The MBA Dissertation Format: A Detailed Guide


An MBA dissertation is an academic paper that students write to get their master’s degree. The success of the paper depends on many factors: the selected topic, the quality of the presented material, the amount of the convincing arguments, the structure, and the language style.

Some universities have specific requirements for the format of the proposal and the main part; however, they are very similar in the structure. Usually, the proposal includes the following chapters:

  1. Title page.

  2. Abstract.

  3. Introduction.

  4. Statement of the problem.

  5. Background of the study.

  6. Research hypotheses.

  7. Methods and procedures.

  8. Limitations.

  9. References.

  10. Appendices.

The main part of the paper includes:

  1. Executive summary.

  2. Introduction.

  3. Literature review.

  4. Research hypothesis.

  5. Methodology.

  6. Results.

  7. Discussion.

  8. Recommendation.

  9. Conclusion.

  10. References.

  11. Appendices.

What concerns the page format, use the following tips:

  1. Font.

    • The same font is used throughout the whole paper, except the tables, graphs, references and appendices.

    • The recommended size is 12-pt. It allows you to keep the material legible for the reader.

    • The headings are used for emphasizing important ideas; they can be bolded.

  2. Margins.

    • Leave the 1.25 inches margin on the left, the 1 inch margin on the right, and the 1.5 inches margin at the top and the bottom of the page.

    • Follow these margins throughout the whole paper, including appendices.

  3. Spacing and arrangement.

    • Use the 1.5 lines spacing.

    • Set the single spacing, while arranging the appendices, the bibliography, the tables and the charts.

    • Leave one line between the paragraphs.

    • Start each chapter from the new page.

    • Use the block quote, when you include quotation larger than four lines, and the quotation mark, when it is smaller.

  4. Numbering.

    • Use the Roman numerals in the proposal and the Arabic ones in the main part.

    • Don’t number the title page.

    • Center the numeral under the text, set single spacing from the bottom of the page. If the page is not numbered, still, include it in the page count.

  5. Tables and illustrations.

    • Cite the sources and numerate the tables, the illustrations, and the charts in each chapter.

    • Avoid duplication using the signs, for instance, Table 2.5 means that it is the fifth table in the second chapter.

  6. Length.

  7. The length of the dissertation varies from 15,000 to 20,000 words. The references, appendices, and glossary are not included in these limits.

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