MLA and APA Dissertation Formats: Tips to Keep in Mind

If you are writing a dissertation it will be in an APA or MLA format. APA papers tend to be in the field of science and math with MLA compositions being more English and Humanities geared. They are distinct styles and have different rules and guidelines. For some of these distinctions, you may want to find a comprehensive guide; we have written some tips below to help you as well with the process:


  • Cover Pages-MLA does not require a cover page, however, APA does require one.
  • Font-Both formats will ask that the paper be in a size 12 fonts that are rather plain such as Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Spacing-the spacing will also be the same. All essays will be double-spaced with a one-inch margin on all sides of the paper.
  • Intext citations are expected with both of the styles. The APA will have the author, year of publication, and page number and it will look like this: (Joneson, 2001, p. 2004). The Modern Language Association style will have the author’s last name and the page number where the specific information was located. It will look like this: (Joneson 2004).
  • References-both will require some kind of reference sheet. This will be the teacher’s call. It could be a Works Cited (an alphabetical listing of the sources used), an annotated Works Cited (a alphabetical listing with a short description of each source), a bibliography (a listing of all sources you looked at, even if you did not use them), or an annotated bibliography (a listing of all sources you looked at with a brief description).
  • Both of them will have a header of some sort on every single page. The American Psychological Association will have an abbreviated form (less than 50 characters of the title) and a page number. The MLA will have your last name and the page number with no punctuation. Both are going to be left justified in the upper right and corner. They will be on each and every page.

There are many other components to consider when comparing and contrasting the type different methods. If this baffles or confuses you, you may want to hire professional help to guide you through this process. If your content is perfect, but you format is incorrect, it could cause you to receive a drastically lower grade.