Thesis Preparation Guidelines - 2 Thesis structure and major elements
Division of Graduate Studies and Research
The thesis or dissertation is a formal document outlining various items of a research project that has been assigned to a student including the statement of a problem, the theory, methodology, results, discussion, conclusions and source material. The thesis must be a standalone document that is sufficiently complete that it does not require any other material to substantiate its findings.
The written thesis itself must be a coherent account of a research project, not a collection of loosely connected studies. It must be in a form acceptable for its discipline and must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the topic and a scholarly approach.
The thesis must include the following divisions in the order shown, taking note that some divisions are optional or only applicable to certain theses. See section 2.5 for descriptions of each division.
- Title Page
- Signature Page
- Statement of Ethics Approval (where applicable)
- Dedication (optional)
- Acknowledgements (optional)
- Co-Authorship Statement (where applicable)
- Table of Contents
- List of Tables (where applicable)
- List of Figures (where applicable)
- List of Symbols, Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Nomenclature and the Glossary (where applicable)
- Preface (optional)
- Body of the thesis (see section 2.2 for required contents)
- Curriculum Vitae
The thesis body must be in either monograph format or integrated article format.
The monograph format organizes the written thesis around a central problem. Its body must contain the following chapters:
- Literature review
- Middle chapters as appropriate
- Summary and conclusion
A List of References and / or Bibliography must follow these chapters.
The integrated article format organizes the thesis around chapters that are focused on related problems. The chapters may include published articles, submitted articles or unpublished work that is suitable for publication. Text that establishes the logical connections between the different chapters must be present. Submitted and published articles that are integrated in the thesis must be reformatted such that the style of the whole thesis is consistent with these guidelines. Chapters may be co-authored articles; however, the thesis candidate must be the principal author who has had a major role in the preparation and writing of the articles. Publication or acceptance for publication in no way supersedes or otherwise influences the responsibility of the Thesis Evaluation Board to evaluate the thesis during the examination process and to recommend or require changes.
The body of an integrated article format thesis must contain the following chapters:
- Introductory chapter to the entire thesis
- Literature review (if applicable)
- Middle chapters. Each chapter follows an integrated article format (discussed above).
- Final chapter that links the separate studies together and to the relevant discipline or field of study.
A Consolidated List of References and / or Bibliography should follow these chapters (see section 2.5.14).
The length of theses may vary. Candidates must consult their supervisors to determine any length requirements.
The Copyright Act provides for “fair use” of a reasonable amount of someone else’s work, if properly cited. If more extensive quotation is required, permission from the Copyright owner must be obtained. The thesis should not contain a substantial amount of copyrighted material.
If the candidate wishes to use a substantial amount of work that he or she has published in venue that required copyright assignment (e.g., many journals or conferences), then the candidate must obtain written permission from the copyright holder and include this permission in the Appendices. For any chapters that have been published or submitted for publication, a footnote must accompany the chapter citing the publication venue.
The following sections provide guidance regarding the contents of the major divisions of the thesis. Each major division must start on a new page.
An example title page is shown in Figure 1. The following elements must be present on the title page, in order:
- If the thesis is written in English, the title in English, followed by a translation in French, and vice versa in the case of a thesis written in French.
- The text “A Thesis submitted to the Division of Graduate Studies of the Royal Military College of Canada by _____”.
- The text “In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy” or “In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of _____ in _____”.
- The month and year of submission.
- The copyright statement “© This thesis may be used within the Department of National Defence, but copyright for open publication remains the property of the author”.
In the event that the material of the thesis is classified, the appropriate classification, such as “SECRET” must be displayed within the top and bottom margins, centred.
The author's full name should be displayed with all given names spelled out. In the least, the usual given name and the family name must be spelled out; any other given names may be reported as initials only. Nicknames must not be included.
The name of the degree must be indicated in full, as it appears in the Calendar of the Division of Graduate Studies and Research. “Doctor of Philosophy” (without a field of study stated) is the degree name for all doctoral candidates.
The date of the thesis is determined by the month in which the candidate qualifies for graduation. Only the month and the year are used on the title page.
The signature page must be as shown in Figure 2 with the candidate’s name, thesis title and name of degree inserted. It must include the signatures of the Head of Department, the thesis supervisor(s), and the members of the examining committee. The main supervisor must indicate whether or not the thesis is classified and must sign on the “Main Supervisor” blank.
Where research involving human subjects has been conducted as part of the thesis work, the signature page must be immediately followed by a page stating: “The research involving human subjects that is reported in this thesis was conducted with the approval of the Royal Military College of Canada General Research Ethics Board.”
