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Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.

A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.

A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.

When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.

Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.

Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.  

Descriptive thesis (not arguable)  

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence)  

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim  

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim  

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis  

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
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Students Tilburg University

Guidelines Bachelor thesis

Some faculties have special guidelines concerning writing a bachelor thesis.

The Bachelor Thesis International and European Law, course 620060, is the final phase of the Bachelor's degree program in law. The course consists of two components. The first component is a brief and practical introduction to the international area of work (for example, by participating in a study trip, a summer- or winter course or doing a short internship). The second component covers an individual research project of limited size. For more detailed information students should enroll in CANVAS page of Bachelor Thesis International and European Law. Concrete questions concerning the Bachelor thesis can be e-mailed to [email protected] .

Below you will find general Eindvak IER information on:

In total 6 ECTS are allocated to the Bachelor Thesis. These can be specified in 2 ECTS for the first component (internationalization) and 4 ECTS for the second component (independent research). Note that for the practical component, regardless of the option chosen, a final paper of approximately 6,000 words (or 15 pages) must be written.

Absolute condition for participation

To start with your Bachelor Thesis students must have obtained 119 ECTS. No exceptions will be made to this requirement. The Education Office will verify the number of ECTS obtained by each student enrolled in the Bachelor Thesis process. Generally this condition means that students must have completed all courses from the first and second year of the Bachelor program and two to three courses from the third year.

Students have two options to fill in the practical component of the Bachelor Thesis:

  • Participating in a study trip The department of European and International Public Law (EIP) will organize an international study trip of three to five days (depending on the destination) to European and/or international institutions in the second semester of the academic year (Easter holiday). At the end of the first semester a short summary of the theme of the study trip and the deadline for application will be announced on the website of the department on CANVAS. This will help students prepare for the trip and choose a topic for the Bachelor thesis. In addition to the online information there will be two preparatory meetings in the weeks before the study trip. Attendance at these meeting is compulsory! More information on the preparatory meetings can be found in the ESG.
  • Doing a short internship The practical component of the Eindvak IER can be completed by doing a short internship. Students must submit a proposal for an internship, including a theme, and obtain approval from the Eindvak coordinator. Furthermore, it must be taken into account that the total effort they must put into the (short) internship option of the Eindvak IER may turn out to exceed the 6 ECTS awarded for the course as a whole. After all, the internship needs to be useful in and of
  • Bachelor Thesis For each Bachelor Thesis options, a final paper of approximately 6,000 words (or 15 pages) must be written in English. The paper should be seen as a 'mini thesis', containing a clearly identifiable tripartite structure of introduction, discussion, and conclusion, and requires students to thoroughly prepare. For the exact assessment criteria please consult the Reglement bachelorwerkstuk . The Scriptorium provides individual coaching to help students with academic writing assignments in Dutch or in English. In addition to helping students become better writers, the Scriptorium*also offers assistance in looking for the right sources and citing them correctly. These services are free for all Tilburg University students.


All Bachelor theses must be registered at the online thesis file (scriptiedossier). In the thesis file students can upload their design and drafts of the Bachelor thesis and, ultimately, the final version. In addition, the thesis file also contains all contact data of supervisors, file information, plagiarism checks, assessment forms, and an evaluation.

Note: it is very important that students register at the thesis file!

Students are expected to complete the practical component independently, meaning they will have to regard all deadlines for enrollment themselves. Also, the Bachelor thesis must be submitted electronically to the supervisor no later than 6 weeks after the study trip, summer/winter course, or short internship. In week 4 there is the possibility to hand in a draft version of the paper with the individual supervisor and, subsequently, receive feedback on this draft via e-mail.

If the score of the Bachelor thesis is unsatisfactory, students will be allowed to revise their paper in order to obtain a pass (grade: 6). The assessment will include comments on which parts need to be improved. The student must submit the improved version of the final paper within one working week after having received feedback on the assessment of the initial paper by the supervisor. If the improved version is still unsatisfactory, students will need to resit the course by writing a paper on a different topic within the parameters of the overall theme of the practical component. A proposal for the new topic must be submitted for approval by the Bachelor Thesis coordinator within one month after notification of the final grade. The practical component of the Bachelor Thesis will not have to be retaken. For more information on resits please consult the CANVAS page of Bachelor Thesis International and European Law.

Plagiarism constitutes fraud and is strictly forbidden! As a rule each paper will be checked for plagiarism via Urkund. Cases of suspected plagiarism will be reported to the Examining Board. For more information on what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the special website of TLS . In addition, the department of European and International Public Law (EIP) provides some information on plagiarism and the basic rules of correct citation of literature. To access this information please consult the CANVAS page of Bachelor Thesis International and European Law.

The information is only available in Dutch. Please visit the website for more information. 

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  • Choose for Thesis Coordinators Bachelor's or Master's Programs. 

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Grad Coach

Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019

So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.

To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .

Dissertation structure and layout - the basics

*The Caveat *

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).

So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.  

Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis

  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents , list of figures and tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list

As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:

  • The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
  • The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
  • The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
  • The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .

In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.

Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.

The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:

  • Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
  • Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)

Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:

  • The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or  mixed methods ).

For example:

A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].

Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).

Dissertations stacked up


This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.

So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:

  • Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
  • Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
  • Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
  • Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .

For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):

  • Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
  • Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
  • Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
  • Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?

So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.

In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .

Need a helping hand?

words bachelor thesis

Table of contents

This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:

If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.

Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
  • Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
  • What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
  • How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
  • How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?

These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.

If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.

Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:

  • What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
  • Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
  • How does your research contribute something original?
  • How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Dissertation writing

Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…

In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:

  • Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.

In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!

You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.

Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.

Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).

What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.

Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.

The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).

Dissertation and thesis prep

Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings? In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?

Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!

This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.

It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:

Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.

The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.

Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!

Time to recap…

And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:

  • Acknowledgments page

Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the  Grad Coach Blog .

words bachelor thesis

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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many thanks i found it very useful

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.


Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!


what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much


Thanks so much this helped me a lot!

Ade Adeniyi

Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.

Thanks Ade!


Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..

You’re welcome!

Jp Raimundo

Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?

Karmelia Renatee

Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment

You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.


best ever benefit i got on right time thank you

Krishnan iyer

Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .

I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these

You have given immense clarity from start to end.

Alwyn Malan

Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?


Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!

yemi Amos

Thanks ! so concise and valuable

Kgomotso Siwelane

This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.

dauda sesay

Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.

Patrick Mwathi

Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times

Adao Bundi

Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.


Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills

mwepu Ilunga

Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear


Very nice and easy to understand. Thank you .

Chrisogonas Odhiambo

That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!


My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!


Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?

It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂


Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!

Simon Le

Great video; I appreciate that helpful information

Brhane Kidane

It is so necessary or avital course


This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you


Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates

Emmanuel Manjolo

wow this is an amazing gain in my life

Paul I Thoronka

This is so good

Tesfay haftu

How can i arrange my specific objectives in my dissertation?


  • What Is A Literature Review (In A Dissertation Or Thesis) - Grad Coach - […] is to write the actual literature review chapter (this is usually the second chapter in a typical dissertation or…

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Formatting Your Thesis or Dissertation with Microsoft Word

  • Tables and Figures
  • Introduction
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication, Acknowledgements, & Preface
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  • Page Numbers
  • Rotated (Landscape) Pages
  • Table of Contents
  • Lists of Tables and Figures
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Some Things to Watch For
  • PDF with Embedded Fonts

Tables and figures

Many theses include tables and figures. Most often, they are added to the thesis as images, but sometimes you might want to add some as a linked Excel file. And, the way that captions are added to figures and tables differs between APA and IEEE style. The videos below are lengthy, so they start with a table of contents so you can jump to the section that you need.

Tables and figures - IEEE style

This video demonstrates a modified IEEE style for tables and figures that most CECS students use.

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How to Structure a Thesis: A Complete Guide

Writing a thesis can be an overwhelming task for many college and graduate students. Managing all the elements associated with a thesis while ensuring that the quality is not compromised can be challenging. However, what is even more strenuous is deciding on a thesis's layout. "How to structure a thesis" is a question that several final-year students struggle to answer. And understandably so, as all colleges and universities have their guidelines for drafting a thesis. However, there is an immutable structure that's common for every thesis. In this brief guide, we will take a look at this structure and analyze each of its components.

words bachelor thesis

This guide discusses how to structure a thesis effectively. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.  

A thesis or dissertation is a long academic document that a master's or doctoral candidate writes to obtain a relevant academic degree. Hence, writing a quality thesis is crucial for college and university students. A good thesis demonstrates a student's academic prowess in their field of study as well as helps hone their analytical and research skills. Writing a thesis can be an overwhelming task for many college and graduate students. Managing all the elements associated with a thesis while ensuring that the quality is not compromised can be challenging. However, what is even more strenuous is deciding on a thesis's layout.

"How to structure a thesis" is a question that several final-year students struggle to answer. And understandably so, as all colleges and universities have their guidelines for drafting a thesis. However, there is an immutable structure that's common for every thesis. In this brief guide, we will take a look at this structure and analyze each of its components. If you are also struggling to initiate the writing process for your thesis, follow this guide and get over your writer’s block.

How to Structure a Thesis: Examining the Constituents of a Thesis Structure

Here we have a list of all major sections that a thesis structure generally comprises. The entire thesis structure is segregated into 3 sections, with each section comprising its relevant subsections to facilitate greater legibility.

Front/Preliminary Matter of a Thesis Structure

1. abstract.

An abstract is a concise summary of an entire thesis and consists of the condensation of your entire thesis. A good abstract  is precise, concise (usually not more than 250 words) and emphasizes the importance of the document. When writing an abstract, make sure you explicitly mention the crux of your thesis. Also, avoid reiterating what you have mentioned in the title of your document.

Body of a Thesis Structure

2. introduction/preface.

The introduction chapter of your thesis outlines its core arguments, hypotheses, and results. It is longer than the abstract and contains adequate background information on your topic of interest. Furthermore, it establishes the relevance of your thesis by highlighting its contribution to the knowledge base of its topic. Writing a gripping introduction helps the readers understand the context of your thesis. According to USNSW Sydney, the introduction of a thesis should have the following stages:

State the general topic and give some background

Provide a review of the literature related to the thesis subject

Define the terms and scope of the thesis topic

Outline the existing situation

Evaluate the current situation and identify the gap in the literature

Identify the importance of the proposed research

State the main research questions

State the purpose of the study and/or research objectives

State the study hypotheses

Outline the order of information in the thesis

Outline the methodology.

3. Literature review

The literature review chapter sets the premise of your thesis. It examines and evaluates the research works that’s been conducted so far on your thesis topic and passively highlights the contributions of your thesis.

A literature review is a survey of academic sources on a specific subject, providing an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to discuss relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research. Writing a literature review contains finding relevant publications, critically analyzing the sources, and explaining your findings in the literature. A well-written literature review doesn’t only summarize sources, it also aims to analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the topic.

To write an impeccable literature review, consult a plethora of sources and mention the canon related to your thesis topic. Also, put forward your review in a logical, chronological, and structured manner to better outline the knowledge gaps in your field of study and how your thesis will fill them.

How structure a thesis

The following simple and straightforward tips can act as the exhaustive rubric and offer meaningful insight to prospective authors on how to formulate a flawless literature review:

Step 1. Probe similar works for a well-structured literature review

Step 2. Analyze, not just synthesize: Authors should provide a detailed critique of the subject

Step 3. Organize your literature review systematically

Step 4. Establish the purview: Authors should specify the scope of the literature review

Step 5. Abstain from plagiarism

Step 6 . Be mindful of the language

4. Methodology

As the name suggests, the methodology section of a thesis consists of all methods and procedures you have used in your thesis. A well-written methodology accentuates the plausibility of your research methods. In addition, it enables your readers to understand why you chose specific methods and how they are justified for your research.

To garner more credibility, you can include the pitfalls and difficulties associated with your choice of research methods. The methodology section is an unavoidable part of a thesis or a research paper. Considering errors in the methodology section enervates the entire thesis.

Follow the steps below to write a perfect methodology for a thesis: 

a. Give an outline of the research design

b. Don’t forget to define the philosophy behind the research

c. Mention the research approach

d. Introduce the research methods

e. Note the following points to highlight in the methodology. No matter what methodology you have chosen, you have to focus on the following points:

Explain sampling strategy.

Clearly state the procedure of the research paper.

Mention how you collect the data. (Data collection)

Explain how data are analyzed for your research. (Data analysis). Suppose you have written in qualitative strategy like thematic analysis, mention the researcher you have followed.

Mention the validity of the data and result.

Discuss all ethical aspects of your research paper.

f. Avail professional proofreading and editing services

g. Most important tips to compose an impactful methodology for a dissertation

Don’t drift from your objective and the purpose of your dissertation.

Explore scholarly research papers and their methodology sections to have a better idea.

