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Referencing Toolkit

APA : Theses

Basic Format to Reference an Unpublished Thesis

The basics of a reference list entry for an unpublished thesis: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

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 Developing a knowledge sharing model for the implementation of the learning organization in Thailand (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).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

Referencing theses

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  • A thesis can come in a number of formats, i.e. they can be published, unpublished or retrieved from a database.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  • The example above is for an unpublished thesis, examples for an online or a published thesis can be found below.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

Referencing a Thesis: Examples

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Thesis: Unpublished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 Developing a knowledge sharing model for the implementation of the learning organization in Thailand (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).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 Women and career advancement: a case study in the Australian Federal Police (Unpublished master's thesis).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

(Barua, 2010)

Barua, S. (2010). Drought assessment and forecasting using a nonlinear aggregated drought index (Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia). Retrieved from

[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

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