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The Complete Guide to Structure of a Dissertation
Guide to Thesis Paper Structure: Basic Formatting
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How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MLA

How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MLA

One of the important parts of creating your thesis or dissertation is the citation; this is merely a reference or a quotation from a related academic piece. This academic work usually refers to both theses and dissertations.

A thesis is a document submitted to earn a degree at an academic institution. At the same time, a dissertation is a similar document submitted to earn a more advanced degree, such as a doctorate. Different formats are used to cite these academic works, and the most common are the APA and the MLA thesis citation styles.

This guide teaches you how to cite and reference a regular thesis, master’s thesis, or even a doctorate dissertation in the MLA format.

Citing Thesis, MLA Format: The Basics

The general formatting styles for thesis and dissertations are largely the same, but they differ in little dimensions. However, when citing a dissertation thesis, you need to include the following important aspects:

  • the title of the thesis or dissertation
  • type of degree (Masters or Ph.D.)
  • the year published
  • and the name of the university

The formatting style for representing these components is the MLA thesis format. Let’s understand some basic MLA citation rules with a little more detail.

How to Cite a Thesis in MLA

MLA thesis citation entails referencing the works of others in your text using parenthetical citations. This format entails using the source information with parentheses when a sentence uses a paraphrase or quotation.

To achieve this, you can put all of the source information in parentheses just before the period, which is at the end of the sentence. However, some examples show that there are situations where it is better to put the parenthesis elsewhere in the sentence or leave the information out.

General Citation Guidelines in MLA Format for Thesis

One of the first things to remember about citing a thesis in MLA format is to know what the source information to be cited depends on. This can be;

  • the source medium (e.g., web, TV, print)
  • the source’s record on the Works Cited page.

However, any signal word or phrase you write in the text must appear first on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page. For example, here’s how to cite a thesis MLA for print sources with a known author.

“Last, then the first name of the Author. Title of the Thesis/Dissertation. Year Published. Name of University, Type of degree. Website Name, URL.”

Example: Theodore Steven. The Impact of Racism on Naturalised African Americans Published 2018 in the University of Wisconsin for a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication. ( then a web URL).”

For MLA citations using the author-page style, the Author’s last name and the page numbers where there are quotations or paraphrases must appear in the text. A complete reference should also be indicated on the works cited page. The Author’s name can be allowed to appear in parenthesis or the sentence itself. However, page numbers must appear in parentheses.

Here are two similar examples:

  • Anthony stated that African culture was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of strong feelings” (193).
  • African culture is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of strong feelings” (Anthony 193).

Both citations above, (193) and (Anthony 193), tell readers that the information in the statement can be found on page 193 of a work by an author named Anthony. If readers require more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Anthony, they can find the information.

With a source by a corporate author, you can use the corporation’s name followed by the page number for the in-text citation. Abbreviations can also be used where appropriate to avoid disrupting the flow of reading with unnecessary long sentences.

MLA format for thesis or dissertations essentially requires subtle rules in writing and the arrangement of some written elements. In learning how to cite a thesis paper MLA style, you need to practice general writing in that format using different examples. However, the format used for citation is mostly decided by your institution or your professor.

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