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How to Cite a Thesis in APA Format


Science and social science journals and classes frequently require writers to use the American Psychological Association style. To support their own research, writers may wish to reference the work or study completed in another researcher’s master’s thesis. When referencing a master’s thesis, specific information, such as where it was retrieved from, must be included in an APA citation to be considered correct.

In-Text Citation

In-text citations are placed at the end of a sentence referencing the master’s thesis and before the final punctuation. If specific material is directly quoted from the thesis, you place in parentheses the last name of the thesis author, a comma, the year of publication, a comma, “p.” and the page number. For example: (Moreland, 2012, p. 20). If the material is paraphrased and summarized, you would place in parentheses the last name of the thesis author followed by a comma and the year of publication. For example: (Moreland, 2012).

Reference List Citation

Any research paper written in APA style must include a References page. A reference list citation for a master’s thesis will include the last name, a comma, the first initial of the thesis author and then a period. Next, the year of publication is put in parentheses, followed by a period. Then comes the title of the thesis in italics, capitalizing only the first word, then “Master’s thesis” in parentheses and then a period. If you found the thesis through a database, you'd add “Retrieved from” name of database and then a period, with the Accession or Order number in parentheses after. For example: Moreland, J. (2012). Nursing the identity: The mediating roles of learned helplessness and interaction involvement in predicting willingness to confront conflict and anticipated turnover [title italicized] (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (UMI No. 3528034) If the information was found in a print copy of the thesis, you would put the school name, a comma and then the location instead of the "Retrieved from" information.

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About the Author

Heather Dennull has been active in the education field since 2003. She teaches developmental English and introductory courses in humanities and philosophy at the college level. She has a master's degree in education and is working toward a doctorate in educational leadership.

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