How to cite a PhD thesis in MLA

MLA PhD thesis citation

To cite a PhD thesis in a reference entry in MLA style 8th 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 PhD thesis in MLA style 8th 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 PhD thesis with one author

Confait, Marina Fatima. Maximising the contributions of PHD graduates to national development: the case of the Seychelles. 2018. Edith Cowan U, PhD thesis.

A PhD thesis with one author

Bowkett, David. Investigating the ligandability of plant homeodomains. 2015. Oxford U, PhD thesis.

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