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How to Cite Something in MLA Format
MLA formatting refers to the writing style guide produced by the Modern Language Association. If you’re taking a class in the liberal arts, you usually have to follow this format when writing papers. In addition to looking at MLA examples, it helps to know the basics of the style guide.
MLA requires parenthetical citations within the document. This means you must include source information inside parentheses placed after a quotation or paraphrase from a source. Each parenthetical citation must have the page number where you found the information you used. It may also have the author’s or creator’s name. Do not use a comma to separate the name and the date.
The format for in-text citations depends on the format of the source material. For print material like books and journals, you need the author’s name and publication date. If the source has two authors, use and to join them and the term “et al.” if it has more than two authors. You can also reference the authors in the document and include only the page number in parentheses.
Citations for Nonprint Material
If you use nonprint materials as sources, you have to cite them. However, you don’t have to include page numbers with the in-text citations. You do have to include information like the name of the work, the creator’s name and the year of publication on the Works Cited page.
When you complete the Work Cited page, each source requires additional information. For images, you need to include contributors, the reproduction number and URL where you located the image online. Movies must list the director’s name and distributor. A TV series needs the episode title and number, series title, season number and network. Pieces of music should include the title of the track and album and the record label.
Works Cited List
When you use MLA format, you must have a Works Cited page that lists all of the sources you used for the paper. This page goes at the end of the document on a separate page. You list all of the sources in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. Make sure the page is double-spaced and that you follow the specific guidelines for formatting each entry.
If you don’t have access to printed MLA style guides or don’t understand how to format your sources, you can turn to a citation generator. There are several citation generators available online for free or as part of a subscription service. You can also find them in word processing programs.
To use a citation generator, you enter information about each source. The program automatically formats the sources for the works cited page. You can also select the places in the document to add in-text citations.
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How do I cite a dissertation in MLA style?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .
A dissertation is a unique type of source. It is a finished, stand-alone work written under the auspices of an institution. 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.
Njus, Jesse. Performing the Passion: A Study on the Nature of Medieval Acting . 2010. Northwestern U, PhD dissertation.
If you accessed the dissertation through an online repository, include this fact as the title of the second container:
Njus, Jesse. Performing the Passion: A Study on the Nature of Medieval Acting . 2010. Northwestern U, PhD dissertation. ProQuest , search.proquest.com/docview/305212264?accountid=7432.
MLA 8th ed. Style Guide: Dissertations, Theses
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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
The institution granting the degree and description of the work are optional. If you accessed the work online, include that information.
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MLA
How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MLA
Citing a thesis or dissertation.
Thesis – A document submitted to earn a degree at a university.
Dissertation – A document submitted to earn an advanced degree, such as a doctorate, at a university.
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)
Last, First M. Title of the Thesis/Dissertation. Year Published. Name of University, type of degree.
MLA Thesis and Dissertation Citation Structure (online)
Last, First M. Title of the Thesis/Dissertation. Year Published. Name of University, type of degree. Website Name , URL.
Wilson, Peggy Lynn. Pedagogical Practices in the Teaching of English Language in Secondary Public Schools in Parker County . 2011. University of Maryland, PhD dissertation.
In-text Citation Structure
(Author Last Name page #)
In-text Citation Example
MLA Formatting Guide
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- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
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- Sample Paper
- Works Cited
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How to cite a dissertation in MLA
To cite a dissertation 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 dissertation 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 doctoral dissertation with one author
Guo, Jia . Trust-based Service Management of Internet of Things Systems and Its Applications . 2018 . Virginia Tech , Doctoral dissertation .
Neel, Breta L . Three Flute Chamber Works by Alberto Ginastera: Intertwining Elements of Art and Folk Music . 2017 . Nebraska-Lincoln U , Doctoral dissertation .
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?
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Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition) UNDER CONSTRUCTION
- Theses and Dissertations
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Dissertations and theses
Dissertations and theses are written to fulfil an academic degree requirement, usually at the Masters or PhD level. They usually have only 1 author.
For the most part, treat them like books with supplemenal elements.
