Today’s Blog from the Skills Team is about how to format your dissertation, and turn it into a lovely, easy to read document.

A well formatted dissertation is a thing of beauty. It is a true reflection of all the hard work that you have put into it. The last thing you want to submit is a document full of inconsistently formatted titles, badly captioned figures, incorrect page numbers and a dodgy table of contents.

Sad student holding messy dissertation thinking "All that hard work and it looks such mess".

Not only does it look bad, it can affect your grade. Although the formatting of your document may only be a part of the marking scheme, a document that follows academic conventions creates a sense of confidence in your supervisor and boosts your credibility.

Never fear – the Skills Team have come to the rescue! We have created templates that can be used for a dissertation or thesis which will enable you to produce a professional-looking document that you can be truly proud of.

There are two templates to choose from – one with numbered headings and one without (your supervisor will advise you which is best for your area).

You can download the one you need here:

Student working at computer thinking "This is actually quite straightforward"

The main features of the templates are:

  • Heading styles already formatted appropriately.
  • Preformatted styles for normal text, block quotes, captions and text in tables.
  • Page numbering preset to correct conventions for academic work.
  • Table of contents just needs updating (once heading styles are used).
  • Lists of figures/tables just need updating (once captions inserted).
  • Front page can be used as is, or replaced with disciplinary equivalent.
  • Front matter suggestions included.
Happy student holding beautifully smart document thinking "I am so proud".

There is also a dedicated guidance document that shows you how to use the template which can be downloaded from here: Guidance document.

This goes through how to apply the styles, how to caption your figures, how to update the tables. It also includes guidance text which you can just delete when you have acted on it.

No excuses now!

Note: These are brand new and this is the first time they have been made widely available. If you find anything not quite right, please let the Skills Team know by emailing we will do our best to sort it out.

*For our international students – the phrase “dog’s dinner” is an English expression meaning something is a mess.