Successful Academic Writing


Academic writingAcademic writing

Format and present your writing

What should a university essay or report look like?

The first step is to ensure you know your tutor’s expectations and make an effort to meet them. There might be marks in it!

However, first of all we can give you some suggestions on what, generally, a paper should look like. It might be useful for you to download the example paper and the simple template below - you can see our suggestions in action and use the template as a basis for your first piece of university writing.

Example - Download Word doc
Template - Download Word doc

  • Font
    Use 12pt font throughout your paper.
    The standard font for Solent University is Trebuchet MS. Arial and Times New Roman are usually also acceptable.
  • Page format
    Set the line spacing for the whole paper to 1.5 lines.
    It is now common practice to leave a space between paragraphs, and not to indent the first line.
    Headings should be written in bold.
    The title of your paper should be given at the top of the first page in bold, in 14pt text and not underlined.
  • Illustrations/tables/graphs
    If your paper includes figures such as an image or a table, make sure it sits next to the text that refers to it.
    Also, number and name the figure on the page, and if you have several, consider including a list of figures after your contents page (for longer papers).

On the next page there are notes on how to write your reference list or bibliography.