Headings and Subheadings

Using Headings

It’s good practice to begin your thesis writing with an outline. This will help you to organize your material and leads naturally to a division of the text into chapters, sections, and subsections, each of which has a particular heading style.

Major (or level 1) headers are for chapter titles and appendices, as well as for sections in the front matter; a-heads (level 2 headings) are for major subdivisions of a chapter or appendix; b-heads (level 3 headings) are for subsections within level 2 sections, and so on. Usually, three levels of heading are enough; use c-heads (level 4 headings) sparingly.

In general, consecutive headings shouldn’t appear without text between them.

Between a chapter title and its first subsection, there should be an overview describing what the chapter is about and how it is organized. Likewise - to make successful transitions - after any heading there should be some general introductory statements before any lower level heading appears, otherwise the presentation can read like an outline.

Formatting Headings

For examples of each of the following please look at the document titled major.minor_headings.pdf available on the Templates page.

Major (Level 1) Headings:

For chapter titles, appendices, and front matter sections. These always begin on a new page. A chapter title, along with the prefix "Chapter N" - where N is the number of the chapter - should be centered and placed about 1 1/2 inches down from the top of the page. If the chapter title is more than one line long, it should be double-spaced. After the chapter title, there should be a quadruple space before the chapter text. Capitalize the first letter of each word in a title (except for articles a, an, the), as in “Chapter 1 Introduction” (note that some disciplines prefer Roman Numerals I, II, III, IV, etc. instead of 1, 2, 3, 4,...).

Appendix sections are formatted the same way as chapter titles, beginning with “Appendix N”.

formatting guidelines:

  • Font: 12 point, regular (not bold or italic)
  • Alignment: Centered
  • Paragraph: 36 point before, 36 points after, page break before, double spaced

A-heads (level 2 headings):              

These headings are also centered using uppercase and lowercase, but with double spacing after the heading, and using smaller font.

formatting guidelines:

  • Font: 12 point, regular (not bold or italic)
  • Alignment: Centered
  • Paragraph: 12 point before, 24 point after, single-spaced

B-heads (level 3 headings):

These are also uppercase and lowercase with double spacing after, but appear flush to the left margin.

formatting guidelines:

  • Font: 12 point, regular (not bold or italic)
  • Alignment: flush left
  • Paragraph: 12 point before, 12 point after, single-spaced

C-heads (level 4 headings):             

These headings are run-on heads that begin a paragraph. They appear in lowercase, except for the first letter, and are followed by a period. Such headings are underlined in order to separate them from the rest of the paragraph.

For example:

Issues addressed. In the situation of…

formatting guidelines:

  • Font: 12 point, underlined
  • Alignment: flush left
  • Paragraph: 0 point before, 0 point after, double-spaced, just as for the rest of the text in the document