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Does Dedication Go Dissertation

Thesis and Dissertation Guide

Front Matter

The front matter consists of:

  1. Title Page
  2. Journal Page (optional)
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Abstract
  5. Acknowledgments (optional)
  6. Dedication (optional)
  7. List of Tables
  8. List of Figures
  9. Other lists (such as nomenclature or symbols, when necessary)
  • Front pages are paginated separately from the rest of the text using lower-case Roman numerals at the bottom of these pages.
  • The Title page is page i but is not numbered. It should not be included in the Table of Contents.
  • Begin numbering with the Table of Contents, page iii. Continue using the lower-case Roman numerals up to the first page of the text (page 1 of Chapter 1 or Introduction). Specific requirements and examples for each part of the front matter follow.
  • How to set tab leaders in Microsoft Word:
  • Format Tabs:
    • Set tab position at 0", alignment left, leader #1 (none), click Set
    • Set tab position at 6.5", alignment right, leader #2 (dots), click Set

Title Page (see examples)

Follow exactly the sample Title Page. Proper spacing and arrangement are clearly indicated.

  • Margins: left, right, top, and bottom 1"
  • Typeface and size: consistent with text
  • No underlining, boldface, or italics (exception: names of species, genera, or book titles; may be underlined or italicized)
  • Center material between the proper margins
  • Thesis title (line 3): ALL CAPS, single-spaced
  • Title length: 15 words or fewer (105 characters or fewer)
  • Only approved abbreviations are allowed in the title (consult the Graduate School)
  • Name (line 8): capitalize as shown
  • Statement: begin first line of statement on line 13; capitalize as shown; do not alter words per line
  • Department (line 19): capitalize as shown
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington (line 21): capitalize as shown
  • Year (line 23)
  • Approved by (line 26): capitalize as shown
  • Advisory committee (line 29): capitalize as shown
  • Signature lines: begin on line 32; flush first line with left margin; second line, equal with the right margin. All Signature lines should be the same length, 2.5 inches long.
  • Accepted by (line 39): capitalize as shown
  • Signature line for dean (line 42): center "Dean, Graduate School" directly under signature line; capitalize as shown
  • Committee members names should be typed and underlined
  • If you have four or more committee members, please contact the Graduate School for guidance in formatting the signature lines
  • Do not paginate the title page
  • Do not include line numbers, on submitted copies

Table of Contents (see example)

The Table of Contents introduces the reader to your text, indicating its contents, organization, and progression. This key to your paper should make access easy, not overwhelm the reader with a detailed index of the contents. The arrangement shown in the sample Table of Contents works well for most theses, with minor adjustments for the style of chapter numbers or heading levels. All theses require a Table of Contents. The following list of requirements is very important- -the format advisor will check carefully to see that you have met each of them.

  • Margins: left, right, top, and bottom 1"
  • Typeface, size and style: consistent with text
  • No underlining, boldface, or italics (exception: names of species, genera, or book titles; may be underlined or italicized)
  • Entries need not be made for every heading in your text: decide which headings (e.g., chapter titles, 1st, and 2nd level headings) will convey the structure and contents of your paper, then follow your scheme consistently for each chapter.
  • Most students include the first 3 levels of headings. Note: if you choose to include a level, you must list every heading at that level in the Table of Contents.
  • Entries must be consistent, in both style and substance, with headings as they appear in the text (wording, capitalization, style of numerals, etc.)
  • Abbreviation: you may abbreviate a lengthy heading for its entry here, but do not paraphrase it; the entry must match the heading exactly up to the point where you abbreviate
  • Length: may run more than one page; do not type "continued" at the top of second page each entry should have tab leaders with numbers aligned correctly
  • Page Number: iii (and iv, if the Table of Contents runs to 2 pages), centered at ½ inch from the bottom of the page

Abstract (see examples)

  • The abstract should be a succinct summary of the aims, methods, conclusions or results, and significance of your study. The sample abstracts provide models for format and style.
  • Margins: left, right, top, and bottom 1"
  • Typeface and size: consistent with text
  • No underlining, boldface, or italics (exception: names of species, genera, or book titles may be underlined or italicized)
  • Center the word Abstract between the proper margins
  • Double-space
  • Length: 350 words, maximum (some abstracts within the limit will still run to two pages
  • Do not include citations or references
  • Page number: iv, centered ½" from the bottom of the page (and v, if the abstract runs to 2 pages)

Acknowledgments and Dedication (see examples)

These are optional pages, although most theses include a brief paragraph acknowledging the contributions of committee members and others who helped the student complete the research. The Dedication and the Acknowledgements should be separate, single pages. If you decide to include these pages, you must maintain a professional tone.

  • Margins: left, right, top, and bottom 1"
  • Typeface and size: consistent with text
  • No underlining, boldface, or italics
  • Double-space
  • Page number: place the lower case Roman numerals ½" from the bottom of the page. If the last page of the Abstract is iv, the Acknowledgments page will be v and the Dedication page vi.

