How To Cite A Dissertation APA Style Reference Correctly

Learning how to cite a dissertation APA style is essential when writing a dissertation. It helps to keep away from plagiarism and allows students to maintain proper formatting. Learn APA rules with our guide and follow examples to achieve academic success and avoid minor formatting issues. When you must provide information synthesis, citing your references correctly proves the credibility of your research. 

How to Cite a Dissertation or Thesis in APA 7th Edition 

Apa 7th edition reference for unpublished documents follows these rules: 


Author, N. D. (Date). Thesis Title: Subtitle [Thesis type, Institution name, awarding degree]. Archive Name or site. URL

Stored in a database:

Author, B. W. (Date). Title: Subtitle [Document Type, Institution Name, awarding degree]. Database Name.

APA dissertation reference in print:

Author, V. C. (Date). Title: Subtitle [Thesis Type]. Institution Name, awarding the degree. 


Author, T. N. (Date). Title: Subtitle [Unpublished type]. Institution Name, awarding the degree. 


Hart, L. (1991). Virtual Reality dangers: How video games affect our imagination [Unpublished Master's Thesis]. Sydney State University. 

Published works: 

Author, A. A. (year). Title (Publication No. #) [Doctoral or master’s thesis, Institution Name, awarding the Degree]. Database Name. URL (if available). 

Cherry, A. (2009). Drama in Mark Twain's narrative style. (Publication No. 1272311) [Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University]. ASU Digital Repository.

Difference Between Published and Unpublished Dissertations

When a Ph.D. paper is available from some scientific database like ProQuest or Theses Global, an open archive, or any other database, such doctoral work is considered published. See APA citation dissertation examples below to see how additional data has been added: 


Author’s Last, F. M. (Year published). Title in sentence case [Unpublished Degree type thesis or dissertation]. Institution Name. 

James, K. R., S Gerahty, B.A. (1994). The link between vaccination and cerebral palsy cases in South American hospitals. [Unpublished bachelor's thesis]. San Diego State University. 

In-text citing: 

Parenthetical: (James & Gerahty, 1994)

Narrative: James & Gerahty, 1994 


Author’s Last, F. M. (Year published). Title in sentence case (Publication or Document No.) [Degree type, Institution Name]. Database name.

Citing a thesis APA: 

Hinnershitz, S. (2019). Our Frontier Is the World: The Boy Scouts in the Age of American Ascendancy (Accession No. 2344184560) [Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, New York]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Cite in-text: 

Parenthetical citation: (Hinnershitz, 2019)

Narrative citation: Hinnershitz (2019)

How to Cite a Published Dissertation in APA 

Follow this template when citing dissertation APA: 

Author’s Surname, A. B. (Year published). Title in sentence case (Publication or Document No.) [Degree type, Institution Name]. Database name.

Baowen, L. (2010). Acoustics: Now you hear me, now you don't (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Westminster.

Wilders, K. (1956). Autism: the vaccination dangers have no scientific justification (Doctoral Thesis). University of Amsterdam.

In-text citation: 

(Baowen, 2010) 

(Wilders, 1956)

How to Cite a Dissertation in APA Published Online – Not on a Database

Author’s Surname, A. B. (Year Published). Title in sentence case [Degree type, Institution Name]. Archive Name or collection. URL

Wong, K. (2001). The role of social movements in the United States [Doctoral dissertation, University of Utah]. Institutional Repository at the University of Utah.

Learn how to cite a Master’s thesis APA: 

Hamida Dahir Sheikh, A. (2021). Memory and Identity: Inter-Generational Resilience and Construction of Diasporic Identities Among Somali Refugees [Master's Thesis, University of San Francisco]. Institutional Repository of San Francisco University.

Munteanu, A. (2020). Facebook – An Instrument for Right-Wing Populist Propaganda? An analysis of Central/Eastern European countries [Master's Thesis, University of Amsterdam]. Institutional Thesis Repository, University of Amsterdam.

How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation APA – Unpublished 

Author’s Surname, C. D. (Year published). Title in sentence case [Unpublished Degree type]. Institution. 

Cite dissertation APA style for unpublished works: 

Jones, K. (2004). Psychoacoustics in Virtual Reality Environment [Unpublished Master's thesis]. Oxford University. 

Cite in-text:  

(Jones, 2004). 

Warner, K., Downes, H (1996). Aerodynamics of Boeing-737 auto-regulatory systems [Unpublished bachelor's thesis], Cornell University. 

How to Cite a Dissertation in APA: Required Information  

Before you learn how to cite a dissertation in APA format, find out what paper type you are dealing with: published or unpublished. In either case, this information must be present: 

  • Author’s last name, first and middle initials.

  • Year published.

  • Title of Ph.D. paper (in italics). 

  • Specify if it is unpublished

  • Publication or document number (for published works).

  • Degree type (bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral)

  • Thesis/ dissertation.

  • Name of the institution awarding the degree.

  • DOI (, URL.

Where One May Find APA Citation Information

You may look at your university's depository or approach various scientific databases like ProQuest. You can also enter various keywords in Google and add “dissertation” to access certain documents. Concerning databases, contact your academic advisor and discuss your options. Alternatively, explore the best essay writer services to receive help with your APA citations and examples. 

Read also: What is the best plagiarism checker for a dissertation?

Primary and Secondary Sources in a Thesis and Dissertation

Dealing with primary sources, you gain direct access to the essence (topic) of your research. The secondary sources play a different role because one accesses second-hand information and analysis provided by your fellow researchers. It may include journal articles, online reviews, journals, and books. An APA secondary source aims to create a complex synthesis of available primary sources.

Vary Your APA Citations

Your APA citations must be varied and contain supportive information for your ideas. It is not right to simply include something for the sake of it. Consider checking dissertation writing services review to learn about how professional writers can help. Always provide due acknowledgments and support your methods with reliable references. Check your grading rubric, talk to your university professor, and let your APA citations help your paper succeed.

Get Your APA Citations in Control 

If citing sources for your Ph.D. paper in APA style sounds like rocket science and you are lost in the myriad of changes that have been made to your writing, consider dissertation editing services. Approaching professionals for your writing needs also helps to meet every point of your scoring rubric and achieve the highest academic standards. Regardless if you need APA citation thesis 7th edition or the previous 6th edition, experts are ready to assist you. 


Can you cite dissertations?

Yes, we can provide you with an APA citing help or offer assistance when you require help. If some other guidance is required, do not hesitate to contact our support immediately. 

How do you cite an undergrad thesis in APA?

According to APA style 7th edition, it goes this way: 

Author(s). (Year Published). Title of the undergraduate work (Publication number) [Bachelor's thesis, Name of the degree-awarding institution]. Name of Database. URL

How do you cite a dissertation in APA 6th edition?

Author, R. V. (date). Title (Doctoral or Master's thesis). Available from Name of database. (Accession or Order No.)

Posted by Diana B., August 03, 2021