placed within the text, as close to their first mention as possible. Figures and tables that span more than one page must be labeled on each page. Any second and subsequent page of the figure/table must include the “(Continued)” notation. This applies to figure captions as well as images. Each page of a figure/table must be accounted for and appropriately labeled. All figures/tables must have a unique number. They may not repeat within the dissertation.

4. Widow/Orphans

A single line cannot appear alone at the top or bottom of a page. Widow/orphan Control is an option in Word to prevent this. W/O also applies in the reference section. While a lone heading or subheading at the bottom of the page is not technically a widow/orphan, this must be moved to the next page to accompany its text.

5. Horizontal Figures and Tables 

Any figures/tables placed in a horizontal orientation must be rotated for readability. Insert a section break to rotate the page. 

Page numbers must be placed in the same location on all pages of the dissertation, centered, at the bottom or top of the page. Page numbers may not appear under the table/figure.

6. Supplemental Figures and Tables

Supplemental figures and tables must be placed in an appendix at the back of the dissertation. They should not be placed at the back of the chapter. 

7. Appendices

Appendices should be able to stand alone. Formatting applies to figures, tables, etc. 

There should be no Appendix A if there is no Appendix B. It can be labeled Appendix in this case. 

8. Biography

The biography is required and will be on the last page of the document. This must be listed in the Table of Contents. The last OR only sentence must read “S/He/They is/are a candidate for the <degree type> degree in <program> from the University of Maine in <month> <year>.”

9. Post PDF Conversion Formatting

The entire document should be checked after all revisions, and before submitting to the Graduate School, to spot any inconsistencies or PDF conversion glitches.

10. Leader dots

Leader dots must be present in the Table of Contents, List of Figures, and List of Tables. The “5 Dot leader rule” is the most common mistake. There can be no text within 5 dots of the listed page number. For example, if a title is longer than one line, it must be broken into two lines. The top and bottom lines cannot extend any closer than the 5 spaces.

Upon the recommendation of their advisory committee, only students in a graduate program related to the study of a foreign language, such as the MA program in French, can write a thesis in a foreign language. The title page of such a manuscript must be in English, except for the title of the thesis, which should appear first in the foreign language, followed by the English translation on a line of its own. The full text and titles of the Table of Contents, Abstract, and the Biography of the Author must be provided in both languages first in the foreign language, followed by the English version. The texts should appear continuously on the respective pages, (i.e., the two versions of the Table of Contents, Abstract, and the Biography of the Author should not be separated by a page break).

Masters and Doctoral manuscripts vary in length and will be determined by the department and or the advisory committee. All dissertations should be divided into appropriate sections, and long dissertations may need chapters, main divisions, and subdivisions.

Page Size: Standard 8½ x 11 inches

Margins: 1 inch for all margins

Spacing: Double spacing except for degree information on the Abstract & Block quotations, footnotes, and bibliographies: single spacing within each entry but double-spacing between each entry

Use 10–12-point size. All text in the thesis must be the same style, color, and size.

Fonts must be embedded in the PDF file to ensure all characters display correctly.

*Exception: the font size within a table/figure and for footnotes can be reduced to 9-point

Recommended Fonts & Point Size

  • Arial – 10 pt
  • Century – 11 pt
  • Courier New – 10 pt
  • Garamond – 12 pt
  • Georgia – 11 pt
  • Lucida Bright – 10 pt
  • Microsoft Sans Serif – 10 pt
  • Tahoma – 10 pt
  • Times New Roman – 12 pt
  • Trebuchet MS – 10 pt
  • Verdana – 10 pt

The Title Page is counted as page “i” but the number does not appear on the page. 

Excluding the Abstract, all other pages of the thesis are numbered including display (optional) pages. 

The preliminary pages, starting with the Copyright Notice (if included), are marked by lowercase Roman numerals (ii, iii, iv, v, vi, etc.). 

Beginning with the first page of the text, all pages including the appendices, are numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). The following table displays the proper pagination of all parts of the thesis and which pages should be listed on the Table of Contents (TOC).

Page numbers appear either on the top right or bottom center of the page. Page numbers need not fall within the required margins of the text, yet they must not appear closer than half an inch from the top, one inch from the right, or half an inch from the bottom edge of the page. The page numbers’ location and font style must be consistent throughout the manuscript.

*Check pagination carefully. Account for all pages.

The Title Page is the first page of the manuscript. It is considered page “i”, but the number does not appear on the page.

