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Referencing Toolkit

How to Reference

Basic Format to Reference an Unpublished Thesis

The basics of a reference list entry for an unpublished thesis: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 (in italics).
  • Level of Thesis or Dissertation [in square brackets].
  • University, also in [square brackets] following directly after the Level of Thesis, for e.g. [Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University]
  • Database or Archive Name
  • URL
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 1.27cm.


Mosek, E. (2017). Team Flow: The missing piece in performance [Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University]. Victoria University Research Repository. 

Mosek, E. (2017). Team Flow: The missing piece in performance [Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University]. Victoria University Research Repository.

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  • A thesis can come in a number of formats, i.e. they can be published, unpublished or retrieved from a database.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  • The example above is for an unpublished thesis, examples for an online or a published thesis can be found below.


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Citation Examples

Material Type

In-text examples

Reference list examples

Thesis: Unpublished

(Suwetwattanakul, 2010)

(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 Developing a knowledge sharing model for the implementation of the learning organization in Thailand (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).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 Women and career advancement: a case study in the Australian Federal Police (Unpublished master's thesis).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

According to Mosek (2017) “flow was considered a highly functional state” ( p. 6) .

Mosek, E. (2017). Team flow: The missing piece in performance [Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University]. Victoria University Research Repository.

Thesis: Commercial database

… research is required to fill in gaps in our knowledge (Smith, 2018).

Smith, G. (2018). Examining the impact of mindset and personality on athletes’ attitudes toward sports psychology consultants (Publication No. 10746190) [Doctoral dissertation, Drake University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. 

Note the inclusion of the Proquest Publication Number in round brackets between the title and the thesis description.
ProQuest dissertations and theses are only available from this database, so the database name is included as the source.
Thesis: from the Web

Tsao (2016) compared populations in Kentucky and Taiwan.

Tsao, S.-F. (2016). Associations between consumption of fruits and vegetables among older consumers and farmers market shopping [Master’s thesis, University of Kentucky]. UKnowledge.

If an author's first name is hyphenated, as in Shu-Feng Tsao above, retain the hyphen and include a full stop after each initial but no space.