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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get help with formatting my dissertation?

One on one dissertation formatting support is available for students who have formatting questions, need technical support in Word, or just for peace of mind before a deposit appointment. Students can book a virtual appointment on with our Graduate Fellow or can attend drop in hours at the Graduate Student Center.

Where can I find the Dissertation Formatting Guide, formerly the Dissertation Manual?

There are multiple resources to help you format your dissertation or thesis:

Why must I format my dissertation this way?

Dissertations must be formatted properly in order to be approved for publication. Please review the Dissertation Formatting Guide and Dissertation Formatting Template or Master’s Thesis Style Guide early and often as you write your dissertation or thesis. If your deposited dissertation is rejected more than once, it may delay your graduation term. 

All revisions must be completed by the Last Day to Deposit, per the Graduation Calendar. This deadline is firm and will not be extended. 

How do I find my committee member’s rank and title?

You may use the Penn Directory to find the rank and division to enter on your committee member’s title line on the Title Page. If your committee member is external to Penn, please include their affiliation after rank and department. If you are still unsure of your committee member’s full name and title, please consult your graduate group coordinator for help.

Remember that all committees must comply with the rules for dissertation committee composition.

How do I find my graduate group coordinator?

You can find contact information for your graduate group coordinator on your graduate group’s website

How do I find my graduate group’s official name?

The exact official graduate group name must be used on the Title Page of the dissertation. Consult the list of formal PhD graduate group names.

Students in Francophone, Italian, and Germanic Studies or the Graduate Group in Managerial Science and Applied Economics (Wharton Doctoral) must also include their field of specialization above the graduate group name. These students should refer to the special Francophone, Italian, and Germanic Studies or Wharton Title Page Samples.

Do I need signatures on my Title Page?

No, signatures on the Title Page are now optional. However, if you do decide to collect signatures, BOTH the Supervisor AND Graduate Group Chair must sign. Partial signatures will not be accepted.

Can page numbers go in the margins?

Absolutely nothing can be in the margin space. No text, no page numbers, no footnotes, no headers, no graphs, no charts, nor illustrations may encroach on the blank margin space.

Which pages don’t need page numbers?

The Title page (required) and Copyright page (optional) do not have page numbers on them. The Title page is understood to be page “i” for counting purposes, but no page number should be visible on the Title page. The Copyright page is page “ii” for counting purposes, but no number should be visible on the page.

The first numbered page will start after the Title page and Copyright page. All other pages in the dissertation must be numbered.

How do I format a landscape page?

Landscape pages are allowed, but they must be formatted as they would be in a book: i.e., they are rotated counterclockwise 90 degrees and bound along the top. A landscape page will have a 1.5 inch margin on the top (instead of the left) and 1 inch margins on the right, bottom, and left. The page number will be on the left side of the page (instead of the bottom), and the number will be horizontal. 

View a sample of a properly formatted landscape page.

What if my charts and illustrations are blurry?

All supplemental materials and images in your dissertation must be legible.