Formatting Your Dissertation

How Long Is a Dissertation: General Info and Best Tips

There is no particular answer to that question. The length of the dissertation varies depending on different factors like school, field, degree, and country. However, here is a rough estimation of how long a dissertation is for a certain field.

  • The dissertation length for the student doing a bachelor’s ranges from 10,000-15,000 words, up to 35 to 50 pages.
  • For students on master’s level, the length of the dissertation ranges from 18,000-22,000 words, making it 65 to 80 pages.
  • The students doing a doctorate or Ph.D. must write up to 80,000 to 100,000 words, making it roughly 300 pages.

As you can see, writing a dissertation is lengthy no matter what degree you are doing, writing a dissertation is lengthy. And, if you do it in proper structure, it can look smooth. Therefore, you need to format your dissertation properly.

Formatting Your Dissertation

When crafting a flawless dissertation, formatting plays a vital role. There are ways that you are required to format your dissertation. And if you don’t follow these guidelines, your dissertation might get canceled.

However, not all students get the format right in one go. You can get professional guidance if you need clarification about how to format your dissertation. Many dissertation writing services will format your dissertation as per the requirements within no time.

Let’s have a look at how you should always format your dissertation!

1. Language

When writing a dissertation, always use English, as it is the primary language. However, certain departments that have foreign languages as a subject may allow you to write in other languages.

2. Length

The length of the dissertation varies depending on your field and degree. However, the length of most dissertations ranges from 100-300. So, to format your dissertation properly, divide each chapter into sections. Furthermore, use proper subheadings, divisions, and subdivisions if your dissertation is long. This will give your dissertation a neat and professional look.

3. Page and Text Requirements

Knowing the page and text requirements is very important when properly formatting your dissertation. Let’s look at what size your page and text should be.

●     Page Size

The recommended page sizing when writing a dissertation is 8 ½ x 11 inches. So, ensure that your page size does not exceed this.

●     Margins

The space between the margins makes your dissertation look crisp. So, to format your dissertation flawlessly, leave a space of 1 inch between every margin. This way, your words will be consistent.

●     Spacing

Regarding the dissertation, spacing between words and lines is very important. Therefore, to properly format your dissertation, use double spacing for the body of the text.

Moreover, when you are writing a bibliography, quotations, and footnotes, make sure to give double space between each of them and a single space within each of them separately.

●     Font Size

Choosing the correct font to format your dissertation is important. Therefore, choose a font size that is neither big nor too small. The recommended font for your dissertation is 10 minimum and 12 maximum.

Also, remember to embed fonts in your PDF file to ensure that the characters are used correctly.

Recommended Fonts

Fond size also matters if you want to format your dissertation like a pro. So, if you are unsure which font you should use, you can refer to the fonts below.


Font Size

Arial 10 pt
Verdana 10 pt
Times new roman 12 pt
Trebuchet MS 10 pt
Microsoft Sans Serif 10 pt
Georgia 11 pt
Garamond 12 pt
Lucida Bright 10 pt
Courier new 10 pt
Century 11 pt
Tahoma 10 pt

These are the font sizes and sizes that are required for you to use to format your dissertation properly. Furthermore, you can easily embed these fonts in your pdf file. Remember to check whether your fonts are correctly embedded before making a final submission.

How to Embed Your Fonts?

Now that you have chosen your fonts, it’s time for you to embed them into the PDF. To embed your fonts, follow the instructions below.

  • First, select the file tab.
  • Then click on the options. There, you will find a save
  • Select that tab, then select embed fonts in the file check box. Also, remember to clear the do not embed common system font text box.
  • After that, press OK.

4. Body of Text, Figures, Tables, and Captions:

Now that you have selected the font, you need to check the body of your content. Ensure that the font you use for the body of the text should be the same for the headers, footers, and page numbers.

Secondly, ensure that your tables are placed directly after mentioning them. Also, there should be no text after or before the table.

Furthermore, use continuous numbering for the table figures throughout your dissertation. Also, the numbers should not be repeated for the different tables and figures. Therefore, if there is a repetitive image, use alphabets like a,b,c, etc.

While there is no requirement for the headings, ensure they are written right at the top of the table. Also, cross-check whether they are properly formatted throughout the dissertation.

Also, remember to put captions under the figure. And, if the figure is taking up the whole page, then make sure to write captions separately on the preceding page. Ensure that they are centered between the margins vertically and horizontally.

To properly format your dissertation, ensure every page has a separate number. Also, remember there should be a header on each page.

Use landscape orientation for tables/ figures if they are on the same page. However, if they take up two pages, use portrait orientation irrespective of the orientation.

