Every thesis must have a title page. Include on the title page the:
- title of the thesis
- author of the thesis
- academic unit (or department, faculty, etc.) of the University
- “University of Ottawa” (or “Saint Paul University”)
- phrase “A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of ...”
- degree sought, and
- copyright symbol followed by the author’s name and the current year.
Table of Contents
The Table of Contents should be detailed and include:
- everything that comes after, including the Abstract and Acknowledgements, and;
- not just chapter titles but various levels of headings within chapters and sections.
Take a look at various tables of contents to become familiar with what’s expected in your program.
List of Tables
Provide a separate page with a list of tables used in the text. Include the:
- table number
- full title of the table, and
- page number where the table appears in the text.
- tables in the text must be numbered in order of appearance.
List of Figures
Provide a separate list of figures. The same conventions that apply to the list of tables apply to the list of figures.
Formatting and placement requirements for tables, figures, and other graphics vary by department and discipline. Check your academic unit’s specific requirements.
List and explain all acronyms or symbols used frequently in your text.
A thesis is preceded by an abstract or summary which may include the following:
- a statement of the problem or a thesis statement
- a summary of the methodology: a description of the approach taken in the thesis, the research, and/or the methods of investigation
- the main points made in the thesis or a summary of the main findings, and
- general conclusions.
Abstracts should be provided both in English and in French (except for thesis in English Literature and Lettres françaises). They should be:
- 150 words for a master’s thesis, or
- 300 words for a doctoral thesis.
The Acknowledgements or Preface
The two terms “acknowledgements” and “preface” are used interchangeably. In an acknowledgements section or incorporated into a preface or foreword, you may want to mention who helped you intellectually.
Who funded your research? Who directly helped you along the way? You might have had assistance with your research, or some experiments or data analysis. All these contributions must be fully acknowledged.
A preface or a similar statement of the contributions of co-contributors must be included in a thesis where ethics approval was required, where any material used in the thesis was the result of a collaboration with co-authors, and/or where the thesis includes any material previously published.
In a thesis that is an article or a series of articles, the student is obliged to describe his or her own contribution to any articles that have been co-authored. In considerable detail, with references to page numbers and chapters, the preface must clearly describe, summarize and distinguish the contributions of the student from those of all other collaborators or co-authors. All these other contributors must be clearly identified.
As well as being summarized in the acknowledgements or preface, this same information should, of course, also be stated plainly in footnotes/endnotes in the text.
Many students include acknowledgements of help of a personal nature in this section, something that is entirely at their discretion, as distinct from the obligatory acknowledgements mentioned above.
If published material—your own or that of other authors—has been used, you must obtain written permissions to use these materials. This written permission usually comes from the publisher.
Introductions can take many forms, but in general the introduction presents the hypothesis or thesis statement and a brief overview of the thesis.
Body of the Thesis
The main part of the thesis usually consists of chapters and sections within these chapters.
The conclusion sums up the content and findings of the thesis and ideally goes a step further, suggesting areas for further research and investigation.
Materials considered useful but not central to the argument of the thesis are best placed in appendices. In addition, the actual documents confirming ethical approvals, are often placed here rather than in the body of the thesis.
These must be prepared using the appropriate scholarly conventions of your academic unit and your discipline. Find out what the proper conventions are for your discipline and follow them right from the first draft. Ask your supervisor to recommend a style guide, and refer to it often.
Bibliographic entries must also be prepared using the appropriate scholarly conventions of your academic unit and discipline. Refer to your style guide.