Guidelines: Thesis Style Sheet

Thesis Due Date: April 16, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. EST 

Submission: For AY 2023-2024, the department is requiring a hardcover bound copy and an electronic copy of your thesis. Both the hardcover bound copy must be dropped off to the English Department office (22 McCosh Hall) and an electronic submission is due to the Senior Thesis Drop Box Folder by April 16, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. This  hard copy and the electronic copy will be circulated only between advisor and reader for the purposes of comment and evaluation. You won't receive marginal comments or corrections to these versions of the thesis. Once the thesis is graded you'll receive a formal written report from your advisor and reader. 

You are also required to submit an electronic copy as a PDF file to Mudd Library no later than Dean's Date, May 7, 2024. The link to upload your PDF copy to Mudd is:

Pequod and Princeton Printer printing and binding instructions can be found here.

If you are planning to conduct interviews for your thesis, please make your interview subjects aware that your thesis will be available to the public after it has been completed and deposited in the Mudd Library. There are Interview Permission forms in the English office.

Length:  (60-75 pages).

Margins: 1-1.5 inches on all sides. We recommend a wider margin (not to exceed 1.5") on your left side, to accommodate binding.

Font: For everything (body, notes, quotes, etc.), a 12-point font should be used (Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Courier are all standard). Titles may be underlined or italicized.

Single sided

Double-space: All text; inset quotations and footnotes may be single-spaced.

Page numbers: Pages must be numbered; place the numbers where you like.

Style: Capitalization, hyphenation, and other points of usage should follow the guidelines in EITHER Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), OR the MLA Handbook, 8th ed. (MLA, 2016). The MLA style guide is summarized here: You should use one style or the other, not a mixture of the two.

Title page:

By You

A senior thesis submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts

Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey


Acknowledgments: This page, thanking friends, family, teachers, mentors, advisors, librarians and libraries, etc. may follow your title page.

Table of Contents: List chapter titles, appendices, bibliography, with starting page number.

Pledge: The pledge must be typed and signed. It may be on a separate sheet, placed at the beginning or end of your thesis. “I pledge my honor that this senior thesis has been written in accordance with University regulations.”

Footnotes/Endnotes: You may use footnotes, chapter endnotes, or endnotes to the whole. All independent work submitted to the English Department must follow Chicago OR MLA style for notes and bibliography. You can find the Chicago rules in Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). A minimal guide to Chicago style is to be found at the Turabian website.   You can find the MLA rules in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed., or at

The department recommends that students use parenthetical citations for frequently cited texts, per Turabian ( That means that if you are writing about Middlemarch, the first citation will be a footnote or endnote as follows:

1George Eliot, Middlemarch (Penguin: Harmondsworth, 2003), 102. Subsequent citations will be given in parentheses in the text.

Thereafter, as long as it is clear what text you are quoting, you can simply give the page number in parentheses in the body of the text after the quotation, as follows:

“I have always been in favor of a little theory’ (17).

The same goes for act, scene, and line numbers for plays, and line numbers for poems. See Turabian for further details, including proper punctuation around note numbers or parenthetical citations.

Bibliography: a complete bibliography or list of citations, in Chicago or MLA style, should follow your text. Again, consult Turabian or the MLA Handbook for format.

Quotations & Citations: All quotations over three or four lines in length and all poetry over three lines should be quoted as an indented block; with no quotation marks, unless these are internal. For other guidelines see Turabian or the MLA Handbook. Particularly valuable is the discussion of “Incorporating Quotations into Your Text” (25.2).

Documentation and attribution of credit: All material which is quoted directly from or paraphrased from any external source, whether published or unpublished, must be precisely credited and documented. General indebtedness to an idea, a line of argument, an image, particularly compelling wording, and so forth must be noted. For example: as Critic X has argued . . .; The argument in this paragraph follows the reading presented by Critic Y . . .; in a pertinent discussion, Critic Z suggests that . . .; One influential reading, put forth by Critic M, argues that . . .

N.B. Written examples of past senior theses are available online at Mudd Library.