School of History Style Guidelines



  • All work will be word-processed.
  • Work should normally be printed double-sided on A4 paper, unless instructed otherwise by your tutor.
  • The text should be double-spaced. The footnotes and bibliography should be single-spaced.
  • Font size for text should be minimum 12pt; for footnotes minimum 10pt.
  • Allow a margin of at least 4cm (1.5inch) on the left.
  • The title page should record the essay question, the matriculation number of the student, module code and title, and the date.
  • The bibliography should begin on a separate page at the end of the essay.
  • Use footnotes rather than endnotes.
  • Footnote markers should be numerical and superscript (e.g. …as Smith had argued.1); footnotes should run consecutively throughout the essay.
  • All pages, including the title page and bibliography, should be numbered consecutively.
  • A running header containing the essay question only (abbreviated if practical) is useful, but not essential.
  • Quotations of three lines or fewer should run on in the text and be enclosed in quotation marks. Quotations of more than three lines should be inset and single-spaced, without quotation marks.
  • Matter inserted into a quotation to clarify a point should be enclosed in square brackets, e.g. ‘he [Lord George Sackville] left the House amid loud cheers.’

  • Word limit: All assignments have a clear indication of the expected word count. The final word count includes footnotes but excludes the bibliography.  Students need to adhere to the world limit for each assignment and each piece of written work is to be submitted with a clear indication of the word count. Please read the School's policy on penalties for short/long work


  • The bibliography should list all material which has informed the content of the essay.
  • All works which appear in the footnotes will also be listed in the bibliography, but the bibliography may also contain additional works which do not appear in the footnotes.
  • Additional books which have not directly influenced the essay must not be included in the bibliography; in other words, do not ‘pad’ your bibliography.
  • The bibliography should be divided into manuscript, printed primary, and secondary sources. Some undergraduate essays will contain only one section for secondary sources.
  • Internet addresses in the bibliography can be given under the author’s name if appropriate. Otherwise, list them under a subheading of ‘Internet sources’.
  • In all sections the works should be listed alphabetically by author. Works by the same author should be listed alphabetically by title under his/her name.

It is essential that the layout of the bibliography is logical and consistent.


(I) Section One of Bibliography – archival sources (if required)

The following order is recommended for the citation of archival sources, although the conventions of the repository or nature of the source may require a different form:

place, reference no of file, reference no of document, status of document, author, title, date, page no.

(Ii) Section Two of Bibliography – printed primary sources (if required)

Anglo-Saxon Charters, ed. and trans. A.J. Robertson (Cambridge, 1956).

The Grenville Papers: being the Correspondence of Richard Grenville, Earl Temple K.G., Friends and Contemporaries, ed. W.J. Smith, 4 vols (London, 1852-1853).

(III) Section Three of Bibliography – secondary sources: NB All entries should be organised alphabetically by surname of first-named author or editor.

For these different types of entries, please follow the following formats:



Klaus, Vaclav, The Threats to Liberty in the 21st Century, 6 May 2006, <>[8 May 2006].

Book with Single Author

Colley, Linda, Captives: Britain, Empire and the World, 1600-1850 (London, 2002).

Book with Joint Authors

Burleigh, Michael and Wippermann, Wolfgang, The Racial State: Germany, 1933-1945 (Cambridge, 1991).

Edited Book with One Editor

Crew, David F. (ed.), Nazism and German Society, 1933-1945 (London, 1994).

Edited Book with Joint Editors

Oresko, Robert, Gibbs, G.C. and Scott, H.M. (eds), Royal and Republican Sovereignty in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1997).

Chapter within a Book

Bahlcke, Joachim, ‘Calvinism and estate liberation movements in Bohemia and Hungary (1570-1620)’ in Karin Maag (ed.), The Reformation in Eastern and Central Europe (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 72-91.

Translated Book

Brandi, Karl, The Emperor Charles V, trans. C.V. Wedgwood (London, 1939).

Note: if you are using a later edition of a book, this should also be recorded:

Gilbert, Felix and Large, David Clay, The End of the European Era: 1890 to the Present (4th ed. New York, 1991).

Journal Article

McGinnis, Scott, ‘"Subtiltie" Exposed: Pastoral Perspective on Witch Belief in the Thought of George Gifford’, Sixteenth Century Journal 33 (2002), pp. 665-686.

