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APA 7th Referencing Style Guide

Terminology - Thesis, dissertation or exegesis?

Thesis and dissertation can mean different things depending on where the degree is awarded. Always check the title page, or subsequent pages, to determine exactly what the work is and use the information for your reference.‚Äč

Auckland University of Technology (and other NZ universities)

  • Thesis is either for a doctoral or a master's degree.
  • Dissertation is either for a master's or a bachelor's degree with honours.
  • Exegesis is the written component of a practice-based thesis where the major output is a creative work;  e.g., a film, artwork, novel.

Other parts of the world

  • In North America and some other countries, dissertation is used for a doctoral degree and thesis for a master's degree.

Published theses and dissertations

Theses available in a database, a university archive or from a personal website.

Reference format

Author Date


Author, A. A. (Year). Title (Publication No. if present) [Doctoral dissertation/Doctoral thesis/Master's dissertation/Master's thesis, Institution Name].

Database Name.  URL

Archive Name.  URL

Theses published online (e.g. in institutional repositories)

Miller, T. (2019). Enhancing readiness: An exploration of the New Zealand Qualified Firefighter Programme [Master's thesis, Auckland University of Technology]. Tuwhera.

Kelly, C. B. D. (2018). The art of coffee roasting: Investigations into sensor development for the application of controlling coffee roasting [Doctoral thesis, The University of Waikato]. The University of Waikato Research Commons.

Theses from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global

Becker, J. C. (2013). Landscape-level influences on community composition and ecosystem function in a large river ecosystem (Publication No. 3577776) [Doctoral dissertation, Graduate Council of Texas State University - San Marcos]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.


Find how to cite in text on the In-text citation page.

Unpublished theses and dissertations

 Unpublished thesis or dissertations are usually sourced directly from the university in print form.

 Reference format

Author Date


Author, A. A. (Year). Title [Unpublished doctoral or master's thesis or dissertation].

Name of the Institution awarding the degree.


Stewart, Y. (2000). Dressing the tarot [Unpublished master's thesis]. Auckland University of Technology.