Plan a proper writing structure.

Understand your audience and target group.

Don’t make mistakes in citing relevant sources. You may use  APA  and  MLA citation

Refer to all the hurdles you have experienced while writing your dissertation.

Make sure to rectify grammatical and punctuation errors.

Ensure that the section is readable and doesn’t consist of long and complex sentences. Long sentences can hamper the tone of the methodology.

This section comprises the outcomes of your research work. It includes all the observations you made and the answers to all your hypotheses in the thesis. When writing the “results” chapter, include only factual data and format it to be distinguishable. Use tables, graphs, subheadings, and generic comments for the results. The aim is to enable your readers to discern the result of your research.

6. Discussion

The discussion chapter of your thesis should begin with a brief summarization of the outcome of your research work. It should explain how your results address your hypotheses and highlight any repetitions in your observations. You can also add comments on how you want the readers to interpret your results and about your agreements and disagreements with the available research work in your field. 

Writing a flawless thesis requires much more than only subject matter expertise. It requires expertise, experience, and in-depth thinking, along with sharp intelligence. Though most students add a discussion chapter in their thesis or dissertation, many of them end up messing up the essay or missing out on the central issues.

A discussion chapter in a thesis is a place where you have the chance to delving into the analysis, importance, and relevance of your research. This section focuses on explaining and analyzing what you have researched, presenting how it is associated with the existing literature. It is also a place for argument supporting your entire discussion.

We often find that people seek thesis writing help from experienced editing and proofreading services to prepare a flawless discussion chapter. However, the following helpful tips can help you design a perfect master's or Ph.D.. thesis with an excellent discussion chapter: 

Understand the objective of your thesis

Determine a clear structure

Usage of grammar and tense

Refer to hypotheses and literature review

Evaluate your results and compare them with existing studies

Understand the limitation of your research

Don’t be afraid to be unique

Don’t forget to avail a professional thesis editing and proofreading service 

Click here to review the details of the aforementioned tips. 

The following 5 questions might be helpful to write a sound discussion section: 

How well do you understand the objective of your study? 

What message is conveyed by your results? 

How do your findings compare to findings in literature? 

Why should your findings matter? 

In what light should your findings be viewed?

7. Conclusion

The final section of your document consists of a precise answer to your hypothesis. In addition, the “conclusion” chapter of your thesis should stress the achievement of the aims of your thesis. You should also include certain limitations of your research to convey the fact that there is still scope for further research in your field. 

The end matter of a thesis structure

The components of this section include an acknowledgment, a bibliography, and (occasionally) an appendix. 

Parting words

The first step to writing a thesis is to chalk out its layout. Doing so not only helps you deal with the writing process one step at a time but also enables you to better attend to each component of a thesis structure.

Also, before you follow this thesis structure, make sure to check with your university for “how to structure a thesis” guidelines. If the guidelines offered by your institution deviate slightly from what’s mentioned in this guide, then make sure to prioritize the former.

If you need us to make your thesis shine, contact us unhesitatingly!

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How structure a thesis

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How structure a thesis

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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - School of Business and Economics

Bachelor and master dissertations - frequently asked questions, preliminaries.

The following material provides relevant information related to dissertations at the Chair of Information Systems (CIS). Unless stated otherwise, the information applies to both Bachelor and Master theses. We organize the page as an FAQ. You may wish to navigate directly to the parts that interests you most.

Table of Contents

  • Is there a fixed date at which I have to start with my dissertation?

Is there anything I should consider when choosing a starting time for my thesis?

  • Is there a maximum  or minimum length for my thesis? How long is a dissertation on average?

I plan to write my thesis in the next semester. What should I do beforehand?

Can i suggest my own topic, i was asked to prepare an extended abstract for a topic of my choice. what does that entail, are there any core research areas from which thesis topics are normally selected, is it possible to collaborate with industry, how do i find a topic, how about formatting requirements for my thesis, do i have to write my thesis in english/german, what is the typical structure of a bachelor thesis, i plan to apply for a master program, when do i have to start with my bachelor thesis, what is the typical structure of a master thesis, i understand that many theses at the cis involve empirical work. how do i acquire the data for such a task, do i have to complete certain modules before being eligible to write my thesis at the cis, in addition to mandatory modules, are there any other skills that i need/should possess, how do i register my thesis, is there a fixed data at which i have to start with my dissertation.

No. At present, we accept theses throughout the whole year. Please note that we may not be able to offer such flexible regime forever. Depending upon demand and resources, it may be necessary to implement a structured approach where all dissertations start at fixed dates (e.g., begin/end of a semester). However, by the time of writing, students can begin their dissertation anytime.

Back to the table of contents

You may want to consider that opportunities for personal meetings are somewhat limited during summer breaks due to conference attendance, research visits, etc. Therefore, if you seek very close collaboration with your supervisor, consider to schedule your thesis such that the majority of the writing time is within lecturing periods.

Is there a maximum or minimum length? How long is a dissertation on average?

On average, Bachelor and Master theses are 30 and 35 pages, respectively. Deviations are possible. See also the explanations on our new moodle page on dissertations .

It is good to plan well ahead. However, as far as we are concerned, there is not much that needs to be done long in advance. In particular, please understand that we allocate our thesis topics on a first come first serve basis. That means that we don’t reserve topics for students who plan to start their dissertation in a few months’ time. However, you may want to consider suggesting your own thesis topic. In such a case, we could fix a thesis topic before the start of the actual thesis.

Yes, you can. If you wish to work on a topic of your choice, please prepare an extended abstract and send it to your supervisor for discussion. We assess the potential of your proposition for a Bachelor/Master thesis and might suggest extensions/revisions. In general, we prefer topics that relate to our research areas . However, exceptions are possible, so feel free to elaborate any topic related to information systems research.

An extended abstract is about two to four pages long and should clarify:

  • What research question(s) you plan to analyze
  • What is the academic and practical importance of your topic
  • How your thesis will contribute to the existing literature 

In addition, an extended abstract includes a selection of relevant literature.

