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How to Cite a Thesis in MLA Style in a Bibliography

by Rocco Pendola, Demand Media

    MLA style is a set of rules and guidelines that scholars and other researchers use when formatting bibliographies and in-text citations in research papers. The Modern Language Association (MLA) claims that more than 1,100 academic and literary journals use MLA style. The style has been widely adopted throughout the humanities. According to the seventh edition of the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers," you cite a thesis in an MLA-style bibliography similarly whether it was accessed online or in hard copy.

    Step 1

    Begin by listing the author's full name without using initials, if possible, as follows: Jones, Marcus Alexander.

    Step 2

    Follow the name with the title of the thesis in italics.

    Step 3

    Use one of the following to denote the type of thesis you are citing: "MA thesis" for a master of the arts thesis, "MS thesis" for a master of the sciences thesis, and "Diss." for a doctoral dissertation.

    Step 4

    List the school followed by the city where the school is located, the year the thesis was accepted and the word "print" for theses you retrieved in hard copy. The complete reference looks as follows: Jones, Marcus Alexander. The impact of public transit on travel behavior in the Atlanta metro region (in italics). MA thesis. Georgia State University, Atlanta, 2002. Print. For an electronically accessed thesis, note the slight difference in the citation below--you note the database where you found the thesis. Jones, Marcus Alexander. The impact of public transit on travel behavior in the Atlanta metro region (in italics). MA thesis. Georgia State University, Atlanta, 2002. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Web. 21 June 2005.

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    Tips

    • According to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab and the University of Arkansas Libraries, URLs are no longer required by MLA when citing electronic sources.
    • Use an online service, such as EasyBib, or a software program, such as EndNote, to create and organize your bibliographies in MLA or another style.

    References

    About the Author

    As a writer since 2002, Rocco Pendola has published numerous academic and popular articles in addition to working as a freelance grant writer and researcher. His work has appeared on SFGate and Planetizen and in the journals "Environment & Behavior" and "Health and Place." Pendola has a Bachelor of Arts in urban studies from San Francisco State University.

    Photo Credits

    • Jetta Productions/Lifesize/Getty Images

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