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How to cite a master's thesis in APA

APA masters thesis citation

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To cite a master's thesis in a reference entry in APA style 6th edition include the following elements:

  • Author(s) of the thesis: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J. D.) of up to seven authors with the last name preceded by an ampersand (&). For eight or more authors include the first six names followed by an ellipsis (…) and add the last author's name.
  • Year of publication: Give the year in brackets followed by a full stop.
  • Title of the master's thesis: Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
  • URL: Give the full URL where the document can be retrieved from.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a master's thesis in APA style 6th edition:

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the master's thesis (Master's thesis). Retrieved from URL

If the thesis is available from a database, archive or any online platform use the following template:

  • Author(s) of the thesis: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J. D.) of up to 20 authors with the last name preceded by an ampersand (&). For 21 or more authors include the first 19 names followed by an ellipsis (…) and add the last author's name.
  • Title of the Master's thesis: Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
  • Publication number: Give the identification number of the thesis, if available.
  • Name of the degree awarding institution: Give the name of the institution.
  • Name of Platform: Give the name of the database, archive or any platform that holds the thesis.
  • URL: If the thesis was found on a database, omit this element.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a master's thesis in APA style 7th edition:

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the Master's thesis ( Publication number ) [Master's thesis, Name of the degree awarding institution ]. Name of Platform . URL

If the thesis has not been published or is available from a database use the following template:

  • Location: Give the location of the institution. If outside the United States also include the country name.

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the master's thesis (Unpublished master's thesis). Name of the degree awarding institution , Location .

If the thesis is not published, use the following template:

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the master's thesis [Unpublished master's thesis]. Name of the degree awarding institution .

APA reference list examples

Take a look at our reference list examples that demonstrate the APA style guidelines for a master's thesis citation in action:

A master's thesis found in an online platform

Bauger, L . ( 2011 ). Personality, passion, self-esteem and psychological well-being among junior elite athletes in Norway ( Master's Thesis ). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/29a9/ef96c34e577211246b83b11813a2585033c5.pdf
Bauger, L . ( 2011 ). Personality, passion, self-esteem and psychological well-being among junior elite athletes in Norway [ Master's Thesis , University of Tromsø ]. Semantic Scholar . https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/29a9/ef96c34e577211246b83b11813a2585033c5.pdf

An unpublished master's thesis

Aube, K. E . ( 2019 ). A comparison of water main failure prediction models in San Luis Obispo, CA ( Unpublished master's thesis ). Cal Poly , San Luis Obispo, CA .
Aube, K. E . ( 2019 ). A comparison of water main failure prediction models in San Luis Obispo, CA [ Unpublished master's thesis ]. Cal Poly .

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This citation style guide is based on the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association ( 6 th edition).

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COMMENTS

  1. How to cite a master's thesis in APA

    Year of publication: Give the year in brackets followed by a full stop. Title of the Master's thesis: Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. Publication number: Give the identification number of the thesis, if available. Name of the degree awarding institution: Give the name of the institution.

  2. APA Citations for a Thesis or Dissertation

    How to Cite a Dissertation or Thesis in APA 7th Edition. The APA dissertation or thesis citation isn’t a one size fits all type of citation. The reason behind this is because APA offers a different format for a published and unpublished thesis or dissertation. However, you’ll need to include information like: Author, A. A. (Year). Title of ...