There certainly are. In general, our research focuses on big data analytics (BDA). Approaches associated with the support of managerial decision-making and quantitative, data-driven methods are of particular interest. This scope offers a variety of research questions to be examined in a dissertation. Potential business applications to study include, but are not limited to:

  • Marketing and e-commerce
  • Consumer finance and risk management
  • Speculative financial and betting markets

In terms of methodology, we employ a broad variety of techniques to solve planning problems, explain decision maker behavior, and assess the effectiveness of formal decision aids. Examples of such planning methods include:

  • Ensemble selection (e.g. for marketing or credit-scoring problems)
  • Kalman filters (e.g. for time series data or real-time targeting of advertising in e-commerce)
  • Multi-armed bandit models (e.g. for or real-time targeting of advertising in e-commerce)
  • Deep learning (basically applicable everywhere)
  • Survival models (e.g. for price optimization in the automotive industry)
  • Choice models/hierarchical Bayesian models (e.g. for or real-time targeting of advertising in e-commerce or betting markets)
  • (Recurrent) neural networks (e.g. for turnover or financial markets predictions or in interaction with metaheuristics for model training or model selection)
  • Metaheuristics (e.g., to build predictive decision support models or develop normative decision aids)

Furthermore, there is a large body of literature on novel learning paradigms, which differ substantially from conventional explanatory (e.g. regression or classification) or descriptive (e.g. clustering) methods. Surveying the state-of-the-art in such fields and/or evaluating such modelling strategies in business settings is an interesting task for a dissertation. Some examples include:

  • Active learning
  • Causal machine learning
  • Learning with privileged information (e.g. financial forecasting)
  • Semi-supervised/transductive learning (e.g. for churn prediction)
  • Imbalanced learning (e.g. for marketing or credit scoring)
  • Multi-task learning (e.g. financial forecasting)
  • Reject inference (credit scoring)
  • Online learning

Yes, we support collaborative theses written with an industry partner. In general, industry partnerships are more common for master dissertations. However, writing a bachelor thesis with an industry partner is also feasible. In some cases, our list of open topics includes such collaborative theses. Alternatively, you can propose a topic that you’d like to study together with an industry partner. However, please note that we normally do not sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements). If you are in contact with an organization where you’d like to write your thesis, you may want to check whether your industry partner accepts this policy.

That is the key question. In general, you can browse through our list of open topics and see whether some of our propositions fit your interests. Alternatively, you can propose a thesis topic to us, preferably but not necessarily in one of our research areas .

We do not enforce specific formatting requirements. Instead, we recommend that students follow the author guidelines of scholarly outlets such as, e.g., the European Journal of Operational Research.  Note that these guidelines might also mention a minimum/maximum length. Such recommendations do not apply to your thesis and can be ignored. Instead, please adhere to our own recommendations related to thesis length.

MSc. theses are generally prepared in English. For a BSc. thesis, you are free to decide whether to write in English or German.

There are some general guidelines that any academic thesis follows. If you have already participated in one of our seminars (for Bachelor or Master students), you will be familiar with these guidelines. Otherwise, make sure that you have a careful read through our recommendations related to academic writing .

In addition to general guidelines, a typical Bachelor thesis written at the CIS adopts one of three paradigms.

First, the majority of dissertations is organized as a literature survey or, in other words, a state-of-the-art . Consider for example the question of IT business value. To which extent increases the use of information and communication technologies the performance of a firm? Several research projects have been undertaken to shed light on this question. A Bachelor thesis can review this field, identify sub-streams in the literature, and distill some overall conclusions. In addition, it might be possible to identify research gaps in the literature. In a nutshell, such a thesis provides a holistic overview of a clear-defined field.

Second, a bachelor thesis can be organized as a meta-analysis. A good example for such an endeavor is the paper of Jamain and Hand (2008) , who conduct a meta-analysis for the field of consumer credit scoring. In brief, this field is concerned with the question how a money lender can predict whether a credit applicant would pay back her loan, if the loan were granted. You can imagine that many papers have been written about this topic, and you can also imagine that several of these papers present some sort of forecasting method. Often, the proposition of a novel forecasting method is accompanied by an empirical evaluation to showcase that the new method predicts well. Given a large number of empirical studies that adopt this approach (i.e., present and compare forecasting methods), a meta-analysis first gathers empirical data about these comparisons (i.e., papers). This could be, for example, i) how many different forecasting methods have been compared in a paper, ii) how many times did some method A beat some other method B, iii) which measures have been used to assess the accuracy of a forecasting methods, etc. Next, a meta-analysis performs some statistical analysis on this data and, in doing so, distills some overall conclusions; for example, method A is better than B. You see that the outcome is the same as in the previous setup of a Bachelor thesis. Only the way in which one arrives at this outcome differs. Clearly, not every topic facilitates a meta-analysis. If you are generally interested in this format, feel free to contact our team members to find out which possibilities are available.

Third, it is also possible to organize a Bachelor thesis as a ‘little Master thesis’. This means that you conduct your own research study, which, at the CIS, would typically entail some empirical or analytic work. Such a study can span the whole research process – from gathering relevant data over data analysis to interpreting the observed results and drawing conclusions, or focus on specific steps in this process. Consider once again the above example of credit scoring. Given some credit scoring data set, your task could be to compare some novel forecasting method to some established benchmark. Given the similarity to Master theses in terms of format and organization, we do not publish dedicated topics for Bachelor theses that fall into this category. Students who are interested in the “small-scale Master thesis format” can review our topics for Master dissertations and ask the corresponding supervisor whether the topic could be changed such that it fits the smaller scope of a Bachelor thesis.

Every Master program has its own rules. We cannot make any recommendations related to programs offered at other universities. More specifically, the following guidelines apply only to our Master program Information Systems .

If you are considering to apply for the above program, you need to proof that you have collected at least 150 ECTS by the time of application. Say you want to start your Master in IS at the Humboldt-University in the winter semester 2016/2017. Assume for example that the application deadline is 30 th of April 2015. So, by end of April, when submitting your application, your transcript must show at least 150 ECTS. It is not necessary that you have completed your Bachelor studies. In particular, you can still be involved with your Bachelor thesis, or does not even have started with your Bachelor thesis. However, you need at least 150 (see ZSP-HU 1.1.2) .

There are some general guidelines that any academic thesis must follow. If you have already participated in one of our seminars  (for  Bachelor  or  Master  students) , you will be familiar with these guidelines. Otherwise, make sure that you have a careful read through the recommendations related to academic writing .

In addition to these general guidelines, a typical Master thesis written at the CIS addresses a research question(s) in the business fields mentioned above and contributes to the literature through providing some novel insight (e.g., original empirical results, evidence in favor of or against previously derived hypotheses, a new piece of methodology, etc.). Most dissertations contain an empirical part related to some real-world planning problem. For example, evaluating the effectiveness of a novel method from the realms of big data analytics in a real-world setting through empirical experimentation is a common task for a Master thesis. Such endeavor may also include the development of an entirely new methodology or the extension of some known technique to better fulfill the requirements of the application setting in question.

