I have always wondered: where should the first page number start? I know the front matter is typically in lower case roman numbers, whereas the mainmatter is with arabic ones.
The mainmatter starts the count —i.e., page 1— with Chapter 1; but I have no idea where the frontmatter should begging the counter.
For example, in a PhD thesis typically there is a page with the title, a quote, an abstract, a dedicatory, table of contents, list of figures, list of tables, list of acronyms.
So, two questions:
1) What should be the order of things for the frontmatter
2) What should be numbered in the front matter, and what shouldn’t count as part of it?
In the US, the standard manual for all of this is The Chicago Manual of Style, published by the University of Chicago Press. It defines the order of front matter, back matter, the things that are necessary and those that are optional.
The front matter begins with the first page inside the cover. In a book, that is the “half title” page. An epigraph or a table of contents generally appears on page v (unless there is a dedication, which has first choice for v).
i – half title
ii – Series title, frontispiece, or blank
iii – Title page
iv – Copyright page
v – Dedication
v or vi – Epigraph
v or vii – Table of Contents
List of Illustrations, can be on a right (recto) or left (verso) page.
List of Tables, ditto.
Foreword (always a recto)
Acknowledgements, if not already in the preface. (recto)
Introduction (unless part of the main text) (recto)
Abbreviations (unless in the back matter) (recto or verso)
Chronology (unless in the back matter) (recto)
Second half title, if included (recto)
Not all of these would apply to a thesis, of course. I suggest a trip to the library to spend a convivial hour or two with Chicago or a local equivalent for other countries. It’s unlikely that any questions you have in this realm are not answered in those pages.
A possibly more pragmatic approach would be to look at some previously published theses from your institution and use one of those as a model.