How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MHRA Referencing
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How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MHRA Referencing

Typically, when writing an essay, you will want to use published sources (e.g. books, journal articles). But if you’re writing about an obscure topic, you might find useful information in someone else’s doctoral thesis or master’s dissertation. So, how do you cite these source types in MHRA style?

Here, we explain formats for footnote citations and the bibliography entry.

Citing a Thesis or Dissertation in MHRA Style

In MHRA style, you cite sources with superscript numbers in the text:

Citation numbers usually go after the final punctuation, like this.1

You will then provide full source information in a footnote the first time you cite each source. The format for a thesis or dissertation in a footnote is:

n. Author Name(s), ‘Title’ (unpublished [degree level], university, year), page number.

The degree level will usually be ‘doctoral thesis’ or ‘master’s dissertation’ in Australia and the UK. However, use the same description as the source cited (e.g. in the US, it is usually ‘doctoral dissertation’ and ‘master’s thesis’).

You can see examples of footnotes for theses or dissertations below:

1. James Brown, ‘Popular Music and Language Evolution: How Has Music Shaped English?’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Manchester, 2020), pp. 17–21.
2. Alex Harker, ‘The Impact of Daylight in the Design: Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly’ (unpublished master’s thesis, University of Texas, 2019) p. 10.
3. Heather Collins, ‘Female Representation in Renaissance Art’ (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 2020), p. 169.

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If you need to cite the same source again later in your work, you can use a shortened footnote format to prevent repetition. For a thesis or dissertation, this is usually just the author’s surname and a page number.

Theses and Dissertations in an MHRA Bibliography

Every source you cite should be included in bibliography at the end of your document. The information to include here is largely the same as in the first footnote citation, except for two key differences:

  • You should invert the author’s names (i.e. give their surname first) so you can list sources alphabetically by author surname.
  • You don’t need page numbers or a full stop at the end of the entry.

The entries for the examples above would therefore look like this:

Brown, James, ‘Popular Music and Language Evolution: How Has Music Shaped English?’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Manchester, 2020)

Collins, Heather, ‘Female Representation in Renaissance Art’ (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 2020)

Harker, Alex, ‘The Impact of Daylight in Design: Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly’ (unpublished master’s thesis, University of Texas, 2019)

As above, MHRA reference list entries typically use a small hanging indent for each line after the first. Make sure to add these where required.

Expert MHRA Proofreading

Hopefully, you now feel confident citing a thesis or a dissertation in MHRA referencing. But if you’d like an expert to check your references, we can help. Upload a trial document for proofreading today to find out more.

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