(Updated December, 2012)
1. BASIC GUIDELINES
- The general style guide for M. A. theses is the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).
- The thesis format and bibliographical guidelines of the Chicago Manual should be followed unless they are revised, modified, or clarified by this document.
- If you are unsure of any of the format requirements, be sure to check with your advisor before you submit your final draft for evaluation by your advisor and reader.
- Works not conforming to these standards will be rejected.
- A thesis may not exceed 30,000 words.
- Front and back matter are not included in calculating the length of the thesis.
- Back matter ordinarily includes charts, graphics, and pictures. More extensive materials should be included only after consulting the thesis advisor.
- Bibliographic footnotes are not included in calculating the length of the thesis.
- The rule of thumb for all questions: remember the reader.
- Spelling should conform to American practice.
- The thesis is due at 10:00 AM, ten business days before the last day of classes in the semester in which the thesis is begun.
- The thesis defense shall be conducted in public during the final exam period at a date and time established by the faculty advisor in consultation with the faculty reader.
- The defense shall consist of an oral summary of the main argument of the thesis and a response to questions from the faculty.
2. PAPER, PRINTING, AND COPYING REQUIREMENTS
- The thesis must be on unlined white 8 1/2" x I 1" 20 lb. paper or better (e.g., 22 lb., 92 brightness).
- The final draft submitted to the faculty evaluation should be printed on a laser printer at no less than 600 dpi.
- The font size must be 12 points for text. Footnotes may be as small as 9 points.
- Headings, sub-headings, and text should be in a serif font (e.g., Times New Roman 12 points).
- The text of the thesis must be double-spaced.
- Each chapter should begin on a new page.
- The thesis should be printed on only one side of the paper.
- No compromises in the format of the thesis are permitted.
- Two final copies of the thesis must be submitted, one for each faculty reader.
- The copy submitted to the faculty for final evaluation may be bound in the following bindings: coil, wire or tape.
- Upon approval by the faculty readers and successful defense, the M.A. thesis must be submitted to the bindery and a copy of the receipt for the thesis must be presented to the director of the Historical Theology program before graduation. See the library director for direction.
- One final copy of the thesis must be presented, within 60 days of the defense, in a library binding for accession in the WSC library.
- Place the preliminary pages in the following order only.
- Title page.
- Dedication (optional).
- Table of Contents.
- List of Illustrations (if needed).
- List of Tables (if needed).
- List of Abbreviations (if needed).
- Preface or Acknowledgements (optional).
- Page Numbering
- Assign an Arabic number to every page of the thesis proper.
- The preliminary pages should be numbered with lower-case Roman numerals.
- The page number should appear in the upper right-hand corner.
- Assign a number to the title page but do not print it on the title page.
- The left margin should be 1.5 inches; the other margins should be 1 inch.
- Do not, for any reason, type anything in these margins. Margins of this size are needed so that the thesis can be properly bound.
- Avoid abbreviations wherever possible.
- If you use abbreviations on your footnotes and/or bibliography, you must include a list of those actually used in a "List of Abbreviations Used" in the preliminary pages of your thesis or dissertation (see above).
- NB: Do not use a period after these abbreviations.
- A short title of each chapter should appear in the header.
- Headings should be centered.
- Sub-heads may be used sparingly throughout the text of the thesis. They should be flush left. Text following a sub-head should also be flush left.
3. FOOTNOTES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
- You must use the following format correctly and consistently throughout your thesis.
- Endnotes are not permitted.
- MLA in-text references (author, date) and MLA footnotes are not permitted.
- Each footnote must be marked by a superscript nine point Arabic numeral, e.g., 9.
- For style guidelines for traditional footnotes see the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.
- All footnotes must be placed at the bottom of the page with a separator line.
- Footnote numbers, below the separator line, should be flush left and not superscript.
- Citation examples:
- Michael S. Horton, Covenant and Eschatology: The Divine Drama (Louisville and London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 77.
- D. G. Hart, "Poems, Propositions, and Dogma: The Controversy Over Religious Language and the Demise of Theology in American Learning," Church History 57 (1998): 310–21.
- R. Scott Clark, "The Authority of Reason in the Later Reformation: Scholasticism in Caspar Olevian and Antoine de la Faye," in Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment, ed. Carl R. Trueman and R. Scott Clark (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1999).
4. VITA PAGE
- The last page of the thesis must include a curriculum vitae.
- This page should not be numbered.
- The vita should include information about the author's life (date of birth, marriage), ordination, and/or ecclesiastical membership, education (degrees, dates, thesis or dissertation titles), publications, and academic awards.
5. HONOR SYSTEM
- Westminster students are on their honor to give appropriate credit for all works quoted or used.
- Any thesis submitted found to be guilty of plagiarism shall receive a failing grade and any student found guilty of plagarism is liable to all the sanctions stipulated in the WSC Student Handbook.
- Questions about plagiarism should be referred to the faculty advisor and the WSC student handbook.
- The bibliography must include two parts:
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- The bibliography should be single-spaced with 6 points between each entry.
- Each entry should have a hanging indent.
- The Bibliography may be followed by appendices, maps, or other back matter.
7. MISCELLANEOUS REQUIREMENTS
- Do not orphan indented quotations.
- Indented block quotations should be double-spaced to allow comment by the readers.
- In historical writing, please use the past tense where possible.
- Include your name and contact information on all draft submissions to your faculty advisor.
- It is wise to submit chapters the advisor seriatim rather than all at once.
- Smart quotation marks are preferred over straight quotation marks.
- Substantive arguments should be retained in the text of the thesis. Content footnotes are discouraged.
8. TITLE PAGE
(must conform exactly to the following example)
(14 pt caps, 1.5 inches/108 points from the top of the page)
(if any) (12 pt text followed by 12 points/two lines)
(followed by 12 points/two lines)
(followed by 2 inches/144 points)
(followed by 12 points/two lines
WESTMINSTER SEMINARY CALIFORNIA
(in caps followed by 12 points/two lines)
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree
(followed by 12 points/two lines)
MASTER OF ARTS (Historical Theology)
(followed by 12 points/two lines)
Year (of graduation)
(followed by 18 points/three lines)