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How to Cite a Professor in Academic Writing


When writing academically, it is best to cited published material, such as articles from peer-reviewed journals and books by credible authors. However, there is sometimes course material—or individual expertise—from a professor that may add to the essay in a unique or poignant way.

Citing a Professor in MLA Documentation Style

Information provided by a professor that is not published, such as in a personal or classroom discussion or piece of correspondence should be cited with the following information: 1. The professor’s name (last name, first name) 2. The type of communication (such as “Personal interview,” “Classroom presentation,” or “Personal letter”) 3. The date (in day, month, year format) 4. If the document is written, add the medium (“MS” for manuscript [handwritten] or “TS” for a typed document)

For example: Markovich, Rita. Personal letter. 2 Feb. 2013. MS.

Information provided via e-mail should be cited as such: 1. The professor’s name (last name, first name) 2. The subject line (in quotation marks and with standard title capitalization) 3. The phrase “Message to” followed by the name of the recipient 4. The date (in day, month, year format) 5. The medium (“E-mail”)

For example: Silverkin, Katerine. “Clarification Regarding Assignment 3.” Message to Vaughn Marsters. 10 Nov. 2012. E-mail.

The in-text citation would use the name included at the start of the Works Cited entry, as with all other standard MLA in-text citations.

Citing a Professor in APA Documentation Style
Professors may have unique information that is useful in one's academic writing.

Information provided by a professor in a personal exchange, classroom discussion, memo, letter, e-mail, or other unpublished communication should be cited only within the text of the document, not on the References page. The citation should indicate the professor’s name, the phrase “personal communication,” and the exact date of the exchange.

For example, this expanded in-text citation would appear as such: (K. Morris, personal communication, November 30, 2012)

Citing a Professor’s Formal Address in APA

If the professor gives a formal address—not just a classroom lecture—it would be cited as a presentation. To cite the formal address, include the following information: 1. The professor’s name (last name, then first initial [and, if applicable, middle initial]—do not include any titles) 2. The date of the presentation (in “year, month day” format) 3. The title of the presentation (capitalizing only the first letter of the first word, the first letter of the first word after the colon [:], and the first letter of any proper nouns) 4. The institution at which the address was given 5. The city and state

For example: Romero, G. (2007, Nov. 15). The monsters inside us: Modern American zombie films as metaphor. Address at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

This example, as an in-text citation, would be as follows: (Romero, 2007)

Citing Material a Professor Posts Online in APA

If a professor posts material such as course notes online, it follows a very standard citation format: 1. The professor’s name—or, if the material is by someone else, the author’s name (last name, then first initial [and, if applicable, middle initial]—do not include any titles) 2. The date the material was published 3. The title of the document (capitalizing only the first letter of the first word, the first letter of the first word after the colon [:], and the first letter of any proper nouns) 4. The format description (in brackets), if the document is nonstandard (such as a blog post or lecture notes) 5. The phrase “Retrieved from,” followed by the URL

For example: Radu, C. (2013, March 28). Citing with style [Lecture notes]. Retrieved from http://www.stateuniversity.edu/radu_ENGL111_APA

About the Author

Jade Lynch-Greenberg is a writer, blogging enthusiast and educator. She teaches multi-modal writing in the university setting and has written for the web since 2002, and created comics since 2006. She write scripts, articles, scholarly documents and technical explanations, and holds a Master of Arts in English from Purdue University.

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