APA Formatting Guidelines for Dissertation

Formatting Guidelines for Dissertation
Dissertations are required to follow specific guidelines provided by American Psychological Organization. This article identifies these requirements and gives information on what is needed in order to accepted and proceed to oral examination. Faculty provides the choice of formatting style for dissertations. 

One of the most widely used styles is APA. Specific knowledge is needed to make dissertations conform to the style.


APA generally requires students to have 10 or 12 size for the font. As a rule, 10 point is used in graphic content such as tables and graphs. The reason is larger fonts can make graphics extend beyond the size of paper sheets so margin requirements would not be followed. For main content it is recommended to use 12 point size. Mix of the two sizes in the plain text is not recommended.

APA uses effects like italics and underlining. They are applied to certain definitions, titles for literature and statistical symbols. It is recommended to use only one effect throughout the dissertation. Your coordinator may also require you to underline headings. Remember that is it not allowed to use bold type as well. APA requirements also state that the text should be aligned to the right as in most research papers you wrote before.


The following requirements are needed to be followed regarding margins:

  1. Each page in dissertation uses one and one-half inches for the left margin.
  2. Each page may use one and one and a half inches for the right margin as well.
  3. Introductory pages where you specify Acknowledgments, information about figures, tables and table of contents should use one and one quarter inches for top margin in all dissertation pages.
  4. Each page should use one and one quarter inches for the bottom margin.
  5. The pages that are contained before the first page of the first chapter should be numbered as follows: the distance from the bottom of the page should be three-quarters of an inch.
  6. Starting from the first page of the chapter one, the pages should be numbered at a distance of three-quarters of an inch from the top of the page.

Line Spacing

The entire dissertation should be double spaced with exception of the following elements:

  1. Subheadings which are more than one line in length;
  2. Titles of appendixes;
  3. Titles of chapters;
  4. Footnotes;
  5. References or bibliography
  6. Lines that included right on tables 
In some cases students are allowed to double space references as well. Check with your advisor to see what requirements are right for you. In-text citations These citations allow the writer to identify to source of information. They include last name of author, year of publication or specific page. See these examples of in-text citations: Citing entire work The work failed to provide reliable results (Johnson, 2012). Specific page The work failed to provide reliable results (Johnson, 2012, p. 43). In case when name of the author is included in the text: Johnson (2012, p. 43) claimed that work failed to provide reliable results.