How to Cite a Dissertation APA: Students’ Ultimate Guide

How to Cite a Dissertation APA: Students’ Ultimate Guide
Table of Contents
  1. How to Cite a Dissertation APA: Students’ Ultimate Guide
  2. How to Cite a Dissertation APA?
  3. APA Quotations
  4. Why Do You Need APA Citation?
  5. Citation in the text
  6. Citing a printed book
  7. Citing an e-book
  8. What to do with magazine citing?
  9. Citing a printed article
  10. Online newspaper
  11. What to do with a photo?
  12. Dissertation Reference List

All doctoral degree programs in Social science require applicants to deliver an excellent desperation in APA style. How to cite a dissertation APA and why it’s important? Read our detailed guide with useful examples that will help you to learn everything about proper citing. We have gathered all the important rules for teaching students to cite their doctoral dissertations following the latest standards. Use this guide to create a perfect manuscript without wasting time!

So, why is it important to cite your unpublished documents and how to get more useful information about citing?

  • Citing your studies is a key to fulfill the academic assignment successfully.
  • It proves your thesis and gives the credits to your research work.
  • You need to know how to make proper English citation examples for printed, electronic books, magazines, websites, journal, retrieved online articles, photo, structure title, author, retrieved articles, database, and accession number.
  • With our guide, you will learn how to write the title, author’s name, publishing, and other items for your doctoral dissertation correctly.

How to Cite a Dissertation APA?

Getting a master’s degree at university, you'll meet APA style. Are you searching in search of information about academic requirements in 6th and 7th editions American Psychological Association? Our guide will give you the answers to essential questions. First, let us remind you about APA in case you not close to the topic. It is one of the editorial styles which establishing a set of rules requested in dissertations. It is mostly found in a specific field like psychology or education. You’ll meet APA formatting style examples during graduation and getting a degree in Social sciences. The style has its own format for each part of your doctoral dissertation, including in-text citation or listing references.

The latest version of APA Manual (the 7th edition) was released in October 2019. The 6th edition will remain online until 2021 without any updates. In our guide, we will provide you with detailed information and useful examples of both the 6th and 7th editions. 

Please use the table of examples below to get understanding on citing sources in APA 6th and 7th editions:

Source Type

APA 6th Edition

APA 7th Edition

Work Discussed in a Secondary Source

Robertson, M., Willis, B., Gregory, P., & Jackson, M. (1993). Models of fast writing: Dual and cross-parallel approaches. Psychological Review, 120, 309-318.

Edison, M. (2014). What is the main meaning of philosophy? SubStance, 38(1), 45-57.

Dissertation Abstract

Stanford, B. (2005). The importance of essays. Dissertation Abstracts International, 45, 4657C.

Last Name, F.M. (Year). Title of dissertation. Dissertation Abstracts International, Vol., Page.

Frown, B.J. (2010). Networks of communication in police services. Dissertation Abstracts International, 25, 68(B).

Dissertation or Master’s Thesis, Published

Last Name, F. N. (Year). Title of dissertation (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Name of database. (Accession or Order Number)

Last Name, F.M. (Year). Title of dissertation/thesis (Publication No.) [Doctoral dissertation/Master’s thesis, Name of Institution Awarding the Degree]. Database or Archive Name.

Frown, B.J. (2010). Networks of communication in police services (Publication No. 2376854) [Doctoral dissertation, Austins University]. Progress Dissertations Publishing.

Dissertation or Master’s Thesis, Unpublished

Last Name, F. N. (Year). Title of dissertation (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Name of Institution, Location.

Last Name, F.M. (Year). Title of dissertation/thesis [Unpublished doctoral dissertation/master’s thesis]. Name of Institution Awarding the Degree.

Samuel, P.D. (2009). Economics and world globalization [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Stanford University and State Polytechnic Institute.

Entry in a Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Encyclopedia with an Individual Author

Akermann, H. F. (1987). Plants. In The New Encyclopedia Botanica (Vol. 17, pp. 348-353). Los Angeles, CA: Encyclopedia Botanica.

Last Name, F.M. (Year). Title of entry. In F.M. Last Name (ed.), Title of reference work (edition, page numbers). Publisher.

Reigan, W.G. (2019). Religion and faith in modern culture and literature. In T.O. Olsen, Encyclopedia of modern literature (pp. 360-372). New York.

Entry in a Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Encyclopedia with a Group Author

Jonatan, A. F., & Kinkate, L. R. (2012). Maternal and child care and health. In M. Freigman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of child health (Vol. 6, pp. 546-555). New Jersey, NJ: Machaon.

Institution or organization name. (Year). Title of entry. In Title of reference work (edition, page numbers). Publisher name.

Meredith-Association, Incorporated. (1995). Goat. In Meredith's collegiate dictionary (7th ed., pp. 276-280). Meredith-Association, Incorporated.

Federal or State Statute

(Government Document)

National Academy of Psychic Health. (1996). Clinical research in patients with serious mental illness(DHHS Publication No. APH 67-1309). New Orleans, LA: U.S. Government Office.

Name of Act, Public Law No. (Year). URL.

The Child Protection and Care Act, Publ. L. No. 45-178, 108 Stat. 156 (2019).

Report From a Private or any Other Organization

American Doctors Association. (2005). Guidelines for the treatment of patients with serious mental disorders (3rd ed.). San Diego, CA: Author.

Last Name, F.M., & Lastname, F.M. (Year). Title of report. Organization Name. URL.

Mitchell, M., Kramer, J., Anderson, K., & Noble, K. (2011). Mental diseases and risk: Regulating the individual characteristics and the impact on health of other people. USA National Congress on Mental Illness.