There are several possibilities to acquire the data for dissertation. Examples include:

  • The master’s thesis is written in cooperation with an industry  partner who provides data
  • The data is collected during (as part of) the thesis (e.g., through accessing a data provider’s API, say Twitter, or web scraping)
  • The data comes from an academic data mining/forecasting competition (KDD Cup, Data Mining Cup, NN3 or NN5 Competition, etc.) or a Kaggle competition (www.kaggle.com)
  • The data is associated with a current research project of the CIS. At the moment projects/data sets from the following areas are available:
  • Direct marketing/churn modeling
  • Automotive industry/sales of pre-owned vehicles
  • Real-time targeting in e-commerce
  • Credit scoring or PD modeling
  • Markets for sports betting

The typical setting is such that students first complete some of our modules prior to starting their dissertation at the CIS. In particular, our seminars modules provide relevant background on the scientific method, academic writings, etc. Therefore, it is compulsory to complete the module Bachelorseminar Wirtschaftsinformatik to write a Bsc. thesis at the CIS. For master students, it is compulsory to complete one of our seminars, Masterseminar Information Systems or Applied Predivtive Analytics .

We gurantee that every student who has successfully completed the relevant seminar is given an opportunity to write her/his BSc./MSc. thesis at the CIS. Of course, there will still be a need to agree on the topic.

In general, completing our Bachelor/Master modules equips you with a firm understanding of research in information systems and big data analytics in particular. Moreover, our courses give you an opportunity to develop the skills typically needed to write a dissertation at the CIS.

Having said that, given your research interests and focus on analytic/empirical work, some useful skills include, e.g., scientific computing, databases, programming (preferably in Matlab, R, Python or Julia), econometrics and statistics, machine learning.

First of all, to be eligible to register for the final thesis you have to fulfill certain requirements (e.g. you must have completed certain modules or have earned a certain amount of ECTS – depending on your degree program). To verify that, you can consult the examination office. Afterwards, you have to receive a thesis application form in the student office that you need to fill in and hand in to your supervisor for signing (on the form you will have to indicate the exact datum when you have received the final topic). Afterwards, submit the signed registration form to the examination office: either give it personally during the office hours or send per post. You will also receive a copy of the filled form once the examination office processes the documents. 

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Thesis writing linking words in english grammar

Linking connecting words.

It is important to know how Linking Words. as part of speech, may be used to combine ideas on paper – and therefore make sure that ideas within sentences and sentences are stylishly connected – for the advantage of the readers. This helps to enhance your writing (e.g. essay, comment, summary (scientific) review, (research) paper, letter, abstract, report, thesis, etc.). It’s also fundamental to understand the sometimes subtle meaning of those “small” words inside the British language.

“Linking Words” can be used like a term to indicate a category of British words which are widely-used to link or connect areas of speech or perhaps whole sentences. They’re also known as connecting words. There’s two groups of Linking Words (or Connecting Words):

Relations Between Words

An idea is definitely an idea – and what’s a concept? A concept that is in or on the mind. And what’s that? Perhaps, even more complicated to explain – otherwise impossible. So, to really make it simpler, how can we express ideas? With words – and generally – with attitude, gesture, movement, and then any other type of physiological behavior.

So, an idea could be expressed as something from a single word, as well as an elaborate as well as in extenso described philosophy.

Thesis writing linking words in english grammar itself does

Complete Listing of Linking Connecting Words

Don’t hesitate to download this concise and comprehensive guide like a 2 page cheat sheet Linking Words Connecting Words the PDF contains all of the Conjunctions Transitional devices for auction on these 2 pages.

Writing Tip . Choosing the best word for any text, letter, review or essay not just involves your mind ‘s intuition and memory, but nowadays frequently using search engines like google (although Synonym Lists could be a big help either). Look at this concise article, peppered with examples, of How to pick the best Words for the best Search Engine Results as well as your results will vastly improve.

Thesis writing linking words in english grammar more apparent, clear

They’re also known as connecting words. There’s two groups of Linking Words (or Connecting Words):

An idea alone doesn’t always communicate a obvious, unambiguous, understandable meaning. Therefore, particularly in written communication, it’s greater than useful, to make use of words, which could join ideas (expressed in numerous words, phrases, sentences, sentences). With this, we want linking words or linking phrases. They are some words accustomed to join concepts and also to express the relationships between concepts. With respect to the linking words selected, the bond between your concepts gets to be more apparent, obvious, vivid, self-explanatory, definite or on the other hand, more nebulous, vague, inexplicit, ambiguous or obscure.

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  • How to Write a Bachelor Thesis - Comprehensive Guide

How to Write a Bachelor Thesis - Comprehensive Guide

What Makes a Bachelor Thesis Important?

Bachelor thesis structure and components, how to pick a cool thesis topic, how to write a successful bachelor thesis.

Are you about to write a bachelor thesis? Congratulations - you are on the home straight and need to take the very last but important step to earn a bachelor’s degree. You have successfully handled all academic assignments; however, it doesn’t make bachelor thesis writing any easier. Writing a thesis takes a lot of time and requires real dedication to your theme in full.

Being one of the most important parts of your academic career, this assignment is to highlight your experience and knowledge in the chosen field of study. Therefore, it should be approached properly. Otherwise, you risk crapping all your academic achievements. Do not want this to happen to you? Then you need to plan your efforts properly or use writing thesis service  with professional writers to do the assignment for you. In the latter case, you can be sure that the paper you get is of top quality and meets academic writing standards at 100%.

The purpose of a bachelor’s thesis is to give students an opportunity to independently work on a complex assignment, demonstrate their ability to formulate a thesis topic , select relevant literature, and process the data. However, it is not all you need to do in order to produce a quality project. In order to deliver an all-covering paper, you are to conduct in-depth topic research, data analysis, apply relevant methodologies, make critical assessments, and present answers to questions raised in the problem statement. 

Thus, a bachelor’s thesis is far from being a purely writing assignment. It is more of a research nature and requires critical thinking from a student. Being the final task in your academic career, thesis writing is aimed at:

  • Teaching you to give an independent and clear treatment of a certain topic, discipline, or area of study;
  • Training you to independently identify and analyze a problem, find solutions, and predict outcomes;
  • Sharpening your skill to independently acquire and handle academic knowledge;
  • Cultivating your ability to evaluate and account for the key elements in a large literature base.

