Table of contents

The table of contents is an important map for your reader. It shows the reader:

  • the main sections and subsections of the whole text
  • the organisation of the text
  • the most relevant sections for them
    A program like Word will generate the Table of Contents automatically.

Your table of contents should include:

  • both headings and subheadings and related page numbers
  • informative titles
  • logical numbering system e.g.
    1. Level heading one
    1.1 level heading two
    1.1.1 level heading three
  • Note: 3 levels is often the limit

  • References/Bibliography and appendices are usually neither numbered nor considered to be chapters.
  • The format for the different level headings and notation used should remain consistent throughout the report. Irrespective of where in the text, the reader must recognize the level heading formats.
  • Lowercase roman numerals are used for front matter e.g. abstract, acknowledgements, lists mentioned below
  • Try to avoid having ”empty” headings in the text i.e. headings without text


Other possible lists at the beginning of the thesis:

Figures and tables in the text
List of illustrations including page numbers
List of abbreviations Could be helpful if many abbreviations or acronyms are used in the report which might be new to the reader
Glossary / terminology List of key words / terms used in the thesis which might be new to the reader
List of symbols / notation  Could be helpful if many symbols / notation are used in the report which might be new to the reader