A Manual for the Preparation of Graduate Theses
by Susan L. Smith and John M. Robson
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
This manual was endorsed by the Graduate Studies Committee of
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. We would like to thank
Purdue University for allowing us to use portions of Purdue's
A Manual for the Preparation of Graduate Theses,
Third Revised Edition, 1982.
Table of Contents
The work you have done up to this point in preparing to write your thesis is
outside the province of this manual. It assumes that your research is complete,
that your final thesis draft has been examined and approved by your major professor
and committee members, and that you are now ready to prepare the thesis in final form.
This manual sets out the requirements for thesis format established by the Graduate
Studies Committee of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. These requirements must be
met as a minimum in order to procure the approval of the Director of the Library.
Individual departments of the Institute may have various additional requirements or
may specify in greater detail those that follow. We urge you to learn first from your
own graduate committee what, if any, special departmental requirements apply to you
and then, taking these into consideration, to prepare your thesis in accordance with
the instructions of this manual.
The format approval review of the deposit copy of your thesis is intended to assist
you in meeting the requirements of this manual. You are urged to consult the Director
of the Library if you have questions. Because there may be problems, do not wait
until the deadline periods.
This chapter presents the required procedure for thesis approval and deposit. A
candidate who fails to meet these requirements will not graduate and must register
for the following quarter. For regulations governing this registration, you are
referred to the Director of Graduate Studies.
The deadline for thesis format approval is two weeks before commencement.
Following the defense, take the unbound corrected copy of your completed thesis to the
Director of the Library. The paper for the format approval copy must be 8 1/2 by 11
inch but does not have to meet quality requirements. The Director of the Library
will provide an approval statement that the student gives to the Director of Graduate
After thesis format approval, have the thesis duplicated. Three copies are required
by the Graduate Studies Committee. Additional copies may be required by the
department or may be produced at the student's option for his or her own use.
Duplication costs are the responsibility of the student.
One copy of your thesis, called the deposit copy, is deposited with the Director of
Graduate Studies for addition to the Institute Library theses collection and must meet
the specifications for quality paper, typing, format, duplication, and the other
requirements set forth in this manual. You must pay for binding the deposit copy.
You must give one copy of your thesis to your major professor and it becomes his
or her property. You must pay for binding the major professor's copy.
One copy of your thesis serves as the circulating document. This copy is called
the "stack copy." The library will pay for binding the stack copy.
No later than one week prior to commencement, deliver all copies to the Director
of Graduate Studies accompanied by a receipt from the Director of the Library stating
that you have paid for all binding.
The deposit copy of each thesis becomes a part of the thesis collection of the
Institute Library and is available for review. Although you may wish to examine model
theses already in the collection as examples, the guidelines in this manual must be
followed. Ask the Director of the Library for model suggestions.
If you quote extensively from copyrighted material, you should obtain permission
from the author or publisher, whichever holds the copyright. Such permission is
usually granted on condition that acknowledgment is made. If payment is required,
this is your responsibility. Be very sure that you obtain permission to use all such
material before you submit your thesis for approval.
If you want to have your thesis copyrighted, you must have a letter from your
major professor and the head of your department addressed to the Director of Graduate
Studies requesting that the thesis be copyrighted. In this letter they should state
the reasons they consider it desirable or necessary.
If your thesis is to be placed in confidential status, consult the Director of
Graduate Studies for information.
This manual assumes that you have adequate command of the English language
and its constructions, spelling, and usage. Assistance, if needed, should be sought
in standard dictionaries and handbooks of composition. See Appendix G. You may submit
your manuscript for review at the Learning Center.
We suggest that you become thoroughly familiar with the requirements of this
manual and with the special publication requirements of your department. It is
imperative that the final manuscript adhere to these rules as set down. You bear the
responsibility for the appearance, the form, and content of your thesis. All copies
must be identical.
Both xerographic copies and copies printed on a letter quality or laser printer are
acceptable. In either case, you must use paper which meets the specifications set
forth in this manual. The only exception is the listing of a computer program in
which case a letter-quality printer need not be used. Typed copies are also
acceptable, but not recommended. Any other methods of reproduction must be
discussed with the Director of the Library and your duplication service before
you begin to prepare your final copy.
