Thesis and Dissertation Formatting


For theses, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute has adopted the APA, parenthetical citation format as implemented by Purdue University as the format for theses and dissertations. For students in departmental or school MS programs (AT, BCM, CGT, CIT and TLI [IT]), additional information may be available on your department's graduate web site.

Formatting Your Thesis

TECH 646 (a required course for most students) assists the student in developing their proposal and therefore covers how to format the thesis or dissertation. Students who are not required to take TECH 646 may use the following guidelines to ensure their thesis or dissertation is acceptably formatted.

Foremost, students should use the University Microsoft Word Thesis template which is available on the graduate school's web site. This template has styles included within it to make formatting less cumbersome. The Graduate School also holds seminars on use of the template and following the formatting requirements.

Students should NOT use the LaTeX format provided by the university. Instead, if a student desires to use LaTeX, they should use the attached template.

Note that there are a few things that the Word template will not do. Even when using the thesis template, students must:


  1. Ensure that they do not use vertical lines in tables.
  2. Properly format captions for tables and figures (including proper italics for each).
  3. Ensure proper tabs for each paragraph and proper hanging indents on references.

Other specifics of the format can be seen in this example document that can be used as a guide for formatting theses and dissertations.

Formatting Review for Theses

Students are required to meet with the their Thesis Format Advisor at least two weeks before they defend their thesis. The last date to meet with the Thesis Advisor for a thesis formatting appointment is two weeks prior to the last day to defend the thesis. A thesis formatting appointment is mandatory. Students who do not meet with the Purdue Polytechnic Thesis Advisor and get the appropriate approval signature on the Form 9 will not graduate at the end of the semester.

Thesis advisors in the Purdue Polytechnic include the following:

Department Advisor To Schedule Appointment Contact
PhD Kathy Newton Debbie Hulsey

The Thesis Formatting Review requires the following steps:

  1. Scheduling the meeting to occur before the thesis/dissertation defense.
  2. Submitting an electronic copy of the thesis via email to the Thesis Advisor two days prior to the review meeting for submission to the iThenticate plagiarism checking software.
  3. Attending the Thesis review meeting.

Note that the thesis format review does not apply to directed projects. Only theses and dissertations are reviewed for format requirements.

Scheduling Formatting Appointment

To make a thesis formatting appointment with the Thesis Advisor, students will need to email the contact shown above. Once the thesis has been approved, the student may schedule a defense. It is recommended that students make an appointment with the thesis advisor as early as possible.

Providing an iThenticate Copy

Two days prior to your scheduled Thesis Advising appointment, you should email a complete copy of your thesis as a single Word or PDF document with no images to your Thesis Advisor. After receiving your document, the Thesis Advisor will submit your electronic document to the iThenticate application to verify there is no plagiarism within the document. At the Thesis Advising appointment you will be able to review the results of the check as well as receive the electronic results.

NOTE: You should bring a USB drive or other storage media with you to the Thesis Advising appoint so that you may receive a copy of the iThenticate results.

Attending the Formatting Appointment

When a student goes to the Thesis Advising meeting, she or he should bring:

  1. A 100% complete, unbound printed copy of the thesis or dissertation.
  2. A digital copy on a USB drive.
  3. At least one copy of the GS Form 9 for Thesis Advisor to sign.

Thesis Pre-review

If a student is in doubt whether their document is formatted correctly, they may email a sample from their thesis to the Thesis Format Advisor for review and comment. “Pre-review” meetings are also a possibility but must occur before the sixth (6th) week of each semester.