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Masters Theses: FAQ for Writers

For information on dates and procedures, please consult the Office of Graduate and Special Programs Thesis Information page.

Master's Thesis Guidelines

The following guidelines have been composed by the staff of the Libraries to assist the student in preparing the manuscript of a master's thesis. These guidelines and related policies are subject to change.


Each candidate is encouraged to make an appointment at the start of their research with a librarian or archivist to discuss library research methods.  To request an appointment, see the contact information in the sidebar to this page.  

Any candidate requiring photographic services should consult with the Libraries' photographer (585-2957) at least eight weeks before the deadline for manuscript submission.

To ensure proper preparation and preservation of other media materials (audio, video, film, computer disks, etc.), the candidate must consult with the Learning, Research & Technology group at (413) 585-2954, as early as possible. 

Deadline and Submission of Manuscript

The Smith College Libraries are responsible for cataloging, access and preservation of all Smith College master's theses. Each candidate is responsible for the submission of  two copies of the thesis (one Word document and one pdf) which must be submitted online to the Office of Graduate and Special Programs by the last day of examinations. An additional copy should be submitted directly to the thesis director before the last day of classes.

Students must also submit a signed permission form, in order to make their thesis available to the Smith community. The completed form should be sent to Mary Lou Bouley, Collection Services, Neilson Library. The Smith College Libraries, as holders of the official record copies of the thesis, will permit public access to it via the Smith ScholarWorks institutional repository, and/or circulating the original through interlibrary loan. No copies, beyond ones for replacement or preservation will be made without permission of the author.

Manuscript Preparation: Format

Style Manuals: Before beginning manuscript preparation, each student should consult with his or her advisor concerning the proper style to be used. Some departments may wish to use the style sheets issued by the principal journal or society of the discipline, although the latest edition of the following guides will answer most questions:

    American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

    Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

    Li, Xia and Crane, Nancy B. Electronic Style: A Guide to Citing Electronic Information.

    Turabian, Kate. Manual for Writers of Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

    University of Chicago. Chicago Manual of Style.

These guides are available in the libraries. Also see the Libraries' online Citation Guides page.

Note that the style manuals listed above are more reliable guides to correct format than are older theses.

Page Format: Text should be formatted for 8½ x 11 inch sheets. Margins must be 1½ inches on the left and 1 inch on the right, top, and bottom. Typefaces should be either 10 or 12 characters per inch and consistent throughout the manuscript. All text should be double-spaced except for Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, lengthy tables, quotations, and footnotes. All equations and formulas should be typed rather than handwritten.

Title Page: Go to Smith ScholarWorks to browse or search for examples:  Masters Theses

The title page of all master's theses should follow the sample below.

Sample Title Page

mock-up of Masters Thesis title page