APA Format v. Your University’s Style Guide

Last Updated on July 15, 2020 by Ayla Myrick

University Peculiarities

Is APA format the be-all and end-all of styles for dissertations? No! Depending on the university and program for which you are preparing your dissertation, you may be required to follow additional formatting standards.

Most, if not all, universities provide APA dissertation guidelines and some provide APA dissertation examples. Beware the date of APA dissertation examples you find online-they may be out of date or incorrect.

Some universities provide an APA dissertation template, but the template can’t do all the work for you. APA software is notoriously flawed and rarely takes into account the most current APA standards and those unique to your university and program.

The various schools and colleges at Nova Southeastern University, for example, each have their own APA dissertation guidelines. Capella University uses nonstandard chapter styles for APA headings-they are all-capped and bolded.

Walden University also uses nonstandard chapter styles for APA headings-they are initial-capped and not bolded, and they are followed by traditional APA headings.

Chapter headings in University of Phoenix dissertations are actually section headings.

Argosy University requires numbers in chapter headings to be spelled out. Harvard University has its own requirements for APA references and citations.

A final alert: The APA format guidelines for your thesis or dissertation proposal may differ from the guidelines required for the final product. Check with your graduate school.

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Ayla Myrick