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MLA 8th ed. Style Guide: Dissertations, Theses

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Essential Elements

Citations for dissertations/master's theses should include the following:

1. Name of Author 

2. Title of dissertation/thesis (italicized)

3. Date of Publication

5. Institution granting the degree (optional)

6. Description of the work (optional)

7. Database and URL if accessed through a database or repository

Sample Citation - Dissertations

Dissertations

The institution granting the degree and description of the work are optional. If you accessed the work online, include that information. 

Miller, Ryan. Understanding the Process of Multisensory Integration. 2016. Wake Forest U,  	PhD dissertation. WakeSpace, wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/59318.

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Jerz's Literacy Weblog (est. 1999)

Mla format papers: step-by-step tips for formatting research essays in mla style.

Jerz >  Writing > Academic     [ Argument | Title  |  Thesis  |  Blueprint  | Pro/Con | Quoting | MLA Format ]

(View a Google Doc template for an MLA Style paper .)

0.1) If you’ve been asked to submit a paper in MLA style, your instructor is asking you to format the page and present the content in a specific way. Just as football referees dress a certain way, and Japanese chefs cook a certain way, writers in certain disciplines follow a certain set of conventions. This document will show you how to format an essay in MLA style.

0.2) If, instead of questions about putting the final formatting touches on your essay, you have questions about what to write, see instead my handouts on writing a short research paper , coming up with a good thesis statement , and using quotations in the body of your paper .

mla style

  • Document Settings (1 inch margins; double spaced; 12-point)
  • Page Header (name and page number, upper right of every page)
  • Title Block (assignment info and an informative title)
  • Citations (no comma between the author and page number; commas and periods go outside of inline quotes)
  • Works Cited List (lots of tricky details! sort alphabetically by author, not by the order the quotes appear in your paper)

For the most complete information, check your campus library or writing center for the  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 8th ed.

Use a header with your last name and the page number, a title block, and an informative title. (See http://jerz.setonhill.edu/mla for details.)

MLA Style Format (First Page)

How to format the Works Cited page of an MLA style paper.

How to format the Works Cited page of an MLA style paper.

mla thesis format

1. Document Settings

Your word processor comes with default settings (margin, line height, paragraph spacing, and typeface) that will likely need adjustment. For MLA style, you need:

1.1 Adjusting Document Settings in MS-Word (Windows)

My copy of Microsoft Word for Windows defaults to

  • 1-inch margins all around
  • 1.15 line height
  • 10pt spacing between paragraphs
  • Calibri 11-point  typeface.

Changing to MLA Style (Windows)

  • The default margins in my test run were fine, but if you need to change them: Page Layout -> Margins -> Normal (1-inch all around)
  • The default line height is too low. Change it to 2.0. Home -> Line Spacing -> 2.0. (You could try fudging it to 1.9 or 2.1 to meet a page count, but any more than that and your instructor may notice.)
  • The MS-Word default adds extra space after paragraphs.(MLA Style instead requires you to  signal paragraph breaks by indenting the first line.) CTRL-A (select all your text) Home -> Line Spacing -> Remove Space After Paragraph
  • Change the typeface to Times New Roman 12-point. Home -> Font Face Selector (change to Times New Roman) Home -> Font Size Selector (change to 12)

1.2 Adjusting Document Settings in MS-Word (Mac)

My copy of  microsoft word for mac defaults to.

  • 1.25 inch left and right margins, 1 inch top and bottom
  • 1.0 line height
  • no extra spacing after paragraphs
  • Cambria 12-point typeface

Changing to MLA style (Mac)

  • In my test run, the left and right margins are too big. To change them: Layout -> Margins -> Normal (1-inch all around)
  • The default line height is too low. Change it to 2.0. Home -> Line Spacing  -> 2.0
  • My Mac copy of MS-Word does not add extra spaces after paragraphs. If yours does: Home -> Line Spacing  -> Line Spacing Options… (a new window will pop up) Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style (check this box) -> OK
  • The 12-point Cambria will probably be fine, but to change the typeface: Home -> Font Face Selector (change to Times New Roman) Home -> Font Size Selector (change to 12)

2. Page Header

In the top right of every page, use your word processor’s “Page Header” function add an automatic page number and your surname.

2.1 Adding the Page Header in MS-Word (Windows)

  • Insert -> Page Number -> Top of Page -> (choose the right-justified “Plain Number” option)
  • The cursor will jump automatically to the right place for you to t ype your surname .
  • Click anywhere in the body of the paper to exit the header area.

2.2 Adding the Page Header in MS-Word (Mac)

  • Insert (in the top menu) -> Page Numbers…  -> (Set “Position” to “Top of Page (header)” and “Alignment” to “Right”)
  • Click just to the left of the new page number, and type your surname .
  • On my test document, my name was too far over to the left; grab the triangular tab adjuster just above your name, and drag it a notch to the right .

3. Title Block

In the upper left corner, type your name, your instructor’s name, the course number and section, and today’s date. Centered on the next line, type an informative title that actually informs the reader of your main point (not just “English Paper” or “A Comparison between Hamlet and Macbeth”).

mla thesis format

  • Like all the other text in an MLA style paper, the title block is double-spaced .
  • The title is in the same font as the rest of the paper — it is not boldface, or enlarged.
  • There is  no extra space above or below the title.
  • A truly informative title will include the general topic, and your precise opinion on that topic.  (So, if you pan to compare Hamlet and Macbeth, your title should state the unique point you want to make about Hamlet and Macbeth. Reuse part of your thesis statement.)

4. Citations

This handout presumes you already know why you should cite your sources (to establish your authority, to introduce persuasive evidence, to avoid plagiarism , etc.). 

To fully cite a source requires two stages.  The first happens in the body of your paper (the “in-text citation”) and the second happens on a separate page at the end of your paper (see “Works Cited List,” below.)

4.1 Citing a Block Quote (more than three lines)

mla thesis format

  • Long quotes can start to look like filler. Only use a block quote if you have a very good reason to include the whole passage. (You can usually make your point with a shorter quote.)

mla thesis format

  • Place the parenthetical citation (the author’s name and the page number) after the period . (This is different from inline quotes, below.)
  • There is no comma between the author’s name and the page number.
  • If the quotation runs across more than one page: (Wordsworth-Fuller 20-21) or (Wordsworth-Fuller 420-21).
  • Skip wordy introductions such as, “In his informative guide The Amazing Writing Book , published by Elizabeth Mount College in 2010, the noted composition expert Maxwell Wordsworth-Fuller describes the importance of citations in MLA style papers.” Cutting the filler leaves more room to develop your own original ideas. (See “ Integrating Quotations .”)

4.2 Citing an Inline Quotation

When the passage you want to quote is less than three lines long, use inline style.  Here we have two brief passages, taken from the same page of the same source, so we can handle both with a single parenthetical citation.

mla thesis format

  • The parenthetical citation appears outside the quoted material.
  • The period that ends the sentence comes after the close parenthesis . (This is different from block quotes, above.)
  • In this example, we have changed the first word a little, lowercasing it in order to fit it into our own sentence. To let the reader know what we changed, we put [] around it.
  • Again, note the absence of a full sentence that explains who Wordsworth-Fuller is and where the quote comes from. All that info will be in the Works Cited list, so we leave it out of the body of the paper.

4.3 Citing a Paraphrase

Let’s imagine we want to reference Wordsworth-Fuller’s general idea about citation as a way to establish credibility, but we don’t need to include any of the technical details. We can save space, and make it much easier on our reader, if we paraphrase:

mla thesis format

  • Use paraphrasing for variety, or to make a passing reference without taking up much space.
  • If we use an author’s idea, rephrased in our own words, we must still cite the idea.

Tips for avoiding common errors in MLA citations.

5. Works Cited List

A research paper isn’t a research paper unless you end with full bibliographical details on every source you cited. This part can be tedious and tricky; leave yourself plenty of time to do it.

mla thesis format

How to format the “Works Cited” list of an MLA style paper.

  • MS-Word Wind: Insert -> Page Break -> New Page.
  • MS-Word Mac: Document Elements -> Break -> Page.
  • Title your new page: Works Cited MLA style calls for no extra spaces above or below the page title; no special formatting.

5.1.  How to Create an Individual Works Cited Entry

Exactly what goes into each item in your bibliography depends on what kind of item it is. The general format is as follows:

Author. Title of Source. Container, contributors, version, volume and issue, publisher, date, location.

Exactly how that basic format gets turned into a Works Cited entry depends on the source.

