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Suggestions for Formatting the Thesis/Capstone Project

Because disciplines have different standards and conventions, thesis/capstone projects do not all look the same. Below is the standard structure of a thesis/capstone project, with REQUIRED sections indicated in BOLD. Students are encouraged to organize their projects in this recommended order, unless their faculty mentors decide that another discipline-specific format is more appropriate. Please include all BOLD sections.

  1. Title page (REQUIRED, not paginated—see template here): Please provide places for all committee members to sign and spell all names correctly.
  2. Copyright notice (recommended – paginated): The Honors Program recommends that students include the copyright page as the first page in any submitted document unless the research is subjected to provision of research contracts, patent rights, or other agreements made by the student or faculty mentor with USU. Faculty and students should be aware that all thesis/capstone projects submitted to the Merrill-Cazier Library are for public use. Students should include a copyright notice immediately following the title page. This page should be numbered; center the notice on the page and format it as follows:

    Copyright 2016 Your Name

    or

    © 2016 Your Name All Rights Reserved

  3. Abstract (REQUIRED: begin pagination here with lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii…); see Honors office for examples of abstracts): The abstract is typically a 250-500 word summary of the project’s research question, methodology, and results/conclusions. An abstract is designed to help readers understand quickly and efficiently what the project does: please include any crucial part of your project (thesis statement, hypothesis, etc., depending on your field).
  4. Dedication/preface (optiona—continue Roman pagination): usually very brief, e.g., “For my family.”
  5. Acknowledgements (REQUIRED: continue Roman pagination): Students typically thank their faculty mentors, any members of their research teams, their departments and colleges, and anyone else who has supported the project. They often also thank any organizations that helped fund any part of the project (USUSA, URCO, the University Honors Program, departments or colleges, etc.). They may also add personal acknowledgments, as desired
  6. Table of Contents (recommendednot paginated itself; may be brief for some capstone projects): Indicate major sections of project and beginning page numbers, including chapters and appendices or, at a minimum, Final Written Product, Bibliography, and Reflective Writing sections.
  7. List of Tables, Figures, Photos, Definitions, etc. (recommended if project includes such information: not paginated itself; include page numbers on which tables, figures, or photos appear).
  8. Final Written Product (REQUIRED: begin Arabic (1, 2, 3) pagination): Must be completely edited and free of errors; include word count of this section, if applicable, on first page (see Requirements for more information).
  9. Reflective Writing (REQUIRED: continue Arabic pagination; include word count and see Requirements for minimum)
  10. Endnotes (optional, depending on bibliographic style: continue Arabic pagination; not necessary if using footnotes or if not including any notes).
  11. Bibliography or Works Cited list (highly recommended but guided by disciplinecontinue Arabic pagination; minimum 15 sources that the paper quotes or uses as background, formatted correctly according to disciplinary conventions).
  12. Appendices (optional, depending on project: if project includes non-written materials, please do include those materials, preferably on DVD or in charts/tables, in this section: continue Arabic pagination for cover sheets or any included pages).
  13. Professional Author Bio (REQUIRED: continue Arabic pagination): Written in third person, this paragraph includes student’s major/minor, college academic accomplishments, and future plans.


Download the full Honors Thesis/Capstone Handbook here