Formatting Made Easy

SFSU Master's Students

Here's a template for the required (and ever-so-particular) thesis format. This Word document is based on my thesis, which thankfully made it through the process. My thesis was a stage play, but the template could be used for any creative-work thesis, or, with some wording changes in the first pages, any SFSU master's thesis.

Please check with the graduate division before putting a lot of work into your thesis formatting. Apparently the thesis regulations change often, and the graduate division strongly advises against copying someone else's format. When I turned my thesis in (Spring 2003), the regulations hadn't been updated in a couple of years, so this format could be good for a while (or maybe they're about to change it--who knows?). If you find that there have been changes that make this template obsolete, drop me a line.

Everyone Else

Formatting stage plays and screenplays is a bit of a dark art. Correct formatting tells readers you know what you're doing, but no two guides agree on what that correct format is. Great. You can--for a few hundred bucks--buy a tool to handle this for you, but there's no guarantee that you're going to like the format it spits out, either.

My strategy has been to find something like a consensus between the different format guides I've seen, and to hope that's close enough. Here are some online resources to get you started in your quest for comfortable (and "correct") formatting.


The kind folks running the Nicholl Fellowship have a good page on formatting--and they should know, right? Check out the fun sample script that spells out the guidelines. That's right, it's a screenplay in which the characters talk about screenplay formatting.

Stage Plays

These guidelines, courtesy of San Francisco State's playwriting program, cover the bases for plays and give you a Word template you can use.