Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines

Departmental Requirements

  1. The baseline type size shall be 12 points. Exceptions are explained in the Standards.
  2. The font style shall be one of the following:
    • Times
    • New Century Schoolbook
    • Paltino
    • Bookman
  3. Exceptions are explained in the Standards. The abstract may include a list of key words.
  4. The Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures shall have the style shown in the Standards .
  5. Section headings and subheadings within a chapter shall be bold and left-justified.
  6. Chapter numbers may be roman or arabic numerals.
  7. Sections and subsections shall be numbered consecutively within the next higher-level section/subsection. A section number shall be formed by an arabic chapter numeral, a period, higher-level section numbers separated by periods, and finally the current subsection number. For example 2.3.4 denotes Chapter 2, the third section within Chapter 2, and the fourth subsection within section 2.3.
  8. Text shall be full-justified.
  9. Italics is required, rather than underline, for non-English, titles of books and journals, and similar uses.
  10. Important equations shall be numbered consecutively within chapters, enclosed by parentheses, and formed by an arabic chapter numeral, a period, and the equation number. For example, Equation (2.1) indicates the first equation in Chapter 2.
  11. Table and figure captions shall be centered with title-style capitalization.
  12. Table and figure numbers shall be consecutive within chapters and formed by an arabic chapter numeral, a period, and the table/figure number. For example, Figure 2.1 indicates the first figure in Chapter 2.
  13. Multiple appendices shall be labeled with capital letters, per the Standards. If there is only one appendix it will not be designated by a letter. However, labels of sections, figures, tables and equations in the appendix shall use A as the chapter prefix. This will facilitate unambiguous labeling.


Templates for theses and dissertations: The templates linked below are available from the MSU University Libraries. They do not automate all the style requirements above, but they may be helpful. They are provided as-is and without support. You are responsible for assuring that your thesis fulfills all the style requirements, irrespective of what tools you may use.

Theses Templates from MSU Libraries



  • Reference entries shall be consecutively numbered enclosed by brackets, as is common in IEEE Computer Society transactions and conference proceedings. Citations shall have corresponding form. For example [1] cites the first entry in the references.
  • Multiple citations in one place shall be enclosed in one set of brackets, in ascending numerical order, delimited by commas, for example [1,7,22,43].
  • References shall follow the last chapter of text, rather than at the end of each chapter. If used, any appendices shall follow thereafter. The heading shall be REFERENCES.
  • Reference entries shall be sorted alphabetically by authors’ names, and book title.
  • The style of reference entries shall conform to examples provided by the Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, which follows IEEE Computer Society practices.

Electronic theses and dissertations

All theses and dissertations at Mississippi State University must be submitted to the library as electronic theses or dissertations. Instructions to authors are at