UCI Theses and Dissertations Manual - 2. Preparing Your Paper Manuscript

2.1. Introduction

Please keep in mind that your thesis/dissertation is part of your individual permanent academic record. It is also part of the permanent record of scholarship and research undertaken by all graduates of UCI, and it will be permanently accessible to the worldwide community of scholars.

2.1.1. Paper and Electronic (ETD) Submissions

Your manuscript must be neat, clean, legible, and error-free when it is submitted to your committee, as well as to the University Archives, whether in paper or electronically (ETD).

The manuscript that the University Archives approves is considered final; any errors you may discover after the University Archives accepts it can be corrected only when and if you subsequently publish elsewhere.

Use the spell-checker on your word-processing program, but manually proofread your text as well.

In creating each page of your manuscript, avoid (1) hyphenating words at the end of a line, (2) putting the first line of a paragraph as the last line of type on a page, and (3) putting the last line of a paragraph as the first line of type on a page. Also, keep intact all parts of formulas or items in a list, moving them intact to the next page, if necessary, even if such a move results in extra white space at the bottom of the preceding page.

2.1.2. Paper Submissions

The print should be letter quality with dark black characters that are consistently clear and dense.

Because the pages cannot contain lines, smudges, spots, glitches, or shaded backgrounds, some students prefer to use a commercial copy service (copies done on departmental or self-service copy machines are rarely clean enough to meet UCI's quality standard). Many students produce both copies on a laser printer because this method, though more time-consuming, normally provides less problematic results.

Pages must exhibit no visible corrections, strike-overs, crossed-out words or letters, interlineations, or additions inside or outside of the margins. Use of "Liquid Paper" other correction fluids, and type-over correction tape is not allowed.

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2.2. Manuscript Sections

2.2.1. Preliminary Pages Section

Manuscripts normally are composed of three sequential sections: preliminary pages, text, and references. Consult with your committee about the internal arrangement within the text and reference sections.

For margin and pagination requirements, refer to sections 2.6 and 2.8. The preliminary pages require very specific wording, spacing, and layout. Model your pages after the sample pages in section 6.1. and use the exact wording given there.

Only those pages listed below may be included as part of the preliminary pages section, and they must be placed in the order indicated; no other pages are permitted. All are required except the dedication page and the lists of symbols, etc. (the latter is required if applicable).

Title Page

  • Author's name as it appears on official University records.
  • The degree earned; use the wording given in section 6.2., Graduate Degrees Awarded by UCI.
  • The full name of each committee member.
  • The words used in the title of your manuscript are the access points for researchers who may use keyword-searching techniques to identify works in various subject areas. Use word substitutes, not symbols or formulas, to ensure effective retrieval from on-line indexes. Use concise titles containing words descriptive of the work; emphasis should be on nouns, with easily identifiable key words.

Copyright Page

  • If you have previously published parts of your manuscript, you must list the copyright holders; see section 3.2.
  • If a copyright statement is not being included, insert a blank sheet of 100% cotton paper as a substitute. The University Archives strongly recommends that you include a copyright statement; see section 4, Copyrighting your Manuscript.

Dedication Page (Optional)

Table of Contents

  • All sections of the manuscript are listed in the table of contents except the title page, the copyright page, the dedication page, and the table of contents. The sections to be included in the table of contents are: lists of symbols, fugures, tables, and illustrations, acknowledgments, curriculum vitae, abstract, introduction, each chapter, bibliography, and each appendix.
  • Novels and collections of poems are not exempt from the requirement to include a table of contents.

List of Symbols, List of Tables, List of Figures, and List of Illustrations

  • Include a separate page/s for each type of list.
  • Include symbols, tables, figures, and illustrations in the text section only (do not include those in your appendiz/appendices).

Acknowledgments Page

  • You must acknowledge grants and other funding assistance.
  • If you have used copyrighted material of your own or others, you must include a statement to inform the reader that permission has been granted and state the source of the permission.
  • You may also acknowledge the contributions of professors and friends.

Curriculum Vitae (Ph.D.s only)

  • Includes, at minimum, a listing of the author's degrees and educational achievements with dates and the school where the degree was earned.
  • Includes the degree currently being attained.


  • Text is double-spaced.
  • Includes the title, your name, the degree name, the university name and year, and your committee chair's name; all of the above must be consistent with your title page.
  • Contains no more than 250 words for Master's theses or 350 for Ph.D. dissertations.
  • Use indent or flush left at the beginning of paragraphs, depending on the style manual you are following. Include a short statement of the problem you studied; a brief exposition of the methods and procedures employed in gathering the data; and a summary of your findings. No graphs, charts, or tables may be included.