Note: Preparation and duplication of theses can be expensive. It is suggested that you
have a clear understanding in advance of the cost of photographic work, drawings, and
duplication before final typing is started. You should consult the Institute Printing
and Duplication Center for information about special materials required for the
reproducing of the graphics used in illustrating your thesis.
A title page is required. This page is the primary way by which the thesis will be
identified. This page is not numbered, but it is counted as the first page (i) of
the opening component. The contents of the title page are as follows:
An abstract page must accompany all theses for approval. Along with text of the
abstract itself, the abstract page must contain a heading, the candidate's names as it
appears on the title page with the last name first, the abbreviation of the degree,
the name of the institution granting the degree, the month and year the degree is
obtained, the title of the thesis (wording and punctuation to agree exactly with the
Title Page) and the name of the major professor.
- Title. This must be the full official title of the thesis. The title
should be a meaningful description of the content of the thesis. Information
retrieval systems use the words in the title to locate theses.
- Candidate's name. Your full name is preferable to the use of initials.
Whatever form you select, use it consistently throughout the thesis.
- Degree. Write out the full name of the degree for which you are a
candidate. Candidates must be very sure that they use the precise degree
name, for example, Master of Science in Chemical Engineering.
- Date. This is determined by the month and year in which you qualify
Place the heading ABSTRACT, in capital letters, centered, without punctuation,
two inches from the top of the page. The rest of the text begins four spaces below the
heading, is double-spaced, and is flush with the left-hand margin. The text of the
abstract should include a statement of the thesis problem, a brief exposition of the
research, and a condensed summary of findings. Remember, the abstract may be used
separate from the main text of the thesis for reference purposes. Therefore, the
abstract should not make reference to any tables or figures nor to other works. Also,
all nonstandard symbols or abbreviations should be defined and the use of equations
should be avoided. The maximum length of the abstract is 350 words not including the
first paragraph as described above. The abstract is neither counted nor numbered.
A dedication is optional. If used, it should be brief and centered on its own page.
No heading is necessary.
Acknowledgments are also optional, but most theses do include a brief statement
of appreciation or recognition of special assistance. If you intend to include
them, place them on their own page with the heading, ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, in capital
letters, centered, without punctuation, two inches from the top of the page. The
text begins four spaces below.
A table of contents is required. The function of a table of contents is to allow the
thesis to be used efficiently. It provides an overview of the thesis' structure and
an index for selective reading of the thesis. All materials following the Table of
Contents are listed in it. No preceding material is listed. The titles of parts,
sections, or chapters, and their principal subdivisions should be listed in the
Table of Contents and must be worded exactly as they appear in the body of the
thesis. The heading TABLE OF CONTENTS, in capital letters, is centered, without
punctuation, two inches from the top of the page. The listing begins at the
left-hand margin four spaces below the heading.
You should list any tables or figures used in the thesis on a separate page. The
listing begins at the left-hand margin four spaces below the heading. The List of
Tables or List of Figures uses exactly the same numbers and captions as appear with
the tables and figures in the text or in the appendices. The heading LIST OF TABLES
or LIST OF FIGURES, in capital letters, is centered, without punctuation two inches
from the top of the page.
If needed in your thesis, place these lists after the Lists of Tables and Figures in
the Preliminaries. Follow a form acceptable to your field of study.
There are no specific requirements of the Graduate Studies Committee for the
internal organization of your text. The requirements are only that you use some
standard scheme of organization and that you use one system consistently throughout
the thesis. The recommendations presented here are not intended to be restrictive.
You can chose your own system, if your major professor agrees.
The Introduction may constitute either the entire first chapter or only the opening
statement of the first chapter. If the introduction is to be included as a separate
chapter, the heading, INTRODUCTION, is the title of the first chapter (or major
division) and its placement is consistent with that of other chapter titles.
If the introduction is included only as an opening statement, it requires no
This is the substance of the thesis, the detailed written statement of your research.
The internal organization of this material into chapters, sections, and subsections
is up to you and your major professor. Divisions and subdivisions should be introduced
by brief descriptive headings which, by variations of format, indicate the relative
importance of the text divisions.
These are usually treated as the last major division of the Text.
The Recommendations section follows the Conclusions only if the subject matter
permits and if you wishe to include it.
