This page contains a reference example for an unpublished dissertation or thesis.

Harris, L. (2014). Instructional leadership perceptions and practices of elementary school leaders [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Virginia.


  • Parenthetical citation: (Harris, 2014)
  • Narrative citation: Harris (2014)
  • When a dissertation or thesis is unpublished, include the description “[Unpublished doctoral dissertation]” or “[Unpublished master’s thesis]” in square brackets after the dissertation or thesis title.
  • In the source element of the reference, provide the name of the institution that awarded the degree.
  • The same format can be adapted for other unpublished theses, including undergraduate theses, by changing the wording of the bracketed description as appropriate.
  • If you find the dissertation or thesis in a database or in a repository or archive, follow the published dissertation or thesis reference examples.

Unpublished dissertation or thesis references are covered in Section 10.6 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

Date created: February 2020