APA Quotations

Material quoted directly from another source (i.e., reproduced word for word from works by other authors, your own previously published work, material replicated from a test item, and/or verbatim instructions to participants) must always provide the author, year, and specific page(s) in the text citation (for sources that don’t have page numbers, see the APA Style Blog post on citing a Kindle listed below) and include a complete entry in the reference list.

If the quotation includes fewer than 40 words, incorporate it in text and enclose it with double quotation marks. If the quotation includes more than 40 words, it should be treated as a block quotation, meaning that it is displayed in a freestanding block of text without quotation marks.

If material is paraphrased (i.e., restated in your own words), always provide the author and date in the in-text citation. It is not necessary to include the page number(s) in the citation, but it may be helpful, especially if the source is very long (e.g., a short passage from a whole book).

Why Do You Need APA Citation?

Any doctoral dissertation includes a basic list of references to the sources which student used during his investigation. Citing increasing the credibility of the dissertations and provides the reader with reliable evidence of your theses. It helps them with a broad understanding of the issue. You must make a brief citation inside the body paragraph, while you explain your suggestions. However, reveal the whole list of sources at the end of the dissertation. Here you find two types of citation:

  1. In-text. You'll see it in the body of your dissertation. It is the best way to prove the statement of your studies or support your suggestion. It’s up to you what to prefer in the text: make a direct quote or paraphrases.
  2. Reference citation. The long list of sources is a must-have for any dissertation. Here you are supposed to present all books, articles, magazines, websites, interview, and pictures you choose to conduct your research of the dissertation.

Citation in the text

It gives the credit for your dissertation. How to present the citation in your studies correctly? Follow the rules and examples below:

  • Make a quotation or paraphrase in the dissertation.
  • Put the citation in a specific format. Place the writer's last name, add the publishing year, and indicate page number.

The final chord of the doctoral dissertation is the reference list where you collect all the sources. Generally, the citation format of various sources is similar. However, you can easily find some difference. Citation for books, e-sources, websites varies from printed sources. Broadly, you should stick to the following format in the dissertation as given in the example below:

  • Author. Write his (or her) last name first, put initially. Don't forget to place a period at the end of the line.

Example: Levitt, S.D.

Does the chosen source have two or more authors? Include both of them in the body. When the source has more than 6 writers, mention only the first one: you’ll give the whole list at the end of the doctoral dissertation.

  • Editors. Does the book have several editors instead of one author? Display all of them and put Ed. after making name list.
  • Publication dates. Place the date of publishing when you refer to an article and put the month and day.
  • Publisher. Don't mention the names of periodicals’ publishers. Mostly, writers’ names are only for books, interview, and articles.

Citing a printed book

How to cite a doctoral dissertation APA? It’s easy to remember the format. First, put the writer’s name. Second, give the information about the publishing year. Write the title, city publishing, and publisher. Also please check how to write annotated bibliography

Example: John C, G (1975).  No way out. Massachusetts. Andrew and Edison.

Capitalize the first letter of almost every word. Put the name of the publishing in italics including subtitles as it is shown in our examples.

Citing an e-book

Many students have no idea what to do with electronic books. We cannot make a reference to the publisher or the page in the dissertation when we have a deal with web pages. But we can mention the website address for these studies.

We're teaching you the main rules to remember the format: Writer, a year of publication, work title.

  • You need to include URL starting with “https:” at the end of the quotation.
  • Right in front of the URL write retrieved from.
  • Don't use a period after the reference.

If you take the data from a periodical article website, it's likely you can find the direct object identifier. What is it? In general, it is a set of unique numbers and letters. If you get lost and cannot find a direct object for the retrieved article, don’t worry. You can use URL as it’s allowed by APA style in a doctoral dissertation.

Example: Lennigton, G. (2016, May 23). Gerald has invited the best Spy App. Retrieved from (place URL)

What to do with magazine citing?

Printed magazine. Put the author's name, Title. Initialize the magazine title.

Example: Mettiot A. (2017, May). The big boss. Equalizer, 67 (14), 2-5.

Website magazine. See the example above. It is almost the same excluding the page number. Place URL instead.

Example: Fernando, G. (2016, June). How to double the profit? Financial Times, 124 (23). Retrieved from (place URL)

Citing a printed article

When you're citing a published article from the library, follow the next format: author's name, the year of publishing. Title and page. For multiple pages, use pp. If the retrieved web article was printed on separated pages? Display all of them with a comma (e.g., pp. D2, D5p, D9-11).

Example: Billinsky, F. (2015, April 22). Customs services in the modern age. The times, p. 6E.

Online newspaper

Follow the same structure, but place URL at the end of the line.

What to do with a photo?

Sometimes, in studies, there may be attached photos. It happens that conducting research we use images that provide us with additional data, especially, in a social field. But the basic structure of citing photo in the body is similar to books or articles. Follow the next examples: put the author's name, YYYY-MM-DD of publication, write the photo title. Please add the location (city of publishing) along with the publisher or exhibition where the picture can be found.

Ederic, S.F. (Photographer). (1998). Coliseum, Rome. [photograph]. Washington, art gallery.

Online pictures. Are you going to retrieve the photo from online sources? Stick to the same format. However, add URL at the end of the line.

Brodsky, S. (Photographer). (2018, May 21). Buckingham Palace. Place your URL

Dissertation Reference List

When you're creating a doctoral dissertation reference list, remember it includes only the references that you’ve mentioned in the body. Use alphabetical order to present it correctly.

Malcom G. (2011). The power of thinking without thinking. Washington: Edit Publishing.

Keep in mind the document should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font size. Use double-spaced for the entire doctoral dissertation.

We hope our guide will help you to arrange the data and lead you to excellent grades. When you finalize your first dissertation in APA format, you’ll get that it’s an exciting job! Check on our website to get more detailed information about MLA or Chicago styles from our library.