The Master's Thesis Guide

This document will provide authors with general guidelines and steps to follow in developing and writing a master's thesis. These directions will provide the general guide for all graduate programs at the University. Each discipline, however, has its own style and content arrangement. Since the thesis is a demonstration of the candidate's skill within their discipline, the requirements stated here will only provide for a general common appearance to all Chicago State graduate master's theses and will meet the archival needs of the University Library and of the bindery. If it should prove necessary to violate these guidelines of the Graduate School, please confer not only with your thesis advisor and program director but also with the Dean of the Graduate School prior to submission of the thesis. Since this document represents the Graduate Council's policy statement on theses, the Dean will bring the request for guideline changes made by any student before the council for approval.

Clearly, the style adopted by the discipline dictates the style used for the writing of the thesis. For example, footnoting is not generally used in Psychology (American Psychological Association Style). At the same time, there are some general guides for all to follow:

The pages should include (in this order)

  1. Transmittal Sheet- please click this link for the sheet (master-thesis)
  2. A Title Page
  3. An Approval Sheet
  4. A Preface or Acknowledgments Page
  5. A Table of Contents
  6. An Abstract
  7. The body of the thesis
  8. Reference Pages (bibliography, citations, etc. as dictated by the discipline)
  9. Appendices
  10. A short vita of the author

All theses must use non-sexist language

Thesis are to be double-spaced throughout.

The same kind of paper must be used throughout the entire manuscript.  This includes the preliminary pages, appendices, and vita.  The standard sixe is 8 x 11 inches.  The quality of paper for submission of the final copy of the thesis or dissertation is white, acid free, 25% cotton, and bond, either 20 or 24 pounds.  This type of paper bears a watermark.  No other quality or color of paper will be accepted.  Examples of acceptable papers are Southworth, 25% cotton fiber, fine business paper or Hammermill, 25% cotton, laser bond paper.

All left margins must be 1.5 inches; top, bottom and right hand margin must be 1 inch.

Pages are numbered sequentially using Roman Numerals starting with the Approval Sheet through the Abstract, and then beginning with the body of the thesis through the Vita utilizing Arabic Numerls. The location of the page numbering and any use of headers and/or footer should be determined by the program/discipline specific writing requirements (e.g., APA style, MLA, Chicago, etc.)

When the thesis is finished, the appropriate signatures must be obtained on two forms: the Transmittal and the Approval sheets.   The copy must be accompanied by the Transmittal Sheet.  The signatures on the sheet must be obtained in the order indicated.

Five copies of the thesis must be made. One bound copy must go the Library Archives, one bound copy to the thesis advisor, one bound copy to the Departmental Program Office, one bound copy to the Graduate Studeies Office, and one bound copy for the student. To get the copies bound, take them to the Library Periodicals desk.

Transmittal Sheet

The Transmittal Sheet is an official University document, for internal purposes only, which accomplishes the following:

  • informs all affected parties of the proposed project;
  • documents their knowledge of and support for the proposed project.

The Transmittal Sheet should be completed for all Master's thesis.  The Principal Investigator or Project Researcher (the student submitting the project) is responsible for completing the form and obtaining signatures of the thesis advisor, graduate program director, department chair, dean, as applicable, and other unit signatures or initials as required.

Page TitleThe title page includes (in the indicated order and centered on the page)

  1. Chicago State University should be across the top of the page
  2. The Title in all capital letters (it should be short and concise)
  3. The Statement: A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of XXXXX in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree Master of XXXXXX
  4. Then the word "by"
  5. Then the author's name
  6. Then Chicago, Illinois and the date

Sample Title Page

Chicago State University

ARM EXTENSIONS: A NEW THERAPY FOR TIREDNESS

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Physical

Education in Partial Fulfillment of the 

Requirements of the Degree

Master of Science in Education

by Alfred A. Smart

Chicago, Illinois

May, 1999

Approval Sheet:

This sheet contains the signatures required by the program to certify that your thesis meets the standards set out by your program for a master's thesis.  The signatures should include the thesis advisor and any other members of the department who examined the thesis.  The program director should sign as well as the department chairperson.  The approval sheet should look like this sample below:

Sample Approval Sheet

Approval Sheet

We have examined this manuscript and verify that it meets the program and University 

requirements for the degree of Master of XXXXXXX

________________________________
Anthony D. Professor, Ph.D.         Date
(Thesis Advisor) 

_________________________________
Graduate Program Director, Ph.D.     Date

________________________________
Department Chair, Ph.D.            Date
Department of XXXXXXXXXX

________________________________
Justin K. Akujieze, Ph.D.                 Date
Dean, School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Preface and/or Acknowledgments :

This is the page on which you can thank anyone you want to. Again, use double-spacing.

Table of Contents:

List major divisions of the paper with their associated page numbers.

Then include a List of Illustrations or Figures (optional)

Abstract:

An abstract is a summary of the entire paper. The abstract tells why the thesis was done, any hypotheses that may have been suggested and what the findings and conclusions were. After reading an abstract a reader should be able to decide if they want to read the entire paper to get more details. The abstract should not exceed two double-spaced pages (about 500 words).

Body of Paper :

The body of the paper should be broken up at least into major sections if not chapters. Again, how the paper is divided will depend upon the discipline. Tables, charts, graphs, figures should be inserted in the appropriate places in the body of the text on separate sheets of paper facing the page where they are mentioned. [If they are not at least mentioned in the text they should not be included in the body but could be included in an Appendix if so desired.] They should not be given a page number. Citations must be used to give credit for others ideas. Proper credit must be given for quotations from other works. Quotations should be limited in length and number.

References :

References or footnotes for citations used in the book should be presented as dictated by the discipline specific style. The bibliography presented should only include material that is discussed in the manuscript.

Appendices:

This can include any material that the author wishes to provide for the reader. However, copyrighted materials may not be reproduced here (e.g., standardized tests which may have been used etc.)

Vita:

This is to be an autobiographical sketch of the author. It is to include the authors' full name, location and date of birth. It should also include the author's educational history (schools attended and dates of graduation and degrees if any). Any other relevant experiences or prior employment which is relevant to the educational program should also be included. The vita should not exceed one page and it should come last.