Here’s the basic format for any book:

mla thesis format

  • Gibaldi, Joseph, and George Spelvin.
  • Gibaldi, Joseph, Alan Smithee, and George Spelvin.
  • GIbaldi, Joseph et al.
  • The italicized phrase “ et al. ” is an abbreviation for the Latin “et alia,” meaning “and others.”
  • The “ al. ” is short for a longer word, so we mark the abbreviation with a period.
  • The “ et” is not an abbreviation, so it doesn’t get a period.
  • Place periods after the author’s name, after the title of the book, and at the end of the entry.
  • The title of the book is italicized .
  • The publisher is the name of the organization responsible for publishing the book. In this example it’s the Modern Language Association. It might instead be Project Gutenberg, the US Department of Agriculture, or the World Health Organization,

Basic Format for Any Academic Article

Author. “Title of Article in Quotation Marks.” Title of Journal in Italics, volume #, issue #, YEAR, pp. [pages of article]. Italicized Name of Database.

mla thesis format

Let’s break that example down.

The author Margaret Kantz wrote the article “Helping Students Use Textual Sources Persuasively.” That article doesn’t exist on its own floating in space; it was published by a journal called College English,  in the 52nd year of publication, in the first issue of its 52nd volume, in the year 1990, the article started on page 74 and ran through page 91. The student found this article while searching the database Academic Search Elite .

Every academic article has a specific title, and is published in a journal with a different title. (Online citation generators often get this wrong, and will often repeat the same title twice.)

What is this “volume 52, number 1”?

If  College English were a TV series, then “volume” would be which season, and “number” would be the episode number. The title of the article would be the equivalent of a scene within that episode.

The title of the database, Academic Search Elite , is like the title of the streaming service you’d need to sign into. If you were talking about your favorite TV show and you told me it was on Netflix, or Disney+, I could find it. But if you told me “It’s on my MacBook” or “It’s on my Samsung phone,” that wouldn’t help me to find it.

Basic Format for Any Web Page

mla thesis format

In the above example, reporter Camila Domonoske filed a news story called “Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds,” that aired on a news program called The Two-Way , which is published by National Public Radio, and the story aired Nov 23, 2016.

In MLS Style, the full URL is optional. Really long URLs with long strings of numbers in them are often generated for specific users, so someone else who visits that same URL will often get an error message.

You might shorten the URL to “npr.org,” because it would be a simple matter to use a search engine to find the actual story.

Other Citation Examples

What if your source doesn’t fit any of my examples?

You might be trying to cite something that doesn’t fit the above pattern, like a social media post, a video game, a work of art, an email from a relative, a billboard, or something else. It’s just not practical for me to try to include an example of every single thing it’s possible to cite.

The MLA citation format is designed to be flexible, so that it works for forms of media that haven’t been invented yet.

See Purdue OWL’s handouts for how to create a bibliography entry for a book , an article in a  periodical (such as a journal or newspaper), or an  electronic source (such as an email, web page or a YouTube clip). See also this list of  other common sources  (such as a personal interview or a movie).

5.2.  How to Organize Your Works Cited list

Sort the entries alphabetically by the author ‘s last name.

  • If the author is an organization (such as a government agency or non-profit foundation), alphabetize according to the name of the organization .
  • If you are citing a painting, or a composer, then obviously “author” has to be interpreted a little loosely.
  • Unless your instructor ask you to organize your Works Cited list differently,  everything should be alphabetized together, in a single list. MLA does not require that you separate works of different kinds, or that you cite works in the order that they appeared in your paper, or that you write annotations to go along with each item.
  • Use double-spaced line height. (in my copy of Word, I select the text and choose Format -> Paragraph ->  Line spacing -> Double -> OK.)
  • Use hanging indent paragraph format. (In my copy of word, I select the text then choose Format -> Paragraph -> Indentation -> Special -> Hanging Indent.)

29 May 2011 — new document posted, replacing outdated handout written in 1999. 06 Jun 2011 — expanded section on organizing the Works Cited list, since several readers asked for clarification. 07 Jun 2011 — reorganized for emphasis 19 Apr 2012 — added numbers to more subheads 24 Mar 2014 — added details on Works Cited paragraph formatting. 02 Oct 2016 — updated with MLA 8th Edition details. 30 Nov 2016 — added annotated Works Cited sample image. 07 Sep 2020 — updated section 5.1

570 thoughts on “ MLA Format Papers: Step-by-step Tips for Formatting Research Essays in MLA Style ”

The information was very helpful

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Thanks for sharing such an informative post with us.

fantastic information

Thanks for info!

hello i am nate sedmack i am here to kill all the furries for what they did to gavin born

I’m learning more writing a paper

it was very informational and helped me a lot

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Curious how you would Cite this webpage? haha…

awesome reminders

what about if when your using a quote and there is no name just anonomus

Honestly, I’d say find another way to make your point. An anonymous saying like “A stitch in time saves nine” won’t help you demonstrate your ability to write the kind of scholarly paper that MLA is designed for. Certainly investigate the quote to find out whether it maybe comes from Shakespeare or some other source that you can quote. I might identify the example I used as “English proverb,” but since I won’t be marking your paper, you really should check with your instructor.

This article..thing is the only reason I am passing my online college class. Especially the citation builder. Thank you!

I would Like You To Give Simple Instructions Not Complicated Ones , and Include also how much Papers Should be worked on.

Khalid, if there is any particular detail you are confused about, please let me know what question you have and perhaps I can help. There is no specific answer to how much a paper should be worked on. It depends on what grade you want to earn, how much time you have, whether your instructor is willing to meet with you before the due date, whether your instructor will give you the chance to revise your work, and many other factors.

hahahah xD me too same

How do I cite a photo that I found online?

Is it a historical photograph or a photograph published in a book that someone scanned and posted on line, is it a photograph of something like a sculpture? Is your paper focused on the work of the photographer, the makeup artist who prepared the model, the digital image enhancer who altered the image, the model? There is no single correct way to cite a photograph, because there are many different reasons to cite a photograph. Your instructor would be able to give you more specific advice. In general, though, the 8th edition of the MLA guide would say something like this:

Olsen, Jimmy. “Superman Rescues Boy Scouts from Lava Pit.” Photograph. The Daily Planet . July 22, 1956.

If you found the picture on a blog or a Flickr gallery, adjust the citation accordingly. If you found the image as the result of a Google search for something, you might very well end up finding a page that re-uses someone else’s picture without appropriately giving credit. There are many variables. Talk to your instructor, who will be the one grading your work, and will therefore be the right person to advise you on what to do.

is the text or what you wrote supposed to be centered in the page or to the left margin

Left margin.

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cool it was helpful

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I think you should include online resource citation instructions

Click on “Citing” at the top of the page. One of the options on the other end of that link is how to cite a web page.

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which writing style (MLA, APA) have more importance for students of social sciences, media sciences and business?

It depends on the instructor or editor who’s calling the shots. http://subjectguides.library.american.edu/c.php?g=175008&p=1154150

Very informative. It helped introduce my tired old mind to the MLA format. So, I can better help coach and prepare my wife for her English course. Thank you very much.

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I’m using a book title and author as my paper heading. How is that formatted?

I would tell my own students that a book title and the name of an author is not a good paper title, and I would ask them to write a title that catches the reader’s attention, identifies the topic, and identifies what position the paper is going to take on the topic. But if you are not my student, then I’m not the person who will be evaluating your paper. MLA style puts the book title in italics. Other than that, I really don’t have any advice for you.

Thank you very much for this useful information. As a freshman in highschool, my biology teacher asked for me to write an essay in mLA format about evolution. I had no clue what mLA format was,so I searched it up and it brought me here. In middle school I never wrote an essay in this format before,but I feel very confident to type my first mLA essay and I’m excited to do so! (Right after I finish my draft >.<) thank you very much! (⌒▽⌒)✌

This wasn’t helpful at all

Shavez, what were you looking for? This page is about formatting a paper you have already written. The first section includes links to pages about how to write essays.

u a real nigga dennis

really dude my collies and I would prefer that you didn’t use any profane language due to younger children that may be reading this

thank u i got an A 97 percent

this was very helpful i got an A 95 percent

hi my name is Jessie i have to writ a 2 pages Essay about MLA can someone help me

Dennis, what lends itself to science in the APA system? And what lends itself to the Humanities with the MLA? TIA.

As compared to MLA papers, APA papers tend to be shorter, and divided up into sections. Authors who use APA style tend to publish more frequently, because their knowledge goes out of date more quickly; so the date is prominent in APA citations, and page numbers are rare.

By contrast, people who use MLA style tend to write longer essays that aren’t divided up into standard sections like “procedure” and “conclusions.” Humanities scholarship generally doesn’t go out of date quickly. Instead of conducting experiments, humanists read and write a lot of longer essays and books, re-interpreting and quoting passages from them. MLA style makes the page numbers prominent, so that other scholars can easily find and re-read those same passages for themselves, and further the work of scholarship as it is conducted in the humanities.

