A Simple Guideline to APA Style Dissertation

Having written a good dissertation, a student usually thinks that a high grade is already in their pocket. Still, a failure to ensure the APA dissertation format will surely have negative consequences. The truth is simple: to receive the highest grades you need to meet the formatting requirements, be it an APA, Harvard or Chicago style. 

Note that this is one of the most often utilized styles. Thus, every student must know its peculiarities. Read further to learn the definition of APA format. 


The definition of the APA style

In general, the APA style is the format of writing used for articles in journals published by this organization. This style is carefully described in the corresponding Publication Manual. It is easy to find this manual in college libraries and bookstores. Not so long ago, the latest, seventh version of this manual was published. This formatting style is perceived as the standard for academic writing in education and psychology. 

The APA guide mentioned above contains detailed info on all the aspects of formatting. It is big and may be hard to understand. To help you craft a decent APA style dissertation, our team of writers and editors has shaped the concise APA guidelines presented below. Still, these rules cannot fully substitute a profound help from an expert dissertation writer. A hired consultant can edit the paper making it a perfect APA format dissertation. This will allow you to properly prepare for the defense, saving you from the tedious formatting work.  

Once your dissertation is crafted, it’s time to ensure that the formatting is correct. Luckily, formatting the paper in APA is not as hard as it may seem at first glance. You just need to keep the basic formatting rules in mind in order to work faster. 

First, the APA rules are simple but you need to learn them by heart. Make sure to use the latest version of this style. Check the seventh edition of the Publication Manual by the APA. Good news: this widely-used formatting style allows your message to stay concise and clear. You will not confuse your reader with the form of your writing. Moreover, the work presented in APA allows the audience to concentrate on its content.   

Next, you need to know how to work with documents in Microsoft Word. You will have to carefully follow the rules of the formatting in your document. Thus, you should know how to work with the page settings in Microsoft Word. You need to make sure the margins are correct. The need to provide headings, pagination, the table of contents, running headers and references can give you a hard time!

Finally, below you will find the basic rules to follow when formatting your work in APA. Yet, you need to make sure your university does not have extra requirements in this regard. Say, additional information on the title page, margins differently from the standard ones, etc. You should meet all the specific requirements of your alma mater to get the highest grade.  

In case your deadline is fast approaching or you are not that familiar with Word, feel free to contact us. One of our writers will format your work quickly and professionally.

See also: “Writing a reaction paper in APA format”

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The APA dissertation formatting principles

  • Page Layout

You should use the pages of the standard size: 8.5” by 11” while your margins should be 1” on all sides. Still, you will need to check your university requirements: the dissertation work may require a bigger binding margin. You must number all the pages in your work, including appendices. The only exceptions are the title page and the copyright. As for the APA format font size, it should be 1/6 inch in height (12 pt font size). 

  • An APA style paragraph

In general, every paragraph should be left-aligned. Thus, the right edge of your text will be unaligned and jagged. Use an 0.5” indent at the beginning of every paragraph. Still, this rule does not apply to your abstract. 

Make sure not to present extra space. Avoid presenting a single standing line of the text at the top or bottom of the page or even in its middle. The paper must be double spaced. The same is true for footnotes, block quotations and references. 

Do not wrap words. You should not make additional space after punctuation marks at the end of the statement. Do not use italics to emphasize certain ideas. 

Present any lists and seriation as separate sentences. Use Arabic numerals followed by periods. Here, the first word should be capitalized; the list should end with a period. In case you need to present bullet points, use simple circles or small squares. Present commas between the bullet points

Lists should be presented as separate sentences marked with Arabic numerals followed by a period. The first word is capitalized, and the statement ends with a period. If bullets are used, these should be small squares or circles. Use commas to separate bullet points.

  • APA running header

Do not present the header below the margin. It should be presented within it. 

Note that there is generally no running head in the average student paper. The header is needed only in professional papers. To present your header on the title page, use the words “running head” and after the colon, present your header in capital letters, like this: 

Running head: TITLE OF WORK


The rest of your pages will have the following header:



  • APA Format for First Page

As a rule, the first two pages are not numbered (though they are counted). These should be your front page and the copyrighted sheet. The rest of the preliminary pages are numbered in Roman numerals. As it has already been said, your university may have additional formatting requirements. Say, certain rules for the APA format second page. Thus, it is recommended to ask the professor about the peculiarities of the title and copyright pages. 

A reminder: the only non-indented paragraph of your paper is the abstract. 

One may find it hard to present the table of contents correctly. The author must use the levels of heading congruently. Still, levels 4 or 5 are usually omitted. In case you have a heading that cannot be presented in one line, use a second line indent of 3 spaces. Use a tab leader for each level.

