Writing and Formatting Your Honors Thesis

New for 2014-15: Thesis Template

Seniors have the option to use a template of a correctly formatted thesis template which includes required elements like a title page, certificate of approval, table of contents etc. The template is not required; it is designed to faciliate proper formatting and pagination.  

Download the Thesis Template (MS Word)

Formatting

The thesis should follow requirements set forth by the home department or developed in consultation with the thesis advisor.  Generally, one of the formats described in the Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago Manual of Style, American Psychological Association or other standard style manuals should be used.  Guides illustrating correct formatting (e.g, for footnotes, bibliographies, etc.) are available in the library (see Style Guides) and in the College Bookstore.

Page Size

Unless approval by the departments and the Library is granted because of a need for a different format, the thesis page size must be 8½ × 11 inches.

Margins, Spacing, and Type

The left margin must be at least 1 ½ inches wide.  All other margins must be at least 1 inch wide.  The text should be double-spaced, but extended quotations may be single-spaced if indented slightly from each margin.  Text should be in a standard font, no larger than 14 point and no smaller than 10 points.  

Pagination

  • For preliminary pages (title page, table of contents, etc.), use lower case Roman numerals at the bottom center of the page. Include the title page in the count but do not number it.

  • For the text (thesis, appendices, etc.), use Arabic numerals at the bottom center of the page. Include the first page of the text in the count but do not number it. First pages of new sections (bibliography, chapters, etc.) should also be numbered at the bottom center.

  • Other styles of pagination such as MLA or APA may be used if approved by the department or thesis advisor.

Images, Audio, Video, and Other Media

Theses including such materials should be prepared according to the special instructions below.  Additional questions on special materials may be referred to the Special Collections Librarian at archives@whitman.edu.

Illustrations

Digital images, maps, charts, and graphs, unless otherwise specified by academic department or thesis advisor should

  • have a resolution of  300 dots per inch (dpi).  If this resolution is not available, consideration must be made to get as close to this resolution as possible without considerable visual degradation of the image.

  • be inserted into the thesis using the TIFF (preferred) or JPEG file formats.

For help with creating, scanning, formatting or otherwise preparing images, maps, charts, or graphs, please contact the WCTS Multimedia Development Lab (MDL) in Hunter at mdl@whitman.edu.

Media

Copies of material in non-print format—DVDs, CDs, videos, etc.—should be included with each copy of the thesis deposited with the library.  Media contents shall be formatted in accordance to guidelines set by the academic department and/or thesis advisor.

Layout

The usual make-up of the thesis is as follows:

1.  Title page

In order to ensure consistency among Whitman theses, the title page should closely follow the sample (PDF or MS Word format) with respect to order, spacing, and capitalization. In general, abbreviations should not be used. The author’s name must be typed in full as it is to appear on the commencement program.

2.  Certificate of approval

The completed thesis must be approved by the professor under whose direction the work was done. Use the sample certification of approval form (PDF or MS Word format) as a guide. The certificate of approval must be signed by the thesis advisor and placed in the thesis following the title page.  NOTE: This is not the same form as the Honors in Major Study Application for the department/committee chair before due in the Registrar’s Office before the October break.   

3.  Table of contents

Depending on departmental requirements, most theses must have a table of contents immediately following the certificate of approval. It must list all the principal topics or subdivisions of the thesis and their initial page numbers.

4.  Abstract

An abstract in your thesis helps users identify, retrieve, and use the thesis.  See the appropriate style guide for your discipline for instructions on writing an abstract.  While the Library does not require your thesis to contain an abstract within it, we do require an abstract submitted to us as part of the digital submission form.  If you choose to include an abstract within the contents of your thesis, you may copy and paste this into the digital submission form.  A simple paragraph will do. The abstract helps us determine how to link to your thesis in our online catalog.

5.  List of illustrations

All figures, tables, charts, graphs, drawings, plates and other illustrations are to be listed on a page following the table of contents, numbered consecutively in either Arabic or Roman numerals in the order in which they appear in the thesis. The number of the illustration(s) should appear at the left of each entry, and the page number on which each illustration appears should be indicated at the right of the entry.

6.  Text Format (Discipline Specific)

Text should follow the style (APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.) of the thesis discipline.  For more information, see Formatting and consult your thesis advisor.

7.  Bibliography

The bibliography shall be placed following the text in a form approved for use by the academic department. Guides illustrating the correct use and form of bibliographies are available in the library (see Style Guides) and in the College Bookstore.

Printing

See our printing and submission page.

Copyright information

If you are the author of all the text, image, audio, and/or video files contained in your honors thesis, you hold copyright and can grant full permission to post a digital copy online. If portions of your materials have been produced by others, you need to seek permission to include them in the digital copy you post online. If permission cannot be obtained, copyrighted material should be removed from any digital copy you post and complete print copies can be placed in the Library collection. For more information, see the library's tutorial on copyright at Whitman or contact Dalia Corkrum, Library Director, at corkrum@whitman.edu.