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 Guidelines

The requisite elements of a thesis or dissertation are

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.


University Policy on Multiple Authors and Creators

When collaborative research products and creative works are disseminated, it is essential that the list of authors and creators accurately assigns credit among the collaborators for their intellectual and creative contributions (based on the standards/customs applicable to the field and/or the publication), and that appropriate means are also used to acknowledge others who have contributed to or supported the research or creative process.

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:

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