How to Cite a Thesis/Dissertation in Chicago/Turabian

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Academic theses and dissertations can be a good source of information when writing your own paper. They are usually accessed via a university’s database or a third party database, or found on the web. The main difference between a thesis and a dissertation is the degree type they are submitted for:

  • Thesis – A document submitted to earn a degree, such as a master’s degree, at a university.
  • Dissertation – A document submitted to earn an advanced degree, such as a doctorate, at a university.

This guide will show you how to create notes-bibliography style citations for theses and dissertations in a variety of formats using the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

Guide Overview


Citing a Thesis or Dissertation from a Database

Citation Structure

Note:

1. First name Last name, “Title” (master’s thesis or PhD diss., University name, Year published), page number, Database (Identification Number).

Bibliography:

Last name, First name. “Title.” Master’s thesis or PhD diss., University name, Year published. Database (Identification Number).

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Citation Example

Note:

1. Kimberly Knight,  “Media Epidemics: Viral Structures in Literature and New Media” (PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011), 17, MLA International Bibliography (2013420395).

Bibliography:

Knight, Kimberly.  “Media Epidemics: Viral Structures in Literature and New Media.” PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011. MLA International Bibliography (2013420395).


Citing a Thesis or Dissertation from the Web

Citation Structure

Note: 

1. First name Last name, “Title” (master’s thesis or PhD diss., University name, Year published), page number, URL.

Bibliography:

Last name, First name. “Title.” Master’s thesis or PhD diss., University name, Year published. URL.

 

ThesisDissertationImage

 

Citation Example

Note:

1. Peggy Lynn Wilson, “Pedagogical Practices in the Teaching of English Language in Secondary Public Schools in Parker County” (PhD diss., University of Maryland, College Park, 2011), 25, https://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/11801/1/Wilson_umd_0117E_12354.pdf.

Bibliography:

Wilson, Peggy Lynn. “Pedagogical Practices in the Teaching of English Language in Secondary Public Schools in Parker County.” PhD diss., University of Maryland, College Park, 2011. https://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/11801/1/Wilson_umd_0117E_12354.pdf.


Citing an Unpublished Thesis or Dissertation

In rare cases, you may need to cite a thesis or dissertation that has not yet been published. This is particularly the case if you want to cite your own work or the work of a colleague.

Citation Structure

Note: 

1. First name Last name, “Title” (unpublished manuscript, Month Day, Year last modified), format.

Bibliography:

Last name, First name. “Title.” Unpublished manuscript, last modified Month Day, Year. Format.

Citation Example

Note:

1. John Doe, “A Study of Generic Topic” (unpublished manuscript, June 19, 2021), Microsoft Word file.

Bibliography:

Doe, John. “A Study of Generic Topic.” Unpublished manuscript, last modified June 19, 2021. Microsoft Word file.

 


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