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Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019

So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.

To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .

Dissertation structure and layout - the basics

*The Caveat *

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).

So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.  

Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis

  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents , list of figures and tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list

As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:

  • The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
  • The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
  • The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
  • The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .

In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.

Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.

The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:

  • Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
  • Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)

Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:

  • The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or  mixed methods ).

For example:

A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].

Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).

Dissertations stacked up


This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.

So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:

  • Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
  • Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
  • Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
  • Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .

For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):

  • Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
  • Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
  • Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
  • Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?

So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.

In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .

Need a helping hand?

index in dissertation

Table of contents

This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:

If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.

Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
  • Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
  • What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
  • How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
  • How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?

These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.

If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.

Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:

  • What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
  • Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
  • How does your research contribute something original?
  • How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Dissertation writing

Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…

In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:

  • Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.

In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!

You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.

Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.

Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).

What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.

Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.

The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).

Dissertation and thesis prep

Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings? In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?

Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!

This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.

It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:

Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.

The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.

Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!

Time to recap…

And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:

  • Acknowledgments page

Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the  Grad Coach Blog .

index in dissertation

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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Dissertation and thesis defense 101



many thanks i found it very useful

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.


Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!


what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much


Thanks so much this helped me a lot!

Ade Adeniyi

Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.

Thanks Ade!


Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..

You’re welcome!

Jp Raimundo

Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?

Karmelia Renatee

Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment

You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.


best ever benefit i got on right time thank you

Krishnan iyer

Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .

I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these

You have given immense clarity from start to end.

Alwyn Malan

Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?


Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!

yemi Amos

Thanks ! so concise and valuable

Kgomotso Siwelane

This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.

dauda sesay

Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.

Patrick Mwathi

Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times

Adao Bundi

Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.


Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills

mwepu Ilunga

Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear


Very nice and easy to understand. Thank you .

Chrisogonas Odhiambo

That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!


My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!


Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?

It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂


Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!

Simon Le

Great video; I appreciate that helpful information

Brhane Kidane

It is so necessary or avital course


This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you


Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates

Emmanuel Manjolo

wow this is an amazing gain in my life

Paul I Thoronka

This is so good

Tesfay haftu

How can i arrange my specific objectives in my dissertation?


  • What Is A Literature Review (In A Dissertation Or Thesis) - Grad Coach - […] is to write the actual literature review chapter (this is usually the second chapter in a typical dissertation or…

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How to Create the Best Table of Contents for a Dissertation

Published by Owen Ingram at August 12th, 2021 , Revised On September 20, 2023

“A table of contents is an essential part of any article, book, proceedings, essay , and paper with plenty of information. It requires providing the reader’s guidance about the position of the content.”

When preparing a  dissertation , you may cram as much information into it as appropriate. The dissertation may be an extremely well-written one with a lot of valuable information to offer. Still, all that information could become perplexing if the reader cannot easily find the information.

The length of dissertations usually varies from a few pages to a few hundred pages, making it very difficult to find information that you may be after.

Instead of skimming through every page of the dissertation, there is a need for a guideline that directs the reader to the correct section of the dissertation and, more importantly, the correct page in the section.

Also read:   The List of Figures and Tables in the Dissertation .

What is the Table of Contents in the Dissertation?

The table of contents is the section of a dissertation that guides each section of the dissertation paper’s contents.

Depending on the detail level in a table of contents, the most useful headings are listed to provide the reader concerning which page the said information may be found.

The table of contents is essentially a list found at the beginning of a  dissertation , which contains names of the chapters, section titles and/or very brief descriptions, and page numbers indicated for each.

This allows the reader to look at the table of contents to locate the information needed from the dissertation. Having an effective table of contents is key to providing a seamless reading experience to the reader.

Here in this article, we will uncover every piece of information you need to know to write the dissertation’s abstract.

This article helps the readers on how to create the best table of contents for the dissertation. An important thing to note is that this guide discusses creating a table of contents in Microsoft Word.

Looking for dissertation help?

Researchprospect to the rescue then.

We have expert writers on our team who are skilled at helping students with dissertations across a variety of disciplines. Guaranteeing 100% satisfaction!

quantitative dissertation

Styles for Dissertation Table of Contents

Making an effective table of contents starts with identifying headings and designating styles to those headings.

Using heading styles to format your headings can save a lot of time by automatically converting their formatting to the defined style and serves as a tool to identify the heading and its level, used later when creating a thesis table of contents .

Each heading style already has predefined sizes, fonts, colours, spacing, etc. but can be changed as per the user’s requirements. This also helps once all headings have been created and you intend to change the style of a certain type of heading.

All that is needed to change the style of a type of heading is automatically reflected on all headings that use the style.

Below is how the styles menu looks like;


To allocate a style to a heading, first select a heading and then click on one of the styles in the ‘Styles’ menu. Doing so converts the selected heading to the style that is selected in the Styles menu.

You can style a similar heading level in the same style by selecting each heading and then clicking on the style in the Style menu.

It is important to note that it greatly helps and saves time if you allocate styles systematically, i.e., you allocate the style as you write.

The styles are not limited to headings only but can be used for paragraphs and by selecting the whole paragraph and applying a style to it.

Changing Appearance of Pre-Defined Styles

To change the appearance of a style to one that suits you,

  • You would need to right-click on one of the styles to open a drop-down menu.


  • Select ‘Modify’ from the menu. This would display a window with various formatting and appearance options. You can select the most appropriate ones and click ‘OK.’ The change that you made to the style reflects on all headings or paragraphs that use this style.


Further changes can be made to headings, but using styles is an important step for creating the table of contents for the thesis. Once this step is completed, you can continue to create a thesis table of contents.

Also Read:  What is Appendix in Dissertation?

Things to Consider when Making APA Style Table of Contents

  • The pages before the body of the dissertation, known as the ‘Prefatory Pages,’ should not have page numbers on them but should be numbered in the Roman Numerals instead as (i, ii, iii…).
  • Table of Contents and the Abstract pages are not to contain any numbers.
  • The remaining pages would carry the standard page numbers (1,2,3…).
  • The section titles and page numbers in the dissertation table of contents should have dotted lines between them.
  • All the Prefatory pages, Sections, Chapter Titles, Headings, Sub Headings, Reference Sections, and Appendices should be listed in the contents’ thesis table. If there are a limited number of Tables or Figures, they may be listed in the dissertation’s table contents.
  • If there are many figures, tables, symbols, or abbreviations, a List of Tables, List of Figures , List of Symbols, and List of Abbreviations should be made for easy navigation. These lists, however, should not be listed in the thesis table of contents.
  • The thesis/dissertation must be divided into sections even if it is not divided into chapters, with all sections being listed in the table of contents for the thesis.

Generating Dissertation Table of Contents

First, to generate the Table of Contents, start by entering a blank page after the pages you need the table of contents to follow.

  • To do so, click on the bottom of the page you want before the Table of Contents.
  • Open the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘Page Break’.
  • This will create a page between the top and bottom sections of the Table of Contents area.