The following should be CENTERED included on the title page:

  • Title of thesis in ALL CAPS, bold, and inverted pyramid format
  • The student’s full name as it appears in University records
  • Previous degree(s) earned
  • A statement of fulfilling requirements for the degree sought
  • Institution name: The Graduate School
  • Institution name: The University of Maine
  • The month and year of the student’s graduation date
  • The advisory committee members (single space & left justify if necessary to keep on one page)

The Graduate School does not require thesis/dissertations to be copyrighted, students should be concerned about copyright law both in the work of others and in protecting their work. If a copyright page is created it should be centered and read:

Copyright 20## Students Name


© 20## Student Name
All Rights Reserved

Consider Creative Commons as an option for obtaining copyright. For more details on the Graduate School’s Copyright Policy see Thesis Guidelines.

Do not print a page number on the copyright page. It is understood to be page ii for counting purposes only.

Use of Third-Party Content: For additional information regarding the use of copyrighted materials, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office website at

Thesis/Dissertations Comprising Previously Published Works: See Copyright Section of Thesis Guidelines.

An abstract (not paginated), which is a written, concise summary of the thesis, must be included in the manuscript. It describes the problem, the procedures or methods used, and the results and conclusions of the research. Since doctoral abstracts are included in Dissertation Abstracts International, it is extremely important to write accurately. Formulas, diagrams, or other illustrations are not included in the abstract. 

Master’s abstracts should not exceed 500 words. 

The maximum length for doctoral abstracts is 350 words. The heading is not counted in the 350-word limit for dissertation abstracts.

The heading of the abstract should be centered and include:

  • Title of the thesis in ALL CAPS, bold, and inverted pyramid format
  • The author’s full name
  • The name of the thesis advisor (including degree “Dr.”)
  • A statement that the thesis is fulfilling requirements for a degree sought in a particular department
  • The month and year of the student’s graduation date

The Table of Contents is a topic outline of the manuscript. It functions as an index to the work and must fully and accurately reflect the organization of the manuscript. 

It is highly recommended that students using the “Automatic Table of Contents” feature in Microsoft Word wait until all final edits to all parts of the manuscript are complete. 

All chapter divisions and subsections must be included in the Table of Contents (TOC) and labeled exactly as they appear in the text. Other points:

  • The Copyright Page, Abstract, and Table of Contents are NOT listed in the TOC.
  • All chapter divisions and subsections must be listed in the TOC. Regardless of the system of headings being used for organizing the text of the manuscript (headings system or decimal system) all sub-divisions should be indented appropriately in the Table of Contents.
  • One system (either headings or decimal) should be used consistently throughout the entire manuscript to define the chapter divisions and subsections.
  • Each Appendix must be listed by its title and page number. If there is only one Appendix, it is listed by the name “Appendix” and its title. Therefore, Appendix “A” should not be listed unless there is an Appendix “B”.
  • Leader dots must be used to connect the chapter divisions/subsection headings to their respective page numbers. A minimum of 5 leader dots between the chapter divisions/subsections and the page numbers is required (i.e. the text of the headings should not extend into the area where the page numbers are placed).
  • The Biography of the Author page is the LAST page of the thesis.

For information on how to have the Table of Contents within the same document as the manuscript, watch this video

Learn how to align page numbers in the TOC.

The text’s body font must also be used in headers, page numbers, and footnotes. Exceptions are made only for tables and figures created with different software and inserted into the document.

Tables: A TABLE is a columnar arrangement of information organized to save space and convey relationships at a glance. 

Figures: A FIGURE is a graphic illustration (chart, graph, diagram, photo, map, or plate). Figures may be professionally prepared or drawn by the author. In either case, they must be of letter-quality print.

Figures & Tables must be placed as close as possible to their first mention in the text. If a table or figure with the caption is larger than 2/3 of a page, it must be moved to a separate page. Tables and figures referred to in the text may not be placed at the end of the chapter or the end of the dissertation.

Captions must be on the same page as the figure on the table. If the table exceeds one page, the caption should go on the first page and the second page will be labeled as table/figure continued. 

Landscape orientation figures and tables must be oriented as such by inserting a section break and rotating the page. This makes the figure/table readable in digital format.

Supplemental figures and tables must be placed at the end of the dissertation in an appendix, not within or at the end of a chapter. If additional digital information (including audio, video, image, or datasets) will accompany the main body of the dissertation, it should be uploaded as ‘additional upload’ through DigitalCommons.