How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in Chicago Footnote Referencing
  • 2-minute read
  • 6th May 2020

How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in Chicago Footnote Referencing

Have you found useful ideas or data in someone else’s dissertation or thesis to support an argument in your own work? Our guide below explains how to cite a thesis or dissertation correctly in the Chicago footnote style.

Footnote Citation for a Thesis or Dissertation

The Chicago Manual of Style’s footnote referencing system uses superscript numbers to point to citations. For instance:

Usually at the end of a sentence, like this.1

The footnote format for a thesis or dissertation in Chicago referencing is similar to the one used for a book. The main difference is that you should use quote marks instead of italics for the title:

n. Author name, “Title of paper” (type of paper, academic institution, year of completion), page number, URL/database name (document ID).

Of course, you only need to give a URL or database name and ID if you accessed the paper online! To cite page 42 of John Smith’s printed PhD thesis, then, your footnote would look like this:

1. John Smith, “Useful Ideas for Research” (PhD diss., University of Learning, 2006), 42.

If you’re citing only an abstract, simply add the word “abstract” after the title:

2. Tom Persson, “Great Thoughts and Stuff,” abstract, (master’s thesis, Educational Establishment of City Name Here, 2012), 81, https://CityNameUniversity.edu/1901.11/39144.

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For repeat citations, use the standard shortened footnote format.

The Bibliography Entry

The bibliography entry for a thesis or dissertation will be similar to the first footnote citation. However, there are a few differences in the format:

  • You will need to use a period between each element, not a comma.
  • The first author’s name should be inverted (i.e., “Surname, First Name”)
  • You do not need parentheses for the additional paper information (i.e., the paper type, institution, and year of completion).
  • No page number is required.

So, bibliography entries for these sources should look like this:

Author Surname, Author First Name. “Title of paper.” Type of paper, academic institution, year of completion. URL/database ID.

Thus, you would present your bibliography entries as follows:

Persson, Tom. “Great Thoughts and Stuff.” Abstract. Master’s thesis, Educational Establishment of City Name Here, 2012. https://CityNameUniversity.edu/1901.11/39144.

Smith, John. “Useful Ideas for Research.” PhD diss., University of Learning, 2006.

The points above will help you cite a dissertation or thesis in Chicago footnote referencing. Want further help checking your references and writing are error free? Our team of expert proofreaders is available 24/7.

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