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Master's Theses Guidelines & Templates


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

  • All theses should be typed neatly, with no strikeovers or handwritten corrections.
  • For hybrid or intertextual theses, the written component will serve as an access copy. The bound thesis 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.

There are no restrictions on typography.  For example, a hybrid text might contain multiple types, type colors, sizes, formatting, and justifications within the margin requirements outlined below.

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 Templates 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): Production stills, dramaturgical notes, programs, etc.
  • *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.

Margins (for All Printed Material)


Left: 1.5” (The left margin is especially important for binding purposes.)

Right: 1”

Top: 1”

Bottom: 1”

Footer: .5”

NOTE: Margins are the only strictly required spacing element. If you have downloaded the MFA Creative Writing Program Thesis Template or the MA Aesthetics and Politics Thesis Template, then you should already have the correct margins.


Printed hardcopies of typed theses 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 should NOT be bound or stapled when submitting, although binder clips and/or paperclips are acceptable.


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