How to APA Cite a Federal Regulation

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English novelist Anthony Trollope once said, "It has been the great fault of ... politicians that they have all wanted to do something." When politicians "do something," they pass bills and enact regulations; they establish laws intended to guide exchange and equity between states and citizens. If you are a scholar of government, the sources of your study of what politicians do may include specific federal regulations. The American Psychological Association (APA) offers clear guidelines on the proper way to cite a federal regulation in both the reference list and the text of your paper, article or book. Follow these guidelines when you are writing in APA style.

Write the name of the federal regulation you want to cite in your APA-style reference list followed by a comma. For example, write "FDA Prescription Drug Advisory Rule."

Write the volume number of the Code of Federal Regulations in which the rule you are citing is entered, followed by the abbreviation "C.F.R." which stands for "Code of Federal Regulations." For example, write "FDA Prescription Drug Advisory Rule, 21 C.F.R."

Write a section symbol followed by the section number of the section containing the regulation you are citing. A section symbol looks like a vertically stretched S with a hole in the middle. It is represented here by SS. For example, write "FDA Prescription Drug Advisory Rule, 21 C.F.R. SS 231.1."

Write the year the regulation you are citing was codified. Place the year in parentheses and follow the closing parenthesis with a period. For example, write "FDA Prescription Drug Advisory Rule, 21 C.F.R. SS 231.1. (2003)."

Write the title of the federal regulation you want to cite in your text according to APA style followed by the date of the regulation's codification in parentheses. Here is an example: "This was a precedent clearly invoked by the FDA Prescription Drug Advisory Rule (2003)."


  • "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association"; American Psychological Association; 2010
  • "Oxford Dictionary of Quotations"; Oxford University Press; 1979

About the Author

John Woloch writes professionally for various websites. He has published in the Dutch journal "Crux" and writes frequently on oil painting, classical languages and topics involving math and biochemistry. Woloch holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Chicago, a Master of Arts in classics from Ohio State University and a postbaccalaureate pre-medical degree from Georgetown University.

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