As you can see, bachelor thesis writing is a complex task that requires a step-by-step approach and proper planning of your actions. So what should you know about this type of writing? What should you take into account when coping with the task? And what makes a thesis good?

Your thesis is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve done so far, and it can be intimidating to know where to start. There is no general rule here. Not all dissertations follow the same thesis structure . Your discipline, topic, and research approach - these are what will determine paper formatting and structure. For example, theses in Humanities are often structured similarly to a long essay - with a central statement and arguments to support it. Paper chapters are organized around different themes or case studies bringing more details to help you with formulating research problem .

The situation is completely different when it comes to empirical research in scientific disciplines. In this case, your dissertation should generally contain the following components:

  • Title page;
  • Thesis acknowledgment ;
  • Abstract in dissertation ;
  • Table of contents;
  • List of tables / figures;
  • List of abbreviations;
  • Vocabulary;
  • Thesis introduction ;
  • Literature review ;
  • Dissertation methodology ;
  • Discussion in research ;
  • Thesis conclusion .

All these are intended to have thesis material structured in a proper way, ease its perception, and prove the relevance of your key research statement. If you are not a skillful scientist or writer and do not know what to start your writing with, then we strongly recommend that you develop a paper outline. Use it as the information backbone for your project, and you will never miss out on a single argument, paragraph, or a critical piece of research data.

Choosing a topic for your thesis can feel like a daunting point, but it can be an exciting thing to do. Picking the right theme for your thesis is a great chance for you to dive deep into a topic of interest to you and to contribute something new to your field. By the way, selecting your topic can ease thesis writing and make it a success with no special effort or labor on your end. So how choosy to be in order to pick a winning topic for your main academic project? Here are some points for your evaluation:

  • List your main interests related to your area of study;
  • Go through your past successful academic assignments;
  • Check gaps in current research related to your field;
  • Eliminate reserch topic ideas  that don’t promise avenues for new exploration;
  • Do preliminary research to estimate the scope of literature you can use as the source of information.

When picking a topic for your thesis, the main task you have is to make sure that it is acute, scientifically valuable, interesting to you, and provides you research perspectives.

Do not know what topic to go with? Need help with proper topic formulation? Or maybe you need someone to do the proofreading job for you? Let us do the service for you and polish your paper to make your thesis shine.

Thesis writing can be an easy task if you have a clear plan of action. We have done it for you, so you just need to stick to the following steps:

  • Research the topic;
  • Formulate the key statement based on research findings;
  • Build a thesis research design ;
  • Group the data around the key subject;
  • Develop an outline of your piece;
  • Write a paper draft (start your writing attempts with the discussion section of a project);
  • Edit a paper (pay attention to key formulations and content of your piece);
  • Fix formatting, punctuation, and spelling errors;
  • Run a plagiarism check and make sure that all quotes and references are properly cited.

As you follow the above approach, your thesis writing efforts reach your main target and will bring you recognition in your field of study. 

Selecting a good thesis topic might be a real nightmare to many college students since you are expected to write about something new although nobody expects that you make some groundbreaking discovery. If you are stuck with formulating the key theme for your thesis project, we will share with you so...

To successfully come up with your thesis acknowledgement, read this helpful guidance article or contact our pro writers to get dissertation help. How to write an acknowledgement for a thesis? This section should be presented only to express your sincere gratitude to individuals who helped you in you...

When you write a thesis, you should pay exceptional attention to the introduction. The reader will start your thesis from the introduction, and he will make up his view and understanding of the problem, your ideas, professionalism and writing skills based on the introduction. Your introduction is an...

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UCI Libraries maintains the following  templates to assist in formatting your graduate manuscript. If you are formatting your manuscript in Microsoft Word, feel free to download and use the template. If you would like to see what your manuscript should look like, PDFs have been provided. If you are formatting your manuscript using LaTex, UCI maintains a template on OverLeaf.

  • Annotated Template (Dissertation) 2024 PDF of a template with annotations of what to look out for
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Format bachelor thesis in Word correctly

words bachelor thesis

Reviewing the formatting of your bachelor thesis only makes sense after the proofreading and the plagiarism check, but actually you have to consider certain specifications right from the start so that you can save time-consuming corrections later. Most of the time your entire energy is spent after writing the text, which is why you hardly want to pay attention to formatting.

But that is a mistake: you risk only unnecessary point deductions for incorrect formatting.

The guidelines on how to format your work correctly can be found in your guide, which your university or university makes available to students. However, reading the guideline is very time-consuming, because the text is usually about 30 pages long. In this article you will find the most important information in the form of a concise summary.

Format bachelor thesis in Word correctly

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Format bachelor thesis in Word correctly

1. Use automatic directories

Word has many useful features that make it easier to write your bachelor thesis. Use automatic directories .

In Word tables of contents , index directories , table directories, , formula directories, abbreviation directories, und bibliographies can be created automatically. The use of these functions saves a lot of time, because you only need to update the respective directories with a mouse click. All contents of the directories (eg the table of contents) are created automatically. This will avoid mistakes that occur when, for example, you forget a chapter or sources in the bibliography, or you duplicate them.

2. Font and size

Fonts and font sizes can be found in the guidelines of your university.

As a principle applies: The font and font size must be used uniformly in the entire bachelor thesis (Exception: with footnotes usually a smaller font as well as usually a smaller line spacing are used.) For title and chapter headings a larger font size is chosen.

The most common fonts are Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri or Verdana. Always use only one font in your bachelor thesis. Check the font size for the title and the individual chapter headings, these elements are usually also highlighted in bold.

For chapter headings of the 1st and 2nd level, a larger typeface (16 or 14 points) is usually recommended than for the continuous text (12-11 points) and the footnotes (10 points).


3. Text alignment, line spacing and hyphenation

On the title page the title should be centered, in the body text and in the footnotes you should always use a justified sentence and an automatic hyphenation.

The most commonly used is the line spacing of 1.5 points in the body text and 1.0 in the footnotes. It’s best to check your specifications.

4. Markers in Word

Many are convinced that markings in the bachelor thesis allow a better orientation in the text. These should, however, be used sparingly in scientific work.

Bold and especially italics should be avoided.

In some disciplines, the italic z. For example, to mark terms, to identify foreign words, or to indicate titles of works. You should therefore check the guidelines at the beginning, so that you do not have to change or unify in the end, which is a very tedious task.


5. Page numbers and margins in Word

Most often, the pages are numbered at the bottom right (this results from the fact that you can find the corresponding page the fastest while browsing).

