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Graduate Thesis and Dissertation Handbook

III. Section of the Thesis

Order of Sections

The prescribed order is given below. Asterisked (*) sections are optional (at the discretion of the student, advisor, or department) except that lists of figures and tables are required when figures and tables appear in the text. Theses which do not follow the prescribed order will be rejected for improper format.

preliminary pages

title page
*copyright page
approval sheet
  (signed copy to the Graduate School; unsigned copy with ETD to OhioLINK)
table of contents
*list of figures or illustrations
*list of tables


text of thesis

reference pages

bibliography (or references)

Title Page

The title page must conform exactly in spacing and capitalization to the sample in Appendix A (Master's) or Appendix K (Doctoral). Your name should be given in full and in all capital letters and must be followed by previous degree(s). The date at the bottom of the page should indicate the year in which your degree will be conferred. The title should clearly describe the contents of the thesis. If possible, word substitutes should be used for formulas, symbols, superscripts, Greek letters, and so on.

Approval (Signature) Sheet

As stated above, a paper copy, of your signed approval sheet must be submitted to the Graduate School when or before you submit your final ETD to OhioLINK. Approval sheets are to be prepared by the students and are not supplied by the Graduate School. The approval sheets may be duplicated, but all signatures on them must be originals. The approval sheet should conform to the sample in Appendix B (Master's) or Appendix M (Doctoral). You may submit additional copies of the approval sheet for the Graduate Dean's signature and return to you, as needed. You must come to the Graduate School to reclaim approval sheets, as they will not be forwarded to you.

The approval sheet in the electronic file should have printed names (see sample approval sheets at Appendices B and M) but no signatures. The copy delivered to and retained by the Graduate School must be signed; the copy sent to OhioLINK with your ETD must not be signed.


The abstract should succinctly summarize the contents of the thesis, stating the problem, the procedure or methods used, the results, and any conclusions. Doctoral dissertation abstracts should not exceed 350 words. Master's thesis abstracts should not exceed 150 words. For the format, see the sample in Appendix C.

Other Sections

For details of format and style relating to other sections of the thesis (including footnote and bibliography style), students should consult Turabian, the style manual recommended by their department or program, or any other standard style manual being used. The sample table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables in Appendices D, E, and F, respectively, provide examples of suitable formats for those parts of the thesis. Appendix G provides a suitable sample format for the text of your thesis. Appendix H provides a sample thesis appendix. Appendix I provides a sample bibliography. Appendix J provides a sample reference, or literature cited, list which may be used either with, or in place of, the bibliography. (In certain scientific fields, a list of "References" or "Literature Cited" may be more appropriate than a standard "Bibliography". While Appendix J represents one approach, please note that lists of References or Literature Cited formats differ among various scientific fields. You should check with your thesis advisor, or refer to one of the standardized thesis preparation manuals for the format which is appropriate to your academic field.) Care should be taken to maintain consistency of style and format throughout the thesis.