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Master's Theses Guidelines & Templates


If you are submitting a written thesis or dissertation, please follow these guidelines:

  • All theses/dissertations should be typed neatly, with no strikeovers or handwritten corrections.
  • For hybrid or intertextual theses/dissertations, the written component will serve as an access copy. The bound thesis/dissertation should contain photographs, scans, screenshots, etc. (if applicable), as well as description and contextualization of the work, as necessary.


1) Type:

Size: 12 pt; If applicable, footnotes should be 10 pt font.

Please use a standard font such as Times New Roman, Verdana, Courier, Arial, etc. Other fonts may be considered if approved by your mentor / thesis advisor.

2) Pagination:

All pages are numbered, except for the title page.

  • Preliminary pages: Roman numerals
  • Text: Arabic numbers


3) Thesis Body:

Preliminary pages

  • *Title page: Please see Thesis/Dissertation Template for exact formatting and verbiage that should be included.
  • Table of Contents (if applicable)
  • List of figures and/or tables (if applicable)
  • *Abstract: 125 - 175 words


  • *Introduction or Preface
  • *Main body: Text may be divided into sections or chapters at author's discretion
  • Appendices (if any)
  • *Works Cited or Bibliography: Style (MLA, Chicago, etc.) should follow consistent guidelines set by each style.



  • All images contained in the body of the thesis must be formatted within the margins specified below.
  • Images and graphics from outside sources must be properly cited / attributed.



Printed hardcopies of typed theses or dissertations should be laser-printed and single-sided.  Please print hardcopies on paper that is at least 25% cotton, 20 lb paper (white); standard xerographic bond is not acceptable.  Common brands of printing paper for these purposes include Southworth, Cranes, and Mohawk.  Materials are available in the CalArts Store and through various online distributors.

NOTE: Hardcopies of theses/dissertations should NOT be bound or stapled when submitting, although binder clips and/or paperclips are acceptable.

Personal Bound Copy

Due to the pandemic-related campus restrictions, binding of theses/dissertations will not resume until Spring 2022, at which point submissions from 2020, 2021, and 2022 will be bound accordingly.  Beginning in Fall 2021, personal bound copies of theses/dissertations can be requested, with payment being made through the Accounting Office.  Please refer to the Institute's Coronavirus Information and Updates page for information regarding current campus operations.

If you would like your own personal bound copy of your thesis/dissertation, please download the Thesis Binding Form, fill it out, and submit it -- along with a receipt of payment from the Accounting Office, as an attachment -- to  Note that the binding of theses/dissertations can take several months, even under normal circumstances, and there may be additional delays in light of pandemic-related disruptions.


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