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F. W. Olin Library

Guidelines for Graduate Theses and Dissertations

All students submitting a print thesis are required to pay a $45 thesis fee. These fees will be charged to students' accounts when they submit a Petition for Candidacy Form.

General Information and Instructions:

The Library serves as a depository for theses and dissertations required for a number of graduate programs at Mills College. The following are formatting guidelines required for Mills theses and dissertations.  


  • Left-hand margin is 1.5 inches to allow for binding
  • Top, bottom and right-hand margins should be 1 inch.
  • Margin of 2 inches or more at the top of chapters or sections is acceptable.
  • Left justify all text.

Page Set-Up, Type-Face, Printing:

  • Generally, use 12-point fonts.
  • Times New Roman, Arial and Courier are frequently recommended.
  • Use the same type-face and font size throughout the document. For creative theses, some type-face and font variations may be acceptable if approved by thesis advisors.
  • Double space the text. Long quotations, footnotes, endnotes, bibliography may be single-spaced.

Assembly of Thesis:

  • A thesis consists of three sections: the preliminary pages, the body of the text, and the reference section. Creative Writing theses generally do not include reference matter. For most Mills departments, with the exception of Education, required signatures are noted on the title page (sample).


Title Page
Unsigned, but with all the names.
Not numbered, but counted
Signature Page
(for EdD dissertations)
Not numbered, but counted
Blank Page Not numbered, but counted
Dedication Numbered with lower case
Roman numerals (i,ii,iii,iv…)
Epigraph Numbered with lower case
Roman numerals
Contents Numbered with lower case
Roman numerals
List of Illustrations Numbered with lower case
Roman numerals
Tables and Figures Numbered with lower case
Roman numerals
Preface Numbered with lower case
Roman numerals
Acknowledgments Numbered with lower case
Roman numerals
Text Begin Arabic numerals (1,2,3…) on first page of text
Reference Matter  
Appendices (optional) Continue Arabic numbering
Bibliography/Works Cited Continue Arabic numbering


  • Remember to observe the same margin requirements as in the written text: 1.5 on left-hand margin, 1 inch elsewhere.


  • Page numbers may be centered at the bottom, or located in the upper right-hand corner. Be consistent in whichever style you use and follow any guidelines set by your department.


  • The primary source of guidance in terms of content, organization and documentation are your thesis advisors.
  • Michael Beller (510.430.2051) can advise on questions regarding research strategies and thesis format.

Bibliographic Style:

  • Style manuals give practical information and examples on preparing your paper. They vary slightly in the methods used to cite sources. Your department and thesis advisors will determine which style manual is most appropriate for your discipline. Sample citations are available for the following: MLA, APA, World Wide Web.
  • Several manuals are available in the library. They include the following:

American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed. Washington DC: The American Psychological Association, 2010.

Ref 808.06615 P976 2010

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2009.

Ref 808.02 G437 2009

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. 6th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Ref 808.02 T929m 1996



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P: 510.430.2385
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E: library@mills.edu

Last Updated: 4/24/14