Style Guidelines


Approximately 40 pages (about 10,000 words, double spaced using a 12 point font). This length refers to the preliminaries (e.g. introduction) and the main text and excludes endnotes, appendices, and the bibliography.


Students should discuss with their thesis advisor which academic style of citation and notation is most appropriate for their thesis, as this will differ according to academic subfield.


  • Typed, double spaced on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
  • Margins should be 1.5 inches on the left, and 1 inch on right, top, and bottom.
  • Footnotes or endnotes (single spaced, though double spaced between each note). Footnotes are often in smaller font than the main text. Endnotes should be 12 point.
  • All pages should be numbered. Preliminary matter should be numbered with Roman numerals, and the remainder, beginning with the first page of the introduction and continuing to the last page of the bibliography, should use Arabic numerals.
  • Include a title page, table of contents, and bibliography.
  • Optional elements (often included, but not required) include acknowledgments, chapter titles and subdivisions, a list of illustrations, preface, and appendices.

The title page should conform to the following model:

[Title] A senior thesis Presented By [Full name of author] to The Department of Religion in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the major in Religion [name of your school within Columbia] [month, year of submission of thesis]

Copies and Binding

Students must submit two copies of their thesis, one to each reader. The copies should be bound separately. We recommend velo binding with a clear vinyl cover available at most of the copy stores near or on campus. The author’s name and the title of the thesis should be visible on the front of each bound thesis.

Place and Date of Submission

Two copies of the thesis should be hand delivered on the specified date in April, one to your thesis advisor and one to your second reader. Keep in mind that the Department of Religion’s office closes at 5 pm; students should submit their thesis no later than 4 pm.

The thesis deadline is a firm one. Missing it may have impact the final grade. If missed for any reason, students must contact their thesis advisor directly.

Some Final Pointers and Advice

  • Carefully proofread your final thesis before copying. In fact, have at least one more pair of eyes – a roommate or good friend – proofread it as well. The author is often so familiar with the text that they can miss typos, etc.
  • Check for consistency in spelling, abbreviations, citations, and transliteration of foreign words.
  • Check to make sure that all sources, both cited and paraphrased, are properly acknowledged and make sure the quotations are correctly formatted.
  • Make sure that you have enough paper, toner, and ink in your printer to print out the thesis.
  • Allow time for computer-related snafus during the final printing. Mangled discs, broken printers, and other computer-related excuses are not acceptable in accounting for late theses.