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Thesis formatting: Guidelines

This Guide helps HDR & Honours students format theses by expanding upon the Using Word Effectively workshop that LIS delivers for the Graduate Research School.

JCU HDR thesis format guidelines from GRS

Your particular school or college may have more specific requirements. Check with your supervisor if this is Cat typing imageapplies to you. 

Some of the sections pertaining to layout and formatting of the HDR Thesis Format Guidelines are reproduced below.

  • The Formatting Word documents handout below provides practical instructions for formatting documents using Microsoft Word.
  • There are Word templates below that you may decide to use.
  • If you would like to see paper or online examples of theses in your subject area, click on the Examples tabs (above).

Formatting Word documents workshop handout

The Formatting Word documents handout provides practical instructions for formatting documents using Microsoft Word.

JCU and APA Word template

The JCU thesis template is based upon APA manuscript formatting style combined with the JCU Graduate Research School guidelines for formatting thesis. Check with your supervisor if this is appropriate for your thesis.

APA style Word template

The APA manuscript style template has the page number '1' starting on the cover and continuing through to the last page. Most people do not use this style even if they are using APA style for their references.

General formatting tips from the JCU GRS

  • The font must be clear and easily read, such as Times, Times New Roman or Arial, in a font size such as 11, although another font of similar size and appearance is acceptable.
  • Paper sizing must be international size A4 (297mm x 210mm).
  • A line spacing of at least 1.5 is required.
  • The right, top and bottom margins should be no less than 25mm.
  • Diagrams, maps, photographs, etc., interleaved in the text should be included in the page sequence and numbered accordingly.
  • Footnotes, if used, should be placed at the foot of the page to which they refer and not be carried over to another page.
  • Thesis pages may be printed double-sided on copies submitted for examination and to the JCU Library.

APA headings imagae

Five Essential Tips for APA Style Headings

Lee, C. (2009). Five essential tips for APA style headings. Retrieved from

Suggested order of JCU theses

Theses at JCU often contain the following order. Check with your supervisor if this is appropriate for you. 

Title page  
Acknowledgements i
Statement of the Contribution of Others ii
Abstract iii
Table of Contents iv
List of Tables v
List of Figures vi
List of Plates (e.g. images, photographs) vii
Main text (i.e. the ‘body’ of the thesis) 1
References 2
Appendices 3

The page numbering for Items 2-8 above are typically in the form of Roman numerals (i.e. i, ii, iii, iv, etc.), with Arabic numerals (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) commencing at the start of the Main text.

It is normal not to include page numbering on the title page of the thesis.

The thesis document should be formatted using the odd and even pages layout option, such that page numbers sit at the outer margin on all pages when the thesis is printed double-sided and bound.

APA manuscript style example from Purdue University

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country