The title page is the first thing that your promoter, also called your study leader, will see.
Obviously, it will be the first impression and you know as well as I that the first impression is important.
And yet it is alarming to see how many mistakes Ph.D. students make on their title pages. Then again, what some will regard as a mistake, others will see as correct, perhaps even creative.
Those who follow a relativist approach will probably regard most of the mistakes on title pages as not serious or simply irrelevant.
Structuralists will frown upon you if you don’t abide by the exact layout as prescribed by the university.
In my opinion you should pay as much attention to the wording of your title as possible and not overturn the applecart unnecessarily.
A first impression will probably not have much of an effect on your study leader or assistant study leader because by the time you submit your research report, they will already know you well.
They probably gave you advice on the wording of your title anyway.
The external examiners are a different story – all they will see is your final submission.
So, what are the requirements for a title page?
The title page should convey clearly and succinctly the topic being researched.
Avoid obscure and unnecessarily lengthy titles.
Some universities recommend that titles should not exceed 15 words.
Start off with a working title and revisit and reformulate it as you read for greater focus.
University requirements for the layout of a title page
Most universities have strict rules about the layout and appearance of a title page. Their policies in this regard will probably include the following:
- Use only one or two font types. More than two can be confusing and difficult to read.
- Use a clear font that is easy to read.
- Keep the title page simple. Too many words or pictures can have a distracting and confusing effect.
- The title page must contain the following information:
- The full name and surname of the student.
- The full title of the research report and the month, year and place that it was printed.
- The name of the university, faculty and department.
- The full names and surnames of the study leader and assistant study leader.
- The correct name of the learning programme.
Here is an example of a title page:
A Historical Perspective on the Cognitive Erosion of the Meaning of Otology versus Epistemology Since the Twentieth Century
Susan Anne Mitchell
Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree
Doctor in Philosophiae (Ph. D.)
In the Faculty of Linguistic History
University of Berne
Promoter: Prof Albert S. Baloye
Dr Ratchell South
Your title page will create a good or bad impression in the minds of your readers, and that impression can decide if your submission will succeed or not.
Pay special attention to the wording of the title.
Read the university’s policies regarding the layout of a title page and abide by it.
Ask your study leader for one or two good examples of title pages and copy their format and layout.