How to Cite a Dissertation in Different Referencing Styles

how to cite a dissertation

Writing a dissertation is hard, and doing all the research while keeping track of all the sources is even harder. This is why students either leave the reference compilation work for the last or look for online writing help.

A dissertation is a major part of the Ph.D. degree and will prove your eligibility for the degree. The dissertation defense comes after you submit your work, and proper citation is an important part.

In this blog, we have discussed the ways of citing a dissertation in different referencing styles.

Why is it Important to Add Correct Citations?

When you begin with your dissertation, there is a lot of data and information that you would collect from several sources. These sources refer to the works of other writers and researchers.

Adding references and citations is a way of crediting those writers and adding credibility to your work.

By doing so, you provide evidence that you have done your research and have not copied anything. It also tells the reviewers that you know about the important data available in your field of study and dissertation topic.

Here are some reasons that make reference and citation important and necessary.

  • It allows you to credit the original writers and researchers of your field. It is important because if you add ideas without citation, it will be considered plagiarism.
  • It also shows that you respect other writers’ works and are not trying to steal their credit. As a student, it is important to regard other writers, and you can do it by adding proper references.
  • It allows the readers to trace the original source of the data and read it for further information. They could collect more information, and this will also encourage them to read your dissertation.

When you read the work of reputed writers and researchers, you will see that they have also added references.

(back to top)

How to Cite a Dissertation in Different Styles?

How do you cite a dissertation?

Every referencing style follows a different format, and when citing a work, it is important to follow that format. Usually, students use APA and MLA formats, but technical and even other fields could follow specific referencing styles.

A dissertation is different from a thesis. A detailed dissertation vs. thesis guide will help you understand the differences between them.

We have explained the ways to cite a dissertation in some commonly used citation styles below.

How to Cite a Dissertation in APA Style - 7th Edition

The American Psychological Association, APA, style is the most commonly used referencing style. It is quite straightforward, and a majority of the fields follow this style.

Here is how you cite a dissertation in APA style;

For the dissertation from a website
Author - last name, initial(s). (Year). Title of thesis – italicized [Doctoral dissertation or Master's thesis, Institution]. Archive name. http://www.xxxxxx
Axford, J.C. (2007). What constitutes success in Pacific Island community conserved areas? [Doctoral dissertation, University of Queensland]. UQ eSpace. http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:158747
For a dissertation from a database
Author - last name, initials. (Year). Title of thesis – italicized (Publication No. - if available) [Doctoral dissertation or master's thesis, Institution]. Database Name.
Leigh, J. (2010). Self-determined mindfulness and attachment style in college students (Publication No. 305210119) [Doctoral dissertation, Indiana State University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
For an unpublished dissertation
Author last name, Initials. (Year). Dissertation title [Unpublished type of dissertation]. University Name.
John, D.S. (2010). Effects of global warming [Unpublished master’s thesis]. The University of California.
For Citing a Published Online Thesis or Dissertation but Not From Database
Author’s last name, F. M. (Year Published). Title in sentence case [Degree type thesis or dissertation, Name of institution]. Name of archive or collection. URL
Brown, T. W. (1998). Doing science: Teachers’ authentic experiences at the Lone Star Dinosaur Field Institute [Master’s thesis, Texas A&M University]. OAKTrust. https://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-2001-THESIS-S745

Here is the APA citation overview for a dissertation.

APA Dissertation Citation Sample

APA Dissertation Citation Sample

How to Cite a Dissertation in MLA Style

How do you cite a dissertation in MLA 7th edition?

Modern Language Association, MLA, is another commonly used referencing style. It is commonly used in the fields and subjects of the humanities.

Here is how you can cite a dissertation in MLA, 8th edition, style;

For published dissertation and thesis
Author Last Name, First Name or Initial. Year of Pub. Title of Thesis. Date of Publication. Publisher, Description of Work. Container (Name of Repository), Location (URL or DOI).
Stevandic, Srdjan. Modelling, Control and Simulation of a Grid-Connected Fuel Cell Power Plant. M.E.Sc. thesis. Faculty of Graduate Studies, The University of Western Ontario, 2004.
For unpublished dissertation and thesis
Author Last Name, First Name or Initial. Year of Pub. “Title of Thesis.” Date of Publication. Publisher, Description of Work. Container (Name of Repository), Location (URL or DOI).
Stevandic, Srdjan. “Modelling, Control and Simulation of a Grid-Connected Fuel Cell Power Plant.” M.E.Sc. thesis. Faculty of Graduate Studies, The University of Western Ontario, 2004.

How to Cite a Dissertation in MLA in-Text

When referring to the work of others in your paper, you must include citations. This will help readers find out more about what they are reading. And keep track of all sources used within the paper.

The MLA in-text citation format provides the author’s last name and page number in parenthesis.

In-text Citation Structure:

(Author Last Name page #)

In-text Citation Examples:

Number of Authors Example
1 author (James 16)
2 authors (Brown and Tim 52-78)
3+ authors (Jerry et al. 20,70)

Have a look at the MLA citation overview.

MLA Dissertation Citation Sample

MLA Dissertation Citation Sample

How to Cite a Dissertation in Chicago Style

The Chicago style is commonly used in the fields of Fine Arts, History, Business, and Anthropology. It is the go-to resource for anyone looking to format their work or publication in an appropriate academic fashion.

