PhD and Master's theses

You may need to consult more than one section to accurately represent the source used (eg. number of authors and source descriptions)

Format for in text citation

In text citation example

Willis (1997) has shown…


…was found (Willis, 1997).


Willis (1997, p.26) proposes…

Format for reference list

Elements, punctuation & capitalisation

For an unpublished thesis (thesis in print form):

Author, A. A. (Year). Title [Unpublished doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis]. Institution issuing degree.

For a thesis available through a database service, such as ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database, include the name of the database and the accession or order number in the reference:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title (Accession or Order No.)[Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis, Institution issuing degree]. Name of Database.

For a thesis from an institutional database:

A Author, A. A. (Year). Title [Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis, Institution issuing degree]. URL (persistent identifier)

For a thesis available on the web:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title [Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis, Institution issuing degree]. URL

When citing the abstract for a thesis, as from Dissertation Abstracts International:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section. Title of section, Volume(Issue), Number of abstract.

Reference list example

Kilpatrick, H. (2019). Writing with feeling: Practising angers in late-medieval English chronicles. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Melbourne].


Willis, J. (1997). Women in architecture in Victoria 1905-1955. Their education and professional life. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Melbourne].

Make sure to look at the style notes

Style notes for this reference type

  • APA 7 Publication Manual, pp.333-334.
  • Italicise the title of the thesis, unless citing only the abstract.
  • Capitalisation: Capitalise only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper nouns.
  • If pages are being directly referenced in the text, include the cited page number/s in the in text citation after the year.
  • Print format: Unpublished theses retrieved from the issuing university have the name of the issuing university in the Source part of the reference.
  • A dissertation or thesis is considered published when it is available from a database, institutional repository, or archive. Place in square brackets after the title both the type of thesis and the institution awarding the thesis.

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