2.2.2. Text Section

  • Introduction or preface.
  • Main body, usually consisting of well-defined subdivisions, i.e., chapters, parts, or their equivalents.
  • Conclusion (may be separate or a part of the main body).

2.2.3. References Section


  • Format the references or bibliography in the style most commonly used in your academic discipline (including the placement of references at the end of each chapter if necessary).


  • List each appendix separately in the table of contents.
  • Tables, figures, charts, or photos placed at the end of the manuscript form an appendix and should not be listed in a list of figures, list of tables, or list of illustrations in your preliminary pages.

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2.3. Length and Thickness

UCI places no limit on the length of your thesis/dissertation. However, for manuscripts submitted on paper, the Library's binding process limits thickness to 2.25" maximum. If your manuscript exceeds that thickness, divide it into two volumes of roughly equivalent thickness; make the split between two chapters. For identification purposes, make one exact copy of your title page and table of contents on 100% cotton paper to include in the second volume.

Remember that your manuscript can be printed only on one side of each manuscript page.

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2.4. Paper Quality and Size

For manuscripts submitted on paper, you must use 8.5" x 11", 20-24 pound, white, 100% cotton bond paper for the final version of the thesis/dissertation. This type of paper is readily available at the UCI Bookstore, as well as at most stationery and copy stores. Erasable bond paper, paper with perforated edges (so-called "tractor-fed" paper), and photocopy (xerographic) paper are unacceptable.

2.4.1. Oversized Materials

Oversized material (e.g., extensive computer program instructions or computer listings, form letters, questionnaires, charts, or any other reprinted materials) should be photo-reduced to fit onto 8.5" x 11'" pages. Reduced copies of graphs, charts, and similar material can be accepted if they are (1) clearly legible and 10-point or larger font; (2) reproduced on a high-quality, high-contrast copying machine and on the same 100% cotton quality paper as that required for the text; and (3) the required allowances for margins and page number location requirements are maintained. You may want to consider using multimedia for some such material. (See section 2.11., Electronic and Audiovisual Appendices).

If your material does not lend itself to reduction, or if reduction to an 8.5" x 11" page necessitates more than a 50% reduction in the image size of the text, you may use 11" x 17" paper. The maximum dimensions of pages which may be bound into the manuscript are 17" by 22" (width by length). If only one dimension of a chart or simliar material is oversized, the other dimension must conform to the size of a regular typewritten page (8.5" x 11").

If you use oversized pages, they must be folded to the 8.5" x 11" manuscript size with pleat-like folds. In order to avoid it's being bound into the spine of the book and therefore not able to be unfolded by the reader, no fold should fall closer than .5" to the left edge of the manuscript.

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2.5. Selecting a Typeface

Be consistent in the use of typeface(s) throughout your manuscript. All text material must be in the same typeface/font; all headings and figure/table titles/captions must be in a consistent typeface.

Any symbols, equations, figures, drawings, diacritical marks, or lines that cannot be typed, and therefore are drawn, must be added in permanent black ink.

2.5.1. Font Size

Each copy of your manuscript made from microfilm will be a photographically reduced version, and the type size will be only two-thirds that of your original. Therefore, it is extremely important that you begin with a type size that is legible.

All fonts used, including those for sub-and superscripts, must be 10-point or larger. Recommended sizes are 14-point for chapter headings, 12-point for the main body of text and figure/table titles, and 10-point for footnotes, sub-and superscripts, and text in figures and tables.

2.5.2. Font Selection

Use a clear, standard font that is highly legible and will reproduce clearly. Ornate or decorative fonts such as script, calligraphy, gothic, italics, or specialized art fonts are not acceptable.

If permitted by your committee, you may (1) use italic type for headings, foreign words, book titles, or occasional emphasis, OR (2) you may use bold-faced or underscored type where appropriate such as in the text of headings and table titles/figure captions. Remember to maintain consistency throughout your manuscript when you use any of these styles.

2.5.3. Typeface Quality

If your manuscript is word-processed and you are submitting your manuscript on paper, printer quality is critical to produce a clean, clear image. You are strongly urged to use a laser printer, as ink jet and line printers generally do not produce fully clear, legible results. Dot matrix-type printers are acceptable only if they have 24-pin print capability or higher. If using dot matrix, it would be prudent to ask the University Archives staff to review sample pages, including any charts, tables, graphs, or figures, well in advance of submitting your final manuscript.