Thanks for the reply. What do you mean by ” MLA style tend to write longer essays that aren’t divided up into standard sections like “procedure” and “conclusions.”? Are we not suppose to use conclusions in MLA format? In my English class, we use MLA with conclusions, but what do you mean by “procedure” and “conclusions”? I understand each instructor is different but is it right to use conclusions in an MLA paper…or am I getting confused?

Typically papers written in MLA style DO have a conclusion, but it would not be set off in a separate section under the subheading “Conclusion.” MLA papers tend NOT to follow a standard, particular structure. Papers written in the sciences DO have a fairly rigid set of sections, with separate subheadings. But it’s best for you to talk to your teacher about the specifics of any asisgnment.

Ok, thanks. I just wanted to ask and clarify it. Also, doesn’t the word “humanist” means something else entirely? The Humanist term today implies ‘human’ and is often used for atheists, for example… or am I wrong?

I used the term “humanist” to mean “a person who studies the culture of humans,” without intending the more specific meaning you mention. At my school, the humanities division includes theologians.

seems easy enough

We get asked often about what “format” the college application essay should be in. Although not generally… http://t.co/v1TTNxtE4e

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When using MLA format, do you list the book title, the title of the article or both?

For guidance on citing individual sources, see the link in item 4, above. This page is about formatting the paper once you’ve already written it.

I wrote a paper and it looks just like your example. I followed everything to the “t” and my professor says that my header is indented and my paragraphs are double indented and the page numbers are in wrong format. What can I do?

Winston, I suggest you talk to your professor. I have been teaching from thiis handout for years, and when a student makes a formatting error on a rough draft, I just ask them to fix it for the revision. But your instructor is the one who designed the assignment and who evaluates your submissions, so he or she is the person to approach with questions.

I agree. .let me ask you this. Are your headers indented?

The screenshot was taken from a page that I created following the instructions for using MS-Word with a MacBook Pro. I followed the instructions that are on the page. But surely your instructor gave you guidelines, in a handout or an assigned textbook, which is why I encourage you to have this conversation with your instructor. Whether your instructor does or does not agree with the information on this page really doesn’t matter, since your instructor created the assignment and evaluates it according to his or her own criteria. I suggest you let your your teacher know you are confused about what you did wrong, and ask for an opportunity to make minor formatting changes to a paper that, we hope, met all the major criteria.

How do you add footnotes to an MLA style paper?

Most word processors will have an Insert -> Footnote or Insert -> Note (footnote or endnote) option. Most short college papers don’t need footnotes. (They aren’t for documenting sources — use an in-text citation and a Works Cited list instead.) I suggest you talk to your instructor about whether you really do need to use a footnote.

RT @DennisJerz: MLA Format Papers: Step-by-step Instructions for Writing Research Essays #mlastyle http://t.co/B6pGb3Pkeh

Thank you so much!! I love the Bib builder!!

I’m glad to hear you found it helpful!

Dear Dr. Jerz,

I am writing to request permission to link your webpage, “MLA Format Papers: Step-by-step Instructions for Writing Research Essays” to our website.

Marie Walcroft Librarian Lansdale School of Business

I am glad you found this page helpful. Yes, you are welcome to include a link and a brief extract.

Can you put what information is supposed to be in each paragraph???

Emma, I’m afraid I don’t understand the question. I feel like you’ve asked me what emotions are supposed to be in each verse of a song, or what colors are supposed to be in a painting. The many different kinds of songs or paintings are all created for different reasons; likewise, paragraphs are assigned, written, and read for a whole range of different reasons, so there’s no answer that covers all possible cases.

that was beautiful

I really find this useful (especially fudging the line spacing to 2.1). Good job!

Im in middle school and I have to do this. I have never heard of MLA Format and this helped ALOT. Thanks so much! Hopefully I get a good grade on this paper!

“@pretti_slimm: @Thyler_Jonzy http://t.co/QIf00vlgws try this site looks helpful”I just found a sample paper on Google

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Is the Table of Contents double spaced – MLA?

i think you should add an explanation about page header. that was what i was looking for

See item 2 from the table of contents: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/academic1/mla-style-papers/#page-header

when you say page numbers (Wordworth-Fuller 20), are you referring to the page number within the MLA document or the page number the text appears on within the authors works?

In this case, your paper would be referring to something you found on page 20 of the text by Wordsworth-Fuller.

With your delicate information about to write MLA format essay in right way will lead me to successful college year.

Thank you for useful information about how to write MLA format essay. Before my college year I didn’t know there were many different forms of essay. When my professor asked me to write MLA format I had no idea how to write it, but with your delicate information I think I will survive my college year. Thank you again.

I’m glad to know you found this page helpful. Most instructors will be happy to help if you stop by during their office hours, and if your prof is too busy for that most universities will have a writing center where you can get help at any stage of any assignment involving writing.

Thank you for valuable information. Before my college year in America I didn’t know what MLA Format was, but with this delicate information I will survive my college year.

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That means the quote is from page 20 of the book or article written by Wordsworth-Fuller.

Very good information, I really needed this incite on research paper formats. It has such thorough details and that make it so much easier to understand.

How do you in text cite a website? I didnt really see much about that.

I think you should add an explanation about page numbers. That was what I was looking for, but I couldn’t find the significant area.

Section 2 explains how to put page numbers in the header, and section 4 discusses page numbers in citations.

read it… it’s there.

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MLA Thesis Guidelines

Mla independent thesis.

Landscape Architecture students are not required to complete an independent thesis. The thesis project is an opportunity for students to pursue a design project that they have researched and developed independently. Landscape students interested in pursuing thesis declare the thesis track in May prior to their final fall semester. MLA students who declare thesis will be required to enroll in Thesis Prep seminar (ADV-9341; 4-units) in the fall of their final year.

The Independent Design Thesis track (ADV-9341; 4-units, ADV-9342; 8-units) is a full-year commitment and carries a total of 12-units.

Candidates pursuing a thesis in the spring must complete an option studio offered by the Department of Landscape Architecture (1400-level option studio) in addition to the Thesis Prep seminar in their final fall term.

MLA Thesis Manual 2022-2023 MLA Thesis Manual Appendix I – Readings MLA Thesis Manual Appendix II – Archiving Guidelines MLA Thesis Manual Appendix III – Sample Permissions Statement MLA Thesis Manual Appendix IV – PDF Creation Examples

MLA students entering their final year who wish to submit a binding declaration to the one-year thesis track must do so by Thursday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET. Please contact Program Coordinator Briana King for more information.

MLA Thesis Declaration Form 2024-2025

Selected MLA theses are available through HOLLIS (Harvard Library) or in hard copy in the Loeb Design Library.

For current thesis students, all final PDF theses must be submitted to the Thesis Director and Program Coordinator no later than 9:00 AM (ET) on May 13th, 2024. The Department reserves the right to withhold student grades until thesis materials are submitted .

Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez, Call Box 9000 Mayagüez, PR 00681     (787) 832-4040 ext. 3810, 2151, 2155    [email protected]

MLA 9th Edition Style Guide: Dissertation/Thesis

  • Generic Section Labels
  • Inclusive Language
  • Publisher Abbreviations
  • Formatting your Paper
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Social Media
  • Audiovisual
  • Personal Communication

Dissertation/Thesis

  • News Publication
  • Classroom Material
  • Conference Proceedings and Papers
  • Footnotes and Endnotes
  • Tables and Figures
  • Useful Links

Njus, Jesse. Performing the Passion: A Study on the Nature of Medieval Acting . 2010. Northwestern U,

MA thesis.  ProQuest , search.proquest.com/docview/305212264?accountid=7432.

Dissertation

PhD dissertation.  ProQuest , search.proquest.com/docview/305212264?accountid=7432.

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MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

Welcome to an overview of “What is MLA Format?” in relation to paper formatting. You’ll find in-depth guidelines, examples, and visual samples to help you easily format your paper. This guide does not serve as a reference for MLA citation format.

For help determining the proper structure for citing, refer to the other guides on EasyBib.com. Here is another informative site which may help with further understanding of MLA citation format.

Guidelines for Formatting a Paper in MLA

  • Use white 8 ½  x 11” paper.
  • Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.
  • The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
  • Indent set-off or block quotations one half inch from the left margin.
  • Use any type of font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman. Make sure that italics look different from the regular typeface.
  • Use 12-point size.
  • Double space the entire research paper, even the Works Cited page.
  • Leave one space after periods and other punctuation marks, unless your instructor tells you to leave two spaces.

These guidelines come from the MLA Style Center’s web page “Formatting a Research Paper.”