Some universities also allow the page number in the middle or top right. The first page has no page numbering, other pages should check the requirements of your university or university. Mostly Arabic numerals are used for the body text pages and Roman numerals for directory pages and attachment pages.

Also to the margins there are different requirements:

  • 1.5-2.5 cm are recommended above and below
  • wider left (because of binding)
  • 3.5 cm and right 2.5 cm

6. Quotes in Bachelor thesis

Quotes are most often in quotation marks.

For longer quotes, which consist of more than 3 lines, they should eigerückt and start as a new paragraph. Also, the line spacing may be different for longer quotes, more precisely, these specifications are specified in your guide. Less popular are quotations without quotation marks in italics.

If quotations are in italics, the italics may not be used for other purposes.

Without exception: For citations, their source must always be stated in scientific texts. Do this from the beginning, otherwise most sources will not be reconstructed later and the text will be unusable.

7. References in bachelor thesis

When referring to sources, the principle applies first of all: make everything uniform.

The sources may be either in the text “American citations” or in the footnotes “German citations”.

The punctuation in the references as well as the individual necessary components (author, year of publication, title, edition, publisher, place of publication, etc.) are always given, there are many different possibilities in the design, so that you should do so from the beginning to Work to your specifications.

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  • Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples

Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples

Published on May 15, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.

The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation , or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.

The table of contents (TOC) should be placed between the abstract and the introduction . The maximum length should be two pages. Depending on the nature of your thesis , paper, or dissertation topic , there are a few formatting options you can choose from.

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Table of contents

What to include in your table of contents, what not to include in your table of contents, creating a table of contents in microsoft word, table of contents examples, updating a table of contents in microsoft word, other lists in your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the table of contents.

Depending on the length of your document, you can choose between a single-level, subdivided, or multi-level table of contents.

  • A single-level table of contents only includes “level 1” headings , or chapters. This is the simplest option, but it may be too broad for a long document like a dissertation.
  • A subdivided table of contents includes chapters as well as “level 2” headings, or sections. These show your reader what each chapter contains.
  • A multi-level table of contents also further divides sections into “level 3” headings. This option can get messy quickly, so proceed with caution. Remember your table of contents should not be longer than 2 pages. A multi-level table is often a good choice for a shorter document like a research paper .

Examples of level 1 headings are Introduction, Literature Review , Methodology , and Bibliography. Subsections of each of these would be level 2 headings, further describing the contents of each chapter or large section. Any further subsections would be level 3.

In these introductory sections, less is often more. As you decide which sections to include, narrow it down to only the most essential.

Including appendices and tables

You should include all appendices in your table of contents. Whether or not you include tables and figures depends largely on how many there are in your document.

If there are more than three figures and tables, you might consider listing them on a separate page. Otherwise, you can include each one in the table of contents.

  • Theses and dissertations often have a separate list of figures and tables.
  • Research papers generally don’t have a separate list of figures and tables.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

All level 1 and level 2 headings should be included in your table of contents, with level 3 headings used very sparingly.

The following things should never be included in a table of contents:

  • Your acknowledgements page
  • Your abstract
  • The table of contents itself

The acknowledgements and abstract always precede the table of contents, so there’s no need to include them. This goes for any sections that precede the table of contents.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, be sure to first apply the correct heading styles throughout the document, as shown below.

  • Choose which headings are heading 1 and which are heading 2 (or 3)!
  • For example, if all level 1 headings should be Times New Roman, 12-point font, and bold, add this formatting to the first level 1 heading.
  • Highlight the level 1 heading.
  • Right-click the style that says “Heading 1.”
  • Select “Update Heading 1 to Match Selection.”
  • Allocate the formatting for each heading throughout your document by highlighting the heading in question and clicking the style you wish to apply.

Once that’s all set, follow these steps:

  • Add a title to your table of contents. Be sure to check if your citation style or university has guidelines for this.
  • Place your cursor where you would like your table of contents to go.
  • In the “References” section at the top, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Here, you can select which levels of headings you would like to include. You can also make manual adjustments to each level by clicking the Modify button.
  • When you are ready to insert the table of contents, click “OK” and it will be automatically generated, as shown below.

Table of contents example

The key features of a table of contents are:

  • Clear headings and subheadings
  • Corresponding page numbers

Check with your educational institution to see if they have any specific formatting or design requirements.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
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See an example

words bachelor thesis

Write yourself a reminder to update your table of contents as one of your final tasks before submitting your dissertation or paper. It’s normal for your text to shift a bit as you input your final edits, and it’s crucial that your page numbers correspond correctly.

It’s easy to update your page numbers automatically in Microsoft Word. Simply right-click the table of contents and select “Update Field.” You can choose either to update page numbers only or to update all information in your table of contents.

In addition to a table of contents, you might also want to include a list of figures and tables, a list of abbreviations, and a glossary in your thesis or dissertation. You can use the following guides to do so:

  • List of figures and tables
  • List of abbreviations

It is less common to include these lists in a research paper.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.

The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .

Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Apply heading styles throughout the document.
  • In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
  • Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.

Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.

The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .

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English Recap

Bachelor Thesis or Bachelor’s Thesis?

words bachelor thesis

The correct term is bachelor’s thesis because you need to show that the thesis belongs to the bachelor. E.g., “Her bachelor’s thesis was on 18 th -century British poetry.” However, the term bachelor thesis , which is viewed as incorrect by some people, is more common.

The difference between the two terms is that the one with the apostrophe shows that the thesis belongs to the bachelor, which in this form is a noun.

  • His bachelor’s thesis was on crime statistics in New York City.

In contrast, in the version without the apostrophe, the word bachelor is an adjective that describes the thesis .

  • The college rejected her bachelor thesis for plagiarism.

The term bachelor thesis is unacceptable to many people . However, the word bachelor appears as an adjective in the dictionary. Furthermore, there are plenty of examples of people using the term without an apostrophe.

However, although the term bachelor thesis is common, the correct grammar is bachelor’s thesis , with an apostrophe and no capital letter.

Please keep reading the rest of the article to learn more about the different versions and to find out the rules regarding capitalization.

Bachelor’s Thesis

The term bachelor’s thesis is the correct way to refer to a thesis written by a bachelor.

The apostrophe is necessary to show that the thesis belongs to the bachelor.

  • He wrote a bachelor’s thesis on the consistency of different types of concrete.

Furthermore, there is no need to use capital letters for a bachelor’s thesis because neither word is a proper noun.

