Standard Academic Essay Format
Is there a standard academic essay format? Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers. This can be confusing, so we have decided to answer the question once and for all here. This article will examine if there is indeed a standard format for academic essays and what form they take.
Yes, there is a standard academic essay format, but most institutions have a preferred format. Whilst there is no uniform style across all institutions for formatting your essays, there are some common denominators. So, one institution might prescribe a certain font or justification style, while another might use a different one. However, when it comes to certain areas like spacing, heading and pagination amongst others, the rules are somewhat similar.
Therefore, if you are writing an essay and use the specific essay format that has been given to you. But, if none has been specified, then you can format your essay using the standard below.
Formatting Your Academic Essay
First, your essay must be clear and easy to read. Second, it should be set out in clearly distinguished paragraphs. And third, your essay needs to look professional. The standard academic essay format used here will help you achieve all the above mentioned.
If you are writing a long essay, like a PhD dissertation, for instance, you might need several levels of headings. Generally, most essays need about three levels with the first being the essay title. Here’s how to format your essay headings:
Heading 1 (or Essay Title) is usually bold, size 14 and centered.
Heading 2 is aligned left, size 12 and bold
Heading 3 is also aligned left, size 12, bold and italicized.
It is generally a good idea to space your essays for several reasons. One, it makes it easier on the eye when reading. And two, the grader can easily write on the paper if it is in hard copy. Some academic institutions insist on double spacing, however, if there is no specification then use a 1.5 spacing.
In general, there are two rules of thumb when paragraphing in standard academic essay format. You can either indent the first line of the paragraph or leave a line between paragraphs. It is important to choose one style and be consistent. In other words, do not make use of both paragraphing styles when writing your essay.
There is no real set standard for page margins when writing your academic essay. If you are using Microsoft Word to write your essay, you could probably stick with the default. If not, then a margin of about 1 inch on both sides is good enough.
So, we’ve already touched on fonts a little in the headings section. However, for the body of your essay you need to bear a few things in mind:
– Be consistent in your use of fonts. This means that you should not use multiple fonts across a single essay. Stick to one.
– Use straightforward fonts like New Times Roman or Arial. Do not even go near fonts like Comic Sans.
– Use 12 point fonts for your essay.
It used to be that the alignment in a standard academic essay format was justified. But, that has changed. Now it is best to make the body of your essay left-aligned for easy reading.
Finally, most academic essays require that you number your pages. For academic essays, it is best to place the page numbers are the right-hand corner of the page. Again, if you are using Microsoft Word, you can easily insert the page numbers. If you are writing a thesis or an essay with several pages, then you need a title page. This is the page that has the essay title and your name. Note that the title page should not have a page number.
So, is there a standard academic essay format? We believe that there is, to some extent. However, this depends on the institution in question. If you need more help with formatting your academic essay, reach out to us.