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Thesis and Dissertation

Directions on Form, Preparation, and Submission of the Final Copies of Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations

Journal Model

Departments may elect to use a specific journal’s format for the body of the thesis or dissertation; the journal should be a respected scholarly journal well known in the major field.  The decision to follow the journal model is made by the student’s department and advisor, not the student. 

A journal model manuscript should contain 2 or more journal articles.  If it does not, then the document should be formatted as a regular thesis or dissertation.

Following the journal model means that while each manuscript will follow the same structure for front and end matter, the body of the document will be structured according to the journal’s standards (with a few exceptions). 

Continuity is provided by a common abstract, introduction, detailed review of the literature, and conclusion that ties together the major results and reference sections.  Unavoidably, this will duplicate some of the introductory and concluding material in each article. 

The following chart should help explain the structure for a journal model:


Front matter:

Title page

Approval page

Dedication (optional)


Acknowledgments (optional)

Preface (optional)

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


Formatted according to SHSU standards


NOTE: The front matter includes an Abstract that summarizes all articles presented in the thesis, even though each article may also have its own abstract.

Body of document

Introduction of all research presented in thesis or dissertation, including:

  • Literature Review
  • Study Area
  • Literature Cited

Articles (each in its own chapter)

Summary or Conclusions of all research


Formatted according to selected journal’s instructions to author:

  • Location of table titles (above or below)
  • Location of figure titles (above or below)
  • Heading styles


SHSU standards supersede journal instructions.
Margins, font style, page numbering, and chapter designation follow SHSU standards.  Do not use column formatting.
If tables and figures are placed in a separate section, they should include a chapter designation as well as a table/figure number (Table 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2, 2.3) both in the text and in the caption. 

End matter:

Bibliography or List of References




Formatted according to SHSU standards


Entries in Bibliography or List of References will be formatted according to journal’s standards. 
While each chapter in the body text may have its own list of references, a complete list of all references will be compiled for the Bibliography or List of References at the end of the document.


  • Separated into chapters with chapter titles.
  • Appropriately formatted according to chosen style manual, such as APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, etc.
  • Headings and subheadings are consistently formatted throughout the document.  Do not change heading structure midway through the document.
  • A subheading at the bottom of the page must have at least one line of text beneath it.  Otherwise, the subheading may be moved to the next page.
  • Do not use numbering systems to designate sections and subsections.  For example:
    • Part 2:  Structure of the Elements
    • Part 2. 1:  List of elements
  • Text is double-spaced throughout.  Do not insert extra blank lines or spacing to separate text. 
  • You may insert blank lines at the bottom of one page in order to keep a single Table from breaking, or when inserting a Figure.

Special instructions for Journal Model:

  • A journal model manuscript should contain 2 or more journal articles.  If it does not, then the document should be formatted as a regular thesis or dissertation.
  • First chapter contains an Introduction discussing all research presented in the document, including:  Literature Review, Study Area, and Literature Cited.
  • Each article appears in its own chapter and may have its own List of References. 
  • Last chapter is a Summary or Conclusion of all research.
  • A comprehensive listing of all references appears in a Reference/Bibliography section.

Journal Model Table of Contents

Journal Model New Chapter Designation

Each journal article will exist in its own chapter within the thesis or dissertation, and will be designated as such by providing a chapter heading indicating the chapter number, title of the article, and information about which journal the article is modeled after.   


Instructions for creating a Journal Model Designation Page for an article:

  • At the bottom of the cover page for the article/chapter

    Beneath a solid line 10 to 15 spaces long

  • In a complete sentence with a period at the end

  • Suggested wording:This thesis (or dissertation) follows the style and format of <journal name>.

  • Type for journal (Italics, underline or regular) is the same used for journal titles in reference section; journal name should be spelled out completely

  • Single spaced if more than one line


An example of the Journal Model Designation Page can be seen below.

See also an example of a Journal Model Table of Contents.  The table of contents illustrates the breakdown of sections within the document, including the Introduction, Journal Articles, and Summary/Conclusions.


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