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How to Cite a Thesis in APA Format


American Psychological Association format is the style most often used when writing papers for the social sciences. When citing a thesis in APA format, include a reference section entry at the end of your paper. If you quote or paraphrase something from your source, also include an in-text citation.

Reference Section Entry

Type the last name of your author first followed by a comma and the author's first initial. Type the year the thesis was published in parentheses. Follow that with the title of your thesis in italics. Then type “master’s thesis” in parentheses.

After you state the name of the author, date, title and type of thesis, for a thesis that is unpublished, you must include the name of the university to which it was submitted along with the city and state where the university is. If the thesis is published and has been retrieved from a Dissertations and Theses database, state “Retrieved from,” indicate the name of the database along with the word “database” after it, and include its accession or order number in parentheses.

Follow the same steps for a thesis retrieved on the Internet, except state “Retrieved from” after the title and thesis description and then include the link from which it was retrieved.

In-Text Citation

When you paraphrase a thesis, include the author’s name, a comma and the year, all in parentheses after the paraphrase and before the period at the end of the sentence. If you directly quote a thesis, also include the page number in the parentheses, preceded by a “p.”

About the Author

Lisa Weinstein is an award-winning, California-based journalist specializing in education. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications. She holds a California English teaching credential and uses her classroom experience to add depth to her writing.

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