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CMS Format: Home

Introduction to CMS Format

An introduction to Chicago Manual of Style format for academic papers, based on Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th Edition.

CMS Format

CMS refers to a research format described in the Chicago Manual of Style. This format is often used for history, philosophy and religion papers; instructors in other disciplines may also prefer CMS format.

Basics of CMS Format


Page Layout

  • Double space throughout
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides
  • Font should be clear and readable, with good contrast between regular type and italics, in 11 or 12 pt. type size, depending on instructor requirements
  • The page number should appear in the upper right corner of every page except the title page, half an inch from the top


Elements of a CMS Paper

  • Title Page

Center your title a third of the way down the page, using bold type and headline-style capitalization

In the bottom half of the page, center the following:

Your name

Class Number and Name

Due date


  • Text of the Paper


  • Bibliography


The Bibliography appears after the text of the paper

Center the title, Bibliography, at the top of the page

Single space entries; double space between entries

Use a hanging indent to format entries

List sources in alphabetical order by authors' last names

Alphabetize unsigned works by the first word of the title (except A, An, and The).