You can use different colors for your tables and figures. But ensure that your colors are light enough and should only be reserved for tables.

5. Title Page

Title page is a crucial part of every dissertation. And, without this, your dissertation has no meaning. Therefore, to properly format your dissertation, ensure you write a concise and easy-to-understand title.

Furthermore, make sure that the title you have written showcases the objectives of your dissertation. Moreover, don’t forget to write the author’s name and date with your title.

Also, remember page numbers are only for counting purposes, so don’t include them.

6. Dissertation Acceptance Certificate

Dissertation acceptance certificate (DSA) proves your dissertation has been accepted. Therefore, you must use it as your front page.

Ensure that it has the proper date and the author’s name. Moreover, it should match with your title page. Furthermore, don’t number this page.

7. Fair Use

Fair use is a copyright law allowing you to use third-party content without actually seeking permission. Therefore, you need to check whether the things you use are for fair use.

You should apply four factors to confirm if your content is fair use. They include:

  • Ask yourself why you are using the content. Educational systems, research work, and transformative use favor fair use. However, commercial uses don’t allow fair use. Therefore, ask yourself whether the material you use is important for your dissertation or not for copyright reasons.
  • Consider the nature of the work you are using. If you are using research and fact-based published work, then it is okay, as they favor fair use. However, if you are using images and artistic work, they are most likely not allowed for fair use. So, do consider this, as it will format your dissertation flawlessly.
  • Determine how much of the work you are going to use. The less important work is likely to be available for fair use. However, ensure that you only use small amounts of work to avoid copyright.
  • Lastly, consider what you can do if the work you want is not available for fair use.

8. Copyright Statment

When you format your dissertation, remember to write the copyright notice on a separate page after writing your tile. Ensure, that it contains the copyright symbol, the year when it was first published, and the author’s name.

Furthermore, you can also license your work under the guidance of a Creative Commons license. This way, you will remain the author while granting access to other students, to read and share the work.

9. Abstract

Abstract is also important when you format your dissertation. Therefore, ensure that it comes right after the copyright page.

The abstract should contain the problem statement, methods used to solve them, and the conclusion derived from it. Furthermore, give double space between abstract lines.

Also, add in the author’s names and advisors’ name. Remember, only two advisor names should be written. It should also contain the title of your dissertation.

10. Table of Contents

Another important thing if you want to format your dissertation properly is the table of contents. If you have written your dissertation in different sections, then ensure to write proper table contents. It should include major headings like title, abstract, copyright, front matter, body of text, and back matter.

Front Matter

If you have a front matter in your dissertation, it should include the following.

  • Dedication
  • Achnolwedgement
  • List of graphs and illustrations
  • A list of glossary
  • One or more than one epigraph

Back Matter

The back matter of your dissertation should include the following things:

  • Index
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography
  • Supplement Materials

Top 4 Errors You Should Avoid While Formatting Your Dissertation

While formatting the dissertations, the students make mistakes that may cause inconvenience at the time of submission. Therefore, you need to revise and re-read your dissertation before making the final submission. Moreover, many dissertation writing services offer editing and proofreading services. So, if you want, you can avail them

Let’s have a look at some of the errors you should avoid while formatting your dissertation.

  1. Most students forget about attaching a dissertation acceptance certificate, which is quite unacceptable when it comes to submission. Therefore, always attach the scanned copy of the DAC. Also, ensure that you don’t count this as your dissertation pagination.
  2. Another mistake students make is that they end up writing different dates on both the title page and DAC. The date and the author’s name should be similar on the title page and dissertation acceptance certificate. So, do keep this in mind while formatting your dissertation.
  3. Students’ third most common mistake is not using the correct abstracting format. The author’s name should be right-justified, whereas the advisor’s name should be left justified. Also, remember only two advisor names are allowed. So, cross-check all of this if you want to properly format your dissertation, cross-check all of this.
  4. Pagination, the dissertation, is another error that most students make. The proper format is that the title page and DAC should not be numbered. Also, the numbers on the front page should be written in roman. However, the body of the dissertation should be numbered using Arabic numbers. Also, center your number at the top or bottom of your page.


In a nutshell, formatting is crucial to get your dissertation in one go. So, to properly format your dissertation, there are certain things you need to follow. Everything matters, from the title page to the table of contents and the length of the dissertation, everything matters.

Therefore, always cross-check and review the overall formatting of your dissertation before making a final submission. Furthermore, also check all the PDFs and fonts are correctly embedded. This way, you will be 100% sure your dissertation is error-free.

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