I'm currently working on the introduction section of my PhD dissertation (subject is physical oceanography; mostly ocean modelling), and I'm not sure what to title the subsection describing the structure of the rest of the document. So far, Chapter 1, the Introduction, contains the following:

  • Three opening paragraphs
  • Section: Background (i.e., Lit review/motivation)
  • Section: Research Cruise (brief description of research cruise and project my work is associated with)

I want to add another section describing the order of chapters and a bit on how they fit together, but I'm at a loss for what to call this section and haven't seen any good examples. "Structure"? "Overview"? "Outline"? Something else? Is there a particular title that conveys the point "This is a description of my dissertation structure so you don't get lost", but with a bit more subtlety than "Thesis Outline"?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    'but with a bit more subtlety than "Thesis Outline"' - why? Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 19:28
  • Personal preference, mostly. I dislike the idea of having an Outline at the beginning, where one of the sections under a chapter is also titled something similar. I planned to see what was in common use, but haven't found any examples.
    – mnemoniko
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 19:32
  • ...... Preface. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 3:29
  • "Structure of this thesis" can also work, for those looking for variety.
    – E.P.
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 20:01
  • You are using the terms "Chapter", "Section", and "Subsection". If you write a cumulative thesis, according to my experience, you may consider not to have your first Chapter, which is only the Introduction for the actual content, so detailed that you need sections and subsections in it.
    – Marie. P.
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


Personally, I wouldn't worry about subtlety in titles. People who read your thesis are not looking for subtlety, but for information, and particularly from the overview section. Just call it "Overview" or "Outline" and don't worry about it.

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