Margins and Pagination

The early drafts of your thesis have been completed and now your thesis is approaching its final form!

These sections include basic guidelines; in cases of ambiguity check with:

  • Your Thesis Director (for content), or
  • Your Research Advisor (for format)

Note:  Your final thesis title should be as concise as possible


  • Left-hand margin should be 1 ½” throughout to accommodate thesis binding
  • Top, bottom, and right-hand margins should be 1”
  • Exception: on pages with new chapter headings or other major headings (such as front and end matter), top margin is 1 ½” from top of page

To achieve 1 ½" top margin you can do the following:

  1. Place the cursor at the top of the page
  2. Select the button for center justification
  3. Set format to double spacing
  4. Set format to 1” top margin
  5. Hit Enter/Return once
  6. Start typing the chapter heading
  • For most fonts, this double spacing will achieve a 1 ½” top margin for this page
    • check with a ruler to ensure the desired margin has been achieved
  • Right-hand margin of text should not be justified, unless your formatting program and printer have proportional spacing
    • In other cases, a ragged-right margin is preferred

Page numbers

Page numbers can be centered at the top or bottom, ½” from edge, or placed in the upper right-hand corner, ½” from top and right edges

  • Whatever format you choose, placement of page numbers should be consistent throughout
  • It is customary to omit a page number from a page containing a new chapter heading
  • Numbers may be centered at the bottom of the page (½” from edge), if you wish to retain page numbers

If footnotes are used in your thesis (note that they are not used in many disciplines), page numbers should be centered at the top or placed in the upper right-hand corner, rather than the bottom of the page where they might interfere with footnote spacing.

The first page of the main text of the thesis is always page one

  • There should be no blank pages in your thesis, except for the single blank page between the Title page and the Abstract

Your thesis should be double spaced throughout, except for long quotations and references, which are single-spaced (see Fonts and Line Spacing).

  • References to headings with quadruple spacing after title should be interpreted as two double-spaced lines
  • Instructions to include double spacing after a heading (before composing text), should be interpreted as one double-spaced line