MLA Guide Overview

There are various sections in this guide. Each section provides an in-depth overview of the different components to keep in mind when developing an MLA paper.

This guide includes the following sections:

  • Format background
  • General paper formatting
  • MLA heading format & title page instructions
  • Running head & page numbers
  • Paraphrases
  • Abbreviations
  • Numbers (includes the use of numbers in MLA outline format)
  • Images, tables, and musical scores
  • MLA works cited format
  • MLA citation format (for in-depth citation rules visit this MLA citation guide or MLA in-text citation guide)
  • Edits & proofreading

If you need more guidance, a website like EasyBib.com usually has guides and tools to help you out. There’s also resources on other styles, like our guide on “ APA reference page ”, otherwise known as a “References” page.

MLA Format Background

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an organization responsible for developing MLA format. It was developed as a means for researchers, students, and scholars in the literature and language fields to uniformly format their papers and assignments. This uniform, or consistent, method to developing a paper or assignment allows for easy reading. Today, MLA is not only used in literature and language subject areas; many others have adopted it as well.

The Modern Language Association released the 9th and most current edition of their MLA Handbook in April 2021. The Handbook provides thorough instructions on citing, as well as guidelines for submitting work that adheres to the Modern Language Association’s rules and standards. Although we’re not affiliated with the MLA, our citation specialists bring you this thoughtful and informative guide on the format.

Looking for information about previous editions to the Handbook ? Want to learn more about the origin of “What is MLA format?” Click here to learn about the previous editions to the Handbook .

Actually, are you looking for help on using another style? See how to cite an APA journal , learn to create an APA book citation , and more!

Formatting the Header in MLA

To create a header for your first page, follow these steps:

  • Begin one inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin.
  • Type your name, your instructor’s name, the course name and number, and the date on separate lines, using double spaces between each.
  • Double space once more and center the title. Do NOT underline, bold, or type the title in all capital letters. Only italicize words that would normally be italicized in the text. Example: Character Development in The Great Gatsby
  • Do not place a period after the title or after any headings
  • Double space between the title and first lines of the text

MLA Formating Paper

General Paper Formatting

Paper choice.

While many professors, instructors, and publications allow electronic submission, some prefer printed, hard copies of papers. This section focuses on the type of paper to use for printed submission.

If you choose to print your paper, use white paper only. Do not use ivory, off-white, or any other shades or colors.

Choose a standard, high quality paper to print your project on. Do not use cardstock. It is not necessary to use resum é paper. Use typical, high quality printer or copy paper.

When it comes to size, 8 ½-by-11-inch paper is the recommended size. If you’d like to use a different size, ask your teacher prior to submission.

Use One-Inch Margins in MLA

Use one-inch margins around the entire page. The running head should be the only item seen in the one inch margin (see below for more on running heads).

Most word processing programs automatically default to using one inch margins. Check the page settings section of the program to locate the margin size.

Indenting Paragraphs in MLA

Indent the first word in every paragraph. Sentences should begin one half inch from the left margin.

It is not necessary to manually measure half an inch. Use the “tab” button on the keyboard to create a half inch space.

Double Space Paragraphs in MLA

MLA research paper format requires that the entire research paper or MLA format essay includes double-spaced lines. Double-spaced lines should be found in between the written body of the work, in the heading, and also on the MLA reference page.

While it may seem tempting to place a few extra lines between the heading, title, and beginning of the paper, lines should all be double spaced.

Font and Font Size in MLA

In an MLA paper, it is acceptable to use any font type that is easy to read. Many source types, such as books and articles, use fonts that are easy to read, so if you’re seeking an appropriate font style, look at other sources for guidance. Two of the most commonly used fonts are Arial and Times New Roman.

It is important for the reader to be able to distinguish the difference between italicized and regular font, so if you choose a font style different than Arial or Times New Roman, make sure the difference between the two type styles is evident.

The use of a 12-point font size is recommended as this is the default size for many word processing programs. It is acceptable to use another standard size, such as 11-point or 11.5-point.

Some professors or instructors will provide guidance on how to secure hard copies of projects. If your instructor does not provide you with any expectations or guidance, a simple staple in the top left corner should suffice. If a stapler is not available, some instructors allow paper or binder clips.

Do not fold the top left corner down to secure the pages together. The page could easily unfold, causing a mess of papers. While binders and plastic holders are cute, in reality, they add bulk to a professor or instructor who may like to take the papers home for grading purposes. Keep the binding simple and clean. Staples work best, and binder and paper clips are the next best option.

As always, follow any instructions your professor or teacher may provide. The guidelines found here are simply recommendations.

MLA Heading & Title Page Instructions

The web page “Formatting a Research Paper” gives two options when it comes to creating the header for your project:

  • An MLA format heading can be placed at the top of the first page
  • A title page can grace the front of the assignment. If you choose to create a title page, keep in mind that there aren’t any official title page or cover page guidelines in MLA format. See more information below.

If choosing option one, creating an MLA heading, you’ll need to include four main components:

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s name
  • The name and number of the course or class
  • The assignment’s due date

The first item typed on the paper should be your full name.

  • Position your name one inch from the top and left margins of the page.
  • Add a double space beneath your name, and type the name of your instructor.
  • Below the professor or instructor’s name should be a double space, followed by the name of the course, class, or section number (if available).
  • Below it, include another double space and add the assignment’s due date (Day Month Year).

Here’s an example:

mla thesis format

The assignment’s title should be placed below the due date, after a double space. Align the title so it sits in the center of the MLA format paper. The title should be written in standard lettering, without underlines, bold font, italicized font, or any quotation marks. Only include italics or quotation marks if your title includes the title of another source.

Here is an example of an MLA header for an MLA format essay, paper, or assignment:

Neal E. Bibdarsh

Professor Haujeemoto

English 201

The Trials and Tribulations of Lincoln’s Reciting of “The Gettysburg Address”

*Note: The quotation marks here are around the title of a speech included in the paper’s title.

Most research papers use a standard MLA format heading, like the one seen above. If your instructor requires you to create a standalone title page, ask him or her for specifications. MLA does not have specific instructions for developing an MLA title page. We recommend you use an MLA header for your project.

If your teacher or professor requires a standalone title page, but has not provided any guidance or specifications, here are a few suggestions from EasyBib.com and this MLA guide :

  • Center and double space all of the text on your page.
  • Place the name of your school at the top of the page.
  • Skip down to about the center of the page and type the title of your paper. Do not bold the title, italicize the entire title, place quotation marks around it, or type the title out in capital letters.
  • Use italics for the titles of any sources in the title of your paper. Example: An Analysis of Mythical Creatures in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • first letter of the title
  • first letter of the last word
  • first letter of any adjectives, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, and verbs
  • If your paper has a subtitle, include on the next line below your title.
  • Skip down to the bottom third of the page and add your name, the the name of your instructor, the name/number of the course or class, and the assignment’s due date on four separate lines.
  • Keep the font size at 12 pt., or a size close to it, to make it look professional.
  • Use the same font as the text of the paper. The Modern Language Association recommends any font that is easy to read and has a clear distinction between italics and standard font. Times New Roman and Arial are recommended, but many other fonts work as well.
  • Include a page number in the top right corner of the paper. For more information on how to style page numbers, check out the next section, “Running Head and Page Numbers.”
  • We do not recommend adding any images or cover art to the title page. 

Click  additional information about essays to see an example of a formatted header.

You can either create a title page using the EasyBib Title Page creator or omit the title page completely and use a header.

mla thesis format

Running Head & Page Numbers in MLA

A running head is a brief heading that is placed in the top right corner of every page in a project. The Modern Language Association Style Center (online) states that the running head consists of:

  • Last name of the paper’s author
  • Page number

General tips to keep in mind:

  • The running head is placed in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin of the page.
  • Type your last name before the page number.
  • The last name and page number should be separated by a single space.
  • Do not place the word “page” or use an abbreviation, such as p. or pg., before the page number.
  • Quite often, the running head begins on the second page, but your instructor may ask you to include the running head on the first page of the assignment. As always, if your instructor provides you with specific directions, follow his or her guidelines.

APA formatting page number

Before adding this information manually onto every single page, check to see if the word processor you’re using has the capability to automatically add this information for you. Try looking in the settings area where page numbers or headers can be added or modified.

Google Docs: Adding a header

  • Go to the menu section “Insert.”
  • Select “Page numbers” and select the option that places the page number in the upper-right corner.
  • A page number will appear; your cursor will blink next to it.
  • Move your cursor to the left of the page number.
  • Type your last name. Add a space between your name and the page number.
  • You should now have a properly formatted header on every page!