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2.6. Margins

All manuscript text, excluding manuscript page numbers, must fit within these specified margin requirements:


  • 1" from the top, left, right, and bottom edges of the page


Computer printers sometimes alter your margin settings; e.g., a setting of 1.5" may result in a slightly narrower margin. Measure sample printed pages with a ruler and adjust your margin settings accordingly.

Tables, figures, graphs, photographs, and appendices are also included in these margin requirements. Materials may be reduced or enlarged, if necessary, to fit within the required margins.

A Caution: Some photocopy machines enlarge the type size from that of the original. Therefore, when typing your manuscript, stay well within the margin requirements. If you plan to photocopy your manuscript onto 100% cotton paper, run a few sample pages first and measure them carefully with a ruler. If they no longer meet the margin requirements, reduce the image size on the photocopier (e.g., to 95%) so that correct margins are maintained.

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2.7. Spacing and Layout

Your manuscript must be double-spaced, with the exception of footnotes, bibliographic entries, long quotations, data in lists and tables, and figure/table captions, all of which should be single-spaced.

2.7.1. Preliminary pages

The title page, copyright page, dedication page (if used), lists of figures, tables, symbols, or illustrations, acknowledgments page, curriculum vitae (Ph.D.s only) and abstract page have specific spacing and layout requirements. Model your pages after sample pages in section 6.1.

2.7.2. Headings

Establish and follow a consistent pattern for layout of all headings. For example: center all major headings; place secondary headings at least two lines below major headings.

2.7.3. Long Quotations

The format recommended for layout of long quotations is to double space before and after any long quotations used in your main text and to indent all lines in the quoted material at least five spaces from BOTH the left and right margins.

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2.8. Pagination

Every manuscript page except the title page and the copyright page must be numbered.

2.8.1. Preliminary Pages

Number the preliminary pages at the bottom center of the page, in lower-case Roman numerals. The title page is counted in determining the total number of pages in this section but is NOT numbered. The copyright page is not counted or numbered; thus, numbering begins with Roman numeral "ii" on the dedication page (optional) or the first page of the table of contents. The subsequent pages are then numbered consecutively through the end of the abstract.

2.8.2. Text Section

Use Arabic numerals for all pages of the text section. Depending upon the structure of your manuscript, its preface, introduction, or Chapter 1 will be Arabic page 1. Number the subsequent pages consecutively to the end of your manuscript including any appendices and the bibliography. Dashes, periods, underlining, and letter suffixes (e.g.,10a, 10b) are not permitted before, after, or under your page numbers.

You may choose one of two pagination styles for the text and reference sections of the manuscript.

  1. Number all the pages at the bottom center of each page.
  2. Number the first page of each section at the bottom center and all remaining pages of that section in the upper right corner. (The sections are the introduction, each chapter, the bibliography, and each appendix. Endnotes are considered part of their chapter, and not a separate section.)

Check each page before submitting your manuscript to the University Archives to ensure that there are no missing or misnumbered pages.

Page numbers may be manually typed in a different typeface than that used for the text if, for example, it is not possible for your word processing software to place the number correctly, such as when using a landscape-positioned graphic or photographic papers as full pages.

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2.9. Figures and illustrations

2.9.1. Captions and Numbering

Place table numbers and titles above each table, and figure numbers and legends below each figure; if you choose a different pattern, be consistent throughout the manuscript. If space is not available within the margins of your figures/tables page for your caption or title, place it on the page preceding the illustrative material. Include both pages in your consecutive pagination and list the page containing the caption in the list of figures or list of tables (see section 2.2.1., Preliminary Pages Section).

Number all figures and tables sequentially, either by chapter or throughout the entire manuscript. You may use letter suffixes to identify figures or tables (e.g., Table 3a or Figure 12d), but such use should reflect some relational quality among the figures/tables so numbered. Do not add a suffix simply because you add a figure/table at the last moment if its data bears little or no relationship to the figure/table that precedes it.

2.9.2. Photographs and Other Illustrations

Photographs used as pages of the manuscript must conform to the established page size and margin requirements. Light-weight photographic papers are strongly recommended; medium-weight photographic paper may be used if no alternative is available.