List of Tables(see example) and Figures (see example)

Obviously, only theses that use tables and figures require these lists. Both lists follow essentially the same format, which resembles the Table of Contents. Again, the following samples provide models that are easy to read and work well for any thesis.

  • Margins: left, right, top, and bottom 1"
  • Typeface and size: consistent with text
  • No underlining, boldface, or italics (exception: names of species, genera, statistical abbreviations, or book titles may be underlined or italicized)
  • Order: the List of Tables precedes the List of Figures
  • Make entries for every table title and figure caption
  • Entries must be consistent, both in style and in substance, with the titles and captions as they appear in the text (wording, capitalization, style of numerals, etc.)
  • Abbreviation: you may abbreviate lengthy titles or captions, but do not paraphrase them; the entry must match the title or caption exactly up to the point where you abbreviate
  • Length: either list may run to several pages; do not type "continued" at the top of second and subsequent pages
  • Page number(s): number consecutively from the last page of the Acknowledgements or Dedication (if present), centering between the proper margins the Roman numerals ½" from the bottom of the page

Other Lists

Lists other than the Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures may include the Nomenclature, List of Symbols, Definitions or Glossary, or similar lists. Discuss with your committee the need for such lists, decide upon the proper title, and then choose a clearly organized format. Once the format is chosen, follow it consistently.

Back to Organization

Go to Body/Formatting

Acknowledgements and Dedication Pages: A Guide for Capstone Writers

My post today applies specifically to capstone writers – more specifically, to capstone writers who are finishing their dissertations and doctoral studies. Today, I address the Dedication and Acknowledgements pages of the capstone document.

The Dedications and Acknowledgements pages are optional pages, which appear in the preliminary section of the capstone document before the text. They are inserted after the title page and before the Table of Contents. They provide a space for capstone writers to personally thank family members, friends, committee members, mentors, and others who have contributed, in some way, to a student’s research and academic development.

Today, I want to offer my editor’s perspective on how students might approach composing these pages should they wish to include them in their studies. As someone who edits capstone studies on a daily basis for form and style, I hope I can offer helpful insight about how to ensure that these pages are correctly formatted and convey appropriate scholarly voice.


To ensure that these pages are correctly formatted, you will want to use the template for your program. It is very important that you work from the most up-to-date template. These can be accessed by clicking on the Programs page of the Doctoral Capstone Form and Style website. Here, you can also watch a quick Template Demonstration Video for a quick overview of how to work with your program template.

The templates include ready-made pages for the Dedication and Acknowledgements, which are correctly formatted per template formatting specifications. You can either copy your text to these pages or compose your text in the space provided. You will notice that the Dedication and Acknowledgements headings are formatted as APA Level 0 (i.e., they are centered, in upper and lowercase, and in regular not bold typeface).

Also, the text is formatted as a paragraph (i.e., the first line of each paragraph is indented five spaces) and should look the same as those in the rest of your document. Lines should be double-spaced, and the font and font size should be consistent with what is used within your document. (APA recommends use of 12 point type in Times New Roman typeface.) These pages are not paginated.


Regarding content, when reviewing these pages, I do line edit them for grammar and APA style. I recognize, however, that these pages are intended to provide a personal space for students to convey very individual information. There are no program guidelines, for instance, for this content.

I do encourage students to be precise, concise, professional, and respectful in writing these pages. While the content is more personal and intimate than that in the text, it should still be in accord with APA values (namely, scholarly voice and economy of expression), in my opinion. I think it is as important to avoid biased language in the Acknowledgements page as it is in the text. Similarly, I encourage students to be as precise as possible and avoid unnecessary words just as they do in the text.

Composing the Dedication and Acknowledgements in this way will help ensure that the overall document has consistency in terms of content and appearance. It will also help to reinforce a polished, professional image for its author. An Acknowledgements section that is rambling or unfocused or which includes what might be seen as personal attacks will likely detract from the desired professional and scholarly image that most students want to cultivate. Remember that these pages will be accessible to anyone who downloads your study, perhaps years from now.

When composing these pages, take care not to compromise the confidentiality of your study site and research participants or violate a signed confidentiality agreement. Walden strongly recommends that students not name their study sites, even if they have written permission to do so, in their capstone studies. This recommendation is rooted in a concern for protecting participants’ privacy. To avoid this issue, consider using a general descriptor if you wish to acknowledge your participants and its personnel – for example, “I wish to thank my interviewees and staff members at my research setting for their participation and assistance.” See the Doctoral Capstone Form and Style website for more information on confidentiality in the capstone document.

Hopefully, my thoughts are helpful to students as they write or revise these pages of their studies. Keep up the good work!

Tara Kachgal is a dissertation editor in the Walden University Writing Center. She has a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and teaches for the School of Government's online MPA@UNC program. She resides in Chapel Hill and, in her spare time, serves as a mentor for her local running store's training program.

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