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

Spelling

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.

Abstract

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.

Acknowledgements

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.

Dedication

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 and 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

Format

Line spacing for all text material should be 1.5, except for footnotes and long quotations, which may be single-spaced. The entire thesis or practicum must be in the same text font, style, and size. Font size should be no less than 12 point Times New Roman. Full justification of the text is not required. Characters not available with standard software, such as mathematical equations or complex tabular matter, may be neatly handwritten.

Margins

Ensure you use the specified margins throughout your thesis or practicum.

Leave at least a one-inch (1.0”) margin from the top, bottom, left-, and right-hand edges of the page. These margins apply to all material, including appendices, diagrams, maps, photographs, charts, tables and others.

Page numbers

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

Prefatory pages: Use lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii, iii) for pages before the first chapter. 

Remaining pages: Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) for the first chapter onward.

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 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.

You need copyright permission if:

  • You have cited more than a few lines of text of a work
  • You have used more than 10 per cent of images (such as photographs, tables, diagrams, figures, maps, graphics) from a source containing other images
  • You are modifying or adapting copyrighted material

You do not need permission if the material has a Creative Commons license or is in the public domain.

As an alternative to obtaining permission for web content, you might consider adding the URL to your thesis or practicum.

You may include in your thesis your own previously published work without obtaining permission only if you retained copyright ownership to the work. In most cases, ownership is transferred to the publisher as part of the publication agreement.

If you require copyright permission, you must receive it from the copyright holder, which is usually the publisher. You can request permission with a copyright permission letter, available from the UM copyright office. Some copyright holders prefer to use their own permission forms or licenses. All of these are acceptable ways to obtain permission.

Obtaining copyright permission, when needed, may take a considerable amount of time. You must consider this factor when working to meet your thesis submission deadline.

When you obtain copyright permission, include a “Used with permission” statement under the image or text in the thesis. Ensure that you retain indefinitely the permission email or license provided by the copyright holder.

In some cases, the copyright holder cannot be located or the cost of obtaining permission is prohibitive to using the text or image. In these situations the text or image may have to be omitted from the thesis or practicum.

Information on where the reader can locate the image or text (such as the URL, title of book/journal, volume and issue number, page number, publisher, and date of publication), should be included in the thesis. A description of the purpose or significance of the text or image should also be provided.

Keep original letters of copyright permission for your files.

You retain the copyright and the moral rights to your thesis/practicum.

For more information on copyright and permissions:

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 bound 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 and practicum, which must include its own bibliography. The collection of papers or articles must contribute toward the overall theme that represents the work and must be smoothly integrated into the flow to produce a unified document. This may require changes or additions to, and rewriting of, any work that has already been published.

The thesis and practicum must contain connecting text between the different chapters providing logical links to allow the integration of the information. These connecting sections are mandatory. Not including these sections may compromise the ability of the examiners to evaluate the work.

The thesis and practicum must contain a concluding chapter that includes a discussion on how the work, 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 entitled "Contributions of Authors" in the “Preface” of the thesis and practicum. The advisor, by signing the thesis and practicum submission form, attests to the accuracy of these statements and will be asked to reaffirm at the oral defence in the case of a doctoral thesis and practicum.