Format Guidelines for WTS Theses,
Dissertations, and Projects
(Revised September 2011)
This document explains the formatting and submission requirements that Westminster expects all students to follow in their theses, dissertations, or projects only. (For guidelines on formatting course papers, please see the CTW's Citation and Formatting Guide.) Make sure you refer to it often during your writing and submission process.
Please note that students are responsible for the information provided in this document. Check back regularly for updates or revisions that may affect the formatting of your thesis, dissertation, or project (hereafter referred to collectively as “theses”).
A. BASIC GUIDELINES
The primary style guide for WTS theses is Kate L. Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th edition (University of Chicago Press, 2007). The thesis format and bibliographical guidelines of Turabian should be followed unless they are modified by this document.
For problems or questions of format not covered by Turabian or this document, WTS thesis writers should follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (University of Chicago Press, 2010).
2. SBL Handbook
Some departments require that you use The SBL Handbook of Style for Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies (Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), supplemented by Turabian. Please check with your advisor or department for more details.
Note: All departments use the SBL abbreviations for ancient texts and standard references, as described in Section B below.
3. Review Your Formatting
Your completed thesis should comply with all of the formatting requirements outlined in this document. If you are unsure of any of the format requirements, be sure to check with the Library Director or the Center for Theological Writing before you turn in your completed thesis. If you would like assistance with formatting, please see the Director of the Center for Theological Writing (library, second floor, room L-1). Works not conforming to these standards will be rejected. Sample pages may be sent to the Library Director at an early date for review.
1. For the use of abbreviations in general, see Turabian 2007, 331-46.
2. In many theses, numerous citations of standard works and major journals make it desirable to use abbreviations to cite them in the footnotes.
a. For directions in the use of abbreviations in biblical areas, please consult The SBL Handbook, Chapter 8.
b. When citing biblical texts in your footnotes, use the abbreviations for books of the Bible and other primary source Ancient Texts as found in Section 8.3 of The SBL Handbook. Note that you are not to put a period after these abbreviations.
c. For citing secondary sources in biblical studies (including certain journals, periodicals, major reference works and series), please use the abbreviations found in Section 8.4 of The SBL Handbook. Abbreviations should be used in footnotes only; the full title of the work should be provided in the bibliography. Do not use abbreviations for titles in the bibliography.
d. If you use abbreviations in your footnotes, you must include a list of the abbreviations with the matching full titles in the “Abbreviations” page in the preliminary pages of your thesis or dissertation. (See Section E.7 below.)
C. GENERAL FORMAtTING GUIDELINES
The font size must be 12 point for the body of the text; for footnotes the font size may be as small as 10 point.
2. Line Spacing
a. The body of the text should be double spaced. The abstract, if one is included, should be double spaced.
b. Footnotes should be single spaced, with a double space between each note.
c. The text of all major elements of your thesis should begin two blank lines below the title.
a. The left margin must be 1½ inches. Do not, for any reason, type anything in this margin. Margins of this size are needed so that the thesis can be properly bound. Note: In Microsoft Word, if you set your left margin to 1.7, you can be sure that when you print, your left margin will be large enough.
b. Right margin: 1 inch. Top and bottom margins: 1 inch
4. Chapter Titles and Subheadings
a. Chapter titles should be formatted as described in Turabian 2007, 397 and Fig. A.9.
b. Turabian provides for five distinct formatting levels for subheadings (2007, 397-98). Use only as many levels as you need. The title of the chapter does not count as a level of subheading.
c. The most basic divisions of your chapter should be more visually prominent (first or second level subheads), while the subdivisions of each of these sections should be less visually prominent (third level on down). Be sure to leave a blank line before and after each subheading, and do not put a period after a subheading that is not immediately followed by text. Never allow a subheading to appear at the bottom of a page without text below it.
d. The following example of how to use subheadings is based on Turabian 2007, 398. This example is provided in order to illustrate the common three-level system. You do not have to use the exact number of levels illustrated here; choose the number of levels suited to the divisions in your thesis chapters, maintaining the principle of visual prominence explained above.