The thesis may include a Dedication page, which must have no heading. The dedication text must be brief.
The thesis may include an Acknowledgments page, which includes a brief statement of appreciation or recognition of special assistance. This page must start with the heading “ACKNOWLEDGMENTS”. The number of people acknowledged should be kept to a minimum. The text must not contain any inappropriate comments.
The thesis must include an Abstract, which starts with the heading “ABSTRACT”. The text of the abstract must begin with a paragraph stating the candidate's name at it appears on the Title page but with the family name first; the abbreviation of the degree; the name of the institution granting the degree; the month and the year of the qualification of the candidate for the degree; the title of the thesis worded exactly as it appears on the title page; and the name(s) of the supervisor(s).
This paragraph must be followed with a statement of the thesis research problem, a brief description of the research and methodology, a condensed summary of the findings, a brief discussion of the results and a short sentence on the main conclusion(s). The abstract should not include mathematical formulas, diagrams, or figures and must not include any references. Excluding the first paragraph described above, the text of the abstract should not exceed 350 words for Ph.D. or 150 words for Masters theses.
A list of keywords must appear at the end of the Abstract. These keywords are used to assign headings and terms of indexing as part of the Library cataloguing routine.
For theses written in English, the abstract is immediately followed by a French translation of it, under the heading “RÉSUMÉ”, with the same arrangement and contents as for the English Abstract. For theses written in French, the Résumé page precedes the Abstract page.
Where a thesis in integrated article format contains papers co-authored by the candidate and others, the thesis must state explicitly the contribution of the candidate to those papers. The supervisor(s) must certify the accuracy of any Co-Authorship Statement during the examination.
The Table of Contents must list all divisions and subdivisions of the thesis, including the appendices, but excluding the Title Page, the Signature Page, the Dedication page, the Acknowledgements and the Table of Contents itself. It must start with the heading “TABLE OF CONTENTS”. The headings of divisions, parts, sections, chapters, and their principal subdivisions must be worded exactly as they appear in the thesis. The word “Page” may appear above the list of page numbers. See this document’s table of contents for an example.
If the thesis contains tables, the thesis must include List of Tables, which starts with the heading “LIST OF TABLES”. The List of Tables must contain exactly the same numbers and captions as appear above the tables in the text and in the appendices, as well as the number of the page on which each table appears. The word “Page” may appear above the list of page numbers. See this document’s List of Figures for an example of the appropriate formatting, substituting “Table” for “Figure” in the example.
If the thesis contains figures, the thesis must include a List of Figures, which starts with the heading “LIST OF FIGURES”. It must contain exactly the same numbers and captions as appear below the figures in the text and in the appendices, as well as the number of the page on which each figure appears. The word “Page” may appear above the list of page numbers. See this document’s List of Figures for an example.
Lists of Symbols, Abbreviations, Acronyms, Nomenclature, and the Glossary should be included as appropriate. These lists must start with the appropriate heading, similar to the List of Figures. Each list should be presented in two columns. A column just wide to include the longest word, abbreviation, acronym, or symbol to be defined should start at the left margin. A second column should occupy the rest of the page width and should present the definition or explanation text. A gap of at least 6.4 mm (¼ inch) should be left between the columns.
The thesis may include a Preface section, which starts with the heading “PREFACE”. The material contained in such a section is generally information that the author wants to convey to the reader before he or she reads the thesis.
See section 2.2 for the required content of the thesis body. Each chapter of the body must begin on new page and should start with the chapter number, followed by the chapter title, e.g., “CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION”.
The List of References or Bibliography must start with the appropriate heading. For a thesis in integrated article format, a List of References or Bibliography may be presented at the end of each Chapter; however, a consolidated List of References or Bibliography should be presented before the Appendices.
Appendices are not required in every thesis but may be included if required to provide supplemental material. The appendices may be separated from the preceding material by a cover sheet with a heading “APPENDICES” (or “APPENDIX” if there is only one). Each appendix must begin on a new page, with the heading “APPENDIX” (or “APPENDIX A”, “APPENDIX B”, … if appropriate).
This section is essentially a short biography of the candidate, written in the third person. Information such as the candidate’s place and date of birth and details of the candidate’s academic, professional and/or military careers must be included. This section must be separated from the preceding material by a cover sheet with the heading “CURRICULUM VITAE”. The Vitae itself starts with the heading “CURRICULUM VITAE”. If applicable, this section may list publications authored or co-authored by the candidate.