• 3-minute read
  • 17th December 2014

The Basic Structure of a Thesis

How a thesis should look can vary between colleges, so it’s always best to check the guidelines you’ve been given. However, the basic structure of a thesis should incorporate all the sections described below.

  • Cover Page
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Results, Analysis and Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices

Cover Page

This will include the title of your thesis, your name and the name of your college. It may also feature your course title and the name of your supervisor. Check with your supervisor if you need to add any extra details.


This is a summary of your thesis and shouldn’t be more than 500 words.


This is your chance to thank your professors, friends, family and anyone else who may have helped along the way.

Table of Contents

This helps your reader navigate your document. If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can even add a dynamic table of contents, as well as automatic lists of figures and charts. In addition to looking professional, these can be updated at the touch of a button after making revisions to save time and effort later on.


The introduction should briefly outline your topic and the main areas you will cover in your work without going into too much depth. The key is to give your reader the information they need to understand the rest of your thesis.

Literature Review

A literature review examines past research in your subject area. Try to explain how the studies you mention have influenced your ideas and how they are relevant to your work.


The methodology section of a thesis should provide a detailed description of how you intend to collect and analyze your data.

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Results, Analysis and Discussion

The results, analysis and discussion sections of a thesis are where you present, analyze and evaluate the data you have gathered. How you do this will depend on your subject area and your school’s requirements, since sometimes the results are presented separately from the discussion, while sometimes a combined ‘Results and Discussion’ section is preferred.


This should summarize your entire argument and explain its overall significance. You may also want to present recommendations for applications or further research, depending on the subject area. You should not introduce any new information here.

Bibliography/Reference List

This is where you list every source you have used in your thesis. If in any doubt about how to do this, use a reference generator to check you have included all the necessary information.

Whether you need a reference list (all sources referenced) or a bibliography (all sources consulted during research) will depend on the citation system you’re using, so remember to check your style guide.


This is where you should put any extra material that cannot be included in the main body of your thesis. This can include interviews, questionnaires or transcripts.

Professional Proofreading

If you’re still not sure about the structure of your thesis, why not send yours to the professionals at Proofed? As well as correcting spelling and grammar errors, we can give you feedback on the structure and flow of your prose, allowing you to make any changes necessary before submitting your work.

We hope you’ve found these tips useful. For more information about writing a dissertation or thesis, read our full dissertation writing guide.

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