Clemson Graduate School

Clemson Graduate School

Thesis & Dissertations

Please DO NOT FORMAT your manuscript until you have read the Overview!

Introduction & Formatting FAQs

What specifications does the Graduate School have regarding manuscript formatting, and where can I find them?
The Graduate School lists all of its requirements on the Final Check List form, which can be found on the Forms page.

Does everyone have to use the same format?
No. The Graduate School does NOT require every student to use one particular format for his/her thesis or dissertation. Departments may select any recognized style manual, such as the MLA or APA style manuals. If you are unsure about what style is generally accepted in your field, and your department does not specify a style to be used, consult your advisor and, together, choose a style that is suitable for your discipline.

Where do I find content-related requirements?
You and your committee are responsible for your document’s quality and content. When you have questions concerning the content of your work, you should ask your committee chair or other committee member who is familiar with your work and the practices of your field. The staff of the Manuscript Review Office can help you interpret our formatting requirements, but your committee is the best source of advice for writing and organizing your work.

Are there different requirements for electronic vs. printed manuscripts?
Yes. However, the Graduate School does not supply guidelines for printed manuscripts. The guidelines listed here are intended for electronic documents, and any student that submits a thesis or dissertation formatted according to these guidelines will have a fully functional, quality, electronic manuscript. If those students planning to purchase bound copies for themselves or their department (if required, see List of Departments Requiring Copies) use these minimal guidelines, his/her manuscripts will not meet traditional publishing standards. For example, the first page of each main section will not start on a right-hand page, and the binding margin will not be any longer than the outside margin - potentially causing text and/or images to be very close to, or in, the binding. Students may take the liberty to adhere to more conventional fomatting guidelines for printed manuscripts if they so choose, but the Manuscript Review staff will be unable to assist in such endeavors. Students should consult their advisors for additional guidance.

What tools are available to help me format my manuscript?
If you are using Microsoft Word, a Formatting Template is available for your convenience. To edit it, you will need to click "Tools" and "Unprotect Document." The protection is initially on to enable you to use drop-down menus on the title page. In addition, PDF Examples of each portion and a Sample Manuscript are also available. You may find all of these documents on the Tools page.

General Formatting Requirements

All manuscripts should be formatted exactly according to the instructions below unless your department has requested and received an exemption based on discipline-specific practices (See Additional Formatting Information below). The remaining pages can be formatted in any accepted discipline-appropriate style, with the following restrictions:

  • All margins must be 1.25 inches.
  • All content (including text, figures, tables, etc) must fit within the margins.

  • Should be double spaced (unless otherwise noted in this document).
  • Should be between 10-12 point in a commonly used font such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Verdana, etc. DO NOT USE script or informal typefaces.

  • Front matter page numbers should be lowercase Roman numerals ("i," "ii," "iii," etc.).
  • Page numbers should be printed on all pages except for the title page. The title page is page I but does not have a page number printed on it. The first page of your abstract is page ii.
  • Body text and back matter page numbers should be Arabic numerals ("1," "2," etc.).

Headings & Indentation
  • A left indent on the first line of each paragraph or an extra double space must be used between paragraphs.
  • First-level headings (title, abstract, table of contents, chapter titles, etc) must be formatted to stand out more than any other level of headings.
  • (NOTE: We suggest you use ALL CAPS for your first-level headings).

Consistency is key! All of your headings, spacings, captions, and other formatting elements should be consistent throughout your manuscript.

NOTE: If your manuscript consists of multiple journal articles - or journal styles - slight differences in formatting from article to article are allowed.

Detailed Formatting Guidelines

Templates and Examples are available on the Tools page.

Front Matter
The front matter of your manuscript includes all major sections from the title page to the first chapter.

Title Page (Required)

The title page is the first official page of your manuscript (page "i"). If you use the template provided above, you may ignore the title page information below. If you do not use Times New Roman type for your manuscript, be sure to change the font of the title page template to the font you use in your manuscript. The Title Page should be formatted as follows:

  • Margins should be set to 1.25 inches.
  • A page number should not be visible on this page.
  • Text should be centered horizontally between the margins.
  • Each section of text should be single spaced with a double space in between. Divider lines should extend between each block of text, and the spacing above and below each divider line should be consistent.
  • Your title should be in ALL CAPS. Italicize any genus and/or species names that appear in your title, and follow standard scientific nomenclature rules regarding capitalization.
  • If your title consists of more than one line of text, break the lines so that the lines are approximately the same length.
  • Your title page must match the Sample Title Page.

Abstract (Required)

The abstract is a succinct statement of the significant contents of the manuscript and the value and relevance of the study. Generally, it should be no longer than 350 words; however, it can be longer if absolutely necessary.

Dedication (Optional)

If used, the dedication pays special tribute to people who have given you extraordinary support or encouragement in your academic career. Extravagant praise, insincere thanks and references to animals or inanimate objects are unacceptable. The text should be brief.

Acknowledgements (Optional)

If used, it pays thanks to those who have helped you obtain your graduate degree, including those who have given grants and special funding for research. Acknowledgements can also give permission to quote copyrighted material. Extravagant praise, insincere thanks and references to animals or inanimate objects are unacceptable.

Table of Contents (Required)

The table of contents aids the reader in navigating the manuscript and should be arranged according to the structure of the document. The table of contents must meet the following formatting requirements:

  • Headings must be identical in content to those in the body of the document.
  • Every entry must have a page number.
  • Major sections (first-level headings) must be included. Lower-level headings can be included, but they are not required.
  • Alignment and spacing of entries must be consistent.
  • The page number for each entry must be right-justified at the right margin.
  • Ellipses must be present between the entry and the page number. The ellipses MAY NOT be created with individually-typed periods.
  • (NOTE: You can use the Ellipses Instructions to help format your Table of Contents.)

