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Format a Thesis or Dissertation in Microsoft Word

Our thesis formatting tutorial takes you step-by-step through the process of formatting your thesis from our template file. For more information on how to format and edit your manuscript, see our Thesis & Dissertation Formatting General Advice page.
Note: The rules and guidelines for thesis and dissertation formatting are developed by the Graduate School. Questions about the guidelines, or interpretation of them, should be directed to the Office of Degree Requirements at (413) 545-0025.

Download the Tutorials & Template Files

Find your version of Word below to download the tutorial appropriate to your needs. We also provide a template for creating your thesis and an example of what a final thesis should look like. The Graduate School rules permit three different heading and Table of Contents formats. To provide support for the greatest possible number of students, these files help you use the two most-frequently-used formats, numeric (Scientific) and simple (Traditional). See the Graduate School Guidelines for Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations for more information on the permitted formats. Please read the tutorial appropriate to your version of Microsoft Word before you decide which format to use.

Your Version of MS Word Workshop Handout Sample Files, Numeric* Sample Files, Simple*
Word 2016 (Windows) 2016 Tutorial (PDF) 2016 Numeric (.zip) 2016 Simple (.zip)
Word 2016 (Mac) 2016 Tutorial (PDF) 2016 Numeric (.zip) 2016 Simple (.zip)
Word 2013 (Windows) 2013 Tutorial (PDF) 2013 Numeric (.zip) 2013 Simple (.zip)
Word 2011 (Macintosh) 2011 Tutorial (PDF) 2011 Numeric (.zip) 2011 Simple (.zip)
Word 2010 (Windows) 2010 Tutorial (PDF) 2010 Numeric (.zip) 2010 Simple (.zip)
Word 2008 (Macintosh) 2008 Tutorial (PDF) 2008 Numeric (.zip) 2008 Simple (.zip)

Word 2007 (Windows)

2007 Tutorial (PDF) 2007 Numeric (.zip) 2007 Simple (.zip)

 * You can use your computer's built-in Archive or Unzip utility to open these .zip files and access the individual sample files. You can also unzip them using dedicated .zip utilities, such as 7-Zip (Windows) or StuffIt Expander (Macintosh). Consult the Help documentation for your computer or program of choice for more information.