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Thesis / Dissertation Formatting Manual

This guide contains information about the formatting and submission of your graduate thesis or dissertation research project.


UCI places no limit on the length of your thesis/dissertation. 

However, for manuscripts submitted on paper, the Library's binding process limits thickness to 2.25" maximum. If your manuscript exceeds that thickness, divide it into two volumes of roughly equivalent thickness; make the split between two chapters. For identification purposes, make one exact copy of your title page and table of contents on 100% cotton paper to include in the second volume. Remember that your manuscript can be printed only on one side of each manuscript page.

Page Size and Paper Quality

For manuscripts submitted electronically, the final version of your thesis/dissertation must be on an 8.5" x 11" page.

For manuscripts submitted on paper, you must use 8.5" x 11", 20-24 pound, white, 100% cotton bond paper for the final version of the thesis/dissertation. Please consult with the University Archives prior to printing your manuscript to ensure that you are using the appropriate paper.

Oversized Materials

Oversized material (e.g., extensive computer program instructions or computer listings, form letters, questionnaires, charts, or any other reprinted materials) should be photo-reduced to fit onto 8.5" x 11" pages.  Reduced copies of graphs, charts, and similar material can be accepted if they are (1) clearly legible and 10-point or larger font; and (2) the required allowances for margins and page number location requirements are maintained. You may want to consider using multimedia for some such material. (See section 2.11., Electronic and Audiovisual Appendices).

For paper submissions, If your material does not lend itself to reduction, or if reduction to an 8.5" x 11" page necessitates more than a 50% reduction in the image size of the text, you may use 11" x 17" paper. The maximum dimensions of pages which may be bound into the manuscript are 17" by 22" (width by length). If only one dimension of a chart or similar material is oversized, the other dimension must conform to the size of a regular typewritten page (8.5" x 11").

If you use oversized pages, they must be folded to the 8.5" x 11" manuscript size with pleat-like folds. In order to avoid its being bound into the spine of the book and therefore not able to be unfolded by the reader, no fold should fall closer than .5" to the left edge of the manuscript.

Selecting a Typeface

Be consistent in the use of typeface(s) throughout your manuscript. All text material must be in the same typeface/font; all headings and figure/table titles/captions must be in a consistent typeface.

Any symbols, equations, figures, drawings, diacritical marks, or lines that cannot be typed, and therefore are drawn, must be added in permanent black ink.

For electronic submissions, embedded fonts are required. 

Please select a font and size that is highly legible and will reproduce clearly. Ornate or decorative fonts such as script, calligraphy, gothic, italics, or specialized art fonts are not acceptable.

Some recommended fonts and point sizes are shown below:


Table listing permissible fonts for thesis/dissertation manuscripts. Fonts listed are Arial, Century, Courier New, Garamond, Georgia, Lucida Bright, Microsoft Sans Serif, Tahoma, Times, Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS, Verdana, and CMR for LaTex.. 11 or 12 pt font is recommended.

Typeface Quality

If you are submitting your manuscript on paper, printer quality is critical to produce a clean, clear image. You are strongly urged to use a laser printer, as ink jet and line printers generally do not produce fully clear, legible results. Dot matrix-type printers are not acceptable.


All manuscript text, excluding manuscript page numbers, must fit within these specified margin requirements:

  • 1" (minimum) from the top, left, right, and bottom edges of the page

Tables, figures, graphs, photographs, and appendices are also included in these margin requirements. Materials may be reduced or enlarged, if necessary, to fit within the required margins.

Spacing and Layout

Your manuscript must be double-spaced, with the exception of footnotes/endnotes, bibliographic entries, long quotations, data in lists and tables, lists in appendices and figure/table captions, all of which should be single-spaced.


Establish and follow a consistent pattern for layout of all headings. For example: center all major headings; place secondary headings at least two lines below major headings.

Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes appear at the bottom of a page.

Endnotes appear at the end of each chapter/part or all together after the last chapter/part in the text section. Your committee should be your guide regarding your choice of footnotes or endnotes. If these notes are few in number, and there is only one on any page, you may use an asterisk, instead of a numeral, to designate it. However, if your notes are more numerous, you must number them sequentially throughout your manuscript. You may not mix asterisks with numerals.

Style Manuals

In most instances, your academic department or discipline should be your guide regarding the style guide most applicable to your thesis/dissertation. You should select the style manual that is most commonly used in your field of study, and you should follow it consistently.