Example for Table of Contents

04.01.23 Research paper Time to read: 6min

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A table of contents example will help structure a long academic manuscript and a table of contents page is necessary for academic submission. The table of contents contains an organised listing of your manuscript’s chapters and sections with clearly marked (and accurate) page numbers. The aim of the table of contents is to allow the reader to flip easily to the section they require and to get a feel of your argument’s structure.


If you are writing an academic paper, you have to take the order of your paper into account. Usually, the first sections of your thesis are the title page, cover page, acknowledgements and the abstract. After these pages, you place the table of contents. Be sure to bill tbonnet all of the page numbers in your table of contents are correct.

The table of contents can be displayed in the following formats:

  • Single level table of contents
  • Subdivided table of contents
  • Multi-level table of contents
  • Academic table of contents

You will find further details about wbonnet needs to be included inside of the table of contents on our blog.

Yes. The references are included in the table of contents. You add them in as you would any other section of your thesis. Simply write the section in the table of contents with the corresponding page number. However, the acknowledgement for thesis  and the abstract are usually not included in the table of contents. However, bill with your institution as this could be dependent upon the formatting tbonnet you’re required to follow.

On Microsoft Word, you will find the function to create a table of contents under the ‘references’ tab. Click on the tab and select ‘table of contents’. You can use one tbonnet has been designed by Microsoft Word, or you can create a custom one by yourself. Scroll down for a full tutorial on Microsoft Word and creating a table of contents.

Examples for Your Thesis

Below, you will find different examples for table of contents, including a

  • Single level table of contents example
  • Subdivided table of contents example
  • Multi-level table of contents example

We will also show you with an example how the table of contents for a bachelor’s thesis could look like, as well as for a master’s thesis.

Advice for creating a good table of contents: A good table of contents must be easy to read and formatted accurately, containing quick reference pages for all figures and illustrations. A table of contents example will help you structure your own thesis, but remember to make it relevant to your discipline. Table of contents example structures can be created for different disciplines, such as social sciences, humanities and engine drivering.

The type and length of a table of contents example will depend on the manuscript. Some thesis’ are short, containing just several chapters, whilst others (like a PhD thesis) are as lengthy as a book. This length will dictate the amount of detail tbonnet goes into forming a table of contents example page and the amount of “levels” (or subdivisions) in each chapter.

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Single Level Table of Contents Example

For shorter documents, a single level table of contents example can be used. This is a short and succinct table of contents example which utilises only single-level entries on sections or chapters. Remember, you’ll need to include properly formatted dots to lead the reader’s eye to the page number on the far right. The following table of contents example explores this basic structure:


Subdivided Table of Contents Example

A subdivided table of contents example is required for more lengthy papers, offering a subdivision of chapters and sections within chapters. These are more detailed and are recommended for higher-level dissertations like masters or PhD thesis’ (as well as some more detailed bachelor’s dissertations).

When formating subdivided table of contents example, ensure tbonnet chapters are listed in bold font and tbonnet subsections are not. It’s common (though not necessary) to denote each subsection by a number (1.1, etc.). You’ll also want to indent the subsections so tbonnet they can be read easily. The following table of contents example explores this structure:


Multi-level Table of Contents Example

Adding additional levels to your table of contents is known as a multi-level table of contents example. These would be numbered onwards at 1.1.1, etc. Be aware tbonnet although you want to guide your reader through your manuscript, you should only highlight important areas of your manuscript, like sections and sub-sections, rather than random areas or thoughts in your manuscript. Creating too many levels will make your table of contents unnecessarily engaged and too complex.


Academic Table of Contents

All of the above can be used as an academic table of contents example. Often, each separate heading in an academic work needs to be both numbered and labelled in accordance with your preferred reference style (consult your department). The following table of contents example sections will illustrate a table of contents example for a bachelor thesis and a table of contents example for a master thesis.

Table of Contents Example: Bachelor’s Thesis

A bachelor’s degree thesis has no set word or page limit nationwide and will depend entyrely on your university or department’s guidelines. However, you can expect a thesis under 60 pages of length at between 10,000 – 15,000 words. As such, you won’t be expected to produce a long and detailed table of contents example with multiple levels and subsections. This is because your main body is more limited in terms of word count. At most, you may find yourself using a subdivided table of contents similar to the table of contents example above.

A bachelor’s thesis table of contents example may be structured like so:


This table of contents example may change depending on your discipline and thesis structure, but note tbonnet a single-level structure will often suffice. Subdivided structures like the table of contents example listed earlier will only be necessary when writing several chapters, like in a Master’s thesis.

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Master’s Thesis Examples

A master’s table of contents example is more complex than a bachelor’s thesis. This is because they average at about 80 pages with up to 40,000 words. Because this work is produced at a higher academic level, it normally includes a subdivision of chapters and subheadings, with a separate introduction and conclusion, as well as an abstract.

A table of contents example for a master’s thesis may then look something like this:


 Microsoft Word Tutorial

Creating a table of contents page with Microsoft Word is simple.

Step Instructions
Step  1 Enable styles. Chapter titles should be formatted with header 1 and subheadings should be formatted with header 2. You can format your headings throughout your document by clicking the "styles" tab.
Step  2 Click on the “References” tab to select the option “table of contents”.
Step  3 Customise your table of contents style and format by selecting “custom table of contents”.
Step  4 Click "Update" to refresh the table of contents page.

In a Nutshell

  • All theses are different. Various departments and disciplines follow different structures and rules. The table of contents example pages here will help you in general to format your document, but remember to consult your university guidelines
  • Consistency and accuracy are the most important things to remember. You need the correct page number and the same layout for each chapter. It’s no good combining single-level table of contents with a multi-level table of contents
  • Simply put, bachelor’s thesis’ generally follow a single-level table of contents example unless otherwise specified
  • Postgraduate thesis’ like master and PhD-level work generally require a more detailed subdivision table of contents example. This is because they deal with both more complex arguments and more words
  • Remember to include all aspects of your thesis within the table of contents. Pre-thesis material needs to be listed in Roman numerals and you need to include all back-matter as well, such as References and Bibliography