The Title Page of a Dissertation
A title page (also sometimes referred to as a cover page) is the first thing that your evaluator or any reader will see when they encounter your dissertation. It must contain important information that gives the reader an idea of what they are about to look at. Let’s spend some time deconstructing this.
The format of the title page will differ to an extent, based on the journal of publication, university, and citation style used. But there are some common elements you’ll have to include, regardless of the style you’re using. These guidelines will remain the same regardless of what level you’re at—whether it’s a Master’s thesis or a PhD dissertation.
What goes on a dissertation title page?
Title of the dissertation
Academic writing is objective and direct, so your title too should be such. Focus on letting the reader know what exactly they’re dealing with. Use keywords that highlight the scope, purpose, and methods used in your research. Here are some examples:
A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions
The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature
An Alternate Historiography of the Boer Wars
That said, there’s also scope for some creativity here. Your evaluators may appreciate a title that’s more creative as long as you accompany it with an explanatory subtitle. From some examples, check out this Reddit thread where people are sharing some of the funniest titles they’ve ever seen.
Pro-tip: If you decide to go for a catchy title, just make sure your university approves!
Author information and affiliation
Your title page should also shed light upon you as the researcher, your qualifications, and affiliations. You will be expected to specify the following details:
- Your name
- ID number
- Department and university you are affiliated with
- Date and year of submission
- Programme under which you undertook the dissertation (MA, MSc, PhD, etc.)
Additional information on your dissertation title page
While these are the primary elements of a dissertation title page, there are additional details you may have to include, based on what style guide your university has told you to follow. Expect to include details such as these:
- Your primary advisor’s name
- Type of article (Is this a dissertation or a thesis?)
- Word count or total number of pages
- University logo
Formatting your dissertation title page
Refer to the prescribed style guide or the guidelines followed by your university when you format a title page. While there will be minor variations depending on the style, a title page typically looks like this:
Your university will give you specific guidelines about where each element should be placed on the title page. They will also give you details about indentation, spacing, and margins. They may even give you guidelines about font, font sizes, and capitalization.
Tips for a well-formatted title page
- The title page should not be too wordy. An evaluator should be able to glean the essential information about your paper at a single glance.
- Make sure you space the title page well, or else it might look too cluttered or too empty. [For example, APA ]
- Formatting a title page often means dwelling on incredibly specific and tedious things like spacing and sentence casing, so ensure that you double check with your supervisor about whether you have followed these guidelines thoroughly.
- Proofread the title page to ensure that you have spelled each word correctly, and each element is where it should be.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to add a page number to the title page?
Generally speaking, you do not add a page number to the title page. Think of it this way: Your title page is like the cover page of a book, and books start their page numbers in the main body. Most style guides follow the same rule.
Can I put a picture on the title page?
Yes, it’s a good idea to add an image that is representative of the study. Check with your university requirements or the prescribed style guide to see if you’re allowed to do this. If you’re lucky, they may not be stringently against the idea.
How can I create a title page in MS Word?
Go to the “Insert” tab on the top navigation bar and click on “Cover page”. Here, you’ll find many templates to choose from. For more details, check out this super cool guide from the University of Aberdeen that tells you how to create a cover page on MS Word. If this is too complicated, plainly type in the details needed on the first page and set the required indentation, font size, font style, and so on.
Do I need to list committee members on the title page?
Not necessarily. You can do this only if the style guide you’ve been prescribed requires you to do so.
Do I need to add a copyright page?
Not necessarily. It’s assumed that the dissertation is the intellectual property of the writer it’s credited to and the university. Moreover, it’s unlikely, at this stage, multiple copies are created of your dissertation. This is something you’ll only want to worry about if you plan on getting your dissertation published for a wider audience.
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