However, if you are writing the full title of a bachelor’s degree, then you should use a capital letter.

  • They awarded him with a Bachelor of Arts In French.

Bachelor Thesis

Although many people feel it is incorrect , people commonly use the term bachelor thesis to refer to a bachelor’s thesis .

In this form, the word bachelor is an adjective rather than a noun. Therefore, it doesn’t need an apostrophe.

  • I did not do a bachelor thesis , so I didn’t graduate with honors.
  • She is writing her bachelor thesis on the causes of poverty.

Please bear in mind that, although this version is common , if you are writing formally, it is best to stick to the correct grammatical version, which is bachelor’s thesis .

Bachelors Thesis

The term bachelors thesis is an incorrect form of bachelor’s thesis.

In this form, with the “s” at the end, the apostrophe is vital because you need to indicate that the thesis is the bachelors .

For example, it is similar to saying:

  • The thesis is Johns.
  • It is John’s thesis.

Therefore, you must always put an apostrophe in the word order where the bachelor comes first.

  • Correct: John wrote a bachelor’s thesis on economic development in Vietnam.
  • Incorrect: John wrote a bachelors thesis on economic development in Vietnam.

Bachelors’ Thesis

The term bachelors’ thesis is not correct because the thesis belongs to the bachelor. Therefore, you should always put the apostrophe before the “s.”

As shown in these examples:

  • Correct: Her bachelor’s thesis is on river pollution.
  • Incorrect: Her bachelors’ thesis is on river pollution.
  • Lady’s or Ladies’ or Ladies?
  • Saturdays or Saturday’s?
  • Secretary’s or Secretaries’ or Secretaries?
  • Nicholas’ or Nicholas’s?

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    Bachelor Thesis For each Bachelor Thesis options, a final paper of approximately 6,000 words (or 15 pages) must be written in English. The paper should be seen as a 'mini thesis', containing a clearly identifiable tripartite structure of introduction, discussion, and conclusion, and requires students to thoroughly prepare. ...

  7. Dissertation Structure & Layout 101 (+ Examples)

    Time to recap…. And there you have it - the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows: Title page. Acknowledgments page. Abstract (or executive summary) Table of contents, list of figures and tables.

  8. How to write a bachelor thesis?

    4.3.2 Research question(s) From your problem statement you formulate specific and well-defined research questions. For a bachelor thesis 1 or 2 questions is generally enough. Research questions should logically flow from the problem statement and should be clear and concise.

  9. Formatting Your Thesis or Dissertation with Microsoft Word

    Formatting Your Thesis or Dissertation with Microsoft Word This guide includes video tutorials designed to help you get most of the formatting of your thesis correct the first time. Using these videos to format your thesis will save a lot of time when it comes to having your format checked.

  10. How to Structure a Thesis: A Complete Guide

    Provide a review of the literature related to the thesis subject. Define the terms and scope of the thesis topic. Outline the existing situation. Evaluate the current situation and identify the gap in the literature. Identify the importance of the proposed research. State the main research questions.

  11. PDF Writing Your BA Literature Thesis A Rough Guide

    What is a BA Thesis? Your final thesis is a chance to demonstrate the knowledge and skills that you have acquired over the course of your degree. Your thesis should demonstrate evidence of the following skills: Independent research and critical thinking.

  12. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

    Published on September 7, 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on November 21, 2023. The introduction is the first section of your thesis or dissertation, appearing right after the table of contents.

  13. word choice

    Bachelor thesis or Bachelor's thesis Ask Question Asked 11 years, 9 months ago Modified 11 years, 6 months ago Viewed 271k times 40 During my final year at university, I wrote what I thought was a "bachelor thesis". Right before printing it I stumbled upon several documents stating the name "bachelor's thesis".

  14. Bachelor and Master Dissertations

    A Bachelor thesis can review this field, identify sub-streams in the literature, and distill some overall conclusions. In addition, it might be possible to identify research gaps in the literature. In a nutshell, such a thesis provides a holistic overview of a clear-defined field. Second, a bachelor thesis can be organized as a meta-analysis.

  15. Thesis writing linking words in english grammar

    Thesis writing linking words in english grammar. Linking Connecting Words. It is important to know how Linking Words. as part of speech, may be used to combine ideas on paper - and therefore make sure that ideas within sentences and sentences are stylishly connected - for the advantage of the readers. ... Writing a bachelor thesis proposal ...

  16. Bachelor Thesis

    The purpose of a bachelor's thesis is to give students an opportunity to independently work on a complex assignment, demonstrate their ability to formulate a thesis topic, select relevant literature, and process the data. However, it is not all you need to do in order to produce a quality project.

  17. Templates

    If you are formatting your manuscript in Microsoft Word, feel free to download and use the template. If you would like to see what your manuscript should look like, PDFs have been provided. ... Word: Thesis Template 2024. Editable template of the Master's thesis formatting. PDF Thesis Template 2024. Word: Dissertation Template 2024 ...

  18. PDF Microsoft Word

    We generally recommend about 5,000 - 7,000 words for bachelor thesis and 9,000 - 10,000 words for master thesis. However, the thesis may contain an appendix with additional material beyond these word limitations. There are no formal requirements for which font should be used, the spacing, etc.

  19. What Is a Dissertation?

    Download Word template Download Google Docs template. Note "Thesis" and "dissertation" are sometimes used ... In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor's or master's degree. Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text. Be assured that you'll submit ...

  20. I need to write my bachelor thesis in 48 days, which is quite ...

    For example; start with your thesis statement at the beginning. Then list the major points that support your thesis. (I like to label using Roman Numerals) Next start listing supporting ideas or arguments for each major point. If applicable, continue to sub-divide each supporting idea until your outline is fully developed.

  21. Formatting a Bachelor Thesis in Word correctly

    Word has many useful features that make it easier to write your bachelor thesis. Use automatic directories.. In Word tables of contents, index directories, table directories,, formula directories, abbreviation directories, und bibliographies can be created automatically. The use of these functions saves a lot of time, because you only need to update the respective directories with a mouse click.

  22. Dissertation Table of Contents in Word

    Revised on July 18, 2023. The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.

  23. Bachelor Thesis or Bachelor's Thesis?

    The correct term is bachelor's thesis because you need to show that the thesis belongs to the bachelor. E.g., "Her bachelor's thesis was on 18 th-century British poetry."However, the term bachelor thesis, which is viewed as incorrect by some people, is more common.. The difference between the two terms is that the one with the apostrophe shows that the thesis belongs to the bachelor ...