By the time you reach this section, you would have given each heading or sub-heading a dedicated style, distinguishing between different types of headings. Microsoft Word can automatically generate a Table of Contents, but the document, particularly the headings, needs to be formatted according to styles for this feature to work. You can assign different headings levels, different styles for Microsoft Word to recognize the level of heading.

How to Insert Table of Contents

  • Place the cursor where you want to place the Table of Contents on the page you added earlier.
  • On the ‘References’ tab, open the Table of Contents group. This would open a list of different Table of Contents designs and a  table of contents sample.


  • You can select an option from the available Table of Contents or make a Custom Table of Contents. Although the available Table of Contents samples is appropriate, you may use a custom table of contents if it is more suitable to your needs. This allows you to modify different formatting options for the Table of Contents to satisfy your own


Updating the Table of Contents

As you proceed with editing your dissertation, the changes cause the page numbers and headings to vary. Often, people fail to incorporate those changes into the Table of Contents, which then effectively serves as an incorrect table and causes confusion.

It is thus important to update the changes into the table of contents as the final step once you have made all the necessary changes in the dissertation and are ready to print it.

These changes may alter the length of the  thesis table of contents , which may also cause the dissertation’s formatting to be altered a little, so it is best to reformat it after updating the table of contents.

To update the table of contents,

  • Select ‘Update Table’ in the References tab.
  • This would open a dialogue box. Select ‘Update Entire Table’ to ensure that all changes are reflected in the contents table and not just the page numbers. This would display all changes and additions you have made to the document (Anon., 2017).

Using this guide, you should understand how to create the best table of contents for the dissertation. The use of a Table of Contents, while being important for most written work, is even more critical for dissertations, especially when the proper methodology of creating the table of contents is followed.

This includes the guidelines that must be considered to correctly format the table of contents so that it may be shaped so that it follows the norms and is effective at helping the reader navigate through the content of the dissertation.

The use of Microsoft Word’s Table of Contents generation feature has greatly helped people worldwide create, edit, and update the table of contents of their dissertations with ease.

Here in this article, we will uncover every piece of information you need to know  how to write the dissertation’s abstract .

Are you in need of help with dissertation writing? At ResearchProspect, we have hundreds of Master’s and PhD qualified writers for all academic subjects, so you can get help with any aspect of your dissertation project. You can place your order for a proposal ,  full dissertation paper , or  individual chapters .

Is it essential to add a table of content to the dissertation?

Yes, it is important to add a table of content in a dissertation .

How to make an effective table of contents for the dissertation?

Using heading styles to format your headings can save a lot of time by automatically converting their formatting to the defined style and serves as a tool to identify the heading and its level, used later when creating a thesis table of contents.

How do I update the table of contents?

You may also like.

If your dissertation includes many abbreviations, it would make sense to define all these abbreviations in a list of abbreviations in alphabetical order.

This brief introductory section aims to deal with the definitions of two paradigms, positivism and post-positivism, as well as their importance in research.

A literature review is a survey of theses, articles, books and other academic sources. Here are guidelines on how to write dissertation literature review.






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How to Write an Index

Last Updated: January 25, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,000,390 times.

An index is an alphabetical list of keywords contained in the text of a book or other lengthy writing project. It includes pointers to where those keywords or concepts are mentioned in the book—typically page numbers, but sometimes footnote numbers, chapters, or sections. The index can be found at the end of the work, and makes a longer nonfiction work more accessible for readers, since they can turn directly to the information they need. Typically you'll start indexing after you've completed the main writing and research. [1] X Research source

Preparing Your Index

Step 1 Choose your indexing source.

  • Typically, if you index from a hard copy you'll have to transfer your work to a digital file. If the work is particularly long, try to work straight from the computer so you can skip this extra step.

Step 2 Decide what needs to be indexed.

  • If footnotes or endnotes are merely source citations, they don't need to be included in the index.
  • Generally, you don't need to index glossaries, bibliographies, acknowledgements, or illustrative items such as charts and graphs.
  • If you're not sure whether something should be indexed, ask yourself if it contributes something substantial to the text. If it doesn't, it typically doesn't need to be indexed.

Step 3 List cited authors if necessary.

  • In most cases, if you have a "works cited" section appearing at the end of your text you won't need to index authors. You would still include their names in the general index, however, if you discussed them in the text rather than simply citing their work.

Step 4 Create index cards for entries if you’re indexing by hand.

  • For example, if you're writing a book on bicycle maintenance, you might have index cards for "gears," "wheels," and "chain."
  • Put yourself in your reader's shoes, and ask yourself why they would pick up your book and what information they would likely be looking for. Chapter or section headings can help guide you as well.

Step 5 Use nouns for the main headings of entries.

  • For example, a dessert cookbook that included several types of ice cream might have one entry for "ice cream," followed by subentries for "strawberry," "chocolate," and "vanilla."
  • Treat proper nouns as a single unit. For example, "United States Senate" and "United States House of Representatives" would be separate entries, rather than subentries under the entry "United States."

Step 6 Include subentries for entries with 5 or more pointers.

  • Stick to nouns and brief phrases for subentries, avoiding any unnecessary words.
  • For example, suppose you are writing a book about comic books that discusses Wonder Woman's influence on the feminist movement. You might include a subentry under "Wonder Woman" that says "influence on feminism."

Step 7 Identify potential cross references.

  • For example, if you were writing a dessert cookbook, you might have entries for "ice cream" and "sorbet." Since these frozen treats are similar, they would make good cross references of each other.

Formatting Entries and Subentries

Step 1 Confirm the style and formatting requirements.

  • The style guide provides specifics for you in terms of spacing, alignment, and punctuation of your entries and subentries.

Step 2 Use the correct punctuation.

  • For example, an entry in the index of a political science book might read: "capitalism: 21st century, 164; American free trade, 112; backlash against, 654; expansion of, 42; Russia, 7; and television, 3; treaties, 87."
  • If an entry contains no subentries, simply follow the entry with a comma and list the page numbers.

Step 3 Organize your entries in alphabetical order.

  • People's names typically are listed alphabetically by their last name. Put a comma after the last name and add the person's first name.
  • Noun phrases typically are inverted. For example, "adjusting-height saddle" would be listed in an index as "saddle, adjusting-height." [8] X Research source

Step 4 Fill in subentries.

  • Avoid repeating words in the entry in the subentries. If several subentries repeat the same word, add it as a separate entry, with a cross reference back to the original entry. For example, in a dessert cookbook you might have entries for "ice cream, flavors" and "ice cream, toppings."
  • Subentries typically are listed alphabetically as well. If subentry terms have symbols, hyphens, slashes, or numbers, you can usually ignore them.

Step 5 Capitalize proper names.

  • If a proper name, such as the name of a book or song, includes a word such as "a" or "the" at the beginning of the title, you can either omit it or include it after a comma ("Importance of Being Earnest, The"). Check your style guide for the proper rule that applies to your index, and be consistent.

