Skip to toolbar

Office of Science Engagement

Summer Undergraduate Research

SCIRES Thesis Formatting Guidelines

Science Research Certificate Program

Type Specifications

  • Text may be single-, double-, or one-and-a-half-spaced
  • Use a standard typeface of 10-, 11-, or 12-point size.
  • Limit the use of italic (script) print to foreign words, book and journal titles, and special emphasis.
  • Larger size type may be used for the title of the thesis and for chapter headings. Typeface should not be larger than 18-point.
  • Reduced type may be used within tables, figures, and appendices.
  • Begin each chapter on a new page. Do the same with each element of the front matter (list of tables, acknowledgements, etc.), the reference section, and each appendix.
  • Footnotes, bibliography, table of contents, and other aspects of form and style must be consistent with standards of the discipline and uniformly applied throughout the thesis. It is up to the advisor to mandate the style to be followed.
  • All figures, diagrams and other illustrative material must be clearly presented, numbered, labeled and referenced in the text.

Page Numbers

  • Every page in the document, including those with tables and figures, must be counted. Use lower case Roman numerals for the front matter and Arabic numbers for the text. The text (or body) of the thesis must begin on page 1.
  • Do not number a page with “a” or “b” or skip numbers; do not embellish page numbers with punctuation (dashes, periods, etc.); and do not type the word “page” before the page number. Running headers are not permitted.
  • The title page does not show a page number, although it is actually page i. The committee page is page ii, and the Abstract begins page iii.
  • Page numbers may be placed in the upper right-hand corner, lower right-hand corner, or centered at the top or bottom of the page. Page numbers should not be placed on the left side of the page. Allow a reasonable distance between the page number and any text; in no instance may the page number overlap the text.

Front Matter

The term “front matter” refers to all the pages in front of the main text of the thesis. Front matter pages are numbered with lower case Roman numerals. These pages are:

—title page (unnumbered)

signature page

—abstract (begins on page i)

—table of contents

—lists of figures, abbreviations, maps, tables or multimedia items (each a separate list)

—preface (optional)

—acknowledgments (optional)

—epigraph, frontispiece, or dedication (optional; do not include in Table of Contents)

The abstract is required in all theses and begins on page iii. The table of contents is also required. Acknowledgments are optional and should be at the end of the front matter unless an epigraph, frontispiece, or dedication is added. An introduction may be chapter 1 or it may precede chapter 1, but it must be numbered as part of the text, not as part of the front matter.


Every thesis must contain an abstract. An abstract is a concise summary of the thesis, intended to inform prospective readers about its content. It usually includes a brief description of the research, the procedures or methods, and the results or conclusions. An abstract should not include internal headings, parenthetical citations of items listed in the reference section, diagrams or other illustrations. The abstract follows the committee page and has the heading ABSTRACT at the top. It always begins on page iii. There is no restriction on the length of the abstract in the thesis.

Back Matter

The back matter (or end matter) of the thesis may include some or all of the following items:

—bibliography or references (may be in back matter or at the end of each chapter)

—appendices (may come either before or after references)

—endnotes or notes (if any, they may be in back matter or at the end of each chapter)

General Questions


124 Ritenour Building

University Park, PA 16802


Education Abroad

Vacant – Direct all questions to Tomalei Vess

Undergraduate Research

Dr. Tomalei Vess


Professional Development

Dr. Ann Marie Daniel