Guidelines for Format and Presentation
The PhD dissertation represents independent scholarly work that makes an original
contribution to knowledge. It is a demonstration that the PhD candidate has achieved
sufficient mastery in the field to pursue independent research and scholarship.
A dissertation for a professional doctorate or a master's thesis represents advanced scholarly work in keeping with the standards of the given field.
Thesis and Dissertation Formatting GuidelinesThe requisite elements of a thesis or dissertation are
- title page
- table of contents
- body text
Additional elements, such as data tables or graphs, may be required in specific fields. Elements such as a dedication page, signature page, and formal acknowledgements may be added at the discretion of the student.
Each graduate program that requires a dissertation or thesis has adopted an appropriate formatting and documentation style used in scholarly publications in the field. The student and advisor are responsible for ensuring that this style is used consistently throughout the manuscript.
Download the list of preferred styles here.
Plagiarism and Academic Integrity
Appropriate formatting also requires the correct acknowledgement of source material. According to the USC SCampus Student Guidebook, examples of plagiarism include:
- A. The submission of material authored by another person but represented as the student's own work, whether that material is paraphrased or copied in verbatim or near-verbatim form.
- B. The submission of material subjected to editorial revision by another person that results in substantive changes in content or major alteration of writing style.
- C. Improper acknowledgment of sources in essays or papers.
For more information, please refer to the USC SCampus Student Guidebook, Section 11.11.