Step 6 Include all page numbers for each entry or subentry.

  • When listing a series of pages, if the first page number is 1-99 or a multiple of 100, you also use all of the digits. For example, "ice cream: vanilla, 100-109."
  • For other numbers, you generally only have to list the digits that changed for subsequent page numbers. For example, "ice cream: vanilla, 112-18."
  • Use the word passim if references are scattered over a range of pages. For example, "ice cream: vanilla, 45-68 passim . Only use this if there are a large number of references within that range of pages.

Step 7 Add cross references with the phrase “See also.”

  • Place a period after the last page number in the entry, then type See also in italics, with the word "see" capitalized. Then include the name of the similar entry you want to use.
  • For example, an entry in an index for a dessert cookbook might contain the following entry: "ice cream: chocolate, 4, 17, 24; strawberry, 9, 37; vanilla, 18, 25, 32-35. See also sorbet."

Step 8 Include “See” references to avoid confusion.

  • For example, a beginning cyclist may be looking in a manual for "tire patches," which are called "boots" in cycling terms. If you're writing a bicycle manual aimed at beginners, you might include a "see" cross reference: "tire patches, see boots."

Editing Your Index

Step 1 Use the

  • You'll also want to search for related terms, especially if you talk about a general concept in the text without necessarily mentioning it by name.

Step 2 Simplify entries to suit your readers.

  • If you have any entries that are too complex or that might confuse your readers, you might want to simplify them or add a cross reference.
  • For example, a bicycle maintenance text might discuss "derailleurs," but a novice would more likely look for terms such as "gearshift" or "shifter" and might not recognize that term.

Step 3 Include descriptions of subentries where helpful.

  • For example, you might include an entry in a dessert cookbook index that read "ice cream, varieties of: chocolate, 54; strawberry, 55; vanilla, 32, 37, 56. See also sorbet."

Step 4 Trim or expand your index as needed.

  • Generally, an entry should occur on two or three page numbers. If it's only found in one place, you may not need to include it at all. If you decide it is necessary, see if you can include it as a subentry under a different entry.
  • For example, suppose you are indexing a dessert cookbook, and it has ice cream on two pages and sorbet on one page. You might consider putting these together under a larger heading, such as "frozen treats."

Step 5 Check your index for accuracy.

  • You may want to run searches again to make sure the index is comprehensive and includes as many pointers as possible to help guide your readers.

Step 6 Proofread your entries.

  • Make sure any cross references match the exact wording of the entry or entries they reference.

Step 7 Set the final dimensions.

  • Indexes are typically set in 2 columns, using a smaller font than that used in the main text. Entries begin on the first space of the line, with the subsequent lines of the same entry indented.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

  • If creating an index seems like too large of a task for you to complete on your own by the publisher's deadline, you may be able to hire a professional indexer to do the work for you. Look for someone who has some knowledge and understanding about the subject matter of your work. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make the index as clear and simple as you can. Readers don't like looking through a messy, hard-to-read index. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

index in dissertation

  • If you're using a word processing app that has an indexing function, avoid relying on it too much. It will index all of the words in your text, which will be less than helpful to readers. [15] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

An index is an alphabetical list of keywords found in a book or other lengthy writing project. It will have the chapters or page numbers where readers can find that keyword and more information about it. Typically, you’ll write your index after you’ve completed the main writing and research. In general, you’ll want to index items that are nouns, like ideas, concepts, and things, that add to the subject of the text. For example, a dessert cookbook might have an entry for “ice cream” followed by subentries for “strawberry,” “chocolate,” and “vanilla.” To learn how to format your index entries, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between a glossary and an index.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organised by page number.

Frequently asked questions: Dissertation

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

  • Researchability
  • Feasibility and specificity
  • Relevance and originality

The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.

In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.

Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.

The abstract appears on its own page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis or paper.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarises the contents of your paper.

A theoretical framework can sometimes be integrated into a  literature review chapter , but it can also be included as its own chapter or section in your dissertation . As a rule of thumb, if your research involves dealing with a lot of complex theories, it’s a good idea to include a separate theoretical framework chapter.

A literature review and a theoretical framework are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work, a literature review critically evaluates existing research relating to your topic. You’ll likely need both in your dissertation .

While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work based on existing research, a conceptual framework allows you to draw your own conclusions, mapping out the variables you may use in your study and the interplay between them.

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organise your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation, such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review, research methods, avenues for future research, etc.)

Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.

Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:

  • Your instructor requires one, or
  • Your paper is a group project

In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation goes first, before all other content or lists that you may choose to include.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation should include your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.

Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.

Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.

However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.

APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures .

A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents, and are presented in a similar way.

A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found.

Copyright information can usually be found wherever the table or figure was published. For example, for a diagram in a journal article , look on the journal’s website or the database where you found the article. Images found on sites like Flickr are listed with clear copyright information.

If you find that permission is required to reproduce the material, be sure to contact the author or publisher and ask for it.

Lists of figures and tables are often not required, and they aren’t particularly common. They specifically aren’t required for APA Style, though you should be careful to follow their other guidelines for figures and tables .

If you have many figures and tables in your thesis or dissertation, include one may help you stay organised. Your educational institution may require them, so be sure to check their guidelines.

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Please note that the shorter your deadline is, the lower the chance that your previous editor is not available.

If your previous editor isn’t available, then we will inform you immediately and look for another qualified editor. Fear not! Every Scribbr editor follows the  Scribbr Improvement Model  and will deliver high-quality work.

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Because we have many editors available, we can check your document 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, all year round.

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Yes! Our editors are all native speakers, and they have lots of experience editing texts written by ESL students. They will make sure your grammar is perfect and point out any sentences that are difficult to understand. They’ll also notice your most common mistakes, and give you personal feedback to improve your writing in English.

Every Scribbr order comes with our award-winning Proofreading & Editing service , which combines two important stages of the revision process.

For a more comprehensive edit, you can add a Structure Check or Clarity Check to your order. With these building blocks, you can customize the kind of feedback you receive.

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When you place an order, you can specify your field of study and we’ll match you with an editor who has familiarity with this area.

However, our editors are language specialists, not academic experts in your field. Your editor’s job is not to comment on the content of your dissertation, but to improve your language and help you express your ideas as clearly and fluently as possible.

This means that your editor will understand your text well enough to give feedback on its clarity, logic and structure, but not on the accuracy or originality of its content.

Good academic writing should be understandable to a non-expert reader, and we believe that academic editing is a discipline in itself. The research, ideas and arguments are all yours – we’re here to make sure they shine!

After your document has been edited, you will receive an email with a link to download the document.

The editor has made changes to your document using ‘Track Changes’ in Word. This means that you only have to accept or ignore the changes that are made in the text one by one.

It is also possible to accept all changes at once. However, we strongly advise you not to do so for the following reasons:

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Very large orders might not be possible to complete in 24 hours. On average, our editors can complete around 13,000 words in a day while maintaining our high quality standards. If your order is longer than this and urgent, contact us to discuss possibilities.

