APA Referencing: Theses

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Basic format to reference an unpublished thesis

The basics of a reference list entry for an unpublished thesis:

  • Author. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Year (in round brackets).
  • Title.
  • Level of Thesis (in round brackets).
  • University.
  • City.
  • Country.
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 5-7 spaces.

​Suwetwattanakul, C. (2010). Developing a knowledge sharing model for the implementation of the learning
        organization in Thailand
(Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Please note:

  • A thesis can come in a number of formats, i.e. they can be published, unpublished or retrieved from a database.
  • The principles when referencing a thesis are similar to those employed when referencing a book. 
  • The example above is for an unpublished thesis, examples for an online or a published thesis can be found below.

Referencing a thesis: Examples

Material Type In-Text Example Reference List Example
Thesis: Unpublished

(Suwetwattanakul, 2005)



(Maddigan, 2010)

Suwetwattanakul, C. (2010). Developing a knowledge sharing model for the implementation of the learning organization in Thailand (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Maddigan, P. (2010). Women and career advancement: a case study in the Australian Federal Police (Unpublished master's thesis). Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Don't repeat the city of location if it is part of the University's name.

Thesis: Published (Binder, 2009)

Binder, G. (2009). Corporate governance in Arab countries: Development of corporate governance in Arab and MENA countries. Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna.

Thesis: Institutional Repository  (Barua, 2010)

Barua, S. (2010). Drought assessment and forecasting using a nonlinear aggregated drought index (Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia). Retrieved from http://vuir.vu.edu.au/1598

 Include the university and location for a non-U.S. online thesis.

Thesis: Commercial database (McGahuey, 2009)

McGahuey, C. A. (2009). Psychology as a valid science: An attitudinal survey (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 305152264) 

Thesis: from the Web (Bruckman, 1997)

Bruckman, A. (1997). MOOSE Crossing: Construction, community, and learning in a networked virtual world for kids (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Retrieved from http://www-static.cc.gatech.edu/~asb/thesis

Location of the university is not included for a U.S. thesis.