There is a wide diversity of content and location of notes in the publications of the
sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. You are strongly encouraged to use
the in-text or parenthetical system of documentation which cites the work by its
designated number in the List of References and relevant paging. Your reference might
look like the following:
. . . The evidence for the theory has been widely
explained [4: 382-383].
Every thesis makes use of other writings, either in direct quotation or by reference.
Your thesis must contain a List of References. Pertinent works that have been consulted
but not specifically cited should be listed under the subheading General References,
and references specifically cited should be listed under the subheading Cited
References.. Place the List of References immediately after the text. See Appendix F.
The references begin with a cover sheet bearing the heading LIST OF REFERENCES, in
capital letters, centered, and without punctuation. This page is neither counted nor
numbered. The heading is repeated on the first page of the LIST OF REFERENCES itself,
two inches from the top, centered, and without punctuation. The list of references
begins four spaces below the heading.
In general, each item consulted in the preparation of the thesis, whether cited
specifically or mentioned in general, should be numbered and listed in an alphabetical
order. The elements are the following: Author(s), Title, Publisher, and Year. The
elements should be given in full form to facilitate easy retrieval by others. Do not
abbreviate any useful data, for example an author's first name if given or the journal
title in full. The List of References is double-spaced. For additional guidance
consult your advisor. See Appendix G for style authorities.
Ulrich, Henri. Introduction to Industrial Polymers. Munchen:
Edwin, G., and Thomas Roddam. Principles of Feedback Design. New
York: Hayden Book Co., 1964.
Colcaser, Roy A., Donald A. Neamen, and Charles F. Hawkins.
Electronic Circuit Analysis: Basic Principles. New York: John
No personal author, list by sponsoring agency
National Semiconductor. Series 32000 Microprocessor Databook. Santa
Clara, Calif.: National Semiconductor, 1988.
Grounds, Preston W. "Numerical Analysis of Finite Frequency
Selective Surfaces with Rectangular Patches of Various Aspect
Ratios." IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation 39
Kohl, M., and J.P. Harrison. "SQUID Magnetometer Designed for High
Temperature Superconductors." Cryogenics 31 (1991): 369-372.
Rao, P. Srinivasa, P.K. Aravindan and K. Ramanjaneyulu. "Buckling
Safety of Cooling tower Shells: Evaluation of Some Important
Code Provisions." ACI Structural Journal 88 (1991): 325-329.
Rabitti, Fausto, Elisa Bertino, Won Kim, and Darrell Woelk. "A Model
of Authorization for Next-generation Database Systems." ACM
Transactions on Database Systems 16 (1991): 88-131.
No author, list by title
"Quality Programs Drive Heat Transfer Technology." Chemical
Engineering 98 (June 1991): 125-126.
Parts of Books
Chang, J., W.F. Filter, G.J. Lockwood, and B.T. Neyer. "Photonic
Methods of High Speed Analog Data Recording." In Proceedings of
the 16th International Congress on High Speed Photography and
Photonics, edited by M. Andre and M. Hugenschmidt, 12-21.
Bellingham, Wash.: SPIE-The International Society for Optical
Article in Book
Locke, Doug. "The Ada Programming Support Environment." In The Ada
Programming Language: A Tutorial, edited by Sabina H. Saib and
Robert E. Fritz, 46-47. New York: IEEE Computer Society, 1983.
Chapter of Book
Brewster, James H. "Assignment of Stereochemical Configuration by
Chemical Methods." Chap. 17 in Elucidation of Organic
Structures by Physical and Chemical Methods, edited by K.W.
Bentley and G.W. Kirby, Part 3. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley-
Conversation or interview
Smith, James A. Interview with author, 3 February 1991.
Hulbert, Samuel F. Letter to author, 21 June 1989.
Lebaric, Jovan. Telephone call with Donald Morin, 2 February 1991.
Acharya, Mukund. "Veiling Glare in the F411 Image Intensifier."
Master's thesis, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 1990.
Internet (WWW, FTP, IRC, etc.)
MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Sources.
Some students will not need to include an Appendix. An appendix contains
supplementary material, not immediately essential to an understanding of the subject.
