The margins should be approximately 1-inch on all sides (top, bottom, and both sides) throughout document  [electronic version].


The pages should be formatted as follows... 

  • Numbering System...
    • Title page is not numbered.
      • Front matter will be numbered with lower-case Roman numerals, starting after title page and continuing until the last page before the abstract.
      • Arabic numbers will start on abstract page and continue throughout remainder of document
  • Page numbers should be at least a half-inch from any edge of the page.
  • There is no rule about location of page number (top or bottom; centered or in one corner)
    • If your page numbers are at the top, we suggest you omit the page number or move to the bottom on pages with chapter headings at the top of the page.
    • Adjust page numbers accordingly on any pages that are rotated from portrait to landscape.

Front Matter

Your front matter should include (in this order)...

  • Title page (First page; see appropriate formatting sample)...
  • Honor Code Affirmation
    • Should second page of thesis document.
    • lower-case Roman numerals begin on this page with "i" (and continue until last page before Abstract).
    • Includes the text of the Honor Code and the text of the affirmation.
  • Copyright notice (Optional)...
    • You may wish to include a copyright notice to provide statutory copyright protection.
    • A copyright notice would be affixed on a separate page immediately following the honor code affirmation.
    • Includes the Copyright symbol ©, year in which copyright is established, full legal name of the author.
    • E.g.: © 2009 by John Harvard Smith
               All rights reserved.
  • Acknowledgements of contributions to your thesis, including...
    • Starts on a new page.
    • Aid and support given by your committee members.
    • Support from any other researchers (e.g., other faculty, lab members, etc. who gave you advice, gave access to unpublished works or data, etc.).
    • Financial support from any source that was used toward your thesis – including any grants awarded directly to you for your thesis (e.g., HCRP grants) and any other sources (e.g., if your supervisor contributed money from another grant). You should state the name of the foundation or agency and, if applicable, the contract number.
    • Some thesis writers also extend thanks to others (e.g., friends or family) who have provided general support throughout the process, or specific help (e.g. giving feedback on drafts).
  • Optional pages: If you wish, you may also include any of the following after the Acknowledgements (but none are required). Each would start on a new page, including...
    • Dedication.
    • List of illustrations and tables.
    • Glossary of terms.
    • One or more epigraphs.
  • Table of Contents (if thesis is divided into sections, as most are)...
    • List of sections and major headings with page numbers.


The abstract should be formatted as follows... 

  • Pagination resets here with Arabic numerals for the remainder of the document; Abstract is page "1"
  • Double-spaced.
  • Usually does not exceed 350 words.

Thesis Body

The body of the thesis should be formatted as follows... 

  • Spacing...
    • Main text: double-spaced
    • Footnotes and long quotations: single-spaced, but double-spaced between entries.
  • Style & organization of content...
    • The department does not have specific requirements on style or organization
    • Most theses follow APA Style:  Described in detail in most current edition of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association
    • General recommendations are offered in tutorial meetings (see course website & talk to instructor), but defer to your supervisor(s)!
    • Figures & Tables: Consult with your supervisor about whether to include in the text or to put them in the back matter.

Back Matter

The back matter should be formatted as follows... 

  • References (ALL theses must include a reference section/bibliography)...
    • Unless given other advice from your supervisor, it’s best to follow APA style.
      • Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (most recent edition).
      • APA style guide to electronic resources available here to Harvard undergraduate students with PIN for personal use only; see this resource for how to cite electronic resources and "gray" materials (conference posters, symposia, etc).
    • References may be single-spaced but double-spaced between entries
  • Figures & Tables (if not in text).
  • Appendices...
    • Appendices are for including detailed information that was not included, or not fully included, in the text (e.g., complete set of stimuli; additional data analyses).
    • If there is only one appendix, it can be titled “Appendix.” If there are multiple appendices, they should be labeled with letters, e.g., “Appendix A.”
    • Each appendix should start on a new page.