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Programs: DHS Doctoral Study

DHS Doctoral Study Resources

Information on the Prospectus is located on the DHS page of the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website.

To prepare for the form and style review, use the following checklist, which is the same checklist we use when we review capstone manuscripts and the checklist we return to the student and committee along with their completed review.

As of summer term 2020, Walden University uses APA 7 as its style guide. This checklist is updated to reflect the current formatting and style guidelines for doctoral capstone studies.

Doctoral Capstone Template Guidance

To accompany the doctoral capstone template document, here is some information to note when beginning to use the template.

  • The document contains front matter (i.e., two title pages, the abstract, a Dedication page, and an Acknowledgments page), a Table of Contents (TOC), Lists of Tables and Figures, the document body text, a References list, and Appendices.
  • Students should ensure that the text in brackets [ ] on the two title pages is changed to reflect their own information and then remove the brackets. This includes the title, name, degrees earned, degree program, and date of anticipated completion.
  • Begin using the template by copying and pasting the text from a working document into the appropriate headings of the template and references to the reference list.

How to tag headings (so that headings show up in the TOC):

  1. Most headings are already placed into the document. Headings students add (i.e., primarily for the literature review and results chapters and sections) should be added by creating a new heading and tagging it so that it appears in the TOC when updated.
  2. Add a heading by first ensuring the Pilcrow [ ] is turned on —this allows the writer to see hidden formatting in the document that should not be deleted (e.g., page breaks and section breaks).
  3. Add the heading by placing the cursor where the heading should be inserted and creating a hard return.
  4. Then type the text for the heading and highlight it with the cursor, ensuring that the pilcrow is NOT highlighted.
  5. Once the text is highlighted, choose the appropriate APA Style heading from the Styles box on the Home tab. This is called tagging a heading. HINT: The Styles tab may need to be expanded by clicking on the small box with the arrow at the bottom of the Styles section.

How to update the TOC (to bring in new headings and update page numbers):

  1. Once new headings have been added or text created or inserted such that the page numbers have shifted, the TOC should be updated.
  2. Update the TOC by clicking on it with the cursor so that the section becomes grey.
  3. Then, right click (or control click on a Mac) and choose “Update field.”
  4. Depending on whether headings or just text have been added, choose “Update entire table” or “Update page numbers only.”

Template and Formatting Resources:

  1. Form and Style Document Formatting Expectations, including information on APA, margins, pagination, etc.
  2. SMRTguide on Fixing Errors in the TOC
  3. Academic Skills Center (ASC) Capstone Template Formatting Videos


About the DHS Doctoral Study

A Walden DHS doctoral study consists of four main sections:

  • Section 1: Introduction to the Problem
  • Section 2: The Project
  • Section 3: Results of the Study
  • Section 4: Conclusion and Reflections

You can access additional information on the DHS doctoral study process from the DHS page of the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website. For proposal or final doctoral study APA- or writing-related questions, contact