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If you don’t choose one, your editor will follow the style of English you currently use. If your editor has any questions about this, we will contact you.

  • Formatting Your Dissertation
  • Introduction

Harvard Griffin GSAS strives to provide students with timely, accurate, and clear information. If you need help understanding a specific policy, please contact the office that administers that policy.

  • Application for Degree
  • Credit for Completed Graduate Work
  • Ad Hoc Degree Programs
  • Acknowledging the Work of Others
  • Advanced Planning
  • Dissertation Submission Checklist
  • Publishing Options
  • Submitting Your Dissertation
  • English Language Proficiency
  • PhD Program Requirements
  • Secondary Fields
  • Year of Graduate Study (G-Year)
  • Master's Degrees
  • Grade and Examination Requirements
  • Conduct and Safety
  • Financial Aid
  • Non-Resident Students
  • Registration

On this page:

Language of the Dissertation

Page and text requirements, body of text, tables, figures, and captions, dissertation acceptance certificate, copyright statement.

  • Table of Contents

Front and Back Matter

Supplemental material, dissertations comprising previously published works, top ten formatting errors, further questions.

  • Related Contacts and Forms

When preparing the dissertation for submission, students must follow strict formatting requirements. Any deviation from these requirements may lead to rejection of the dissertation and delay in the conferral of the degree.

The language of the dissertation is ordinarily English, although some departments whose subject matter involves foreign languages may accept a dissertation written in a language other than English.

Most dissertations are 100 to 300 pages in length. All dissertations should be divided into appropriate sections, and long dissertations may need chapters, main divisions, and subdivisions.

  • 8½ x 11 inches, unless a musical score is included
  • At least 1 inch for all margins
  • Body of text: double spacing
  • Block quotations, footnotes, and bibliographies: single spacing within each entry but double spacing between each entry
  • Table of contents, list of tables, list of figures or illustrations, and lengthy tables: single spacing may be used

Fonts and Point Size

Use 10-12 point size. Fonts must be embedded in the PDF file to ensure all characters display correctly. 

Recommended Fonts

If you are unsure whether your chosen font will display correctly, use one of the following fonts: 

If fonts are not embedded, non-English characters may not appear as intended. Fonts embedded improperly will be published to DASH as-is. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that fonts are embedded properly prior to submission. 

Instructions for Embedding Fonts

To embed your fonts in recent versions of Word, follow these instructions from Microsoft:

  • Click the File tab and then click Options .
  • In the left column, select the Save tab.
  • Clear the Do not embed common system fonts check box.

For reference, below are some instructions from ProQuest UMI for embedding fonts in older file formats:

To embed your fonts in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • In the File pull-down menu click on Options .
  • Choose Save on the left sidebar.
  • Check the box next to Embed fonts in the file.
  • Click the OK button.
  • Save the document.

Note that when saving as a PDF, make sure to go to “more options” and save as “PDF/A compliant”

To embed your fonts in Microsoft Word 2007:

  • Click the circular Office button in the upper left corner of Microsoft Word.
  • A new window will display. In the bottom right corner select Word Options . 
  • Choose Save from the left sidebar.

Using Microsoft Word on a Mac:

Microsoft Word 2008 on a Mac OS X computer will automatically embed your fonts while converting your document to a PDF file.

If you are converting to PDF using Acrobat Professional (instructions courtesy of the Graduate Thesis Office at Iowa State University):  

  • Open your document in Microsoft Word. 
  • Click on the Adobe PDF tab at the top. Select "Change Conversion Settings." 
  • Click on Advanced Settings. 
  • Click on the Fonts folder on the left side of the new window. In the lower box on the right, delete any fonts that appear in the "Never Embed" box. Then click "OK." 
  • If prompted to save these new settings, save them as "Embed all fonts." 
  • Now the Change Conversion Settings window should show "embed all fonts" in the Conversion Settings drop-down list and it should be selected. Click "OK" again. 
  • Click on the Adobe PDF link at the top again. This time select Convert to Adobe PDF. Depending on the size of your document and the speed of your computer, this process can take 1-15 minutes. 
  • After your document is converted, select the "File" tab at the top of the page. Then select "Document Properties." 
  • Click on the "Fonts" tab. Carefully check all of your fonts. They should all show "(Embedded Subset)" after the font name. 
  •  If you see "(Embedded Subset)" after all fonts, you have succeeded.

The font used in the body of the text must also be used in headers, page numbers, and footnotes. Exceptions are made only for tables and figures created with different software and inserted into the document.

Tables and figures must be placed as close as possible to their first mention in the text. They may be placed on a page with no text above or below, or they may be placed directly into the text. If a table or a figure is alone on a page (with no narrative), it should be centered within the margins on the page. Tables may take up more than one page as long as they obey all rules about margins. Tables and figures referred to in the text may not be placed at the end of the chapter or at the end of the dissertation.

  • Given the standards of the discipline, dissertations in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning often place illustrations at the end of the dissertation.

Figure and table numbering must be continuous throughout the dissertation or by chapter (e.g., 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, etc.). Two figures or tables cannot be designated with the same number. If you have repeating images that you need to cite more than once, label them with their number and A, B, etc. 

Headings should be placed at the top of tables. While no specific rules for the format of table headings and figure captions are required, a consistent format must be used throughout the dissertation (contact your department for style manuals appropriate to the field).

Captions should appear at the bottom of any figures. If the figure takes up the entire page, the caption should be placed alone on the preceding page, centered vertically and horizontally within the margins.

Each page receives a separate page number. When a figure or table title is on a preceding page, the second and subsequent pages of the figure or table should say, for example, “Figure 5 (Continued).” In such an instance, the list of figures or tables will list the page number containing the title. The word “figure” should be written in full (not abbreviated), and the “F” should be capitalized (e.g., Figure 5). In instances where the caption continues on a second page, the “(Continued)” notation should appear on the second and any subsequent page. The figure/table and the caption are viewed as one entity and the numbering should show correlation between all pages. Each page must include a header.

Landscape orientation figures and tables must be positioned correctly and bound at the top so that the top of the figure or table will be at the left margin. Figure and table headings/captions are placed with the same orientation as the figure or table when on the same page. When on a separate page, headings/captions are always placed in portrait orientation, regardless of the orientation of the figure or table. Page numbers are always placed as if the figure were vertical on the page.

If a graphic artist does the figures, Harvard Griffin GSAS will accept lettering done by the artist only within the figure. Figures done with software are acceptable if the figures are clear and legible. Legends and titles done by the same process as the figures will be accepted if they too are clear, legible, and run at least 10 or 12 characters per inch. Otherwise, legends and captions should be printed with the same font used in the text.

Original illustrations, photographs, and fine arts prints may be scanned and included, centered between the margins on a page with no text above or below.

