I have a thesis template that does not put the List of Figures, List of Tables etc. in the contents page.

What is the normal practice and what is the normal order for the front matter?

Currently it is:

  • table of contents
  • list of figures
  • list of tables
  • list of listings
  • list of symbols

closed as off-topic by Richard Erickson, Jon Custer, corey979, scaaahu, Buzz Jan 10 at 3:23

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  • 2
    Follow any institutional guidelines. – user2768 Jan 9 at 15:56

Don't use a template blindly (you are doing right thing to question it, police it). Check any directions for your thesis. ALSO, look at a few actual completed and approved thesises (go to the library and touch the paper). See if there is a common practice and/or variance.

For what it is worth, I don't completely understand your question. By "in the table of contents", do you mean TOC lists a page that has each list? Or that the details of the list itself is part of the TOC?

My thesis (and I think common practice) was for the TOC to list a page that had each list (but not the contents of the list). Like below:





Table of Contents....vii

List of Figures....xii

List of Tables.....xvii

Chapter 1 Introduction....1

1.1. Background.....2

(etc. etc.)

The list of figures and list of tables (I didn't have a list of symbols) are sort of TOCish. But are different things on different pages.

Note some people say table of figures, table of tables, etc versus "list of". That's fine too. But they are their own TOCish entities. Not part of the TOC itself


I don't know that there is a "normal" order over different fields (or even within a field). My only suggestion is that if you need to symbols to understand the listing, then maybe symbols should come first.

Otherwise, what you have should be fine. But for a thesis, let your advisor give you the best advice.

  • Or consult with the dreaded 'Thesis Secretary', they-who-should-not-be-named, who will go over the thesis with a fine-toothed comb looking for any deviation from what is deemed acceptable at that university (font, margins, line spacing, ...). Are they a thing anymore? – Jon Custer Jan 9 at 15:58
  • Ruler lady! Ahh...the memories. – guest Jan 9 at 17:03

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