Skip to main content
Campus Life | Calendar | eLearning | Email | MyUNIverse
Ask Us! | Contact Us | About Us | Services | Research | Find Articles & Books

Formatting Your Thesis/Dissertation: 2. Front Matter (Dissertation)

Learn about Graduate College formatting requirements.

Copyright

Copyright


The first page of the document is the Copyright Page. The text is centered horizontally and vertically on the page and reads:

 

Copyright by

YOUR NAME IN CAPITAL LETTERS

Year Submitted

All Rights Reserved


To center text horizontally: type the required text and select it. Use the center alignment found under the HOME tab in the Paragraph section.

to center text horizontally, use the text alignment in the paragraph section of the home tab


To center text vertically: with the text still selected, go to the LAYOUT tab and locate the Page Setup Dialog Box. Under the LAYOUT tab on the Dialog Box, select Vertical Alignment: Center and Apply to: Selected Text. Then press OK

vertical alignment can be changed in the layout portion of the page setup dialog box, it should be applied to selected text on the copyright page


This should center your text vertically and place a section break next page at the end of the selected content. This will also add a new page with normal vertical alignment and restore the default settings. If it didn't, manually insert a section break (next page) and go through the alignment settings above selecting vertically align to top instead to restore teh default.

copyright page vertically and horizontally centered

Dissertation Abstract Title Page

Dissertation Abstract Title Page


This is the first of two title pages in the dissertation. Both double as a signature page. This particular title page will have the signature lines for the Committee Chair (and Co-Chair if applicable) and the Dean of the Graduate College. There are four sections of content on this page and all will be centered horizontally (see copyright section for how-to) with the exception of the signature lines as you will see below. It should all be double spaced.


First, type the title of the dissertation in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, centered on the page. This should form an inverted pyramid if it is a long title that runs over multiple lines. This means that the first line is longer than the second line and so on. This may be only 1 line (if it fits between the margins) or more depending on the length of the title.

TITLE OF DISSERTATION IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS

FORMING AN INVERTED

PYRAMID


Leave a few blank lines after the first section. The second section will read (be sure to select the appropriate degree type in the last line):

An Abstract of a Dissertation

Submitted

in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree

Doctor of Education or Technology or Industrial Technology

Approved:


The signature lines will follow. Leave a little space after the word "Approved:" and right align your cursor. You'll want to single space the text (this will keep the signature line and the name of the signer together rather than adding a double space between).

select the right alignment under the paragraph section of the HOME tabselect the 1.0 from the line spacing menu found on the paragraph section of the home tab

 

You'll be using what is called a "tab stop" to create your signature lines and align the content in this area of the page. To access the "Tabs" you will need to open the Paragraph Dialog Box located under the HOME tab.

open the paragraph dialog box and locate the TAB setting on the bottom left

 

This will open the Tab settings and allow you to indicate which inch markers you would like the cursor to stop at when you press tab. You'll need to set a total of two tab settings to create signature lines. The first will create blank space prior to the line. The second will be used to create the underlined portion. The suggested settings are 3" and 6". You may choose to adjust the 3" mark slightly.

First, enter the 3" in the tab stop position line and ensure that the Alignment selection is "Left" and the Leader selection is "None" and then press the "Set" button at the bottom. Then, enter the 6" in the tab stop position line (this must be set to 6" to have the line reach the right margin) and ensure that the Alignment selection is "Right" and the Leader selection is "None" and then press the "Set" button at the bottom.

Set a tab stop position to 3", left aligned, no leader (press set) and another to 6", right aligned, no leader (press set) and then press OK

Once you've completed these steps, press OK. Press "TAB" on the keyboard once. Turn on the underline font style and press "TAB" a second time. 

underline font style is located under the font section of the HOME tab

This should create a line that starts at the 3" mark of the page and ends at the right margin. Turn off the underline font style, press "ENTER" / "RETURN" to move to the next line. Press "TAB" so the cursor moves to be under the line and type the name and role of the first signer. Repeat this process until you have a signature line for the Chair, Co-Chair (where applicable), and the Dean of the Graduate College.