Sample Subhead Style – Three Levels
Top-Level: Centered, boldface type, headline-style capitalization (equivalent to Turabian’s first level)
Ancient Near East and Old Testament
Mid-level: Flush left, boldface or italic type, headline-style capitalization (equivalent to Turabian’s third level)
Ancient Near East
Lowest-level: Run in at the beginning of the paragraph (no blank line after), boldface or italic type, sentence-style capitalization, terminal period (equivalent to Turabian’s fifth level)
Pastoral motifs in extra-biblical literature. In the epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh, the main character and a ruler, is described as a bull and a shepherd, and the city of Uruk is described as the sheepfold . . . .
Click here to view a sample first page of a chapter.
a. Assign a number to every page except the title page and the CV page. The preliminary pages should be numbered with lower-case roman numerals (e.g., i, ii, iii, etc.).
b. Assign number “i” to the title page but do not type it on the title page.
D. SEQUENCE OF ELEMENTS
Place the preliminary pages in the following order. Do not follow Turabian or the SBL Handbook.
a. Title page
b. Copyright page
c. Dedication (optional)
d. Abstract (required for dissertations only)
i. Preface or Acknowledgements (optional)
j. Body of Text
m. Curriculum Vitae
E. DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPECIFIC ELEMENTS
1. Title Page
Please use these fillable forms to complete your title page.
Th.M. Thesis Title Page
London Th.M. Thesis Title Page
Ph.D. Dissertation Title Page
D.Min. Project Title Page
There are no exceptions to the format of your title page.
2. Copyright Page
a. In submitting their approved theses, students are responsible for complying with U.S. copyright law. For more information, please see the UMI Copyright Guide. Printed copies of this guide are available at the library front desk. Also consult the discussion of fair use in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, sections 4.77-4.86.
b. When quoting from the Bible, please ensure that you have followed the copyright restrictions for the version(s) you have used.
c. If you choose to include a copyright notice in your thesis, please consult Turabian 2007, 386, for instructions on how to format the copyright page.
d. A statement of the source of any figure or table you did not create yourself should follow the guidelines described in The Chicago Manual of Style, sections 3.28-3.36, and Turabian 2007, 361-62.
Click here to view a sample copyright page.
The abstract is required for dissertations, but it is optional for Th.M. theses and D.Min. projects. So that your abstract may be published without truncation in print indexes, please observe a 350-word limit for doctoral dissertations and D.Min. projects, and a 150-word limit for Th.M. theses. The abstract should be double-spaced.
The label for this page should read “Contents,” not “Table of Contents” (see Turabian 2007, 387-88 and Figs. A.3-A.4).
Click here to view a sample contents page.
5. Figures (see Turabian 2007, 388-89)
Click here to see a sample figures page.
Click here to see a sample figure with caption
6. Tables (see Turabian 2007, 388-89 and Fig. A.5)
Do not combine figures and tables into a single list; in other words, do not follow Turabian Fig. A.6.
Click here to see a sample tables page.
Click here to see a sample table.
Abbreviations used in the thesis (see section B above) must be listed and defined, as described in Turabian 2007, 389-90, and Fig. A.7.
Click here to see a sample abbreviations page.
8. Citing Sources
a. Bibliography Style. The bibliography style as explained in chapters 16 and 17 of Turabian is the standard citation system used at Westminster. This method of footnoting uses raised numbers in the text to indicate that a bibliographical or content footnote occurs at the bottom of the page.
Please note the following:
(1) All footnotes must be placed at the bottom of the page as described in Turabian 2007, 152. There is no other option.
(2) When using “shortened references” (see Turabian 2007, 154-55), use “author-title notes” (see template on 156-57). Do not use “author-only notes.”
(3) Shortened references are preferred, but you may use "Ibid"; carefully study Turabian 2007, 155-57. "Idem" is not used.
(4) For references to encyclopedia and dictionary articles, the citation method for “Parts of Edited Collections” (see Turabian 2007, 178-79) should be used. Follow the “author-title” form for subsequent references, as described in item (2) above. Do not use the method found in Turabian 2007, 191-92. See the CTW's Citation and Formatting Guide for examples.
b. Electronic Sources. For citing sources found in Westminster's on-line databases, list the facts of publication, as described in Turabian 2007, 185, 193-94. Provide the name of the database and a shortened version of the URL that is for the main page in both the note and the bibliography. Do not include entire URLs, as they are often very long and unusable by others.