This section is separated from the preceding material by a cover sheet with the heading
APPENDICES, in capital letters (or if there is only one, APPENDIX), centered, and
without punctuation. This sheet is neither counted nor numbered.
The APPENDICES may be divided into Appendix A, Appendix B, etc., depending on the
kinds and amounts of materials used. These divisions should be treated as first
The letter and title for each Appendix should be shown at the top of the first page
of the individual Appendix. If separate sheets are used for the identification of
individual Appendices, these sheets are numbered and counted. Each Appendix with
its title, if it has one, should be listed separately in the Table of Contents as
a first order subdivision under the heading APPENDICES. See Sample C. Tables and
figures in the Appendices must be numbered and captioned and also listed in the List
of Figures and List of Tables in the opening component. Appendices must meet the
left-hand margin requirement of 1 1/2 inches but not necessarily the requirements
for top, bottom, right-hand margins, and line spacing.
The length of the thesis may necessitate two or more volumes. When more than
one volume is used, the separations should come at the end of major divisions of the
thesis. The Title Page is repeated in each volume and all are identical except for
the word "Volume I," "Volume II," etc., just below the title. The Title Pages of
Volumes II, III, etc., are neither counted nor numbered. All other preliminaries
are in Volume I. In numbering the pages of the text and reference material,
numbering is continuous from Volume I through the end of the last volume.
Your thesis must be typed or printed on one side of 8 1/2 by 11 inch white paper.
The deposit copy must be 25%, or greater, rag content paper. All other copies may be on
regular 20-pound typing paper. Photographic paper may be used only in special
circumstances. See page 22 for information about its use in theses.
Oversized pages up to 11 by 22 1/2 inch are acceptable without special permission
as long as the folded edge is at least 1 1/2 inches from the left edge to permit
unfolding, and the right edge lines up evenly with the standard 8 1/2 by 11 inch
sheets. The page number appears in the upper right-hand corner or in the middle
of the sheet as usual. The use of any sheets larger that 11 by 22 1/2 inches
require consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
---GRAPHIC GOES HERE---
High-speed printer output sheets may be included in the text or the appendices, if
they meet the requirements for paper and margins as stated in this manual. Appendix
sheets do not have to conform to the requirements for top, bottom, and right-hand
margins; however, a 1 1/2 inch margin is still required at the left. Each sheet,
whether included in the text or in the appendices, must have a page number
appropriate to its placement in the thesis.
All text must be rendered using black ribbon or toner which produces sharp, clear
type. Only standard type sizes such as pica, elite, and executive are acceptable,
and only one type face may be used throughout the thesis This type face must have
all characters needed to complete the thesis. This includes upper and lower case
as well as all needed punctuation marks. Italics may be used only when appropriate,
for example when rendering book and journal titles, or foreign terms. For the
generation of symbols or special characters select appropriate software.
Handwritten equations and formulas are not acceptable. Use of any nonstandard
type styles must be approved by the Director of the Library.
The text should be double-spaced throughout with the exception of appendices as
noted above using margins of 1 inch for the top, bottom, and right sides and 1 1/2
inch for the left side. Printing should not extend more than a single line below
the bottom marginline, and then, only to complete the last line of a chapter,
paragraph, subdivision, or figure caption. A new paragraph at the bottom of a
page must have at least two full lines of print, or it should begin the next page.
The page may be shortened to allow this. The last word on the page should not be
hyphenated. The line should be short of the margin and the whole word placed on the
No interlineations or crossing out of letters or words are acceptable. The use of
correcting fluid is not acceptable on the deposit copy.
Page numbers are placed without punctuation 1/2 inch from the top edge of the
sheet, either centered over the text or in the upper right-hand margin. Consistency of
treatment of page numbers is more important than choice of position. The opening
components of the thesis are numbered in consecutive lower case Roman numerals. The
Title Page is considered to be page i, but the number does not appear on the page.
Roman numeral ii appears on the first page following the Title Page and Abstract.
Every page on which any typing or drawing appears has a number except: The Title
Page is counted but not numbered. The abstract page is neither numbered nor counted.
Cover sheets preceding the Bibliography and the Appendices are neither numbered nor
counted. The Text and all Reference pages, including the Appendices are numbered
consecutively in arabic numerals, beginning with 2 on the second page of the text.