There should be signature lines for the chair (and co-chair is applicable) and the dean of the graduate college on the abstract title page


Once you've finished creating the signature lines, press "ENTER" / "RETURN" on the keyboard to move to the next line. If you've already set your "Normal" style, you can click on that in the styles pane to restore your tabs to the default setting and double space the text.

select the normal style under the styles pane found on the HOME tab

Center the cursor and type the following, final section of text on the page:

Your Name

University of Northern Iowa

Month Year

The Month Year should be the month and year in which you submit the dissertation for approval. For Spring graduates enter May, for Summer graduates enter July, and for Fall graduates enter December. Immediately after the Year, insert a page break.


Below is an example of what the Abstract Title Page should look like with and without Markup on. Ensure the Page Break falls at the bottom of the page or it will insert an extra blank page.

What a dissertation abstract title page looks like with and without markup

 

Abstract

Abstract


Immediately following the Abstract Title Page, the Abstract is approximately 1-2 pages in length. This should be typed in normal paragraph format with the heading ABSTRACT typed in all capital letters, centered at the top of the page. Place a Page Break at the end of the Abstract.

The abstract has the heading ABSTRACT in all capital letters followed by the body of the abstract in normal paragraph style with a page break at the end of the text

Dissertation Title Page

Dissertation Title Page


The easiest way to format the Dissertation Title Page is to select all of the text on the Abstract Title Page then copy and paste it onto the blank page after the end of the Abstract.

right click to copy selected text and then right click and select paste keep source formatting in desired location


Once you have done so, you'll make the following changes:

The first line of the middle section should read: A Dissertation instead of An Abstract of a Dissertation

change the first line to read "A Dissertation"

There should be a signature line for each committee member and no line for the Dean of the Graduate College (you will likely need to copy and paste in some extra lines).

Copy and paste one of the signature lines in to make enough for all committee members


The example has five total committee members, including a Chair and a Co-Chair. Update the number of lines and roles to match your approved committee.

There should be a signature line for each committee member


Note that you may need to adjust spacing / delete some lines to fit all of the necessary signature lines on the page. At the end of the Dissertation Title Page (after the Month Year), insert a Section Break (Next Page). You must use a Section Break and not a Page Break so you can properly format the next pages.

dissertation title page with and without markup

Front Matter Page Numbers

Front Matter Page Numbers


The first page following the Title Page will be the first page of the document that a page number appears on. The Title Page is the first official numbered page of the Front Matter, though a number is not displayed. The first page following the Title Page will be numbered in lowercase Roman Numerals as page ii. It is very important that there is a Section Break (Next Page) at the bottom of the Title Page.

To insert the page number, double click in the header of the page following the Title Page. This should open the Header & Footer Tools.

Double clicking in the header will open the header & footer tools

Once the Header & Footer Tools have opened, there are several things that should be checked prior to inserting the page number.

If you properly followed the document setup instructions in this guide, the Header from Top location should be set to 0.75". If it is not, change it now.

Ensure that "Different First Page" and "Different Odd & Even Pages" are not checked.

"Link to Previous" usually defaults to be turned on (indicated by it being in dark gray, like the image above). This should be deselected or turned off. If you do not do so, any formatting changes (adding the page numbers) done to this section will also happen to the previous section.

Check the navigation, options, and position inform


After these items have been checked, the formatting of the page numbers will need to be changed to Roman Numerals, starting at ii. To do so, click on the Page Number drop down and locate the "Format Page Numbers..." This will open the options you need to edit.

the option to format page numbers is located in the Header & Footer Tools

Change the Number Format to be in Roman Numerals and change the Page numbering so it "Starts at" ii.

Change the number format to be in Roman Numerals and start at page ii

Click OK. Then go back to the Page Number and select Top of Page and the option to insert them right aligned (Plain Number 3 in the image below).

Insert the page numbers in the top right of the header


You should now have page ii in the top right of the header. Ensure that page numbers were not inserted on the previous pages. If they were, you likely did not deselect the "Link to Previous" header tool.

page number ii in top right

Dedication & Acknowledgements

Dedication & Acknowledgements


The Dedication & Acknowledgements are optional pages. If you wish to include these pages, the header DEDICATION or ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS must be typed in all capital letters and centered at the top of the page. The body of these pages often follow the default paragraph setting, though are not required to. Always end the page with a Page Break to ensure the text flows properly. These pages will immediately follow the Dissertation Title page and be the first numbered pages in the document if they are included. If you do not wish to include these pages, move on to the next section below.

