Academic Style

Academic style conventions and word count

Assessments are usually the product of many hours of hard work, so poor presentation can spoil an otherwise excellent piece of work and you will not receive marks if you are not following certain academic conventions.

It is essential that you keep a separate copy of your work in addition to the copy submitted for marking, this can be in electronic or paper form. You should also keep any digital or paper receipts from work handed in.

Presenting work

Font Style  Arial, Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS or close equivalent
Font Size12 point for main text, 10 point for footnotes, no less than 10 point for tables
Line Spacing  1.5 line spacing for all submitted work
Indentation  Normal – no greater than 2.6 top and bottom 1.5, 2 left and right margins
Justification  Main text justified left
Page Numbers  Bottom centre of every page
PrintingPrint on both sides of the page if possible to save paper costs and use black ink
Headers  UCSD student number and module code

Word Count

Your assessment brief, within your module guide, will state the required word count and time frame. You are permitted to exceed this by 10%, to include all in-text references and text within tables.

If you infringe the word count by a further 10%, you will be penalised by 10% of the mark awarded. Any infringement above this will result in those words not being read, or you being stopped in the case of a presentation. A worked example of this can be seen below.

Essay X word count required 1500 words 

Work submitted lengthOutcome
up to 1500Work marked and graded without sanction
1500-1650Work marked and graded without sanction
1651-1800Work marked and graded, however final grade reduced by 10% for infringement of word limit
1801-2000Work marked up to 1800 words; final mark downgraded by 10% and no further reading past 1800 words

Quick reference guide