Use of Third-Party Content

In addition to the student's own writing, dissertations often contain third-party content or in-copyright content owned by parties other than you, the student who authored the dissertation. The Office for Scholarly Communication recommends consulting the information below about fair use, which allows individuals to use in-copyright content, on a limited basis and for specific purposes, without seeking permission from copyright holders.

Because your dissertation will be made available for online distribution through DASH , Harvard's open-access repository, it is important that any third-party content in it may be made available in this way.

Fair Use and Copyright 

What is fair use?

Fair use is a provision in copyright law that allows the use of a certain amount of copyrighted material without seeking permission. Fair use is format- and media-agnostic. This means fair use may apply to images (including photographs, illustrations, and paintings), quoting at length from literature, videos, and music regardless of the format. 

How do I determine whether my use of an image or other third-party content in my dissertation is fair use?  

There are four factors you will need to consider when making a fair use claim.

1) For what purpose is your work going to be used?

  • Nonprofit, educational, scholarly, or research use favors fair use. Commercial, non-educational uses, often do not favor fair use.
  • A transformative use (repurposing or recontextualizing the in-copyright material) favors fair use. Examining, analyzing, and explicating the material in a meaningful way, so as to enhance a reader's understanding, strengthens your fair use argument. In other words, can you make the point in the thesis without using, for instance, an in-copyright image? Is that image necessary to your dissertation? If not, perhaps, for copyright reasons, you should not include the image.  

2) What is the nature of the work to be used?

  • Published, fact-based content favors fair use and includes scholarly analysis in published academic venues. 
  • Creative works, including artistic images, are afforded more protection under copyright, and depending on your use in light of the other factors, may be less likely to favor fair use; however, this does not preclude considerations of fair use for creative content altogether.

3) How much of the work is going to be used?  

  • Small, or less significant, amounts favor fair use. A good rule of thumb is to use only as much of the in-copyright content as necessary to serve your purpose. Can you use a thumbnail rather than a full-resolution image? Can you use a black-and-white photo instead of color? Can you quote select passages instead of including several pages of the content? These simple changes bolster your fair use of the material.

4) What potential effect on the market for that work may your use have?

  • If there is a market for licensing this exact use or type of educational material, then this weighs against fair use. If however, there would likely be no effect on the potential commercial market, or if it is not possible to obtain permission to use the work, then this favors fair use. 

For further assistance with fair use, consult the Office for Scholarly Communication's guide, Fair Use: Made for the Harvard Community and the Office of the General Counsel's Copyright and Fair Use: A Guide for the Harvard Community .

What are my options if I don’t have a strong fair use claim? 

Consider the following options if you find you cannot reasonably make a fair use claim for the content you wish to incorporate:

  • Seek permission from the copyright holder. 
  • Use openly licensed content as an alternative to the original third-party content you intended to use. Openly-licensed content grants permission up-front for reuse of in-copyright content, provided your use meets the terms of the open license.
  • Use content in the public domain, as this content is not in-copyright and is therefore free of all copyright restrictions. Whereas third-party content is owned by parties other than you, no one owns content in the public domain; everyone, therefore, has the right to use it.

For use of images in your dissertation, please consult this guide to Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media , which is a great resource for finding images without copyright restrictions. 

Who can help me with questions about copyright and fair use?

Contact your Copyright First Responder . Please note, Copyright First Responders assist with questions concerning copyright and fair use, but do not assist with the process of obtaining permission from copyright holders.

Pages should be assigned a number except for the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate . Preliminary pages (abstract, table of contents, list of tables, graphs, illustrations, and preface) should use small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.). All pages must contain text or images.  

Count the title page as page i and the copyright page as page ii, but do not print page numbers on either page .

For the body of text, use Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) starting with page 1 on the first page of text. Page numbers must be centered throughout the manuscript at the top or bottom. Every numbered page must be consecutively ordered, including tables, graphs, illustrations, and bibliography/index (if included); letter suffixes (such as 10a, 10b, etc.) are not allowed. It is customary not to have a page number on the page containing a chapter heading.

  • Check pagination carefully. Account for all pages.

A copy of the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate (DAC) should appear as the first page. This page should not be counted or numbered. The DAC will appear in the online version of the published dissertation. The author name and date on the DAC and title page should be the same. 

The dissertation begins with the title page; the title should be as concise as possible and should provide an accurate description of the dissertation. The author name and date on the DAC and title page should be the same. 

  • Do not print a page number on the title page. It is understood to be page  i  for counting purposes only.

A copyright notice should appear on a separate page immediately following the title page and include the copyright symbol ©, the year of first publication of the work, and the name of the author:

© [ year ] [ Author’s Name ] All rights reserved.

Alternatively, students may choose to license their work openly under a  Creative Commons  license. The author remains the copyright holder while at the same time granting up-front permission to others to read, share, and (depending on the license) adapt the work, so long as proper attribution is given. (By default, under copyright law, the author reserves all rights; under a Creative Commons license, the author reserves some rights.)

  • Do  not  print a page number on the copyright page. It is understood to be page  ii  for counting purposes only.

An abstract, numbered as page  iii , should immediately follow the copyright page and should state the problem, describe the methods and procedures used, and give the main results or conclusions of the research. The abstract will appear in the online and bound versions of the dissertation and will be published by ProQuest. There is no maximum word count for the abstract. 

  • double-spaced
  • left-justified
  • indented on the first line of each paragraph
  • The author’s name, right justified
  • The words “Dissertation Advisor:” followed by the advisor’s name, left-justified (a maximum of two advisors is allowed)
  • Title of the dissertation, centered, several lines below author and advisor

Dissertations divided into sections must contain a table of contents that lists, at minimum, the major headings in the following order:

  • Front Matter
  • Body of Text
  • Back Matter

Front matter includes (if applicable):

  • acknowledgements of help or encouragement from individuals or institutions
  • a dedication
  • a list of illustrations or tables
  • a glossary of terms
  • one or more epigraphs.

Back matter includes (if applicable):

  • bibliography
  • supplemental materials, including figures and tables
  • an index (in rare instances).

Supplemental figures and tables must be placed at the end of the dissertation in an appendix, not within or at the end of a chapter. If additional digital information (including audio, video, image, or datasets) will accompany the main body of the dissertation, it should be uploaded as a supplemental file through ProQuest ETD . Supplemental material will be available in DASH and ProQuest and preserved digitally in the Harvard University Archives.

As a matter of copyright, dissertations comprising the student's previously published works must be authorized for distribution from DASH. The guidelines in this section pertain to any previously published material that requires permission from publishers or other rightsholders before it may be distributed from DASH. Please note:

  • Authors whose publishing agreements grant the publisher exclusive rights to display, distribute, and create derivative works will need to seek the publisher's permission for nonexclusive use of the underlying works before the dissertation may be distributed from DASH.
  • Authors whose publishing agreements indicate the authors have retained the relevant nonexclusive rights to the original materials for display, distribution, and the creation of derivative works may distribute the dissertation as a whole from DASH without need for further permissions.