Alternatively, photographs printed on photographic paper (no heavier than medium weight) may be mounted with 3M Positional Mounting Tissue/Adhesive or a spray mount (3M Photo Mount or "Perma Mount"), available from photography stores. Mount photographs on the same 100% cotton paper used for the rest of your manuscript. Material may not be attached by using paper clips, staples, adhesive tape (single- or double-sided), or ordinary glue.

Computer-generated photographic pages or photocopied photographic pages produced with a high-quality, high-contrast copy machine (in either black-and-white or color) are acceptable alternatives to photographs. Use the same 100% cotton paper used for the rest of your manuscript, if possible.

For doctoral dissertations, high-contrast black-and-white photographs are recommended, as they produce the best results on microfilm. While color photographs may be used, they will be microfilmed in black and white and are likely to have insufficient contrast to be fully legible on microfilm.

2.9.3. Handwritten Marks

Use only black, permanent, non-smearing ink for handwritten symbols or formulas, drawings, diacritical marks, etc. Black ink images reproduce the best. Blue inks vary widely in their reproducibility, from intense to nonexistent.

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2.10. Footnotes and Endnotes


"Footnotes" appear at the bottom of a page. "Endnotes" appear at the end of each chapter/part or all together after the last chapter/part in the text section. Your committee should be your guide regarding your choice of footnotes or endnotes. If these notes are few in number, and there is only one on any page, you may use an asterisk, instead of a numeral, to designate it. However, if your notes are more numerous, you must number them sequentially throughout your manuscript. You may not mix asterisks with numerals.

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2.11. Electronic and Audiovisual Appendices

Electronic or audiovisual data may be included as appendices in paper submissions. Your committee should agree that the information contained in the appendices is of such a character that a medium other than text is necessary. For paper submissions, electronic or audiovisual data should be submitted as follows. The following media may be utilized:


  • Audiovisual material, such as, slides, videotape, videodisk, compact disk, cassette tape, or audiotape
  • Electronic files, such as floppy disk or compact disk


When including such media as part of your manuscript, when submitting your manuscript on paper, you must submit two copies, each in its own cover or case.

For electronic files, you must also provide sufficient information to enable a reader to select the proper equipment on which to access your data. Instructions must be included in your thesis/dissertation in the section discussing the data and how to use it, and must include the following information:

  • The minimum hardware on which the file will run
  • Software requirements
  • Operating system
  • Amount of memory required
  • Any required or recommended peripherals


Include the electronic or audiovisual appendix in your table of contents. For identification purposes, the label affixed to the media covers or cases must include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Thesis/dissertation title
  • Degree title, followed by the year earned
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Section/chapter of manuscript (e.g. Appendix I)


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2.12. Style Manuals

In most instances, your academic department or discipline should be your guide regarding the style guide most applicable to your thesis/dissertation. You should select the style manual which is most commonly used in your field of study, and you should follow it consistently.

If your department has not designated a style manual, those listed below may be helpful. They are the standards for various broad disciplines and are available in the UCI Libraries and the UCI Bookstore.

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Style Manual). Sixth edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2010.
  • CBE Style Manual Committee. Council of Biology Editors Style Manual: A Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers in the Biological Sciences. Fourth edition, 1978.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style. (Formerly: A Manual of Style). Sixteenth edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
  • Handbook for Authors of Papers in American Chemical Society Publications. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society, 1978.
  • Gibaldi, Joseph. The MLA Style Manual. Third edition. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2008.
  • Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. Sixth edition. Revised and expanded by John Grossman and Alice Bennett. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • Li, Xia, and Nancy B. Crane. Electronic Style: A Guide to Citing Electronic Information. Connecticut: Meckler Publishing, 1993.
On more general matters of style, The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White (fourth edition, 1999), is an excellent guide. The Careful Writer, by Theodore M. Bernstein, also is a good source for common word-selection decisions. For spelling and many usage questions, use a dictionary (e.g., Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary). In addition, your discipline may have its own dictionary (e.g., the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Science and Engineering).


Many common manuscript problems involve punctuation. Strunk and White's The Elements of Style and The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition) are excellent sources for correct usage. Two basic guidelines are:

  • When using double or single quotation marks, place commas or periods inside the ending quotation mark. Place colons and semicolons outside the ending quotation mark.
  • The term "et al." requires a period after "al." The terms "e.g." and "i.e." include two periods and are followed by a comma, unless they appear at the end of a sentence.

[3. Using Copyrighted Material]