What is the correct order of the following pages comprising a doctoral thesis: Title, Abstract, Colophon, Copyright, Dedication, Preface, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, Prologue, Synopsis, Main Text (including Parts and Chapters), Appendices and Bibliography?

  • 4
    Depends on your institution. ps.If they care they don't really understand the point of being a university
    – Martin Beckett
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 3:23
  • 1
    Perhaps I should replace "correct" with "standard".
    – user02138
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 3:27
  • 1
    @user02138: Instead of "standard" (there could be multiple standards), perhaps "commonly used" might be more suitable?
    – Randolf Richardson
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 3:37

2 Answers 2


The standard will depend on what field you’re in — math is different from biology is different from literary critisism — and your country — UK traditions are different from US are different from Dutch, Russian, etc… I’d suggest inquiring in roughly the following order:

  • Look at any specific requirements set out by your university or department. Anything specified in these is probably non-negotiable.

  • For anything these don’t settle, ask your academic advisor/supervisor! They should know what’s expected, both in the field at large and in your specific department.

  • If your advisor isn’t helpful (although they really should be!), look at some other theses you respect or admire within your field — especially ones from your own university, or at least the same country. If there’s a consensus between them, then follow this example.

  • If these still don’t settle the matter decisively, then you’re probably free to choose it yourself; so use whatever you think presents the material most effectively. This will be a judgement call depending on the specific content of your thesis — no-one is better qualified to judge it than you are.


Check your university library. Most will have published examples of other people's thesis, and you can use that as an example or guidline. You can also check with your advisor and see if there is a preferred layout that they desire.

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