It is recommended that authors consult their publishing agreements directly to determine whether and to what extent they may have transferred exclusive rights under copyright. The Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) is available to help the author determine whether she has retained the necessary rights or requires permission. Please note, however, the Office of Scholarly Communication is not able to assist with the permissions process itself.

  • Missing Dissertation Acceptance Certificate.  The first page of the PDF dissertation file should be a scanned copy of the Dissertation Acceptance Certificate (DAC). This page should not be counted or numbered as a part of the dissertation pagination.
  • Conflicts Between the DAC and the Title Page.  The DAC and the dissertation title page must match exactly, meaning that the author name and the title on the title page must match that on the DAC. If you use your full middle name or just an initial on one document, it must be the same on the other document.  
  • Abstract Formatting Errors. The advisor name should be left-justified, and the author's name should be right-justified. Up to two advisor names are allowed. The Abstract should be double spaced and include the page title “Abstract,” as well as the page number “iii.” There is no maximum word count for the abstract. 
  •  The front matter should be numbered using Roman numerals (iii, iv, v, …). The title page and the copyright page should be counted but not numbered. The first printed page number should appear on the Abstract page (iii). 
  • The body of the dissertation should be numbered using Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, …). The first page of the body of the text should begin with page 1. Pagination may not continue from the front matter. 
  • All page numbers should be centered either at the top or the bottom of the page.
  • Figures and tables Figures and tables must be placed within the text, as close to their first mention as possible. Figures and tables that span more than one page must be labeled on each page. Any second and subsequent page of the figure/table must include the “(Continued)” notation. This applies to figure captions as well as images. Each page of a figure/table must be accounted for and appropriately labeled. All figures/tables must have a unique number. They may not repeat within the dissertation.
  • Any figures/tables placed in a horizontal orientation must be placed with the top of the figure/ table on the left-hand side. The top of the figure/table should be aligned with the spine of the dissertation when it is bound. 
  • Page numbers must be placed in the same location on all pages of the dissertation, centered, at the bottom or top of the page. Page numbers may not appear under the table/ figure.
  • Supplemental Figures and Tables. Supplemental figures and tables must be placed at the back of the dissertation in an appendix. They should not be placed at the back of the chapter. 
  • Permission Letters Copyright. permission letters must be uploaded as a supplemental file, titled ‘do_not_publish_permission_letters,” within the dissertation submission tool.
  •  DAC Attachment. The signed Dissertation Acceptance Certificate must additionally be uploaded as a document in the "Administrative Documents" section when submitting in Proquest ETD . Dissertation submission is not complete until all documents have been received and accepted.
  • Overall Formatting. The entire document should be checked after all revisions, and before submitting online, to spot any inconsistencies or PDF conversion glitches.
  • You can view dissertations successfully published from your department in DASH . This is a great place to check for specific formatting and area-specific conventions.
  • Contact the  Office of Student Affairs  with further questions.


Katie riggs, explore events.

ProQuest™ Dissertations & Theses Citation Index

The ProQuest™ Dissertations & Theses Citation Index (PQDT) is the world's most comprehensive curated collection of multi-disciplinary dissertations and theses, offering over 5.5 million records representing dissertations and theses from thousands of universities around the world.

Extending from they early 1600s to present, PQDT coverage is broadly multidisciplinary and includes foundational research in the life sciences, mathematics, computer science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. Within dissertations and theses is a wealth of scholarship, yet it is often overlooked because most go unpublished.

Key Features

The ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index will be a standalone database and included in an All Databases search by default. WoS users also have filter options available in each search so that they can search broadly and then narrow focus on a particular collection, subject category, document type, etc. If a user wants to locate dissertations or theses specifically, they can also search of ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index only.

Standalone and aggregated search

PQDT is included in ALL Database search and can also be searched as a unique collection.

Track citation activity in Web of Science Core Collection

Dissertations and theses that have been cited by Web of Science Core Collection records will include a citation count and a link to the citing articles.

Claim dissertation or theses to a Web of Science Researcher Profiles

Researchers can manually claim their dissertation or thesis to their Web of Science Researcher Profile and make it part of the public view of their profile.

Links to Full Text of dissertations and theses on ProQuest platform

Institutions that subscribe to PQDT Global on the ProQuest platform will be able to link directly to their entitled full text.

Note: ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Citation Index will be released to customers in two phases. Phase 1: In July 2023, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Citation Index will go live with metadata records for 5.5+ million dissertations and theses. The records will not include cited reference indexing, which means that functionality such as Related Records and Cited References lists and associated navigation will not display. Phase 2: In late 2023, Linked Cited References lists and Related Records will be released to fully connect dissertations to the Web of Science citation network. If you have any questions regarding PQDT entitlement or functionality, please contact the Web of Science support team .

  • Research Guides
  • CUNY Graduate Center's Mina Rees Library

Dissertations and Theses

  • Find Dissertations
  • About the Dissertation Office
  • Graduation Dates
  • Deposit Procedure
  • Format Requirements
  • Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED)
  • Master's Exit Survey
  • Citation Styles
  • Digital Dissertations
  • Find CUNY Dissertations

Finding Dissertations

There is no single source for a comprehensive dissertation search. WorldCat  and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global include most American dissertations. Dissertations @ The Center for Research Libraries lends non-American dissertations to member borrowers. Library catalogs and specialized repositories contain other titles. Request any dissertation through Interlibrary Loan . Though not every title is available through ILL, it is worth a try.

Dissertation Databases & Repositories

  • Graduate Center Dissertations in Academic Works, 2014-present As of 2014, all Graduate Center dissertations, theses, and capstone projects are posted to CUNY Academic Works. Some are immediately available to read and download, and some become available after an embargo period set by the author.

CUNY Resources: available to all of CUNY

  • U.S. and international legal and government resources
  • ADT Australian Digital Theses Program
  • Biblioteca Digital de Teses e Dissertações da USP Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations of the University of São Paulo
  • Colección de Tesis Digitales Universidad de las Américas Puebla Tesis digitales Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, México
  • Danish Royal Library
  • DART Europe E-theses Europe except France
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Hochschulschriften in the German National Library
  • Full-text dissertations from the German and Swiss National Libraries
  • E-theses University of Helsinki, Finland dissertations; all free full-text
  • EThOS British Library Electronic Theses Online Searches 250,000+ theses, many available in full text with a free online account. Theses not available for immediate download take 30 days to digitize. Order via CUNY Graduate Center interlibrary loan to cover any digitization fees. Most UK universities participate except Oxford, Cambridge, and Univ of Southampton.
  • JAIRO: Japanese Institutional Respositories Online Open access; full-text
  • NARCIS Dissertations from all Dutch Universities
  • National Library of Norway
  • Nauka Polska Poland's dissertation repository
  • Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations Global ETD Search NDLTD's Global ETD Search is a free service that allows researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations based on keyword, date, institution, language and subject.
  • OAIster from open access digital archive world-wide
  • Open Access Theses and Dissertations Metadata from over 1100 institutions, indexes over 2.5 million theses and dissertations.
  • Osterreichischen Bibliothekenverbundes Austrian Hochschulschriften
  • Russian State Library Digital Library Dissertations Over 650,000 free, full-text of dissertations from 1998
  • Systeme Universitaire de Documentation French science theses from 1972; humanities, social sciences, law and health from 1983
  • Tesi-online Italian university PhD theses; free full-text
  • expanding index of French theses
  • Theses Canada Canadian universities voluntarily submit approved theses and dissertation to Theses Canada
  • Trove Australian university digital and print theses

Dissertation Indexes (Print & Microformat)

Use these to supplement searches in online databases. Historical information in print indexes is sometimes more complete (i.e. abstracts appear in print before 1980 in Dissertation Abstracts International, but are not currently online). Print indexes may contain earlier works not included in online databases.