The Dedication and Acknowledgements pages

Table of Contents, List of Tables, & List of Figures

Table of Contents, List of Tables, & List of Figures


A TABLE OF CONTENTS will be required with the minimum of entries for every chapter heading level. If the document includes any tables (information organized in columns and rows) it will also include a LIST OF TABLES. If the document includes any figures (images, charts, etc.) it will also include a LIST OF FIGURES.

Start by setting up the basic formatting for the pages that you will need for your document. Leave these as a placeholder. There is information in the body section on how to update the information in these as you link things throughout the body of the document.


All three pages have the same basic setup. The heading is centered at the top of the page and is typed in all capital letters. On the next line down from the heading, the word PAGE will be right aligned and typed in all capital letters.

You will use Page Breaks between these pages as they are part of the Front Matter section and will have the same basic formatting. At the end of the last one of these as it applies to your document, you will use a Section Break (Next Page). See the notes at the bottom of each section to help determine which is appropriate for your work.

 

Table of Contents


TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

With your cursor left aligned on the next line down after PAGE, complete the following steps:

Locate the Table of Contents found under the REFERENCES tab.

The Table of Contents is found under the REFERENCE tab

Select the "Custom Table of Contents..." option. In the window that opens you will want to ensure that "Show page numbers" and "Right align page numbers" are checked and that "Tab leader:" is set to dots. These should be the defaults. Select how many heading levels you wish to show. You must have at least one (which will be chapter headings), though it is recommended to go up to 3 or 4 for longer works that use that many heading levels (a description of heading levels can be found under the "Body of the Document" page).

Select the custom table of contents option and ensure that the page numbers will show, right aligned, with dot leaders between heading and number. Show 1 to 3 levels of heading

You will likely get some sort of an error but the following (or something similar) should show. This is a field that you will be able to update once you link headings in the body.

When no entries are found, the Table of Contents field will appear but be empty.

**If you do not have any tables or figures, insert a Section Break (Next Page) here

**If you have tables and/or figures, insert a Page Break here

 

List of Tables


Note: If you do not have any tables but have figures skip this section

LIST OF TABLES

PAGE

With your cursor left aligned on the next line down after PAGE, complete the following steps:

Locate the "Insert Table of Figures" option under the REFERENCES tab.

insert table of figures is located under the REFERENCES tab

This will provide you the option to select "Caption label: Table." In the window that opens you will want to ensure that "Show page numbers" and "Right align page numbers" are checked and that "Tab leader:" is set to dots. These should be the defaults. Press OK

customize list of tables options and ensure it is selecting Caption label: table

You will likely get some sort of an error but the following (or something similar) should show. This is a field that you will be able to update once you link table titles in the body.

an empty list of tables will produce an updatable

**If you do not have any figures, insert a Section Break (Next Page) here

**If you have figures, insert a Page Break here

 

List of Figures


LIST OF FIGURES

PAGE

With your cursor left aligned on the next line down after PAGE, complete the following steps:

Locate the "Insert Table of Figures" option under the REFERENCES tab.

insert table of figures is located under the REFERENCES tab

This will provide you the option to select "Caption label: Figure." In the window that opens you will want to ensure that "Show page numbers" and "Right align page numbers" are checked and that "Tab leader:" is set to dots. These should be the defaults. Press OK

customize list of figures options and ensure correct caption label is selected

You will likely get some sort of an error but the following (or something similar) should show. This is a field that you will be able to update once you link table titles in the body.

an empty list of figures will produce an updatable field

**This will be the last page of the Front Matter and must have a Section Break (Next Page) at the end of it


 

You can "link" your document's headings, table titles, and figure titles to create a Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures that will generate all additions and update the page numbers. This information is found on the "Body of the Document" page. Start here to set up the necessary pages in the front matter and then review linking in the body of the document.

Table of Contents

Updating the Table of Contents


Once some headings have been created and linked (even if they are placeholder headings) you should follow the steps in this tabbed box to update and ensure proper formatting of the Table of Contents. Doing this now will make it easier than doing so later with a lot of heading entries. It will be easier to identify formatting errors and make corrections as needed.


