Nearing completion

Thesis preparation guidelines

Guidelines for the Preparation of the Thesis

All copies of the thesis should be in good quality typescript on one side of the paper only. In the main body of the thesis double-spacing of typescript is preferred, but one-and-a-half-spacing is acceptable. Single-spacing may be used only for appendices and footnotes or endnotes. The paper should be good quality, medium weight white stock, sufficiently opaque for normal reading.

Gender-inclusive language should be used except in quotations, paraphrases, or re-creations of the language used in a different culture. God may be referred to in the gender language appropriate to normal practice within a particular theological tradition.

The size of the paper should be A4 (297mm x 210mm) except for illustrative material such as drawings, maps and printouts, on which no restriction is placed.

The margins on each sheet should be not less than 40mm on the left-hand side, 20mm on the right-hand side, 30mm at the top, and 20mm at the bottom.

The recommended structural sequence of a thesis is as follows:

  • Title Page
  • Declaration of Originality
  • Acknowledgements (if any)
  • Preface (if any)
  • Table of Contents
  • List of illustrations and tables (if any)
  • Abstract
  • Introduction (if separate from Chapter 1)
  • Chapters in sequence
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix or appendices (if any)
  • Bibliography

The title page should contain the thesis title, author’s name, degree and year of submission.

The Declaration of Originality should take the following form:

This thesis is based upon original work by the author and a study of the relevant published works as indicated and acknowledged in the text.


(Author’s signature)


The table of contents should be reasonably detailed in a thesis, since an index is not usually included.

Beginning with the first page of the first chapter (which may be headed either ‘Introduction’ or ‘Chapter 1’) pages should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals. Preceding pages, except the title page, should normally be given lower case Roman numerals, beginning with the page immediately after the title page.

Each copy of the thesis should have an abstract of 500-700 words bound in. The abstract should indicate the problem investigated, the procedure followed, the general results obtained and the major conclusions reached. It should not contain any illustrative material or tables. Note that it should not be replicated in the introductory paragraphs.

Appendices contain any supplementary material that the author considers necessary to the interpretation of the text itself. Appendices elaborate information or argument expressed within the body of the thesis; they do not introduce substantial new information or new argument. Materials that are generally more appropriately included in an appendix would include long tables, data that supports arguments contained in the thesis, detailed reports, detailed technical arguments and computer printouts.

Materials such as illustrations, charts or tables must not be submitted on the back of typed sheets. Except with the approval of the supervisor, these should be bound facing the text to which they refer, or if necessary, as right-hand pages, immediately after the first reference to them. The caption should be placed at the bottom of the page.

Materials such as diagrams, maps, and tables that exceed A4 size should be either:

(i) folded so as to read as a right-hand page when opened; or

(ii) clearly referred to in the text, numbered and folded for insertion in a pocket in the back inside cover of the thesis binding.

Footnotes at the bottom of each page are preferred but endnotes are permitted. It is normal to begin footnotes or endnotes at 1 for each chapter. Harvard-style notes included in the main body of the thesis are not generally appropriate for advancing theological argument but may be permitted if clearly appropriate to a particular thesis.

Bibliography and Referencing

No single method of referencing is prescribed, but candidates should use one or other of the generally recognized systems of referencing and do so consistently.

Recommended Style Manuals:

That of the Journal of Theological Studies.

Patrick H. Alexander and others, The SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999, and Student Supplement rev. 2009.

Lawrence D. McIntosh, compiler, A Style Manual for the Presentation of Papers and Theses in Religion and Theology, Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies in Association with ANZTLA and ANZATS, 1994.

Back to top