Biology Department

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Guidelines for the Muhlenberg College Biology Honors Thesis

Thesis organization:

Signature Page

  • The signature page has the title, centered and in all CAPITAL letters.
  • Below the title there are four right-justified lines for the signatures of the thesis advisor and the three Honors Committee members; under each line is the right-justified name of the faculty.

Dedication Page

Title Page

  • The title page contains the title, the author’s name, and the following statement: “This thesis was presented to Muhlenberg College in partial fulfillment for the Biology Honors Degree.”This is then followed by “Muhlenberg College” and, finally, the month and year of graduation.Each of these five points is appropriately capitalized, centered, and separated by five to ten lines.

Acknowledgements Page

Abstract Page

  • It should be limited to one page.

Table of Contents Page

  • List of Figures (with page numbers)*
  • List of Tables (with page numbers)*
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results (with Figures and Tables)
  • The Figures and Tables are placed within the results section, each on a separate page, with the appropriate, consecutive page number.  
  • Each Figure and Table is placed nearest to the first point of referral in the results.
  • Above each Table and below each Figure is an accompanying left-justified legend.
  • Legends should contain enough information so that the figure or table can be interpreted without referring to the text.

Discussion Page

Literature Cited Page

  • See McMillan’s Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences for the correct name-year (aka CSE, Council of Science Editors) format.

Deadline: The student must submit at least two drafts to his/her thesis advisor no less than two weeks prior to the thesis being submitted to the Honors Committee. The advisor needs to have sufficient amount of time to review the draft and discuss any changes prior to the thesis going to the Committee. The final draft, which the Honors Committee will evaluate, is due to the committee members a week before the last day of the semester..

Format of draft version, given to the committee members to review:

  • The format specifics listed above for the final draft all apply except for the following:
  • To save paper, the text of the draft must be double-sided.
  • All figures will be black and white.

Format of the final draft:

  • It is single-sided.
  • The font is 12 point Times Roman.
  • All text is double-spaced with the exception of each reference in the Literature Cited and the legends for the figures and tables.
  • The top, bottom, and right margins are one inch while the left margin is one and a half inches.
  • All headings (i.e. Dedication, Table of Contents, Introduction, etc.) are centered and fully capitalized.Each of these sections begins at the top of a new page.
  • Page numbers are centered and a half an inch from the bottom margin.
  • The color figures are printed in color.

*All pages previous to the first page of the Introduction are lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.); therefore, the first page of the manuscript, the signature page, is considered page i and the first page of the Introduction is page 1. The page numbers, however, are not printed on the pages until after the title page.

Thesis printing:

  • Copies of the thesis draft should be prepared by the print shop and billed to the Biology Department.
  • The final thesis must be printed on 100% cotton (acid free) paper in the print shop if it is to be professionally bound.We recommend that even if the student is not going to have his/her copy of the thesis bound, he/she should have the thesis printed on this archival paper.
  • Payment for copying the thesis at the print shop is as follows: The Department will pay for one copy of the thesis.The student and thesis advisor must each must pay for his/her copies.
  • Payment for binding the thesis (with a hard cover, embossed with the thesis title and student name) is as follows:Dr. Edwards will coordinate all binding.The College will pay for one bound version, which will be displayed in the Science Reading Room.The student will pay Dr. Edwards for his/her copies and the thesis advisor will do the same.
  • The Honors student must get the signatures of the thesis committee members on each copy before the copies are sent to the binders.