Creating A Proper Table Of Contents For An APA Dissertation

Formatting is a crucial determinant of the seriousness and quality of your work. The table of contents for an APA dissertation should therefore be presented according to the strict guidelines demanded of this style. Here is how to ensure that your table of contents is in line with the laid down rules.


All academic documents in APA format should have a margin that is one inch on both sides. The margin could be set as default for your word processing program since it will apply to all pages in the document. You are required to choose a legible font between ten and twelve points. In most cases, the supervisor or institution will have indicated the font size and style to be used throughout the document.

Title of Your Page

The title Table of Contents should be centered at the top of your page. The title of your page may form part of the upper margin but this is not mandatory for all documents. Ensure that these titles are in a similar font and format as references and the entire document.

Content of the Table

Create a real table to ensure uniformity. There is an option for that in all word processing applications. The table should have at least two columns and as many rows as will be dictated by your paper. Provide space for every topic and subtopic. The lines of the table do not have to be visible. They, however, will assist you in maintaining a clear flow.

Labeling the Columns

The column on the left should be labeled depending the titles used in your work. The labeling options include chapters, sections, units, etc. Use the exact label you have in your work. This ensures that there is no confusion. A dotted line should connect the section name on the left with the page number on the right. Each paragraph, section or chapter should be captured. The column on the right is reserved for page numbers.


Subheadings should be indented by one tab or quarter an inch. The subtitles or subheadings should be written in the same format as the entire paper. The main sections may be written in bold while the subsections are written in the normal font.

The table of contents must be detailed enough to capture indexes, editors notes and glossaries or any other information that forms a part of the text. The formatting should remain similar even in instances where the tables flow to a second page.

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