Microsoft Word Document: Adding a header

  • Double-click in the space at the top of the page (where the page number is).
  • OR Go to the “Insert” menu, select “Header,” and select “Edit Header.”
  • Type your last name next to page number. If it isn’t already right-aligned, go to the “Home” menu and right-align your name.

Quotations in MLA

Quotes are added into assignments to help defend an argument, prove a point, add emphasis, or simply liven up a project.

Quotes should not take up the majority of your paper or assignment. Quotes should be sprinkled sparingly throughout, and quotes longer than 4 lines should be formatted as MLA block quotes . Use direct quotes from outside sources to enhance and expand on your own writing and ideas.

Words from quotes belong to the individual who spoke or wrote them, so it is essential to credit that individual’s work. Credit him or her by adding what is called an “in-text citation” into the body of the project.

There are three ways to add quotes: 1. With the author’s name in the sentence (a citation in prose).

Dan Gutman shares a glimpse into the overall plot by stating, “I didn’t know it at the time, but a baseball card—for me—could function like a time machine” (5).

In the above example, Dan Gutman is the author of the book that this quote is pulled from.

2. Without the author’s name in the sentence (a parenthetical citation).

The main character’s confusing experience is realized and explained when he states “I didn’t know it at the time, but a baseball card—for me—could function like a time machine” (Gutman 5).

In the above example, Dan Gutman’s name isn’t included in the sentence. It’s included in the parentheses at the end of the sentence. This is an example of a proper MLA style citation in the body of a project.

3. In a block quote, which is used when a large quote, of 4 lines or more, is added into a project.

Using footnotes and endnotes

The Modern Language Association generally promotes the use of references as described in the sections above, but footnotes and endnotes are also acceptable forms of references to use in your paper.

Footnotes and endnotes are helpful to use in a variety of circumstances. Here are a few scenarios when it may seem appropriate to use this type of referencing:

  • When you are referring to a number of various sources, by various authors, in a section of your paper. In this situation, it is a good idea to use a footnote or endnote to share information for parenthetical references. This will encourage the reader to stay focused on the text of the research paper, instead of having to read through all of the reference information.
  • When you are sharing additional information that doesn’t quite fit into the scope of the paper, but is beneficial for the reader. These types of footnotes and endnotes are helpful when explaining translations, adding background information, or sharing counterexamples to research.

To include a footnote or endnote, add a superscript number at the end of the sentence the footnote or endnote refers to. They can be included mid-sentence if necessary, but be sure to add it after any punctuation, such as commas or periods. Find a location that doesn’t distract the reader from the content and flow of the paper.

Within the text example:

Numerous well-known children’s books include characters from a wide range of races and ethnicities, thus promoting diversity and multiculturalism.¹

At the bottom of the page (footnote) or at the end of the section (endnote):

¹See Isadora, Parr, and Velazquez. While Parr’s work features characters of various colors, such as pink or blue, children easily correlate it with individuals of different races and ethnicities.

On the last page of the assignment, the writer includes the full references for the books by Isadora, Parr, and Velazquez.

For more on block quotes and a further, detailed explanation on the use of quotes, including MLA footnotes, refer to our MLA In-Text Citation and Parenthetical Citations Guide. In this guide you’ll find further information including directions for the use of quotes without an author, page numbers, and how to properly credit work from electronic sources.

For guides on citations in another style, check out APA parenthetical citation and APA in-text citation .

Paraphrases in MLA

Paraphrases are created when text or speech from another source are added into a project, but the writer chooses to summarize them and weave in his or her own writing and writing style.

Even though the writer modifies the information from another source, it is still necessary to credit the source using proper format ( Handbook 98). Paraphrased information uses the same MLA reference format as stated in the section directly above this one.

Here is an acceptable paraphrase:

Original text:

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Steve Jobs

Paraphrase:

Steve Jobs encouraged students at Stanford to continue with their determination, drive, and ambitious behavior. They should never be simply satisfied with the status quo. They should continue to push themselves despite possible obstacles and failures.

To develop a well-written paraphrase, follow these simple, step-by-step instructions.

  • Find a phrase, sentence, paragraph, or section of original text you’d like to turn into a paraphrase.
  • Read the text carefully and make sure you fully comprehend its meaning. A writer can only develop a well-written paraphrase if the information has been fully grasped and understood. If you’re having difficulty understanding the information, take a few minutes to read up on tricky words and background information. If all else fails, ask a friend to see if they’re able to make sense of the concepts.
  • After analyzing and completely understanding the original text, put it to the side. Take a moment to think about what you’ve read and connect the idea to your own assignment.
  • Now that the information is completely understood, take a moment to rewrite what you’ve read, in your own words and writing style. Do not simply substitute words in the original text with synonyms. That’s plagiarism! Show off and demonstrate your ability to process the original information, connect it to the content in your paper, and write it in your own individual and unique writing style.
  • Include an in-text reference next to the paraphrase. All paraphrases include references, similar to direct quotes. See the “Quotations” section of this guide to learn how to properly attribute your paraphrased information.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back! Paraphrasing is an important part of the research and writing process.

Wondering if it’s better to quote or paraphrase?

An essential part of the research process involves adding direct quotes and paraphrases into projects. Direct quotes provide word-for-word evidence and allow writers to use another author’s eloquent words and language in their own projects. When it comes to paraphrases, writers are able to take a block of text and shrink the scope of it into the their papers. Paper writers can also use paraphrases to demonstrate their ability to analyze and reiterate information in a meaningful and relevant way.

If you’re wondering which one is better to consistently use, quotes or paraphrases, there’s a clear winner. Paraphrases come out on top. Sure, direct quotes are incredibly beneficial, but copying and pasting too many of these into a project can cause a reader to lose sight of the writer’s own voice. Mixing your own voice with another author’s too much can make for choppy and disjointed reading.

The ultimate goal of a research project is to have your voice and research merged together as one. Paraphrases allow just that. When you combine information from outside sources with your own writing style, it demonstrates your ability as a researcher to showcase your understanding and analyzation of a topic.

Remember, whether you’re adding direct quotes or paraphrases into a project, both types of additions need references. References are placed after the quotes and paraphrases, and also at the end of an assignment.

If you’re looking for additional help with your punctuation or grammar, check out the EasyBib plagiarism checker !

mla thesis format

Using Abbreviations in MLA

Abbreviations are commonly used in many source types including websites, blog posts, books, and journal articles. It is acceptable to use abbreviations in all of these sources.

When it comes to school and research assignments, however, the MLA   Handbook states that abbreviations should be used rarely in the prose of your paper (293). Spelling out abbreviations into their full words and meanings is recommended. This ensures understanding and avoids any confusion from your reader.

There are times when you may feel it is perfectly acceptable to use an abbreviation rather than its typed out counterpart in a paper. If you do abbreviate, be sure you are using commonly accepted abbreviations, which you can find in the dictionary. You can also review Appendix 1 in the  MLA Handbook .

General Abbreviation Tips

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus can be abbreviated to HIV, not H.I.V.
  • United States should be US, not U.S.
  • Digital video disc should be DVD, not D.V.D.
  • For lower case abbreviations, it is acceptable to include periods between the letters.
  • The abbreviation, “For example” = e.g.
  • If there is a mix of lower case and upper case letters, do not use periods if the majority of the letters are upper case. Examples include PhD and EdD

Abbreviating Months

Type out entire month names when being used in the body of a research paper or assignment.

She rented out the beach house from May through September

When it comes to references, MLA bibliography format requires months longer than four letters to be abbreviated.

  • July = July
  • November = Nov.

Other abbreviations that are perfectly acceptable to use in a bibliography (not the body of a project) include:

  • p. or pp. for page and page numbers
  • ch. for chapter
  • ed. for edition
  • trans. for translation or translated
  • vol. for volume
  • no. for number
  • rev. for revised

Again, these abbreviations should only be used in the final page(s) of a project, the MLA Works Cited list. They should not be used in the body of a project.

For more information on bibliographies, see our MLA format Works Cited List page.

Abbreviating Publishers

One of the quirkiest things about this particular style is how publisher names are structured on the final page of references. Certain words are abbreviated, some words are omitted, and other words are written in full.

Words describing what type of business the publisher is are omitted from the works cited. Here’s a breakdown of the words that should be excluded:

  • Co. (Company)
  • Corp. (Corporation)
  • Inc. (Incorporated)
  • Ltd. (Limited)
  • The (when at the beginning of the name)

If a publisher’s name contains the words “University” and “Press” (or the equivalent in another language), the words should be abbreviated to the letters “U” and “P” in your citation. But if only one of the words appears, it should be written out normally.

Here are a few examples:

  • University of Delaware
  • U College of London P

All other words related to the names of publishers should be written out in full.

Abbreviating Titles

Certain classical and biblical works are abbreviated in a bibliography, but also in any parenthetical references in the text.

