Dissertation Title Best Practices
Dissertations are a valuable resource for other scholars, only if they can be easily located. Modern retrieval systems generally use the words in the title to locate a document. It is essential that the title be an accurate and meaningful description of the content and that obscure references be avoided. Please use these guidelines when formulating a dissertation title:
The first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs (if, because, as, that, etc.) are capitalized. Articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions, regardless of length, are lowercased unless they are the first or last word of the title or subtitle. Only acronyms should be set in full capitals.
- Power and Consumer Behavior
- Outpatient Treatment for Children: Organizational Practices as Predictors of Recovery
- A Comparison of the Methodologies for Determining Achievement in High School
Consult the dictionary as to whether a word is hyphenated. In general, do not hyphenate words beginning with the prefixes co, non, pre, post, or re unless there is a possibility of confusion (co-op, post-master's) or the root word begins with a capital letter (post-Renaissance). Hyphenate words beginning with the prefix self. Hyphenate compounds used as adjectives (decision-making) but not as nouns (decision maker). Part-time is always hyphenated. When more than one prefix is joined to a base word, hyphenate the prefixes standing alone (micro- and macroeconomics). Do not hyphenate fundraising, freelance, yearlong, health care, African American, Asian American.
- Great Nonfiction Works of the Nineteenth Century (Instead of: Great Non-fiction Works of the 19th Century)
Spelling and Grammar
Dissertation titles should be spell-checked and dictionary spelling of words should be used. Use “and” rather than “&,” and spell out names of centuries and other numbers usually spelled out in text.
- The Labour Party in Perspective and Twelve Years Later
No special characters should appear in the dissertation title (SES/CAESAR cannot accommodate special characters). Terms or phrases that include special characters should instead be written out.
- Evaluation of DNA Hybridization and Cleavage Capabilities of Peptide Nucleic Acid-Titanium Dioxide (instead of: Evaluation of DNA Hybridization and Cleavage Capabilities of PNA-TiO2)
- The Role of TGF-beta Variants in Cancer (instead of: The Role of TGF-β Variants in Cancer)
ItalicizationItalics should only be used in dissertation titles when referring to the title of a published work, foreign language words, gene names, scientific names as appropriate, or other words that are usually italicized.
- Techniques in Drosophila Circadian Biology
- Mechanisms of Differentiated Cell Function in vitro
Do not use to form plurals (it should be 1940s, not 1940's) unless it would be confusing without (thus A's and B's, not As and Bs; p's, not ps). Possessives of singular nouns ending in s are formed by adding 's (e.g., Russ's dog).