Formatting and binding

Guidelines on the formatting and binding of doctoral theses.


Theses are normally A4 in size. Alternative sizes may be permitted where there is good academic reason (for example where the thesis includes a design portfolio) and with the prior approval of the supervisor

Single spacing throughout the body of the text is acceptable and is essential for indented quotations and footnotes, but double or 1.5 spacing may be more easily readable for 11pt or 12pt text and is more commonly used. Print copies may be required, therefore margins at the binding edge should be not less than 20mm and other margins not less than 15mm. Where a print copy of the thesis is required, it should preferably be printed double-sided.

Pages should be numbered consecutively throughout the thesis, including pages containing diagrams, figures, illustrations, appendices and references. Figures or images included within the thesis must be of sufficient size and clarity as to be legible.

Thesis titles should be concise. Lengthy titles may not fit onto the spine of the thesis cover.

Theses should normally be word-processed, and good printing quality is essential. Other options, eg. LaTeX may be used, where appropriate to the discipline.

Format of the title page and outside cover

The title page must include the following

  • the full title of the thesis
  • the author's name in full
  • the degree for which the thesis is being submitted
  • the department in which the work has been carried out
  • the date (month and year) of submission

The front cover and/or spine must show

  • the name 'The University of Sheffield' and logo
  • the initials and surname of the author
  • the full title of the thesis
  • the degree for which the thesis is submitted
  • the year of submission
  • the volume number (if the thesis comprises more than one volume)

Thesis summary

It is a regulatory requirement that the thesis should include a summary or abstract, which should not exceed 300 words in length. Each bound copy of the thesis must include a summary/abstract.

Thesis binding

Print and Design Solutions provides a thesis printing and binding service using a channel binding system. There are three binding packages available for theses, which include comb, wiro and hard binding and include a CD copy. All packages meet university regulations for thesis first submissions and resubmissions.

Hard binding has your details (eg name of student, title of thesis and date of submission) gold foiled onto the spine of the document. There is an option to personalise the front cover of the thesis in the same method. Full details of the three options, including prices, are available from Print and Design.

It is recommended that 100gsm A4 paper is used (although 80gsm is acceptable). The maximum thickness of a bound volume is 35mm with covers (or 32mm without covers). Therefore, if the unbound copy of a student’s thesis is more than 32mm thick, the thesis will have to be bound into two volumes. Where two or more volumes are required, normal practice is for the bibliography and/or appendices to form the second volume. In such cases, the thesis will require two title pages, which specify ‘Volume 1’ and ‘Volume 2’ respectively; however, only one contents page is required in Volume 1.

If amendments are required after the oral examination has been held, volumes can be rebound by Print and Design Solutions following insertion of new pages (RE bind cost applies).

Before submitting work for binding, students are advised to make sure that the material is in good order, as pages are bound strictly in the order in which they are delivered. Items for rebinding should have the new pages inserted by the author.

Binding work is usually completed within 2-3 working days of acceptance. However, at times when many postgraduate students are submitting theses, particularly at Easter and from late July to early November, demand may be such that it may not be possible to complete all work within the normal timescale. Students are advised to present their work in good time for binding or alteration. Under certain circumstances Print and Design Solutions provides a same day/24-hour service; however, this incurs an extra charge per copy. Further information can be found on the Print and Design Solutions site.

Example of a thesis format (Word, 63KB)

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