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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Thesis Style Guide

This guide presents the standard format for a master’s thesis to help graduate students prepare their research papers and theses for acceptance by Thompson Rivers University. Additional program specific requirements can be found by clicking on the links below:

Format and Style


Typeface and font size

Only one single typeface (font) may be used through the entire thesis (i.e., captions, tables, footnotes, bibliography, page numbers, etc.). Only twelve-point font size (12 pt) is acceptable.


Margins on all pages are required to be:

  • Left: 1.25 inches (to accommodate binding)
  • Right: 1 inch
  • Top and bottom: 1 inch

No print except page numbering (see below) should appear in the margins.


Justification must be consistent throughout the body of the thesis. All text should be left justified, with the exception of section titles (e.g. “Abstract” or “Acknowledgements”), which should be centred.

Page numbering

  • Every page must be numbered, except the first page (title page). The title page is not numbered, but it counts as the first page (i).
  • Preliminary pages — e.g. cedications, abstract, table of contents — are numbered with lower case Roman numerals and centred.
  • Use Arabic numbers starting with the first page of chapter 1, and continue consecutively to the end of the thesis, including appendices.

Page numbers are placed in the lower right of the page, one inch from the lower and right-hand margin, using the same typeface as the text.

Line spacing

  • Use 1.5 spacing throughout the thesis except figure and table captions, footnotes, and chapter titles that exceed one line, which are single-spaced.
  • Reference material is single-spaced with no indentations, with 1.5 spacing between references.
  • The first line of each paragraph should be indented by five spaces.
  • Triple space after figures and tables to separate them from the text.

Captions and numbering tables and figures

  • Every table and figure/photograph/illustration must have a caption, normally indicating what the item is intended to illustrate or represent.
  • Tables are numbered consecutively throughout the thesis.
  • Figures/photos/illustrations are also numbered consecutively throughout the thesis.

Headings and subheadings

  • Headings indicate the organization of the thesis.
  • Consistent headings and subheadings must be used throughout the thesis with all topics of equal importance having the same level of heading, placement on the page, and type style.


All master’s theses must be written in English or, with approval of the supervisory committee, in French.

Text presentation

Each chapter must start on a new page.

Use of symbols and units

When reporting statistical results, the use of Greek symbols must be used, not text (e.g. X2 = 4.3 not Chi-squared=4.3).

Units of measurement should follow the international system of units or discipline-specific standards.

Citation style

Please consult your program and follow a citation style guide recommended by your discipline.

Thesis sections and arrangement

Title page

The title should reflect as precisely as possible the content of the thesis. Words are preferable to formulas, and try to avoid superscripts, subscripts, or Greek letters, or other symbols. You may find a subtitle useful in clarifying the nature of the work. Do not use the title (running title) on subsequent pages.

Sample title page

Abstract and keywords, always page ii

Sample abstract page

Acknowledgements (optional), not to exceed one page

Sample acknowledgements page

Dedication (optional), not to exceed one page

Table of contents

List of tables (required, if any)

List of figures, illustrations, other graphics (required, if any)

Nomenclature (required, if any)

Body of thesis (begins with page 1, Arabic numbers)

References cited, no page numbers

Appendices (if included)

Copy requirements

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies will receive the thesis from the student twice:

  1. Prior to the defense provide one copy of the thesis (electronically), and the committee approval form and defense request form.
  2. After the defense the following final copies incorporating all revisions per the thesis defense:
    • Electronic copies: One for the National Library and Archives of Canada, in PDF format (submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies).
    • Hard copy requirements vary by program.
    • A copy of the thesis will be submitted to the university’s institutional repository (TRUSpace)

If you produce paper copies of your thesis:

  • Use 8.5 x 11 inch, acid-free, high quality, opaque white, 24-pound weight paper with a bright even surface.
  • The same paper must be used throughout the thesis.

Print and copies

  • Black, smudge-free, laser quality printer.
  • Single-sided printing ONLY.
  • Copies must be clean and sharp, with care to ensure that points illustrated by photographs or other reproductions are clear.
  • Each copy must be shrink-wrapped.


If you need to make a correction, you must reprint the page. Correction fluid is not permitted.

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