Writing the various sections of a dissertation's front matter can be daunting. This section includes information on the key aspects of front matter. Keep in mind that all Saybrook dissertations and theses must also follow the guidelines presented within the Saybrook Handbook of Format and Style (2020). If you have any questions about the requirements presented within the handbook, please contact the Center for Writing and Academic Success at [email protected].



The abstract provides an overview of the document. In essence, it is similar to the back cover of a novel as it is what people will read before they decide if they want to read the rest of the document. Check out our page “Introduction vs. Abstract​" for more information and tips on the distinction.


The Saybrook Handbook of Format and Style (2020) contains several critical resources to use when drafting an abstract.

  1. Page 6 of the handbook outlines the requirements of an abstract.
  2. Instructions for what to include in each paragraph of the abstract are embedded within the sample abstract provided in Appendix D of the handbook.
  3. Appendix A of the handbook includes a copy of the abstract review checklist that is used in the dissertation finalization process.

Other resources include:


Pages 15-16 of the Saybrook Handbook of Format and Style (2020) outlines the requirements of the acknowledgments page. In addition, the following resources may be helpful.


According to the Saybrook Handbook of Format and Style (2020)​, the dedication page is optional. Further requirements are outlined on page 15. In addition, the webpage “How to Write a Dedication for a Thesis or Dissertation" provides some guidance on what to write about should you choose to include a dedication.​​