Dissertation layout / format
You are only required to submit an electronic version via turnitin – hence no hardcopies are
expected. Typing should be of even quality with clear black characters the same size as this
text (12 point). The margin at the binding edge should be 40 mm, other margins 20 mm.
One-and-a-half line spacing shall be used for the main body of your text, except for
indented quotations of three lines length or more which must be presented indented both
sides and single line spaced. Page numbering commences immediately and continues to the
final page. It may help to look at the layout of dissertations from previous years’ held in the
School Resource Centre, but remember that all dissertations are available, not only the good
The sections of the dissertation should appear in the following order:
· Title page
· Statement of authorship
· Table of contents
· List of tables and illustrations
· Abstract (approximately 300 words in length)
· Glossary of abbreviations
· Main sections/chapters
Text style and features
THE FOLLOWING FEATURES MUST BE ADOPTED AND USED CONSISTENTLY THROUGHOUT
a) Text style – use full left and right justification. Use bold emphasis sparingly. Use capital
letters as little as possible, usually for the first letter of headings, sub-headings, captions,
names and proper nouns. All headings should be ranged left.
b) Font – use 12 point Times New Roman generally throughout the script.
c) Headings, – in bold not underlined in 14 pt Times New Roman. For main headings leave
two blank lines above and one blank line below. Initial capital letter for first word only. Use
14 pt font size. Number headings in sequence within a chapter with an indent between the
number and the heading. Do not end headings with a full stop. Range any second line of a
heading left. Do not start headings at the foot of a page or with only one line of text below.
Decide on a hierarchy of font size within the text and adopt it consistently throughout.
FOR SUB-HEADINGS – IN BOLD NOT UNDERLINED, 12 PT TIMES NEW ROMAN. LEAVE ONE
BLANK LINE ABOVE AND NO BLANK LINES BELOW. DO NOT USE MORE THAN ONE LEVEL
OF SUB SUB-HEADING.
d) Lists – use Arabic numerals (1,2,3) or bullet points for emphasis, and indent each item.
Keep the numbers or bullet points ranged on the left margin. Leave one blank line above
and below lists, but no blank lines between items on the list.
e) Punctuation – Leave two character spaces after full stops and one space after all other
f) Paragraphs – do not indent and do not leave a blank line between paragraphs.
Do not number paragraphs
g) Pages – shall be numbered throughout the dissertation in Arabic style (1,2,3) including all
appendices. Pagination shall be set at the centre of the bottom of the page and shall
commence at the start of the text and be positioned approximately 10 mm above the edge.
All other material that precedes the start of the general text, such as table of contents, lists
of tables and diagrams, acknowledgements and abstract shall be numbered as … i, ii, iii, iv
etc and such numbers shall be positioned at the centre of the bottom of the page.
h) Mathematical Symbols and Equations – These should be word processed where possible.
Each mathematical symbol must be defined when it first occurs. Express all quantities in SI
(System International) units.
i) Photographic images- Numbers and captions shall be at the bottom of illustrations.
j) Maps and diagrams should normally be A4 size but can be electronically resized to fit
Tables, diagrams and other illustrative material
These should be listed after the contents page with their number, title and page number.
Position tables and diagrams in the text, soon after where they are first mentioned, not at
the end of the chapter or section. Tables and diagrams generally look best at the top or the
bottom of a page. Keep tables simple. Range tables left on the page and range headings left
with the data in the columns. Put only two or three spaces between columns and do not
space out a table to fill a page width. A smaller font size maybe used for tables and captions
than in the text, but make sure it is still readable. Put the table or diagram number and
heading on the line above the table or the diagram, ranged left with a capital letter for the
first word only. Leave one blank line between the text above and the heading for the table
or diagram and one blank line below the table or diagram before the text continues. If a
very large table will not fit upright on the page, reorient it to landscape on a separate page
with the heading in a landscape orientation.
Footnotes and endnotes
Generally footnotes and endnotes should be avoided, but if necessary position them under
a single line rule within the text area.
Presentation of the preliminary sections
The opening pages of your dissertation establish the style and feel of the work and they
should be set out in the sequence that follows below:-
N B not all the following preliminary material may be applicable in all circumstances. You
should check the material to be included with your dissertation supervisor.
(i) Title Page
This should be the page immediately inside the cover and
it should include:
(i) the title of the work – in capitals, at least 18 pt, 12-15 words maximum, centred, Times
New Roman font
(ii) the full name of the author, in capitals,16pt, Times New Roman font
(iii) the qualification – eg BSc (Hons) Construction Project Management – for which the work
is submitted, in upper and lower case, 14pt, Times new Roman font
(iv) the title of the school and university – i.e. School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure &
Society, Heriot-Watt University, upper and lower case, 14 pt, Times New Roman font
(v) the year of submission, 14 pt, Times New Roman font
(ii) Statement of authorship
A statement should be included on its own on the page following the title page which must
read as follows and which must be signed and dated by the student:-
I ………………………. , confirm that this work submitted for assessment is my own and is
expressed in my own words. Any uses made within it of the works of other authors in any
form (e.g. ideas, equations, figures, text, tables, programmes) are properly acknowledged at
the point of their use. A full list of the references employed has been included.
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