A Student Guide To 
Preparing Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Table of Contents > Most Common Errors

Most Common Errors

As part of the review and completion of your thesis or dissertation prior to submission please make sure that you have side-stepped the most common errors which the Graduate School identifies from many years’ experience reviewing submissions! This list is not exhaustive but highlights those errors which should have easily been corrected prior to submission.


  1. Title page layout and wording does not follow the preparation guide and specimen examples.
  2. Double-spacing must be used throughout the entire document unless where expressly not required. This includes the preliminary pages, in particular the Table of Contents. Exceptions are – and always will be:
    • Titles and section headings longer than one line in Contents
    • Items longer than longer than one line in Abbreviations
    • Titles longer than one line in both List of Tables and List of Figures
    • References longer than one line in References list
    • Chapter titles and sub-headings in the manuscript.
  3. Do not center-justify the pages within the manuscript, only the title and copyright pages.
  4. Date (year) of graduation must be recorded on the title and copyright pages, not the year of submission or preparation of manuscript if different.
  5. Abstract must not exceed 350 words.
  6. Spelling errors. Do not rely on your software’s spell checker.
  7. Acknowledgments can be spelled either way (Acknowledgments OR Acknowledgements) BUT you must be consistent within your own document, especially between the actual page and the Contents page.
  8. Errors in ordering of pages and inclusions. You must have all of the required preliminary pages and they must be in the order set out in the preparation guide.

Title Page

Never numbered

Copyright Page

Page i but number never shown


Always page ii, first numbered page

Dedication (optional)

If included, must be here. Numbered in sequence

List of Abbreviations & Symbols

If included, must be here. Numbered in sequence





List of Tables


List of Figures


Chapter 1

Always page 1


Required (NOT Bibliography)


Always after References


  1. Errors in page numbering
    • All pages must be numbered, except the blank or copyright page, which is counted but not numbered.
    • Duplicated page numbers.
    • Omitted page numbers.
    • Page numbers must appear in the bottom center of each page which is numbered.
    • All preliminary pages are numbered using lower case Roman numerals, all manuscript body pages (including References and Appendices) are numbered using Arabic numerals.
    • The pages of the manuscript should be in correct numerical order.
  2. Do NOT include the Table of Contents in itself.
  3. Errors in table of contents and list of figures, tables, etc., such as titles that do not match exactly with headings used in manuscript or incorrectly indicated subdivisions. The title of every chapter must correspond with the table of contents.
  4. Chosen style guide NOT applied to Contents. Titles, headings, must all conform to the chosen style guide – they must be formatted and capitalized as required in the style guide, both in the main document and in Contents.
  5. Page number references in Table of Contents, List of Tables, and/or List of Figures do not match the actual page number.
  6. Inconsistencies in formatting of headings and section titles for same level headings. Second level headings must be formatted identically with each other throughout especially upper or lower case formatting of letters.
  7. Errors in text references:
    • All text references must be listed in the references section at the end of the manuscript.
    • Names and dates appearing in text must exactly match those in the reference section.
  8. The Graduate School requires a REFERENCES list, not a Bibliography. These are different – Reference List is a list of each and every citation or quote in the manuscript, a bibliography includes all books and any other reference materials regardless of whether or not they have been cited in the thesis or dissertation.
  9. Margin errors. For ETD submissions the new margin requirements apply which are different from paper based submissions. For ETD’s all margins are now 1 inch. A 2 inches spacing is still required for the first page of each preliminary section AND the first page of each chapter or major section in the main body of the manuscript, including References and Appendices.
  10. Orphaned lines or words. You must have at least two lines of print on each and every page.
  11. Confusion between article style and article formatting. Article style is NOT the same as article or journal style formatting. The former is a dispensation granted for certain programs and majors at doctoral level where preparers may use an alternative layout and composition for their dissertation which does not follow the traditional dissertation layout. Please see the section “Article Style Dissertations” for information on this option and a list of majors which may select this option. Journal style formatting is where a student may select a style guide which is prescribed by a leading journal relevant to the field of study and which covers the formatting issues described under the “Style Guide Matters” section of the guide. This style selection MUST meet or exceed the Graduate School’s formatting requirements and must be made with your committee’s approval.
  12. Placement of tables and figures. As a general rule, the Graduate School prefers tables and figures placed in the body of the manuscript next to or near the narrative which refers to them, not at the end of the manuscript as one section. Some style guides appear to require placement at the end of the manuscript however this is simply placement for submission only; the publishers will then seek to place each one as close as possible to their related narrative whilst seeking the most efficient and cost-effective publishing layout, and therefore the true formatting requirement is identical to that of the Graduate School.
  13. Font color must be black throughout document. The Graduate School will not accept submissions where multicolored fonts have been used. Color may be used for photos and illustrations but only in the image and not in the title or narrative.
  14. Font size and type must be the same throughout the document. Do not use larger font sizes for different levels of headings. Especially important if your use LaTex software – preliminary pages cannot be different font from rest of document.
  15. IRB certification – where the research has required IRB approval a copy of the approval letter must be included in the Appendix. Remember to blank out any signatures.

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