In preparing both tables and figures, use a computer wherever possible. Tables or
figures should conform to the same regulations governing the text. If the computer
printout is columnar output to be used in the Appendices, it may be listed with
Appendix letters and headings rather than as tables and figures with numbers and
captions. Regardless of the process used to duplicate the thesis, all tables
and figures, except the photographs, used in the text must be on paper meeting the
Place the whole table or figure, including the caption, on the page within the
prescribed margins. A table or figure too large to fit within margins may be
divided and continued on the following page or pages. Tables or figures which
are slightly oversized may be reduced to fit within the margins. The bottom
of a table or figure usually faces the lower edge of the page on which it appears;
however, if its size and format require horizontal placement, the bottom of the
table or figure faces the outer edge of the page. Tables and figures of a half-page
or less in length should appear on the same page with the text, separated from the
text above and below by triple-spacing. Tables and figures larger than half-page
are better placed on separate sheets. Two or more small tables or figures should
be grouped on a single page. In all cases, tables and figures should follow the
first reference as soon as practical to aid the reader.
Tables and figures are numbered in separate series. Each table and figure,
including any in the Appendices, must have a unique number in its own series. The
numbers in each series must appear in consecutive order in the thesis. Arabic
numerals, with capital and lower case letters for the captions, are used for tables
and figures. To show unique numbering in a thesis in parts, the numbers of Tables
and Figures may be expressed as 1.1, 1.1, 1.3, etc. Tables and Figures in the
Appendices may use numbering such as A1, A2, A3, etc. for each series.
Note : Special systems of numbering may be required by some departments. These should
be reviewed with the Director of Graduate Studies before the thesis is prepared in
The word "Table" (with T capitalized), the table's number and its caption are placed
above the table so that one blank line is left between the bottom line of the caption
and the top line of the table. If any table continues to the following or subsequent
pages, the top line of the page reads, for example, "Table 16, continued." The caption
is not repeated. Leave one blank line before continuing the body of the table.
The word "Figure" (with F capitalized), the figure's number, and its caption are placed
below the figure. Leave one blank line between the bottom edge of the figure and the
word "Figure," its number, and its caption. If any figure continues to the following
or subsequent pages, on the second line below the bottom edge of the figure, type,
for example, "Figure 16, continued." The caption is not repeated.
Every table and figure must have a caption. Together with the number, the caption may
be either centered or may start at the left-hand margin, placed at the top or bottom
of the item. There are two ways of centering: you may center the word Table (or
Figure), the table number, and its caption on one or more lines, or you may center the
word Table or Figure and its number on one line and center the caption on the following
line or lines. Horizontal or vertical position of captions and numbers of tables and
figures is always the same as the positioning of the tables or figures themselves.
Captions should be as short as possible. Caption wording identical to that used above
each table below each figure must be repeated in the List of Tables and the List of
Figures. Capital and lower case letters are preferred for captions. If a lengthy
caption is essential, a brief descriptive statement may be used in the List of Tables
or List of Figures. Use the same statement above table or below figure and end it
with a period. Continue with the needed additional statement. If the caption is
longer than one line, double space between lines. Consistent treatment is required.
Smaller than page-size photographs should be firmly mounted with either
adhesive specially prepared for photographic work or self-adhesive tissue or dry-
mounting tissue. If you are uncertain about the correct material or procedures,
consult the duplicating printing center.
The photographs should be mounted on the same kind of paper used in the thesis
in which they are to appear. [Note : Do not permanently mount photographs before you
obtain thesis approval.] Photographs should not be mounted to obtain thesis approval.
Mount photographs permanently only after the thesis is duplicated. The Deposit Copy
must contain the original photographs. Other copies may also have photographs or Xerox
reproductions as your committee may desire.
Photographs may either be printed photographically on page-size photographic
paper or affixed on page-size paper used in the balance of the thesis for the
If photographs must be marked, it is important and necessary to use India ink.
Typing on the face of glossy prints will not reproduce on microfilm.
We urge you to obtain the advice of the Director of Graduate Studies regarding
the preparation and presentation of all unusual material and to consult your
duplicating service to determine if the duplication of the material is possible
and practical. This is especially true with colored materials.