  • American Doctoral Dissertations 1933-1955 Digitized version of the print index, "Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities." Includes nearly 100,000 citations.
  • Comprehensive Dissertation Index 1861 - 1972 37 volumes divided by subject with author index. Each subject has keyword index. Bibliographic citations include title, author, degree, year, institution. No abstracts. JFF 98-1512 in the NYPL Schwarzman Main Reading Room
  • Deutsche Bibliographie: Hochschulschriften-Verzeichnis 1972 - 1990 German dissertations NYPL OFFSITE JFM 93-99
  • Dissertation Abstracts 1938-1966 Index with abstracts to American doctoral dissertations. NYPL JFM 74-61 OFFSITE
  • Dissertation Abstracts International, 1969 - These volumes succeed Dissertation Abstracts. Includes title, author, degree, institution, year, pages, and an abstract. Author and keyword indexes. Includes abstracts for pre-1980 works not abstracted in online version. Graduate Center 1970-1984 MIC-Per 164 NYPL Schwarzman Main Reading Room A: Humanities and Social Sciences JFM 74 - 62 B: Sciences and Engineering JFM 74 - 34 C: International/European 1977 - 2003 OFFSITE
  • Dissertation Abstracts International 1966 - 1969 Ser A: Humanities and Social Sciences JFM 74 - 63 OFFSITE Ser B: Sciences and Engineering JFM 74 - 60 OFFSITE
  • Dissertation Abstracts International Retrospective Index 1938 - 1969 Indexes Dissertation abstracts (v.1-26) and Dissertation Abstracts International (v.27-29); 1933 - 1969. NYPL: Offsite; request in avance.
  • Dissertation Abstracts [Microfilm] 1952-1964 MIC-Per 164 at the Graduate Center Library
  • Index to theses accepted for higher degrees by the universities of Great Britain and Ireland and the Council for National Academic Awards 1950 - 1985 NYPL OFFSITE JFM 88-379
  • Jahresverzeichnis der Deutschen Hochschulschriften, 1936 - 1964 German dissertations NYPL OFFSITE L-10 9257
  • Microfilm Abstracts 1938-1951 Graduate Center MIC-Per 164

CRL Dissertations

Based in Chicago, the Center for Research Libraries was founded in 1948 by a consortium of Midwestern universities seeking to pool lesser-used resources. The collection holds over 800,000 dissertations from 90+ universities in Germany (66%), Netherlands (2%), France (16%), Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the UK; also from Latin America, South America, and Africa. What CRL does not own, it will acquire for interlibrary loan to Graduate Center affiliates.

British Dissertations

The Center for Research Libraries reviews all Grad Center ILL requests for loan or demand purchase of UK dissertations. If CRL finds the title accessible through EThOS or that it can be digitized free of charge (in approx 30 days), CRL will notify the requesting institution of its availability via the EThOS online venue. CRL will also place orders via EThOS and alert requestors when a dissertation is available for download. If EThOS requires a fee for digitization, CRL will place the order on behalf of the requesting institution and pay for digitization.

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Articles Web of Science: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index on the Web of Science

Web of science: proquest dissertations & theses citation index on the web of science, nov 30, 2023 • knowledge, information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index on the Web of Science

Bob Wilson

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Phd student tanner kovach awarded an nsf grant.

Archaeology PhD student Tanner Kovach was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant titled Investigating the Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition in the southern Caucasus. Tanner will investigate how technological strategies changed between the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic, and what these differences can tell us about cultural transmission between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. Specifically, this research will investigate the transition from Middle Paleolithic to Upper Paleolithic technologies at the site of Ortvale Klde in the Georgian Republic, as well as the Middle and Upper Paleolithic sites to the south in the Republic of Armenia. By combining the stone tool data generated by this project with genetic, geoarchaeological, and paleoclimate data, this project will greatly improve our understanding of this important period in human evolution.

Congratulations, Tanner!

Graduate student Tanner Kovach conducting field work

Purdue University Graduate School

File(s) under embargo

until file(s) become available


Human babesiosis is a malaria-like, tick-borne infectious disease of major public health importance with a global distribution. Babesiosis is caused by intraerythrocytic, apicomplexan parasites of the genus Babesia. In the United States, human babesiosis is primarily caused by Babesia microti and Babesia duncani. Of these parasites, B. duncani infection is lethal to susceptible patients. Current treatment for babesiosis includes either the synergistic use of atovaquone and azithromycin or the combination of clindamycin and quinine. However, the side effects and the resistance posed by these parasites called for alternative approaches for the treatment of human babesiosis. Parasite-derived proteases play several functions in the context of parasitic lifestyle and regulate basic biological processes including cell death, cell progression and cell migration. We hypothesized that proteases are promising class of drug targets in Babesia parasites. Using the SYBR-Green assay, we screened a protease inhibitor library consists of 160 compounds against B. duncani in vitro culture at 50µM and identified 13 preliminary hits. Additionally, dose response assays of hit compounds against B. duncani and B. microti in vitro cultures identified 5 compounds as effective inhibitors against parasite growth. Of these 5 compounds, we chose ixazomib, a proteasome inhibitor as a potential drug for further studies based on its lower IC50 of 58nM as well as a higher therapeutic index as compared to other hit compounds. We demonstrated that in a mouse model infected with target, , the most effective inhibitor, the prodrug of ixazomib at a low dose of 2.5mg/kg lowers parasite proliferation without causing any adverse effects in animals. Thus, our studies suggest that Babesia proteasome may be an important drug target, and ixazomib may be a potential compound that may be used for the treatment of human babesiosis.

Degree Type

  • Master of Science
  • Biological Sciences

Campus location

Advisor/supervisor/committee chair, additional committee member 2, additional committee member 3, usage metrics.