The official handbook provides a lengthy list, spanning over multiple pages, of the preferred abbreviations to use for classical and biblical works ( Handbook 295-301), but here’s a quick snapshot of some of the commonly used ones:

Hebrew Bible or Old Testament = OT

  • Deut. = Deuteronomy
  • Gen. = Genesis
  • Lev. = Leviticus
  • Num. = Numbers
  • Ps. = Psalms

New Testament = NT

  • 1 Cor. = 1 Corinthians
  • Jas. = James
  • Matt. = Matthew

Shakespeare:

  • Ado = Much Ado about Nothing
  • 3H6 = Henry VI, Part 3
  • JC = Julius Caesar
  • Mac. = Macbeth
  • MND = A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Oth. = Othello
  • Rom. = Romeo and Juliet

Again, the titles above are allowed to be abbreviated both in references in parentheses in the body of a project and also on the final page of references. If you’re wondering why, it’s because they’re cited often and it’s unnecessary to type out the entire title names.

Formatting Numbers in MLA

Use of numerals.

If the project calls for frequent use of numbers (such as a scientific study or statistics), use numerals that precede measurements.

  • 247 milligrams

Other items to keep in mind:

In divisions, use numbers, ex: In page 5 of the study

Arabic Numbers

When including a number in a paper, spell out the number if it can be written as one word (such as six ) or two words (such as sixty-two ). For fractions, decimals, or longer numbers, type them out using digits. For larger numbers, write the number itself ( Handbook 82-84).

  • twenty-seven
  • one hundred

If the number comes before a unit of measurement or label, type the number using digits.

  • 8 tablespoons
  • 3 July 2018
  • 25 King Street

More on Numbers

Starting a sentence with a number is generally frowned upon. Try modifying the sentence so that the number, or number word, is found elsewhere.

Instead of:

225 children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.

Use this sentence:

A total of 225 children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.

If modifying the sentence is not possible or does not work well with the flow of the assignment or paper, type out the written number:

Two hundred twenty five children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.

Do not include any ISBN numbers in your paper.

Outline Format

The Modern Language Association does not have any requirements regarding the structure of an outline. If your teacher asks you to create an MLA outline, we recommend using roman numerals, capital and lowercase letters, and numbers.

Here is an example of a recommended outline structure:

mla thesis format

In addition to outlines, use roman numerals for suffixes.

  • King George IV

Using Images, Tables, & Musical Scores in MLA

Photographs, data sets, tables, graphs, and other images are often added into projects or papers to promote or aid understanding. They provide meaningful visuals for the reader. If the illustration or visual image does not enhance the quality of the paper, do not include it in the project.

Tables and illustrations should be placed as close as possible to the text that they most closely refer to.

For an image to be significant and easily identifiable, place it as close as possible to the text in the project where it is discussed.

It is not acceptable to simply place an image in a project without including identifiable information. All images must include information about its origin.

Here are the directions to properly attribute an image:

  • Assign an Arabic number. The image closest to the beginning of the project should be labeled as Fig. 1. The next image in the project should be Fig. 2. and so on.
  • Provide a caption. The caption should be a brief explanation or the title of the contents of the image. Place the caption directly next to the label.
  • Immediately following the caption, it is acceptable to include attribution information. If the image is not discussed further in the rest of the paper or project, it is acceptable to include the MLA bibliography format citation below the image and omit it from the bibliography or MLA format works cited page.

In the text of the project or paper where the figure is discussed, include the label in parentheses to ensure the reader knows where to find the figure in your paper.

In the text:

Sarah’s tattoo design was filled with two of her favorite flowers: lilies and daffodils along a thinly curved vine (fig. 1).

Image formatting:

(Image Would Be Here) Fig. 1. Sarah’s Tattoo. barneyWILLIAMSable, Deviant Art , 2011, barneywilliamsable.deviantart.com/art/Sarah-s-Tattoo-design-193048938.

APA image caption

Fig. 1. White Studio. “Houdini and Jennie, the Elephant, Performing at the Hippodrome, New York.” Library of Congress , www.loc.gov/item/96518833/.

When adding a table or data set into a project, it is formatted a little differently. Above the data set, include the label “Table” with an Arabic numeral, and title it. The table number and title should be located flush left and on separate lines. The first table seen in the project is labeled as Table 1. The second table in the project is Table 2, and so on. The table’s title should be written in title case form (the first letter of each word is capitalized, except for small, insignificant words).

Underneath the table, provide the source and any notes. Notes should be labeled with a letter, rather than a numeral, so the reader is able to differentiate between the notes of the text and the notes of the table.

International Scholars from India Enrolled at Yale University a

Source: “International Scholars Academic Year 2015-2016.” Yale University , Office of International Students and Scholars, yale.app.box.com/v/scholar-2015-2016. a. The numbers reflect students who are enrolled full-time.

The information included above and below any images or table should be double spaced, similar to the rest of the project or paper.

mla thesis format

Musical Scores

Musical scores need to be labeled as well. When including a musical score in a project, label musical scores with “Ex.” which is short for example. This label should be placed below the musical score. Next to the abbreviation “Ex.”, assign the score an Arabic numeral. The first musical score in the project should be labeled as Ex. 1. The second musical score found in an assignment should be labeled as Ex. 2., and so on.

If possible, provide a caption after to the label. If the caption below the sheet music includes enough information about the source, it is not necessary to include the full reference at the end of the assignment.

Here is an example of a possible label and caption:

Ex. 4. Scott Joplin, The Entertainer, piano, C major.

Another example:

Music sheet APA formatting caption

Here’s more on tables and illustrations.

Using Lists in MLA

It’s appropriate to add lists into an MLA format essay as long as the proper rules are followed.

Lists created using MLA essay format look different than a grocery list or any other type of vertical listing of items. Items in a list are included in your prose, rather than the traditional vertical style.

Often, you will use a colon between the introductory sentence and the list. But you should not include a colon if the first item in the list is part of the sentence.

List Example #1

Here is an example of how a list may look incorporated into the prose of a research project or assignment:

William Shakespeare wrote numerous plays, many of which were considered tragedies: Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet , Macbeth , Othello , Julius Caesar , and King Lear .

List Example #2 Here is an example of how a list may look in a research project or assignment when the list is part of the introductory sentence:

Many of William Shakespeare’s were tragedies. Some of his most popular tragedies include Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet , Macbeth , Othello , Julius Caesar , and King Lear.

MLA Works Cited Format

EasyBib.com has a full, comprehensive guide to creating a proper works cited MLA format , but here are a few items to keep in mind when developing this portion of a project:

  • The list of citations should be the very last page of a research project or essay.
  • The top of the page should include the running head and the page number.
  • All entries should be placed in alphabetical order by the first item in the MLA format citation.
  • The entire page should be double spaced.

For more detailed information, make sure to check out the EasyBib guide to MLA format Works Cited pages.

MLA Citation Format

The majority of this guide focuses on MLA formatting in regards to MLA paper format rules and guidelines. If you’re seeking information related to the proper formatting of an MLA citation, refer to our individual pages and posts on various types of citations.

If you’re simply looking for the general structure for full references, which are found on the final pages of projects, here’s the proper order:

Author’s Last name, Author’s First name. “Title of Source.”* Title of Container , Names of other contributors along with their specific roles, version of the source (if it differs from the original or is unique), any key numbers associated with the source that aren’t dates (such as journal issue numbers or volume numbers), Name of the Publisher, publication date, location (such as the URL or page numbers).

*Note: A title may be in italics instead of quotation marks, depending of the type of source. The general rule is that works that are self-contained (like books, journals, or television shows) are formatted in italics. Works that are part of a larger work (like articles, chapters, or specific episodes) are formatting in quotation marks. 

MLA Format Citing FAQs:

“What in the world are containers?”

Containers are what hold the source. If you’re creating a reference for a chapter in a book, the title of the chapter is the title of the source , and the container is the title of the book . The book holds the chapter, so it’s the container. If you’re searching for how to cite a website, here’s a tip: the title of the source is the name of the individual page and the title of the container is the name of the full website.

“This seems like a lot of information for a reference. Is it all necessary?”

The short answer is “No!” When citing, only include the components that help the reader locate the exact same source themselves.

It isn’t necessary to go digging for items such as numbers, version types, or names of other individuals or contributors associated with the source if they aren’t applicable. If you think it’s beneficial for the reader, then include it.

Related to citations, here are helpful pages on:

  • MLA citation website format
  • Citing a book
  • Citing a journal
  • What is a DOI ?
  • More on PDFs

If you’re looking for an MLA citation generator, head to the EasyBib homepage. Our formatter will help you create citations quickly and easily!