- Since dissertations and theses are often re-worked into articles and books, it is important to note when your source was written to fulfill an academic degree requirement
- The publisher is the degree-granting instution
- Do not include the program, department, school, division, or similar information
- Usually placed before the container of the online repository which houses the publication
- Automatic citation generators often treat online theses and dissertations as websites or journal articles, so will be missing the key information
Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle. Publication Date. University name, Degree conferred .
Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle. Publication Date. University name, Degree conferred . Online Repository , URL.
(Author's Last Name ##)
Replace ## with page number(s) for quotes or where the idea is discussed.
Smith, Kate Elizabeth. The Influence of Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy on American Fashion, 1952-1965 . 2001. Michigan State University, MA Thesis.
Austin, Katherine. Rasquache Baroque in the Chicana/o Borderlands . 2012. McGill U, PhD thesis. eScholarship , https://escholarship.mcgill.ca/concern/theses/8p58ph61j. Accessed 6 Jan. 2023.
- eScholarship is McGill University's online repository of dissertations and theses
- Followed McGill's lead and used "thesis" instead of "dissertation"
Grullon, Jaymi Leah. Campy Musical Black Queer Forms: Finding Utopia in Lil Nas X's World of "Montero ". St. John's University, MA Thesis. St. John's Scholar , https://scholar.stjohns.edu/theses_dissertations/477
- St. John's Scholar is the university's online repository of dissertations and theses
Hutchinson, Jennifer. Emotional Response to Climate Change Learning: An Existential Inquiry . 2021. Antioch University, Antioch University, Doctoral dissertation. EBSCOhost , search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=ddu&AN=29DBEAFBF585BC45&site=eds-live&scope=site.
- Found record in OwlCat, so used EBSCOhost as the repository
- Could be more specific and replace the EBSCOhost info with: OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center , http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=antioch1602019356792951.
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Dissertation and theses: published, contact kelly.
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Last-name, First-name. “Title of Dissertation.” Diss. Place of Study, Year. Title of Database . Web. Date Month Year of Access.
Forrester, Pearl. “Psychological Distress and Repeated Television Viewing.” Diss. Miskatonic University, 1990. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses . Web. 13 May 2010.
Last-name, First-name. “Title of Dissertation.” Diss. Place of Study, Year. Print.
Forrester, Pearl. “Psychological Distress and Repeated Television Viewing.” Diss. Miskatonic University, 1990. Print.
Author's Last-name, First-name. Title of Disstertaion . Diss. Place of Study, Year. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Format.
Diamond, Oscar. How to Care for Your Diabetic Cat . Diss. West Virginia University, 1999. New York: Knopf, 2000. Print.
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Cite a dissertation in MLA style
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- Archive material
- Chapter of an edited book
- Conference proceedings
- Dictionary entry
- DVD, video, or film
- E-book or PDF
- Edited book
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- Online image or video
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Use the following template or our MLA Citation Generator to cite a dissertation. For help with other source types, like books, PDFs, or websites, check out our other guides. To have your reference list or bibliography automatically made for you, try our free citation generator .
Place this part in your bibliography or reference list at the end of your assignment.
Place this part right after the quote or reference to the source in your assignment.
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MLA 9th Edition Style Guide: Dissertation/Thesis
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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.
PhD dissertation. ProQuest , search.proquest.com/docview/305212264?accountid=7432.
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Citation Help for MLA, 8th Edition: Master's Thesis or Project
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Panasuk, Noel. What Variables Appear to Work in Stress Management Programs in the Workplace and How Effective are These Programs? MS Thesis, The College of St. Scholastica, 2008.
Author: Panasuk, Noel. Last name first, followed by first and middle names. End with a period.
Title & subtitle of the book: What Variables Appear to Work in Stress Managment Programs in the Workplace and How Effective are These Programs? The title and subtitle are separated by a colon. Capitalize all important and proper words. Place in Italics and end with a period or if it has a question mark in the title, that is sufficient. Status of Publishing: MA Thesis, Use the words MA Thesis followed by a comma. If it is a project, then use the words MA project. If it is a doctoral dissertation, use the word Dissertation. Name of Institution Where Degree was Granted: The College of St. Scholastica, The full name of the college or university followed by a comma. Year of Publication: 2008. List the year of publication, which appears on the title page or the title page verso (back side of title page). End citation with a period.
[Th e above information is based on Purdue OWL .]
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