  • Medical microbiology not elsewhere classified

CC BY 4.0


  1. Dissertation Table Of Contents: Definitive Writing Guide

    index in dissertation

  2. Samples Of Thesis

    index in dissertation

  3. Table of contents

    index in dissertation

  4. Contents page masters dissertation writing

    index in dissertation

  5. how to write the table of contents in a thesis

    index in dissertation

  6. Table Of Contents Thesis Apa Format

    index in dissertation


  1. The Expansion of Indexes

  2. New Uses of Indexes

  3. How Are Indexes Constructed

  4. What is Literature Review?

  5. | Dissertation

  6. Dialecte arabe de Syrie


  1. How to make an index for your book or dissertation

    The index is the elder sibling of the glossary, who has grown up, moved to the big city and started doing drugs. Anyone who has been asked to write one will tremble a little in their boots, at least the first time. Basically, an index is a quick look up list of terms that appear in your dissertation or book.

  2. Dissertation Table of Contents in Word

    Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples. Published on May 15, 2022 by Tegan George.Revised on July 18, 2023. The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, alongside their page numbers.A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality ...

  3. PDF APA Style Dissertation Guidelines: Formatting Your Dissertation

    Dissertation Content When the content of the dissertation starts, the page numbering should restart at page one using Arabic numbering (i.e., 1, 2, 3, etc.) and continue throughout the dissertation until the end. The Arabic page number should be aligned to the upper right margin of the page with a running head aligned to the upper left margin.

  4. Dissertation Structure & Layout 101 (+ Examples)

    Time to recap…. And there you have it - the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows: Title page. Acknowledgments page. Abstract (or executive summary) Table of contents, list of figures and tables.

  5. How to Structure a Dissertation

    Table of Contents. Table of contents is the section of a dissertation that guides each section of the dissertation paper's contents. Depending on the level of detail in a table of contents, the most useful headings are listed to provide the reader the page number on which said information may be found at.

  6. Dissertation layout and formatting

    Revised on February 20, 2019. The layout requirements for a dissertation are often determined by your supervisor or department. However, there are certain guidelines that are common to almost every program, such as including page numbers and a table of contents. If you are writing a paper in the MLA citation style, you can use our MLA format guide.

  7. How to Create an APA Table of Contents

    Generating the table of contents. Now you can generate your table of contents. First write the title "Contents" (in the style of a level 1 heading). Then place your cursor two lines below this and go to the References tab. Click on Table of Contents and select Custom Table of Contents…. In the popup window, select how many levels of ...

  8. Dissertation Table of Contents in Word

    In the 'References' section at the top, locate the Table of Contents group. Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select 'Custom Table of Contents'. Here, you can select which levels of headings you would like to include. You can also make manual adjustments to each level by clicking the Modify button.

  9. How to Write a Dissertation

    The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it is usually divided into at least four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter). The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes: An introduction to your topic. A literature review that surveys relevant sources.

  10. how to insert index at the end of a book or thesis|How to create index

    in this video i have explained how to insert index at the end of a book or dissertation using Microsoft word. using this method we can easily create an index...

  11. PDF A Complete Dissertation

    A Complete Dissertation The Big Picture OVERVIEW Following is a road map that briefly outlines the contents of an entire dissertation. This is a comprehensive overview, and as such is helpful in making sure that at a glance you understand up front the necessary elements that will constitute each section of your dissertation.

  12. How to Create the Best Table of Contents for a Dissertation

    Generating Dissertation Table of Contents. First, to generate the Table of Contents, start by entering a blank page after the pages you need the table of contents to follow. To do so, click on the bottom of the page you want before the Table of Contents. Open the 'Insert' tab and select 'Page Break'.

  13. How to Write an Index (with Pictures)

    Check your style guide for the proper rule that applies to your index, and be consistent. 6. Include all page numbers for each entry or subentry. You'll copy the page numbers from your index cards, formatting them according to the rules laid out in your style guide.

  14. The components of a doctoral dissertation and their order

    The first chapter in a dissertation is commonly labelled "Introduction" and serves to acquaint the reader with the topic of investigation, its importance for science, and the issues it raises. The Introduction often includes a literature overview, where the author provides short summaries of works relevant for the topic. ...

  15. What Is a Dissertation?

    A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating ...

  16. What's the difference between a glossary and an index?

    A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it's a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organised by page number.

  17. Is index required for a PhD thesis?

    However, just for the sake of those who (we hope!) will be reading your thesis, include an index. Even in electronic versions, an index is a useful tool for the reader; it allows them to see what the author (s) thought important enough to index, if nothing else! And if your PhD thesis turns out to be good enough to be printed and bought by ...

  18. Formatting Your Dissertation

    Click on the Adobe PDF link at the top again. This time select Convert to Adobe PDF. Depending on the size of your document and the speed of your computer, this process can take 1-15 minutes. After your document is converted, select the "File" tab at the top of the page. Then select "Document Properties."

  19. Proquest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index

    The ProQuest™ Dissertations & Theses Citation Index (PQDT) is the world's most comprehensive curated collection of multi-disciplinary dissertations and theses, offering over 5.5 million records representing dissertations and theses from thousands of universities around the world. Extending from they early 1600s to present, PQDT coverage is ...

  20. Research Guides: Dissertations and Theses: Find Dissertations

    Indexes two-million dissertations from over one-thousand institutions, with citations from 1861-1980 and abstracts from 1980 to present. Includes the full text of most post-1996 CUNY dissertations and many post-1996 dissertations from other institutions, as well as thousands of earlier ones.

  21. Web of Science: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index on the

    The ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index is a standalone database that can be included or excluded in a search at the All Databases level. An All Databases search will include dissertations and theses by default. WoS users also have filter options available in each search, and they can exclude particular document types from their ...

  22. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

    To help guide your reader, end your introduction with an outline of the structure of the thesis or dissertation to follow. Share a brief summary of each chapter, clearly showing how each contributes to your central aims. However, be careful to keep this overview concise: 1-2 sentences should be enough. Note.

  23. The US dollar is strengthening. Here's what's driving the rally and

    The US dollar index, which measures the currency's strength against six of its peers, closed Tuesday at 106.26, its highest level since early November. The US economy's remarkable strength is ...

  24. PhD Student Tanner Kovach Awarded an NSF Grant

    A to Z Index. Site A-Z. UConn A-Z. College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Department of Anthropology. Search ... Archaeology PhD student Tanner Kovach was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant titled Investigating the Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition in the southern Caucasus. Tanner ...

  25. What's the difference between a glossary and an index?

    A master's dissertation is typically 12,000-50,000 words; A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000-100,000 words; However, none of these are strict guidelines - your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation ...

  26. Targeting Proteasome in Babesia Parasites to Combat Human Babesiosis

    Human babesiosis is a malaria-like, tick-borne infectious disease of major public health importance with a global distribution. Babesiosis is caused by intraerythrocytic, apicomplexan parasites of the genus Babesia. In the United States, human babesiosis is primarily caused by Babesia microti and Babesia duncani. Of these parasites, B. duncani infection is lethal to susceptible patients ...