How to Cite a Dissertation

How to Cite a Dissertation

If you are a student at college or university, you’ve probably heard about all those challenging papers and dissertations.

There are many myths about the dissertation and how to do it.

The most common myth is connected with citations.

Adding citations to your paper may seem like a very boring thing to do that takes a lot of time.

However, it’s not quite so.

This informative article will help you understand all the ways how to cite a dissertation properly so you won’t be stuck at this stage anymore. Also, check out our “write my thesis” service.

What is a Dissertation & Why Do You Need to Use Citations?

A dissertation is a final project that you need to complete to get an academic degree. While writing a dissertation, you explore and examine the area of your interest and show the understanding of your subject. The result of your studies and research is the dissertation itself.

A citation is a way to reference other sources that you have used in your text. Some believe that quotes make your work less original, but that is not true.  On the contrary, citations allow the author to make their ideas stand out. They are used to prove the point of view and support it with arguments developed by other people.

There are a few reasons why citing dissertation is essential:

  • you show your readers that your research is done thoroughly
  • you give credit to other researchers, writers, scientists, and authors
  • you avoid plagiarism
  • you prove your credibility
  • you help those who like your ideas find more interesting resources to study the topic deeper if they like it

Ok, cool. Now you know what the dissertation is and why you should use citations. Now, let’s consider the following tips for making citations correctly in various academic styles.

How to Cite a Dissertation in APA Style

APA (American Psychological Association) is most often used in the area of social sciences to cite various types of texts, including dissertations.

Remember to use title case for dissertation titles, which means you should capitalize each name in the title, except for articles, conjunctions, prepositions, and the infinitive ‘to.’ For the document title, use sentence case.

To cite a dissertation in APA style, follow this format:

Author, A. A. (Publication date). Title of dissertation/thesis. (Form of work). Academic Institution, City, State [OR] Country.


Dunne, N. (2017) Evaluation of psychology clinicians’ attitudes towards computerized cognitive behavior therapy, for use in their future clinical practice, with regard to treating those suffering from anxiety and depression. (Ph.D. dissertation). Antioch University, Santa Barbara, California.

How to Cite a Dissertation in MLA Style

MLA stands for Modern Language Association. It developed the MLA style for students and researchers to format their research papers and assignments in such fields as literature and language.

The MLA style doesn’t require to include any type of URL if the dissertation is published on the Internet, you only need to mention that you take it from the website by writing the word ‘Web’ after the name of the institution. Also, add a date when you accessed the dissertation.

Here is how to cite a thesis or dissertation using the MLA style:

Last name, First name M. Title. Type of work. Name of University, Year published.


Madsen, Kelsey B. Raising Their Voices: Memory, Justice, and Genre in Second-Generation French Literature, Ph.D. diss. University of Oklahoma, 2018.

How to Cite a Dissertation in Chicago Style

Chicago style is pretty similar to the APA style, but still, it has some differences that you notice when you write your dissertation. Chicago style is mostly used for academic writing in Humanities.

The most significant contrast consists of a system of bibliography and endnotes/footnotes that Chicago uses. Also, each letter of the title should be capitalized.

To follow Chicago style citation guides, use this structure:

Last, First M. “Title of dissertation/title.” Master’s thesis or Ph.D. diss. University name, The year of publication.


Company, Leyla, “Examining Differentiating Characteristics Individuals Who Cross Over Into The Criminal Justice System In Relation To Their Substance Abuse Treatment.” Thesis, Georgia State University, 2017.

Final Word

As you can see, there are various styles you can use to cite your dissertation. Which one are you going to use? It depends on your field and instructions of your tutor. It doesn’t matter if you are a postgraduate who wants to know how to cite a Ph.D. dissertation, a middle or high school student that has to prepare an essay for an English class, citations are of great importance. You should never ignore them, especially when you’d like to mention somebody’s work in your paper. Check out our “how to write a thesis for a research paper” material.

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