Because the Publication Manual provides guidelines for writers submitting manuscripts to scholarly journals, it is silent on the topic of tables of contents. Usually questions about tables of contents come from students or teachers who want the information to complete a class assignment. Style preferences for undergraduate writing can vary by discipline, university, and instructor. Instructors should provide their preferred formatting guidelines if they require tables of contents; if guidelines are not included with the assignment or syllabus, students can request them.
For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr. on the Elements of Style. Contents include: Elementary Rules of Usage, Elementary Principles of Composition, Words & Expressions Commonly Misused, An Approach to Style with a List of Reminders: Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more. Details of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. partially available online at . Note: William Strunk, Jr. (1869–1946). The Elements of Style was first published in 1918.