List of Tables, Figures, Maps, Etc. (Varies)

A list of tables, figures, maps, or other similar items is required when there are three or more tables, figures, or similar items in the manuscript. Each type of list should be on a separate page unless all of the lists will fit on one page. Items included in the appendices should also be included in the lists. All lists must meet the following formatting requirements:

  • Titles must be identical in content to their titles in the body of the document.
  • Entries must have page numbers.
  • An ellipsis must be present between the entry and the page number.
  • Each list should be formatted consistently with the table of contents - to whatever degree is practical.


The body of your manuscript includes all of your chapters. The body may be formatted in any accepted, discipline-specific style or according to an approved style guide, but with the following restrictions:

  • Text of the body must begin on Page 1.
  • Major first-level headings (chapter titles) must be consistent with the first-level headings in the front matter.
  • Each individual level or heading should have a separate and distinct, but consistent, format that demonstrates relative importance (e.g. first-level headings appear more prominent than second-level headings).
  • Spacing around headings, tables, figures and other elements should be consistent throughout the manuscript.

Back Matter

The back matter of your manuscript includes the appendix and reference sections


An appendix presents information that is too detailed for the body text or indirectly related to the text such as tables, figures and computer programs. If there are several categories of supplementary material, more than one appendix will be necessary and will be grouped together as the "appendices." Each appendix in the appendices should have a descriptive title. When your manuscript contains more than one appendix, you should name each and separate them from the body of your manuscript with a divider page. The divider page goes only between the body and the first appendix, not between appendices. It contains only the word "Appendices" centered horizontally and vertically on the page, in the same typeface and size as your first-level headings.

Bibliography, Literature/Works Cited, References

The formatting style you have chosen will dictate whether you use a bibliography, literature/works cited section, or a references section. The format you use should be the same as the major journals in your discipline. If you are not sure about which format to use, consult your advisor. You must adhere to the following program requirements when formatting your bibliography, literature/works cited, or references section:

  • Websites should not be blue or underlined.
  • Entries should not be split between pages. If an entire entry does not fit at the bottom of one page, move the entire entry to the top of the next page.
  • This section may be included either at the end of the manuscript (after the appendix) or at the end of each chapter, but you must be consistent.

Items To Remember

Plagiarism Statement

Before submitting your manuscript, please read this reminder about plagiarism. Plagiarism includes the accidental or unintentional representation of another’s words or ideas as your own (as well as intentional misrepresentation of the origin of work), so take this final chance to ensure that you have avoided representing another person's work as your own.

Final Check List

Before you submit your manuscript, reference the Final Check List to ensure that your format is as close to accurate as possible. See the FAQs page for more information.

Templates Available

If you are using Microsoft Word, a Formatting Template is available for your convenience. To edit it, you will need to click "Tools" and "Unprotect Document." The protection is initially on to enable you to use drop-down menus on the title page. To see all the templates, click here.

Examples Available

In addition to templates, a Sample Manuscript is also available for your reference. To see all the templates, click here.

Additional Formatting Information

Please take note of the following details about special formatting requirements, your responsibilities as a student and copyright law. Additional information about formatting assistance is also provided below.

The GS7 Form and Approval Page (GS7 PDF)

Due to the switch to electronic thesis and dissertation submission, a formal approval (or signature) page is no longer part of the official manuscript. Your completed and signed GS7 form will serve this purpose. You can download and print the GS7 form from the Forms page or pick up a hard copy from Enrolled Student Services in 104-D Sikes Hall. After completing this form and obtaining the necessary signatures, return the form to Enrolled Student Services. This form should NOT be included in your manuscript. Check the Current Student Deadlines for deadlines related to this and other forms.

LaTeX, Architecture, Creative Writing, Visual Arts

LaTeX may be used for the body of the paper, but all pages leading up to the first page of the body must be formatted as described in these instructions. This LaTeX Template File contains both the style sheet and complete example of what your manuscript should look like. Architecture manuscripts have their own format for all pages; if you are an architecture student, contact your advisor for information on the program's specific format requirements. Creative writing and visual arts manuscripts should conform to the basic rules of margins, font, title page, etc and to the rest of the formatting requirements as much as the subject matter/nature of the thesis allows.

Supplemental Files (Disks, Databases, Movies, Sound Files, etc)

If you want to include computer code, a database or other digital information, you will upload such files as "Supplemental Files" during the upload process. These files may be in any format, just as they would be if you were including a computer disk in a bound copy of a manuscript. When someone accesses your thesis/dissertation online, they will see links to these files. If someone orders a printed copy, the files will be burned onto a CD and included with the printed copy.


We cannot possibly predict every possible format option a student may consider, so there may be a format or method you would like to use that is not discussed here. If in doubt, contact the Manuscript Review Office at before investing a great deal of time in a particular format. The Graduate School is the final authority on all formatting and publication issues.

Copyright Held by Others

Obtain a letter of consent from the copyright owner before using materials taken from the original publication, and include the letter (scanned) in the appendices of your manuscript. Materials that may require a letter of consent include figures, maps, tables and the text of poems, songs, etc.

If any other questions arise that are not addressed within this guide, please email the Manuscript Review Office at (Preferred) or call (864)-656-5338.