How to cite a dissertation in MLA

MLA dissertation citation

To cite a dissertation in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements:

  1. Author(s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  2. Thesis title: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  3. Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.
  4. University: Give the name of the institution.
  5. Degree: Type of degree.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a dissertation in MLA style 9th edition:

Author(s) name. Thesis title. Year of publication. University, Degree.

Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:


A doctoral dissertation with one author

Guo, Jia. Trust-based Service Management of Internet of Things Systems and Its Applications. 2018. Virginia Tech, Doctoral dissertation.

A doctoral dissertation with one author

Neel, Breta L. Three Flute Chamber Works by Alberto Ginastera: Intertwining Elements of Art and Folk Music. 2017. Nebraska-Lincoln U, Doctoral dissertation.

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