Dissertation structures vary between colleges. Some colleges require strict APA or MLA formatting for dissertations, while other colleges focus on developing dissertations in other formats based on the needs of the college. A common change found between APA formatted dissertations is the changes in margins or changes in bulk quote formatting. The structure of your dissertation is important to the successful completion of the project because you can drop entire letter grades for incorrect formatting of a dissertation – or worse, in colleges where there is only pass or fail for a dissertation – your dissertation could be denied if the structure is incorrect.
Dissertation structure most often refers to how the pages are setup and which formatting styles you will use inside the paper. Remember, there is a format, if your school requires bold printed titles for chapters; this is the way your paper must appear. However, if you are struggling with understanding the structure requirements, you should ask your instructor to point out where you may find examples of the dissertation formatted to assist you in understanding the requests from your school. Examples will save you time and frustration.
From an example dissertation, you will be able to determine the particular rule requirements that will be applied to your dissertation. You will learn if your college requires only Chapter 1 – 5 or Chapter 1 – 7. Some colleges want all dissertations to have 1.5-inch margins for binding, and other colleges will have you use the 1-inch margins because they will all be transferred into pdf files. Always review the specifications of your dissertation and ask for examples to assist in guiding you through successful completion of your Undergraduate, Master’s or Ph.D. dissertation.