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How to Cite a College Class in APA


American Psychological Association, or APA, style does not allow you to cite a college class directly. However, you may cite materials from the class that are available online or in a database, such as video lectures and PowerPoint slides. If you are going to cite a piece of information from your class in your paper, first verify that you can retrieve that information online. Material that can be retrieved should be included on your reference list. However, if it cannot be found online, it should instead be cited as an in-text "personal communication."

Reference List Citation

Before you cite your class on your reference list -- a separate page after the final page of your paper -- make sure you can find the information you want in a retrievable source. If your class provides online videos of lectures or class notes, you can cite these items. Note your professor's name, the date and title of the materials referenced and their type, as well as the URL they were retrieved from. Format this information as follows:

Author Lastname, First Initial(s). (Year, Month Day). Title of lecture or notes [type of resource]. Retrieved from URL.

For instance:

Hayes, C. (2006, September 6). Lecture 1: The parts of the whole [video file]. Retrieved from http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145/lecture-1.

Citing Your Class in Text

If you paraphrase or quote your source, APA style requires you to place an in-text citation in the body of your paper. An in-text citation is placed in parentheses after the quote or paraphrased statement. Include the last name of your professor and the year of the class you are referencing; month and day are not needed. If you're referencing paginated notes, also include the page number on which the information was found:

(Hayes, 2006) (Bonniberger, 2010, p. 10)

Citing Your Class as a Personal Communication

In APA style, your reference list is not just a way to show what sources you use; it is also a way for your reader to find your sources for their own information. Because of this, if you can't locate online notes or video corresponding to your class, you should not include your class on your reference list. If you do reference your class in the body of your paper, reference it as a "personal communication."

APA style treats personal communications as in-text citations; they are only in-text because they cannot be retrieved. To cite your class as a personal communication, add an in-text citation after the reference. This will include your professor's last name and first initial, "personal communication" and the full date of the class, beginning with the year. For instance:

Many architecture students drop out after their first year (M. Toesby, personal communication, 2014, March 7).

About the Author

Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.

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