Style manual

Select a standard style manual recommended by your department. Always use the latest edition available. If there is a conflict between these UM instructions and the style manual chosen, follow the UM instructions. 

Manuals recommended by the Faculty of Graduate Studies include but are not limited to:

  • American Psychological Association, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations
  • The Modern Language Association of America, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
  • University of Chicago Press, The Chicago Manual of Style


American, Canadian or British spelling is acceptable. Use one style consistently throughout the document.

Format for prefatory pages

Title page

The title must be a meaningful description of the content of the research. The author’s name should be in full, identical to the name under which they are registered and be consistent on all other documents.

The title page should contain:

  • the title of the thesis or practicum
  • the name of the university
  • the degree for which the thesis or practicum is submitted
  • the name of the unit
  • the full name of the author
  • the universal copyright symbol ©.

View sample title page.


The abstract provides a concise account of the thesis or practicum. It should contain a statement of the problem, methods, results and conclusions.

Abstract maximum length: 350 words for either a Master’s or PhD thesis.


The content of this single page is left to your discretion. You may make reference to your advisor and advisory committee members and other people who have provided invaluable assistance to the during thesis or practicum development. Include here any financial assistance received to conduct the research.


You are allowed one dedication page.

Table of contents

The table of contents must list and provide page references for all elements of the thesis or practicum. The numbering and format must be identical to the way the material appears in the text. Page numbers should be right justified.

View sample table of contents.

List of tables

The list of tables immediately follows the Table of Contents and should follow the same format. This list includes the number of each table, its title, and its page number.

List of figures

The list of figures immediately follows the list of tables and should follow the same format as the Table of Contents. The list includes the number of each figure, its title, and its page number.

Format for body of thesis


The entire thesis or practicum must be in the same text font, style and size.


The margins must be consistent throughout the thesis or practicum (including appendices, diagrams, maps, photographs, charts, tables, etc.

Page numbers

Number each page in the thesis or practicum consecutively. Illustrative pages must also be numbered.

Footnotes, references and appendices

Follow the instructions in the style manual recommended by your unit. No matter which style manual you use, it is important that you be consistent with your format.

Figures, illustrations, photographs and design drawings
Illustrative material

All illustrative material should be consistent throughout the thesis or practicum. All figures, illustrations, photographs and drawings must be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals and be accompanied with a title. The material should appear as soon after as it is mentioned in the text. All original materials should be of high quality, with sharp and clear images.

Layout of tables and figures

Each table and figure must have a number and title and appear at the top or bottoms of the table or figure. They must conform to the margin requirements of the thesis or practicum. If the table or figure is oversized, reduce it in size in such a way that it remains clearly legible. The title of the table or figure should be as short as possible and indicate the major focus of the material within the table or figure.

Consent and copyright

Consent and access to information forms

Sample copies of consent forms used to obtain consent from participants to take part in the information gathering procedures for the thesis or practicum must be included in an Appendix. Ensure you remove any personal information from the submitted form.

In some cases, approval from an agency or institution or corporation may have been required before the information gathering procedures could proceed. Ensure you retain the original approval form for access and submit a copy to the Faculty of Graduate Studies upon completion of your thesis or practicum.

Use of copyrighted material

If the thesis or practicum includes copyrighted material from other sources, you may need permission from the copyright holder(s) to use the material.

For more information see Copyright Support for Students or contact the Copyright Office at

Formatting a grouped manuscript thesis (sandwich thesis)

A “sandwich” or grouped manuscript style of thesis or practicum consists of a paper or collection of papers, which are published or are soon to be published.

The number of papers to be included will be determined by you and the advisory committee. The formatting must be consistent throughout and cannot merely consist of several papers or articles contained within the one document.

This style of thesis and practicum must follow all of the formatting rules for a regular thesis, except that each paper within the thesis will follow the style manual of the publication in which it appears.

Publication, or acceptance for publication, of research results prior to the presentation of the thesis and practicum does not supersede the evaluation of the work by the examination committee; i.e., it does not guarantee the thesis and practicum will be found acceptable. Examiners may specify revisions regardless of the publication status.

Components of the grouped manuscript thesis

There must be an introductory chapter to the entire thesis or practicum, that precedes any of the papers. The  papers or articles must contribute toward the overall theme that represents the thesis  or practicum work and must be smoothly integrated into the flow of the thesis or practicum to produce a unified document. This may require changes or additions to, and rewriting of, any work that has already been published.

The introductory chapter must explain the connection between the different chapters. This provides a logical link of the integration of the information. Not including an explanation of how the chapters connect may compromise the ability of the examiners to evaluate the work. 

The thesis or practicum must contain a concluding chapter that includes a discussion on how the entirety of the thesis or practicum, with its findings, provides a distinct contribution to knowledge in the research area.

In the case of multi-authored papers, the nature and extent of the student or candidate’s contribution, and those of the other authors, must be specified in a section of the thesis or practicum entitled "Contributions of Authors".