Once you've inserted the Table of Contents field, you will need to update it as you add content and headings. To do so, right click on the field and select "Update Field."

right click on the table of contents field and select "update field"

Always select "Update entire table" from the popup. If you do not select this option, any headings that have been added or changed will not show.

select the option to "update entire field" or any headings that have been added or changed will not be udpated


The Table of Contents will not automatically update as you are working, so occasionally remember to go in and update the entire table and do so before submitting any drafts of your work.

Modifying the Style of the Table of Contents


The basic default style of Word's Table of Contents is close to matching the requirements in the Thesis and Dissertation Manual. Small adjustments may need to be made to ensure the formatting is correct.

The table of contents will insert with all heading


Start by opening up the Styles Dialog Box to see all of the style types. This is located under the HOME tab by clicking the pop out under the Styles section.

Open the styles dialog box which is a small button under the styles section of the home tab


When this opens, locate the TOC 1 style. There should be a TOC # style for each level of heading you have incorporated into your table of contents. This example shows up to TOC4

The styles pane is a side window that has all of the used styles listed. Table of Contents appears as TOC #


 

Adjusting TOC 1 Style


TOC 1 will need to be modified to remove the extra space after the line break. To do so: click on the TOC 1 style and select the "Modify" option to open the formatting options. There is a button with two arrows pointing towards each other. This will remove the extra space between lines when it is selected. Do so until the preview font in the box no longer shows extra space between lines and click ok.

edit the style by selecting the button with two ar


 

Adjusting TOC 2 Style


TOC 2 will need the indentation corrected to be properly spaced. Start by clicking on TOC 2 and selecting "Modify." Then, in the window that opens, select the option to decrease the indent. This will move the text in the preview window to be flush left instead of indented 0.17".

click on the button with an arrow pointing left to decrease the indentation to be flush left

At the bottom left corner, locate the Format dropdown and select "Tabs..." This will open the Tab stop positions.  Two tab stops will need to be set. The first will be 0.25" (leave the alignment set to left and the leader set to none) and the second will be 6" with the alignment changed to right and the leader set to dot leaders.

Open the tabs stop position located under format in the bottom left corner. Then you should get a popup window where you can set tab stop positions to 0.25" and 6"

Once these have been set, click ok to exit out of the Tab stop position window and go back to Modify Style. Now, indent the style by clicking the button with the arrow pointing right and click the option to remove space after lines.

indent the style by clicking the button with the arrow pointing right and click the option to remove space after lines.


 

Adjusting TOC 3


TOC 3 will need the indentation corrected. Start by clicking on TOC 3 and selecting "Modify." Then, in the window that opens, select the option to decrease the indent. This will move the text in the preview window to be flush left instead of slightly indented.

click modify from the TOC 3 drop down

Locate the Format drop down in the bottom left corner and select "Tabs..." This will open the Tab stop positions. 

select tabs from the format drop down located in the bottom left to open the tab window

Start by "clearing all" existing tabs. Then you will add 0.5" left aligned with no leader and 6" right aligned with dot leaders. Then click ok.

The tab stop position allows you to enter an inch measurement where the cursor will jump to when tab is pressed. it also allows for the alignment to be adjusted and a "leader" to be added (what will fill in the space of the tab)

Now, indent the style by clicking the button with the arrow pointing right and click the option to remove space after lines.

the button with two lines pointing towards each other will remove extra space between lines, the button with the arrow pointing right will indent the line to the set tab stop


 

Adjusting TOC 4 Style


TOC 34 will need the indentation corrected. Start by clicking on TOC 4 and selecting "Modify." Then, in the window that opens, select the option to decrease the indent. This will move the text in the preview window to be flush left instead of slightly indented.

click on TOC4 to select the option to modify the style, this will open a new window

Next, locate the format drop down in the bottom left and select "Tabs..." Set a 0.75" tab stop position (left aligned, no leader) and a 6" tab stop position that is right aligned with a dot leader. Then click ok.

the tab stop position window allows for a measurement to be entered, alignment to be adjusted, and a leader to be set

Now, indent the style by clicking the button with the arrow pointing right and click on the option to remove space after lines.

select the button to indent and to remove extra space after lines in the window that opens

Properly Formatted TOC Styles


With proper formatting, your TOC should look similar to the image below.

a properly formatted table of contents will have all headings listed with each heading level indented 0.25" more than the level above it