Unpublished work

Cheshire, J. ‘Early Victorian Stained Glass’, (PhD dissertation, University of Exeter, 1998).



You may find it useful to put together your bibliography before you start writing and then cut and paste individual entries into the footnotes.

The formatting of a footnote entry differs from that of an entry in the bibliography in that

  • the author’s first name, or initials, come before his/her surname;
  • the footnote will usually contain a page reference: in the case of books this is added to the existing entry; in the case of articles this replaces the pagination of the article.

Expanded form

  1. Joachim Bahlcke, ‘Calvinism and estate liberation movements in Bohemia and Hungary (1570-1620)’ in Karin Maag (ed.), The Reformation in Eastern and Central Europe (Aldershot, 1997), p. 85.
  2. Scott McGinnis, ‘"Subtiltie" Exposed: Pastoral Perspective on Witch Belief in the Thought of George Gifford’, Sixteenth Century Journal 33 (2002), pp. 670-675.
  3. Linda Colley, Captives: Britain, Empire and the World, 1600-1850 (London, 2002), p. 45.

Abbreviated forms

The first citation must be full, but second and subsequent citations of the same work should be in abbreviated, but readily identifiable, form: usually author’s surname, short version of title and page reference.  Retain the formatting as in the bibliography.

  1. Colley, Captives, p. 63.
  2. Bahlcke, ‘Calvinism and estate liberation’, p. 82.

Consecutive citations

If consecutive references are to the same work use Ibid.

  1. Colley, Captives, p. 87.
  2. Ibid., pp. 98-106.

Notes on footnoting:

  • Ibid. is the only Latin term recommended for footnoting.
  • Use p. for single page references and pp. for references covering more than one page.
  • If you take a quotation from a book which uses primary sources you must make this evident: 
  1. John Pearce, Kentish Mercury, 15 July 1871, quoted in Geoffrey Crossick, An Artisan Elite in Victorian Society (London, 1978), p. 156.


  • Leave adequate time for final checking and printing.  Allow time for printing problems.  If you find it easier to proofread a hard copy of the text rather than working directly from the screen, allow sufficient time to print a draft version.
  • Minor corrections may be penned in neatly on the final printout. If there are a number of corrections on one page, print the page again.

The final checking should be done with extreme thoroughness as marks can easily be lost through the impression of carelessness created by uncorrected errors, factual and textual.


Module requirements

The specific requirements in each dissertation module can vary.  Students should ensure that they are fully aware of the following:

  • All relevant deadlines
  • Required length of dissertation
  • Penalties for over-long dissertations
  • Submission details (e.g. number of copies, binding)

Footnoting and Bibliography

Unless directed otherwise by their supervisor, dissertation candidates should follow the footnoting and bibliographical instructions above.
Note also that in the dissertation footnotes should be numbered consecutively through each new chapter.

Introductory Pages

The layout and composition of the introductory pages will normally be as follows:

1. Title Page
This should include the following:
The full title of the work and a subtitle if wished, the title can take any form but should convey an impression of the conent of the thesis/project/dissertation (in the top half)
The name of the candidate (in the centre)
The name of the supervisor (in the form: Supervisor: Dr. Jane Smith)
A statement that ‘This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment for the degree of M.A. Honours in the School of History, University of St Andrews’

The month and year.

2. Statement of Own Work and Word Count
The candidate must include the following signed statement, with the exact number of words given.

I, (name of candidate), attest that this dissertation, for submission to the School of History, St Andrews University, is entirely my own work.

It contains (exact word count) words.

(Signature of Candidate)                              (Date)

3. Table of Contents
This should give the titles and page references for the chapter, appendices, maps, diagrams, tables or other illustrations.

4. Preface/Introduction
This should contain a statement of the candidate’s argument and should also include any general remarks on problems related to the subject not suitable for inclusion in the text

5. Abbreviations and/or List of Illustrations/Figures
When a book of article or periodical is to be cited frequently (say more than about ten times), then it may be convenient to cite it in an abbreviated form.  Such abbreviated forms must be set out in the List of Abbreviations. 

For example:

EHR           English Historical Review
HJ              Historical Journal
CSP Scot.    Calendar of State Papers, Scottish
SCJ            Sixteenth Century Journal

Main Text

Maps, diagrams, and the like can be included here, or in the appendix.  They are not required, but may be useful in some cases.