If you want to write a good paper, you should follow the instructions on how to structure it. You should also use citations so readers know where your information came from.

The below table will help you to cite a dissertation in Chicago referencing style.

For print dissertation
Last, First M. "Thesis/Dissertation Title." PhD diss., [OR] Master's thesis, Academic institution, Year.
Choi, Mihwa. "Contesting Imaginaires in Death Rituals during the Northern Song Dynasty." PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2008.
For a dissertation from a commercial database
Last, First M. "Thesis/Dissertation Title." PhD diss., [OR] Master's thesis, Academic institution, Year. Database name (accession number).
Choi, Mihwa. "Contesting Imaginaires in Death Rituals during the Northern Song Dynasty." PhD diss.,, University of Chicago, 2008. ProQuest (AAT 3300426).
For a dissertation from the web/online dissertation
Last, First M. "Thesis/Dissertation Title." PhD diss., [OR] Master's thesis, Academic institution, Year. http://www.url.com
Choi, Mihwa. "Contesting Imaginaires in Death Rituals during the Northern Song Dynasty." PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2008. ProQuest (AAT 3300426).

How to Cite a Dissertation in Harvard Style

The Harvard referencing style is used by university students to cite their sources. It is a lot like the APA style as it also uses the ‘author date’ style format for its references.

Below are some examples of how you can cite a dissertation in the Chicago style.

For unpublished dissertation
Last name, First initial. (Year published). Dissertation title. Academic Level of the Author. Name of University, College, or Institution.
Shaver, W. (2013). ‘Effects of Remediation on High-Stakes Standardized Testing.’ PhD. Yeshiva University.
For published dissertation
Last name, First initial. (Year published). Dissertation title. Academic Level of the Author. Name of University, College, or Institution.
Shaver, W. (2013). Effects of Remediation on High-Stakes Standardized Testing. PhD. Yeshiva University.
For an online dissertation
Last name, First initial (Year published). Dissertation title. Academic Level of the Author, Name of University, Place, Date of Retrieving, <URL>
Kashuk, S 2017, Investigation of MRI brain changes in developmental coordination disorder and Friedreich’s ataxia, PhD thesis, Victoria University, Melbourne, viewed 22 May 2018, .

How to Cite a Dissertation in MHRA Style

The MHRA ( Modern Humanities Research Association) style is used by the students, editors, and scholars of the Modern Humanities. Initially, it was used by the association’s publication manual only, but later, other universities also started following it.

Below are the examples of citing dissertation in the MHRA style;

For the print dissertation
Authors First and Last Name, 'Title of Thesis,’ (thesis type, Name of Institution, Date), page number/s.
Howie, Luke, 'Terrorsex: witnesses and the reanimation of 9/11 as image event, commodity, and pornography, (doctoral thesis, Monash University, 2008)
For the dissertation from a database
Author's First and Last Name, 'Title of Thesis' (thesis type, Name of Institution, Date), in Name of Database <URL> [Accessed date] page number/s.
Seidler, Phillip, ''Military people won't ask for help': Experiences of deployment of Australian Defense Force personnel, their families, and implications for social work,’ (doctoral thesis, Monash University, 2009) in Proquest Dissertation and Thesis [accessed 12 December 2013]

How to Cite a Dissertation in Turabian Style

Turabian is a style of writing specifically designed for students and researchers. If you have been told to follow Chicago guidelines for your thesis, or dissertation- Turabian is the style that will be most helpful to you.

The differences between Turabian and Chicago styles are minor. You should follow the guidelines in your papers that are more specific to your academic level.

The following table shows how to cite a dissertation in Turabian style.

For Citing a Dissertation or Thesis From Database
First name Last name, “Title” (master’s thesis or PhD diss., University name, Year published), page number, Database (Identification Number).
Jim Robin, “Media Epidemics: Viral Structures in Literature and New Media” (PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011), 17, MLA International Bibliography (2048420376).
For Citing a Dissertation or Thesis From Website
First name Last name, “Title” (master’s thesis or PhD diss., University name, Year published), page number, URL.
Tim Robin Wilson, “Pedagogical Practices in the Teaching of English Language in Secondary Public Schools in Parker County” (PhD diss., University of Maryland, College Park, 2002), 25, https://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/11801/1/Wilson_umd_0117E_12354.pdf.
Citing an Unpublished Thesis or Dissertation
First name Last name, “Title” (unpublished manuscript, Month Day, Year last modified), format.
James Dublin, “A Study of Generic Topic” (unpublished manuscript, May 14, 1998), Microsoft Word file.

Adding proper references is important. It helps you avoid plagiarism, and it helps in adding credibility to your work. If you still need help citing dissertations and other sources properly, then GradSchoolGenius.com is here to help you.

We provide expert dissertation writing services to PhD students and help them acquire their degrees easily.

Contact us now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cite a dissertation example?

Here is a format for citing a dissertation example.

Author, A. A. (date). TItle of doctoral dissertation or master's thesis (Unpublished doctoral dissertation or master's thesis). Name of Institution, Location.

Can I cite a dissertation in a dissertation?

Yes, you can cite a dissertation in a dissertation. Make sure that it is clear which type of document (thesis) you cite in your work.