Documentation:Research Commons/Thesis Formatting/Templates and Guides

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All theses and dissertations must comply with specific formatting requirements in order to be approved and accepted by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, UBC Library, cIRcle (UBC's institutional repository), and Library and Archives Canada. The Research Commons provides a thesis template and workshops on thesis formatting using Microsoft Word, as well as a formatting checklist and select online tutorials on Microsoft Word, to make this process easier for you.

For more information on thesis formatting, please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies page on Dissertation & Thesis Preparation.



Need help with formatting your thesis? The Research Commons, located on floor 2 of Koerner Library, provides a thesis template and guides plus support via appointment or in our weekly workshops to help make this process easier for you.

Want to make an appointment? To book a one-on-one consultation appointment, please fill out the following request form: Research Commons Consultation Form. Please note: In-person thesis formatting help is only available at certain times during the week (i.e., the times indicated in our consultations calendar). You can also contact us by email at

Visit our Template and Guides sections (see tabs above) for:

  • a Microsoft Word .docx thesis template which meets the basic Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements
  • User's Guides (PDF) for the thesis template for Word 2010 for PCs and Word 2011 for Macs
  • Additional guides for older versions of Word that give you step-by-step formatting/technical instructions for setting up aspects of your thesis document like page numbers, tables of contents/lists of figures, page margins, etc. Guides are currently available for Word 2003 and 2007 for PC, and for Word 2008 for Mac.

We also have new thesis formatting checklists: one for the basic thesis formatting requirements, and one for formatting requirements for figures, tables and other objects. These are available through the Other Resources tab above.

Did you attend one of our Thesis Formatting workshops? We'd love to get your feedback - just fill out the Research Commons Student Feedback Form.

Other Thesis Formatting Service Providers

A number of thesis-related services are provided by various units across the UBC campus or, in some instances, by off-campus service providers:


Thesis Template

Research Commons Thesis Template

(Revised March 4, 2014 to make heading styles easier to use)

What is a template? Why should you use one for your thesis?

A template is a collection of pre-set style and formatting choices. The blank Research Commons Thesis Template was developed by members of the Research Commons and the Chapman Learning Commons, and has been checked and approved by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS). It is an MS Word .docx document that will work on both PCs and Macs. It has been pre-formatted to adhere to the G+PS requirements, and includes an automatic table of contents, as well as appropriately formatted headings, fonts, and page margins. The Thesis Template Guides, in PDF format, provide instructional tools to navigate through each formatting component required for G+PS approval, with separate PC and Mac guides designed to walk you through MS Word features. These guides are available through the Guides tab above.

Using the template and the support materials will help you format your thesis and dissertation documents with greater consistency and ease. It will also reduce the amount of time you have to spend searching for information on the G+PS formatting requirements or looking for Word support on the Internet.

Please note that using this template is not a guarantee that your thesis will be formatted properly, particularly if you make changes to any of the formatting. Make sure to review your final product carefully before submitting it to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

For information on how to use the template, please visit the Research Commons Help Desk located on the second floor of Koerner Library, book an appointment with one of our staff members, or come to one of our weekly thesis formatting workshops.

Practice Thesis Template for Workshop Use

Practice Thesis Template

This practice thesis template is for use in Research Commons thesis formatting workshops. It is not the template you should use for actually working on your thesis. If you are interested in attending a thesis formatting workshop, please visit the Library's events page.

Word (PC) Formatting

Word 2010 Basic Guide (General formatting guidelines, Spacing and Margins, Table of Contents, Page Numbering, Lists of Figures/ Tables, Cross-References)

Setting Up Heading Numbers with a Multilevel List (General style formatting guidelines for numbering headings and subheadings)

Guide to Adding Numbers to Equations (General information for formatting numbers for equations in a thesis or dissertation)

Word 2007 Basic Guide (Table of Contents, Page Numbering and List of Figures/Tables)
Troubleshooting Tips
Word 2003 Basic Guide (Table of Contents, Page Numbering and List of Figures/Tables)
Troubleshooting Tips

Word (Mac) Formatting

Word 2011 Basic Guide (General formatting guidelines, Spacing and Margins, Table of Contents, Page Numbering, Lists of Figures/ Tables, Cross-References)
Word 2008 Basic Guide (Table of Contents, Page Numbering and List of Figures/Tables)
Troubleshooting Tips

Workshop Materials

Handouts and resources used in our Little Things Mean a Lot: Tips and Tricks for Formatting Your Thesis workshops are listed below. Questions? Please contact us.


Resources for Checking and Preparation

These resources are designed to help you check the formatting of your thesis. Review these documents early in the writing process and use them to check your work before you submit your thesis to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.



Answers to some of our more frequently asked thesis formatting questions. For more assistance with using our template, please see the Guides section of our site.

Helpful Links