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Multi-part Theses and Dissertations

With committee approval, the primary division of a thesis/dissertation may consist of parts rather than sections or chapters. This is sometimes called a “manuscript” thesis or dissertation. The use of parts is an effective method of organization when research has been performed in two or more areas that cannot be combined into a single presentation, or to assist in maintaining consistent format for journal articles.

You should note that a multi-part or manuscript format is only appropriate if the thesis or dissertation will contain two or more separate but related essays. Students with a single “content” chapter, conceived as a journal article, should only follow the guidelines for incorporating journal articles and not treat their document as a “multi-part” thesis or dissertation.

Parts of a Multi-part Thesis or Dissertation

Each part may be treated as a separate unit, with its own chapters, figures and tables, bibliography and appendix (if needed), or the bibliography and appendix may be combined at the end of the document. The student must exercise caution to ensure that formatting is consistent throughout, that all tables/figures have unique numbers, and that, in general, the organization into parts is logically arranged and consistently applied.

In all cases, the multi-part thesis or dissertation must include the following elements:

  • introduction and conclusion, which provide an overview and summary of the project
  • table of contents for the entire document
  • list of tables for the entire document
  • list of figures for the entire document
  • abstract for the entire document (of 350 or fewer words)
  • separation sheet (title page) for each part
  • abstract for each part (abstracts for individual essays do not need to adhere to the requirements of length and format)

Consecutive pagination should be used throughout the document, including numbering of the required separation sheets listing the part number and title. These separation sheets must be placed immediately in front of the first page of text for each part.

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