Thesis Presentation Standards

Presentation of the Thesis:

  • White paper, 8 1/2 x 11 inches in size, 20 lb. bond or heavier stock must be used.
  • Make two exact copies of the thesis. Submit one copy of the thesis to your advisor. Keep one copy for yourself.

Fonts: Any 12- point font.  Chapter headings and subheadings may be larger.

  • Use one-inch margins on all sides. The left-hand margin may be one-and-a-half inches wide to accommodate your binding method.
  • Place page numbers in the upper right-hand corner within these margins.
  • All text, including notes and page numbers, must be inside these margins.

Line spacing:

  • The text must be double-spaced. Footnotes/endnotes and long quoted passages should be single-spaced.
  • The title page and preliminary pages are treated in special format; see below.
  • If you have any hand-written insertions, these must be done in permanent ink.

Sequence of Thesis Materials:
1.      Preliminary Pages, in the following order:

A.     Title Page should include the title of the thesis, your name, the date of submission, your advisor's name. Include this statement on the lower third of the page:
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts
With Distinction in the Major Subject
Department of the History of Art
University of Pennsylvania
B.      Acknowledgment(s) page. Optional. Double-spaced.
C.      Table of Contents. A consecutive listing of chapters or major headings with page numbers; also include the page number for the additional sections (illustrations, the appendix (if included), and the bibliography. Double space between these elements.
D.     List of Tables (as necessary), with titles and page references.
E.      List of Illustrations, with titles and page references.
F.      Preface. Optional.
Note: the preliminary pages should be paginated using small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, and so on). These may be placed at the bottom of the page. The title page counts as page i, but do not print a page number on this page. Begin the pagination with the next page (acknowledgments page, if you have one, or the table of contents).
2. Text:

  • Notes: You may use footnotes or endnotes. Endnotes may be placed at the end of chapters or at the end of the entire text. Discuss with your advisor.
  • Pagination: Use Arabic numerals for these pages, starting with page 1 as the first page of the text. Usually the first page of a chapter either does not have a page number or that page number is placed at the bottom of the page. All succeeding pages usually have the page number in the upper right corner, within the margins. 

Note: All pages through the text, and including the end material (appendices, illustrations, and bibliography), should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals.
3. Appendices. Optional.  [If you think you have material you want to include here, please discuss that idea with your thesis advisor.]
4. Illustrations.  You must include copies of all illustrations you discuss.

  • In most cases, good quality photocopies will be acceptable, but this must be discussed with your thesis advisor.
  • Illustrations should be neatly prepared, with full captions that include the name of the artist, title of the work, present location, date, and an acknowledgement of the source of the image. In some cases your advisor may ask that you include additional information.

5. Bibliography. Discuss the format of the bibliography with your advisor. 
6. Other materials. If you have materials, such as CD-ROMs, please also include these at the end of the thesis.  Discuss this with your advisor.
Note: These guidelines adapt the University’s standards for dissertation submission.
Format Style of notes, bibliography, and other elements:

  • Use one of the two following standard style manuals, in consultation with your advisor:
    • Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
    • University of Chicago Press, Chicago Manual of Style.

You may also wish to consult the standards for the fields of art history and architectural history:

Spelling and terms:

  • Do use spell-check. Don’t always believe that it knows best – you may be using names or specialized terms that it does not recognize. (For example, a spell-check of this document recommended that the author’s name “Turabian” be revised as “turban”!).
  • Be particularly careful with homonyms (such as site and cite).
  • Watch out for words that are often confused.  These include: simple and simplistic; expressive and expressionistic; compliment and complement; among others.  If you’re not sure, look it up.
  • The Oxford American Dictionary is a handy resource and particularly good at pointing out frequent misuses of words. (For example, under the definition for “simple,” it notes “do not confuse with simplistic.”) 


Submit the thesis in a sturdy binder appropriate for its size.  Many types of spring and punch-hole binders are available.

The thesis must also adhere to the University’s Code of Academic Integrity.