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Dissertations & DMin Projects: Step #6: Final Draft

A comprehensive, step-by-step guide to researching, writing, and digitally submitting PhD dissertations at Claremont School of Theology.

Congratulations & Overview

Congratulations on arriving at this pivotal moment in your progress towards your degree! 

These guidelines are pertinent to the preparation of your final manuscript.

  • General Guidelines - providing an alphabetical index of subjects and instructions for formal document preparation.
  • Paginating Your Manuscript - listing the proper order of components in your manuscript and how pages should be numbered and counted.
  • Page Samples and Instructions - illustrating title pages, committee listings, and the abstract.

Special Note: Your eligibility for graduation and inclusion in the degree list is determined by the timeliness of your completion of the final draft approval process and repository submission.

Dissertation Template

General Guidelines

Because your dissertation is a publication, it:

  • Must comply with all publication standards and protocols to avoid copyright infringement of other intellectual property
  • Must be print-ready and reflect careful organization, scholarly expertise, and editorial professionalism
  • Cannot be edited after it is submitted

The generally accepted manuals for preparation of dissertations and theses are linked in this LibGuide's Research tab. These manuals provide formatting guidelines and suggestions for footnotes, bibliographies, and other composition standards.

For an overview of our preferred institutional style please see our General Guidelines for Formatting Dissertations document linked below. Note that to comply with applicable laws and regulations, some disciplines or degrees may impose additional requirements and specifications for academic publications. Please consult with your dissertation adviser about the requirements specific to your discipline.

Description of Title Page

Title: Your title should reflect the subject or focus of your manuscript and will be the basis for keywords for internet and library searches as previously approved in your Advancement to Candidacy Form. 

When degrees are conferred by two institutions: When the degree is awarded jointly by two institutions, both are listed on your title page.  For example, the line might read “Claremont School of Theology and University of the West.”

Description of Committee Page

The Committee Page replaces the page formerly used to collect and document the written approval of the members of the dissertation committee. In compliance with best practices intended to curb the potential for identity theft, signatures are not included in the published version of the manuscript. However, a declaration of the Committee’s approval and a listing of all dissertation committee members are required.

When there are multiple chairs: Multiple chairs may be listed in one of two ways.  (1) The chairs may be listed on the same line as illustrated below. (2) If a single column listing is used, verify with your committee chairs whether the chairs should be listed alphabetically or if a primary chair should be listed first. In either case, the individuals would be listed as Co-Chairs.

Typed name, Co-Chair                           Typed name, Co-Chair

Institution                                                Institution

Title                                                            Title



No page number is printed at the bottom of the Committee page.

Description of Abstract Page

The following requirements apply to the composition of your abstract:

  • List the following items on the first page of your abstract.
    • Title of the dissertation
    • Your name
    • Claremont School of Theology
    • Year your degree will be awarded
  • The abstract must be double-spaced.
  • The abstract recommended length is no greater than 750 words of text.  
  • The  abstract  should  provide  a  narrative  explanation  of  the  nature  and  scope  of  the problem or topic of your dissertation, the method employed in developing your dissertation, and a summary of your conclusions.

No page number is printed at the bottom of the Abstract page.

Paginating Your Manuscript

Follow the protocol below to organize your manuscript and to determine the numbering scheme that applies to each section of the manuscript. If possible, number the page at the bottom center of the portrait orientation view. 

Manuscript Order & Numbering Protocol

  Page Count Print Type


Title Page Yes No N/A
2 Copyright Page (optional) Yes No


3 Committee Listing Page Yes No N/A
4 Abstract (for Dissertations) Yes No N/A
5 Dedication (optional) Yes No N/A
6 Acknowledgements (optional) Yes Yes

First Page with Number

Small Roman numeral, page v or vi

7 Preface (optional) Yes Yes Small Roman numeral
8 Table of Contents Yes Yes Small Roman numeral
9 Table of Figures or Plates (optional) Yes Yes Small Roman numeral
10 Introduction (optional) Yes Yes

First Arabic Page Number

Arabic, start with page 1

11 Chapter One Yes  Yes Arabic

While the title page and other preliminary pages do not have numbers printed on them, these pages are, nevertheless, counted. The first page on which a number is actually printed must take into account the number of pages that precede it. For example, in the table, the suggestion for the Acknowledgements page is given with an indication of a page number of v or vi or whatever may be applicable. 

Note that some of the items listed in this table are optional. Consult with your department or dissertation committee for individual standards appropriate to your discipline.

All pages of the manuscript are counted whether or not a page number is displayed at the bottom of the page.

The table provides the accepted ordering of your manuscript sections. It also indicates when pages display a page number and when both the Roman and Arabic numerals begin in your document. 

Archive Webpages to Avoid Link Rot!

Link rot (citing webpages that change or disappear) is a major problem in academic research and writing today. The main way to avoid link rot is to archive a webpage and use a permalink to that archived content. In order for your CST dissertation to be accepted by the Thesis Secretary, it must not have any link rot. In other words, all webpage links must be permalinks to archived webpages.

It is vital to start using this process during the research phase and continue using it throughout the writing stage. You don't want to find any surprise link rot just before you submit your dissertation! This archiving and permalink process is free and requires only a few extra steps to ensure that your webpage citations remain accurate and reliable as they age. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to archive webpages and obtain permalinks.

  1. Visit and locate the "Save Page Now" section in the bottom right of the page. 
  2. In the space provided, paste in the URL of the website you wish to archive. 
  3. Once the "Page saved as" dialog box appears, you should copy and paste the new URL into your footnote. This will be the "URL" you use anytime you make reference to this source.

Please note: If you are accessing electronic books or articles from one of our institutional access databases, then these steps are not necessary. All of our institutional access databases already have permanent links.

Final Draft Process, Forms, & Deadlines

The approval process is:

  1. Students revise based on advisor and committee feedback during the defense.
  2. Upon completion of the final draft, students send that draft to the entire committee for their approval and ensure that all necessary signatures on the relevant draft approval form are obtained. Please find below links to these forms by program.
  3. Once all committee members have signed off on the final draft, students email the final draft and the scanned and signed approval form to the Thesis Secretary. Within two weeks of receipt, the Thesis Secretary will respond and let students know what steps are needed for Thesis Secretary approval (e.g., a consultation, editorial corrections, etc.). When these steps are completed, the Thesis Secretary will sign the draft approval form. Essentially, the Thesis Secretary requires a final draft that is free of any kind of plagiarism or fair use copyright violations, is accurate in form and style, has a relatively small number of obvious errors, and is formatted properly for submission in the CST institutional repository.

  Due Date Form
PhD Practical Theology See Academic Calander Dissertation Final Draft Approval
PhD Religion See Academic Calander Dissertation Final Draft Approval
DMin See Academic Calander Final Draft