Need APA, too? There are also EasyBib tools and an APA citation website reference guide to help you learn the basics.

Edits and Proofreading

Editing and proofreading your assignment prior to submission is an incredibly important step in the research process. Editing involves checking the paper for the following items:

  • Spelling : Are all words spelled correctly? Review all proper names, places, and other unique words to ensure correct spelling. When finished, run the project through a spell checker. Many word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word and Google Drive, provide a free spell checking feature. While spell checks are beneficial, they do not always spot every mistake, so make sure you take the time to read through the assignment carefully. If you’re still not sure if your project contains proper spelling, ask a friend to read through it. They may find a mistake you missed!
  • Grammar : Check your assignment to make sure you’ve included proper word usage. There are numerous grammar checkers available to review your project prior to submission. Again, take the time to review any recommendations from these programs prior to accepting the suggestions and revisions.
  • Punctuation : Check to make sure the end of every sentence has an ending punctuation mark. Also make sure commas, hyphens, colons, and other punctuation marks are placed in the appropriate places.
  • Attribution : Do all quotes and paraphrases include a citation? Did you create an in-text citation for each individual piece of information?

Smart idea: running your paper through a paper checker before you turn it in. EasyBib Plus offers a checker that scans for grammar errors and unintentional plagiarism. 

Check out our MLA sample papers . Also, check out the EasyBib MLA Annotated Bibliography Guide.

Don’t forget to use the EasyBib citation generator to develop your Modern Language Association style references.EasyBib.com also has helpful guides on APA format and more styles . Lastly, stay up-to-date on what’s coming by following our EasyBib Twitter account.

Works Cited

“Formatting a Research Paper.” The MLA Style Center , Modern Language Association of America, style.mla.org/formatting-papers/.

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Published October 31, 2011. Updated July 25, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau . Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. You can find her here on Twitter. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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The works-cited list provides the reader full information so that a reader can locate the source for further use.

Basic formatting

The works-cited list appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes if they are present.

Page margins

All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.

Running head

Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inch from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”

The font should be clear enough to read. For example, Times New Roman font set to 12 points.

Formatting entries

Entries should be double-spaced, including a double-space between the heading and the first entry. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent line(s) 0.5 inch from the left margin.

Formatting the title

The title should be “Works Cited.” Center the title. Do not bold, italicize, or underline the title. If you cite only one source in the list, the title should be “Work Cited.” If you include sources that you only consulted and didn’t cite directly, the title should be changed accordingly to “Works Cited and Consulted.”

Arranging works cited

Works-cited-list entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name (or the editor’s last name for entire edited collections). Double-space all entries. Begin each entry flush with the left margin. If any entry runs over more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) 0.5 inch from the left margin (sometimes called a hanging indent).

Example works cited

Damasio, Antonio. The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness . Vintage, 2000.

Hill, R. T. “Legitimizing Colonial Privilege: Native Americans at a Quincentenary of Discourse.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 16, no. 1, 1996, pp. 92–100.

MacDonald, Shauna M. “Performance as Critical Posthuman Pedagogy.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 34, no. 2, 2014, pp. 164–81.

Zilio, M. “Canada Will Not Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Federal Government Says.” The Globe and Mail . 7 Sept. 2017, www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-will-not-move-embassy-to-jerusalem-federal-government-says/article37219576/ .

An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed in the text. It is styled in two ways: a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.

The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name . The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when directly quoting text from the source being cited. When including a page number, do not include a comma or any other punctuation mark between the author’s surname and the page number.

Parenthetical citations usually add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. Sometimes they include a page number or other locator. An example of a parenthetical citation is given below:

The spiritual geography of the landscape is explained (Cooper).

If you want to cite a chapter number, a scene, or a line number, follow the abbreviation guidelines below:

When including a more specific locator number rather than a page number, place a comma between the author’s surname and the label.

(Cooper, ch. 2).

Here are a few examples of in-text citations for sources with different numbers or types of authors:

Use only the surname of the author in parenthetical citations. If you want to add a page number (or another indicator of the place in a work), add it after the author’s surname without any punctuation between the surname and the page number.

(Abraham 7).

Two authors

Add only the surnames of the authors. Use “and” to separate the two authors.

(Langmuir and Einstein).

Three or more authors

Add only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”

(Low et al.).

Corporate author

Shorten the organization name wherever possible, excluding any initial articles and using the shortest noun phrase (e.g., shorten Literary Society of Tamil Culture to Literary Society).

(Literary Society).

If there is no author for the source, use the source title in place of the author’s surname.

When you add such in-text citations, italicize the text of the title. If the source title is longer than a noun phrase, use a shortened version of the title. For example, the title Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is shortened to Fantastic Beasts .

( Fantastic Beasts 160).

MLA Citation Examples

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Stop wasting hours figuring out the correct citation format. With Scribbr's citation generator , you can search for your source by title, URL, ISBN, or DOI and generate accurate MLA citations in seconds. No experience needed.

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MLA 8th & 9th edition

Scribbr's Citation Generator supports both MLA 8 and MLA 9 (as well as APA and Harvard ). No matter what edition you're using, we’ve got you covered!

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Easily export in BibTeX format and continue working in your favorite LaTeX editor.

Export to Word

Reference list finished? Export to Word with perfect indentation and spacing set up for you.

Sorting, grouping, and filtering

Organize the reference list the way you want: from A to Z, new to old, or grouped by source type.

Save multiple lists

Stay organized by creating a separate reference list for each of your assignments.

Choose between Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, and more options to match your style.

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Annotations

Create perfectly formatted MLA Style annotated bibliographies with just a few clicks.

Explanatory tips help you get the details right to ensure accurate citations.

Citation guides

Getting to grips with citation is simple with the help of our highly rated MLA citation guides and videos .

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How to cite in MLA format

MLA handbook 9th edition

MLA is one of the most common citation styles used by students and academics. This quick guide explains how to cite sources according to the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook . You can also use Scribbr’s free  citation generator to automatically generate references and in-text citations.

An MLA citation has two components:

  • In-text citation : Every time you quote or paraphrase a source, you cite the author and the page number in parentheses.
  • Works Cited : At the end of your paper, you give a full reference for every source you cited, alphabetized by the author’s last name.

MLA Works Cited list

The list of Works Cited (also known as the bibliography or reference page) gives full details of every source you cited in your text. Each entry is built from nine core elements:

Following this format, you can create a citation for any type of source—for example, a book , journal article , website , or movie . You only include information that’s relevant to the type of source you’re citing.

Missing information in MLA citations

Regardless of the source type, the most important elements of any MLA citation are the author , the source title , and the publication date. If any of these are missing from the source, the Works Cited entry will look slightly different.

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MLA in-text citations

MLA in-text citations are brief references that direct your reader to the full source entry. You include them every time you quote , block quote , paraphrase or summarize a source.

The in-text citation must match the first word of the Works Cited entry—usually the author’s last name . It also includes a page number or range to help the reader locate the relevant passage.

If you already named the author in your sentence, include only the page number in parentheses:

Sources with no page numbers

If the source has no page numbers, you either use an alternative locator, or leave the page number out of the citation:

Tools and resources

Besides the MLA Citation Generator, Scribbr provides many more helpful tools and resources;

  • Citation generator : Generate flawless APA , MLA , and Harvard citations in seconds
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  • Paraphrasing tool: Avoid accidental plagiarism and make your text sound better.
  • Grammar checker : Eliminate pesky spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Summarizer: Read more in less time. Distill lengthy and complex texts down to their key points.
  • AI detector: Find out if your text was written with ChatGPT or any other AI writing tool. ChatGPT 2 & ChatGPT 3 supported.
  • Proofreading services : Hire a professional editor to improve your writing
  • Citation checker : Check your work for citation errors and missing citations.
  • Guides and videos : Explore hundreds of articles, bite-sized videos, time-saving templates, and handy checklists that guide you through the process of research, writing, and citation.

Citation guides

All you need to know about citations

How to cite a master's thesis in MLA

MLA master's thesis citation

To cite a master's thesis in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements:

  • Author(s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  • Thesis title: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  • Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.
  • University: Give the name of the institution.
  • Degree: Type of degree.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a master's thesis in MLA style 9th edition:

Author(s) name . Thesis title . Year of publication . University , Degree .

Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:

A psychology master's thesis with one author

Bauger, Lars . Personality, Passion, Self-esteem and Psychological Well-being among Junior Elite Athletes in Norway . 2011 . U of Tromsø , Master's Thesis .

A master's thesis with one author

Aube, Kyle Eric . A Comparison of Water Main Failure Prediction Models in San Luis Obispo, CA . 2019 . Cal Poly , Master's Thesis .

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This citation style guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9 th edition).

