Formatting and referencing

If you are given specific guidance about the format and referencing style to be used for a particular module you should always follow that guidance.

If you are not given specific guidance the following guide will help you format and reference your assignment appropriately.


You must use this downloadable coversheet as the first page for your written assignments. It is already set up according to the settings required.

  • Font: Use either Arial or Times New Roman
  • Font size: 11 or 12 point size
  • Line spacing: Use 2.0 or no less than 1.5
  • Margins: Use default margin or no less than 2.5 cm
  • Preferably use left and right justified text
  • All pages should be numbered

Enter the following information onto the coversheet:

  • Module code and title:
  • Essay title:
  • Student registration number
  • Word count


We recommend the use of two main referencing systems – Harvard and Vancouver style. Whichever you choose, use it consistently throughout your assignment to reference work that is not your own. References must be accurate and include all the information required to enable a reader to find the references cited.


The Harvard system uses the author surname and year of publication (Smith, 2005) in the citation in the text and then an alphabetical list of the references (organised by first author surname) at the end of the assignment.

The University of Sheffield Harvard referencing guide


The Vancouver referencing system uses sequential numbers in the main text either as superscripts1, or in brackets (2).  The reference list at the end is organised in order of the appearance of the reference in the student work, starting with 1 and continuing sequentially.

Vancouver referencing for Medicine