TURABIAN: Example of Full-text Journal Article from an Online Database:
For citing other internet sources, including electronic books, journal articles, journals, newspapers, web sites, and weblogs, please consult the appropriate sections in Turabian, chapter 17.
SBL: Example of Full-text Journal Article from an Online Database:
The following is an example of the SBL format for citing sources found in Westminster's online databases.
For citing other on-line sources according to SBL guidelines, see The SBL Handbook.
Click here for a sample bibliography.
9. Curriculum Vitae
The last page of thesis must include a curriculum vitae. This page should not be numbered. The vitae should include information about the author’s life (birth date, marriage), ordination and/or ecclesiastical membership, education (degrees, dates, thesis or dissertation titles), publications, and academic awards. Please check with the Center for Theological Writing for a sample vitae. Your CV should not include references. Do not put a page number on your CV, and do not list a page number for it on the contents page.
Click here to see a sample CV.
F. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
Overview of Submission. When you submit your completed thesis, meeting the first deadline listed below, it is expected that you have already worked with your advisor to revise and clarify your writing. You or an editor must carefully proofread your completed thesis before submission to ensure that it is free of errors and follows all of the formatting guidelines. It should include all of the required sections; the grammar should be correct; and the writing style should be clear.
The appropriate number of copies of your completed thesis should be submitted to the Academic Affairs Office in three-ring binders, with one copy of your thesis per binder. After you submit your completed thesis to the Academic Affairs Office, one copy will be distributed to your advisor, one to your second faculty reader, and, for Ph.D. and D.Min. students, one to your external readers. One copy will also be reviewed by the Library Director, who will check the formatting for any errors. Once the review process is finished, you will receive comments back from all parties, and you should then work to incorporate all appropriate changes. In preparation for your defense, please make all final edits, incorporating all formatting changes requested by the Library Director.
Now you are ready to submit your approved thesis, meeting the second deadline (see below). One copy must be submitted on 20 lb., 100 percent cotton paper (often called “Exceptional Business” or “Exceptional Thesis” paper); the other may be printed on regular printer paper. The approved thesis should be submitted flat in a box so that it stays crisp and clean for binding without any bent corners or tattering. Please do not hole-punch this copy.
If you have any questions about submission requirements, please contact the Academic Affairs Office. The following is a summary of the timetable for submission.
1. Submission Summary
a. Completed thesis submission deadline:
(1) Submit to the Academic Affairs Office.
(2) Submit in three-ring binders, one for each copy.
(3) All appropriate fees should be submitted along with completed thesis (see the “Fees” section in the catalog).
(4) Th.M. students submit three copies; Ph.D. and D.Min. students submit four copies.
b. Approved thesis submission deadline:
(1) Submit to the Academic Affairs Office.
(2) Two copies of your approved thesis must be submitted.
(3) Submit one of the two copies on 20 lb., 100 percent cotton, 8 1/2” x 11” white paper.
(4) The second copy may be submitted on white printer paper.
(5) Ph.D. and D.Min. students: It is the student’s responsibility to ask the advisor if he would like a personal bound copy of the dissertation or project. If so, submit one additional copy. The third copy may be submitted on white printer paper.
2. Dates for Submission
Note: These due dates may change if they fall on a weekend; please check the current Academic Calendar online or in the back of the catalog to verify the submission date for a given year.
a. Completed thesis due dates
| Dec. 15:
||Completed D.Min. projects due
| Jan. 15:
||Completed Ph.D. dissertations due
| March 1:
||Completed Th.M. theses due
Note: Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, completed Th.M. theses will be due March 1 .
b. Approved thesis due dates
May 1: Approved Ph.D. dissertations and D.Min. projects due
May 15: Approved Th.M. theses due
3. Plagiarism Pledge
In keeping with the policy in the catalog governing the Seminary’s honor system, students will complete a “plagiarism pledge,” which will be sent to the students along with other paperwork in April. Be sure to review the seminary's definition of plagiarism. The pledge should be submitted along with the paperwork by May 1. Do not include the plagiarism pledge as part of your thesis.
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