  • APA dissertation headings

As for the first chapter heading, it should not duplicate the title of your work. Note that you can enhance readability by adding three or four spaces before the first two heading levels (levels 1 and 2).  

In general, there is only one correct way to arrange five levels of headings according to the APA seventh edition: 

  • Heading 1: Boldface, Centered, Up-Style Heading
  • Heading 2: Boldface, Flush Left, Up-Style Heading
  • Heading 3: Flush Left, Boldface Italic, Up-Style Heading
  • Heading 4: Indented, Boldface, Up-Style Heading, Ending With a Period.
  • Heading 5: Indented, Boldface Italic, Up-Style Heading, Ending With a Period.


  • APA Style Tables

Each table should have an italicized title that is presented under the table number. Each table should have a sequential number. At the beginning of your dissertation, you will present a List of Tables providing the page number, table number and title. In your dissertation, you should refer to every table in the text by its number. Do not use the words “the table below/above.” 

Information inside the table should be single-spaced. Provide headings for all columns inside the table.

It is not recommended to present one table on two pages. If you need to split your table, use the line for the lower border. Under this line, in the lower right corner, present a note “table continues” in parentheses. As you continue your table on the next page, repeat the column headings. Yet, you should present your table notes only once, at the end of the entire table. 

Use the italicized word “Note” to present the table’s notes. Your notes will look like simple sentences, each starting with a capital letter and separated by periods. Do not italicize the notes themselves. Use semicolons to separate explanations of symbols or abbreviations. To provide information about a specific row, cell, or column, use a new paragraph and label it with a lowercase superscript.

  • APA Style Figure

The graphical displays of data that are not represented as tables are figures. These captions should be italicized. Use the full stop at the end of your caption. Label each figure with a successive number. Place the italicized title under the figure number. Do not forget to include each table number, its page number and title into the List of Figures. This list should be placed at the beginning of your dissertation. Every figure in your work should be mentioned in the text, but only by its number. Do not use the phrases “the figure above” and “the figure below.”

  • Numbers in APA Format

The way to represent the number depends on the number itself. All numbers below ten are presented as words. For all numbers that are higher than ten numerals should be used. Use numbers whenever there is a unit of measurement, mathematical functions, percentages, fractions, decimals, etc. To inform about the exact sum of money, date or time, numbers are used. In case your statement starts with a number, use words. When presenting the numbers one should use Hindu-Arabic numerals. Commas should distinguish the groups of digits in numbers greater than 1,000.

  • APA blockquote

All direct quotes that are longer than 40 words should be presented in a separately-standing block. Use a half-inch indent. Start the statement on a new line. The quote should be preceded by a colon. It should be double-spaced. There should not be any additional blank lines before or after the quotation. Be sure to cite the source in parentheses after the closing punctuation mark.  

  • APA references page

A separate page should be used to provide the list of sources. Use the capitalized, bolded word “References” (without quotation marks) to start your list. Use double spacing and hanging indentation to represent the sources. All the writer’s names should be inverted and should go in alphabetical order.  

  • Footnotes in APA

If there is a need to present additional data, one should use the footnotes. As in the Oxford style, they should be numbered successively in the order they appear in your work. Use Hindu-Arabic numerals. Do not provide a superscript number in a heading, after a dash or a parenthesis. In case you need to refer to a footnote that was presented earlier in the text, use the words “See footnote (number of your footnote here).”

  • Appendices in APA style

Use a separate page to present an appendix. Use the bolded word “Appendix” to present this additional info. Capital letters are used to discern between different appendices (Appendix B, Appendix C, etc.). Next, place the title of the appendix using capital letters. 

Traditionally, this section is used to highlight specific details of the research, materials, etc. Information should be concise and accurate. An appendix can be used to provide figures and tables. It can have its own headings and subheadings. Number your tables using the letter of the appendix, for example “Table A1.” Yet, if there is only one table, there is no need for separate labeling. 

APA dissertation editing services at EssaysService.com

Of course, formatting is not the hardest part, but after spending a lot of time researching and writing your dissertation, you may feel exhausted and out of time. In addition, it may turn out to be difficult to follow all the formatting rules consistently throughout the paper. Thus, you can hire APA format editors from EssaysService.com to meet the formatting requirements. In case you want to pass this daunting task to someone else, our dissertation formatting specialist can make your document perfect in terms of APA style. If your alma mater has additional requirements in this respect, we will make sure to meet them. 

In academic writing everything must be perfect. Thus, we work to make every order a top-notch text. For this, we partner with the best specialists, adept in all spheres of academic writing and all formatting styles. Every paper is written in line with specific requirements and instructions. Each work is original and professionally written. All citation style rules are carefully followed. Our quality control agents additionally check dissertation editors APA formatting to make sure you are safe. 

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