More useful guides

  • MLA 8th ed. Style Guide: Dissertations, Theses
  • MLA, 8th Edition: Master's Thesis or Project
  • How do I cite a dissertation in MLA style?

More great BibGuru guides

  • APA: how to cite a BrainPOP video
  • APA: how to cite a preface
  • AMA: how to cite websites

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Free MLA Citation Generator

Generate accurate citations in MLA format automatically, with MyBib!

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

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Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. 

If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus , you can access annotated versions of the essays selected in 2022 and 2023. 

Writing with MLA Style: 2023 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2023 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut (chair); Rachel Ihara, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York; and Tarshia L. Stanley, Wagner College.

Caroline Anderson (Pepperdine University)

“ L’Appel du Vide : Making Spaces for Sinful Exploration in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ”

Hunter Daniels (University of South Carolina, Aiken)

“Biblical Legalism and Cultural Misogyny in The Tragedy of Mariam ”

Aspen English (Southern Utah University)

“Putting the ‘Comm’ in Comics: A Communication-Theory-Informed Reading of Graphic Narratives”

Raul Martin (Lamar University)

“The Book-Object Binary: Access and Sustainability in the Academic Library”

Grace Quasebarth (Salve Regina University)

“Finding a Voice: The Loss of Machismo Criticisms through Translation in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits ”

Writing with MLA Style: 2022 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2022 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2022 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut; Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware (chair); and Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago.

Kaile Chu (New York University, Shanghai)

“Miles Apart: An Investigation into Dedicated Online Communities’ Impact on Cultural Bias”

Sietse Hagen (University of Groningen)

“The Significance of Fiction in the Debate on Dehumanizing Media Portrayals of Refugees”

Klara Ismail (University of Exeter)

“Queering the Duchess: Exploring the Body of the Female Homosexual in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi ”

Yasmin Mendoza (Whittier College)

“Banning without Bans”

Niki Nassiri (Stony Brook University)

“Modern-Day US Institutions and Slavery in the Twenty-First Century”

Samantha Wilber (Palm Beach Atlantic University)

“‘Pero, tu no eres facil’: The Poet X as Multicultural Bildungsroman”

Writing with MLA Style: 2019 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2019 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2019 selection committee was composed of Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware; Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago (chair); and Liana Silva, César E. Chavez High School, Houston, Texas.

Catherine Charlton (University of King’s College, Nova Scotia)

“‘Coal Is in My Blood’: Public and Private Representations of Community Identity in Springhill, Nova Scotia”

Alyiah Gonzales (California Polytechnic State University)

“Disrupting White Normativity in Langston Hughes’s ‘I, Too’ and Toni Morrison’s ‘Recitatif’”

Meg Matthias (Miami University, Ohio)

“Prescriptions of (Living) Historical Happiness: Gendered Performance and Racial Comfort in Reenactment”

Jennifer Nguyen  (Chaminade University of Honolulu)

“The Vietnam War, the American War: Literature, Film, and Popular Memory”

Emily Schlepp (Northwest University)

“A Force of Love: A Deconstructionist Reading of Characters in Dickens’s  Great Expectations ”

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.

Best Practices for Managing Online Sources

Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).

It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources

If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Use the following format:

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing an Entire Web Site

When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.

Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

Course or Department Websites

Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.

Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.

English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.

A Page on a Web Site

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.

Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.”  eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.

“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ”   WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Silva, Paul J.  How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.

Note:  The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.

Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ”   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print

Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.

Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ”   Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.

Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ”  Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ”   Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ”   Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

A YouTube Video

Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

A Comment on a Website or Article

List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.

Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ”  ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

IMAGES

  1. 38 Free MLA Format Templates (+MLA Essay Format) ᐅ TemplateLab

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  2. 38 Free MLA Format Templates (+MLA Essay Format) ᐅ TemplateLab

    mla thesis format

  3. MLA

    mla thesis format

  4. 011 Essay Example Mla Format Original ~ Thatsnotus

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  5. MLA Format for Papers and Essays

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  6. mla annotated bibliography examples and writing guide

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VIDEO

  1. MLA Thesis Stream

  2. Rogerian Argument Working Thesis and Preliminary Works Cited

  3. How to Format Your Paper Into MLA or APA on Your Smartphone

  4. Thesis/ Dissertation Formatting and Guidelines Workshop

  5. Microsoft Office Word MAC: How to format a MLA research paper

  6. Format of a Research Paper/Thesis

COMMENTS

  1. MLA Format

    This quick guide will help you set up your MLA format paper in no time. Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document: Times New Roman 12. 1″ page margins. Double line spacing. ½" indent for new paragraphs. Title case capitalization for headings. Download Word template Open Google Docs template.

  2. How do I format a thesis or dissertation in MLA style?

    The MLA Handbook does not provide guidelines for formatting a thesis or dissertation—or for preparing the parts of such a project, like a preface, dedication, or acknowledgments page—because most schools maintain their own formatting requirements. Although the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, out of print since 2016, summarized some of these requirements, it …

  3. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  4. PDF Formatting a Research Paper

    Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper (e.g., Works Cited). Begin your text on a new, double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin. Fig. 1. The top of the first page of a research paper.

  5. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement. 1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.; An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.; An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies ...

  6. How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MLA

    The formatting for thesis and dissertation citations is largely the same. However, you should be sure to include the type of degree after the publication year as supplemental information. For instance, state if the source you are citing is an undergraduate thesis or a PhD dissertation. MLA Thesis and Dissertation Citation Structure (print) ...

  7. MLA 8th ed. Style Guide: Dissertations, Theses

    This MLA Style Guide has basic examples for citations. For more complex examples, please see the MLA Handbook, 8th edition. ... Title of dissertation/thesis (italicized) 3. Date of Publication ... Sample Citation - Dissertations. Dissertations. The institution granting the degree and description of the work are optional. If you accessed the ...

  8. How to Cite a Thesis in MLA

    A thesis in MLA has a simple citation format for in-text citations. The following information appears in parentheses after the text that cites the source, in what is known as a parenthetical citation: Another form of in-text citation is the narrative citation, which incorporates the author's name into the sentence.

  9. Using MLA Format

    Get started with MLA style. Learn how to document sources, set up your paper, and improve your teaching and writing. Document Sources Works Cited Quick Guide Learn how to use the MLA format template. Digital Citation Tool Build citations with our interactive template. In-Text Citations Get help with in-text citations. Endnotes and Footnotes Read our …

  10. General Format

    Books. MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page 146 in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition).If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble ...

  11. MLA Format Papers: Step-by-step Tips for Formatting Research Essays in

    Jerz > Writing > Academic [ Argument | Title | Thesis | Blueprint | Pro/Con | Quoting | MLA Format ] (View a Google Doc template for an MLA Style paper.) 0.1) If you've been asked to submit a paper in MLA style, your instructor is asking you to format the page and present the content in a specific way.…

  12. MLA Thesis Guidelines

    MLA Thesis Manual Appendix III - Sample Permissions Statement MLA Thesis Manual Appendix IV - PDF Creation Examples. MLA students entering their final year who wish to submit a binding declaration to the one-year thesis track must do so by Thursday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET. Please contact Program Coordinator Briana King for more information ...

  13. MLA 9th Edition Style Guide: Dissertation/Thesis

    This guide will assist you in formatting in-text citations and a Works Cited list in the current MLA style. Skip to Main Content. Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez, Call Box 9000 Mayagüez, PR 00681 (787) 832-4040 ext. 3810, 2151, 2155 [email protected] ... Thesis. Njus, Jesse. Performing the Passion: A Study on the Nature of Medieval Acting ...

  14. MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

    Formatting the Header in MLA. To create a header for your first page, follow these steps: Begin one inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin. Type your name, your instructor's name, the course name and number, and the date on separate lines, using double spaces between each.

  15. MLA Sample Paper

    This resource contains a sample MLA paper that adheres to the 2016 updates. To download the MLA sample paper, click this link.

  16. Free MLA Citation Generator

    How to cite in MLA format. MLA is one of the most common citation styles used by students and academics. This quick guide explains how to cite sources according to the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook.You can also use Scribbr's free citation generator to automatically generate references and in-text citations.. An MLA citation has two components:

  17. How do I cite a dissertation in MLA style?

    In a change from the previous edition of the MLA Handbook , we do not distinguish between published and unpublished dissertations. To cite a dissertation, include in the entry the author, title, and date of publication as core elements. As an optional element, list the institution granting the degree and a description of the work.

  18. How to cite a master's thesis in MLA

    To cite a master's thesis in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements: Author (s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by 'and' and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson).

  19. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    In-text citations: Author-page style. MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number (s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the ...

  20. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA ...

  21. Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

    Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus, you can access annotated versions of the essays selected …

  22. MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.