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Harvard referencing: theses.

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  • Basic format to reference an unpublished thesis

Referencing theses: Examples

Basic format to reference a thesis.

The basics of a Reference List entry for an unpublished thesis:

  • Author. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Title (in single inverted commas).
  • Level of Thesis.
  • University.

Example of unpublished thesis: ​Kyei-Nimakoh, M 2017, ‘Management and referral of obstetric complications: a study in the upper east region of Ghana ’, PhD thesis, Victoria University, Melbourne.       

harvard referencing for thesis

Please note:

  • A thesis can come in a number of formats, i.e. they can be published, unpublished or retrieved from a database.
  • The principles when referencing a thesis are similar to those employed when referencing a book. 
  • The example above is for an unpublished thesis, examples for an online or a published thesis can be found below.
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  • Last Updated: Jul 31, 2023 10:25 AM
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To be made up of:

  • Year of submission (in round brackets).
  • Title of thesis (in italics).
  • Degree statement.
  • Degree-awarding body.
  • Available at: URL.
  • (Accessed: date).

In-text citation: 

(Smith, 2019)

Reference List:  

Smith, E. R. C. (2019). Conduits of invasive species into the UK: the angling route? Ph. D. Thesis. University College London. Available at: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072700 (Accessed: 20 May 2021).

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Harvard Style Guide: Theses

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Back to Academic Integrity guide

Reference : Author, Initial. (Year of submission) Title of thesis . Degree statement. Degree-awarding body.         

Example : Allen, S. J. (2009) The social and moral fibre of Celtic Tiger Ireland . Unpublished PhD thesis. University College Dublin.

In-Text-Citation :

  • Author Last name (Year)
  • (Author Last name, Year)
  • Allen (2009) disagrees with this…..
  • As argued elsewhere (Allen, 2009)….

Still unsure what in-text citation and referencing mean? Check here . 

Still unsure why you need to reference all this information? Check here . 

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Citation guides

All you need to know about citations

How to cite a master's thesis in Harvard

Harvard master's thesis citation

To cite a master's thesis in a reference entry in Harvard style include the following elements:

  • Author(s) of the master's thesis: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J.) of up to three authors with the last name preceded by 'and'. For four authors or more include the first name followed by et al., unless your institution requires referencing of all named authors.
  • Year of submission: Give the year in round brackets.
  • Title of the master's thesis: Give the title as presented in the source. Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
  • Degree description: Type of degree.
  • Degree-awarding institution: Give the name of the institution.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a master's thesis in Harvard style:

Author(s) of the master's thesis . ( Year of submission ) Title of the master's thesis . Degree description . Degree-awarding institution .

Take a look at our reference list examples that demonstrate the Harvard style guidelines in action:

A master's thesis by one author

Bauger, L . ( 2011 ) Personality, Passion, Self-esteem and Psychological Well-being among Junior Elite Athletes in Norway . Master's Thesis . University of Tromsø .

An unpublished master's thesis

Aube, K. E . ( 2019 ) A comparison of water main failure prediction models in San Luis Obispo, CA . Unpublished master's thesis . Cal Poly .

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This citation style guide is based on the Cite Them Right (10 th edition) Harvard referencing guide.

More useful guides

  • Harvard Referencing: Theses
  • Referencing with Harvard: Thesis or dissertation
  • Citing and referencing: Theses/Dissertations

More great BibGuru guides

  • AMA: how to cite an honors thesis
  • MLA in-text citations with multiple authors
  • MLA: how to cite a 10-q report

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Cite A Dissertation in Harvard style

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Use the following template or our Harvard Referencing Generator to cite a dissertation. For help with other source types, like books, PDFs, or websites, check out our other guides. To have your reference list or bibliography automatically made for you, try our free citation generator .

Reference list

Place this part in your bibliography or reference list at the end of your assignment.

In-text citation

Place this part right after the quote or reference to the source in your assignment.

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  • How to cite a Dissertation in Harvard style
  • How to cite a E-book or PDF in Harvard style
  • How to cite a Edited book in Harvard style
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  • How to cite a Encyclopedia article in Harvard style
  • How to cite a Government publication in Harvard style
  • How to cite a Interview in Harvard style
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  • How to cite a Religious text in Harvard style
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Harvard referencing style

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Thesis or dissertation

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Leeds Harvard: Thesis or dissertation

Reference examples.

Family name, INITIAL(S). Year. Title . Type of qualification, academic institution.

Dang, V.A. 2007 . Three essays in financial economics . Ph.D. thesis, University of Leeds.

Citation examples

Author and date.

When the author name is not mentioned in the text, the citation consists of the author’s name and the year of publication in brackets.

It was emphasised that citations in the text should be consistent (Jones, 2017).

If you have already named the author in the text, only the publication year needs to be mentioned in brackets.

Jones (2017) emphasised that citations in the text should be consistent.

Three or more authors

If a source has three or more authors, the name of the first author should be given, followed by the phrase "et al."

It was emphasised that citations in a text should be consistent (Jones et al., 2017).

Jones et al. (2017) emphasised that citations in a text should be consistent.

Leeds Harvard does not use ibid to refer to previously cited items. If you are citing the same item twice in a row (i.e. you do not cite any other items in the text between the two citations) you must write the full citation again. As usual, if you are directly quoting or paraphrasing specific ideas, you should include a page number (if there is one). 

Jones et al. (2017, p.24) emphasised that citations in a text should be consistent and argued that referencing is a key part of academic integrity (2017, p.27). Furthermore, having a broad range of references in a text is an indicator of the breadth of a scholar's reading and research (Jones et al., 2017, p.14).

When to include page numbers

You should include page numbers in your citation if you quote directly from the text, paraphrase specific ideas or explanations, or use an image, diagram, table, etc. from a source.

"It was emphasised that citations in a text should be consistent" (Jones, 2017, p.24).

When referencing a single page, you should use p. For a range of pages, use pp.

p.7 or pp.20-29.

If the page numbers are in Roman numerals, do not include p. before them.

(Amis, 1958, iv)

Common issues

When you're referencing with Leeds Harvard you may come across issues with missing details, multiple authors, edited books, references to another author's work or online items, to name a few. Here are some tips on how to deal with some common issues when using Leeds Harvard.

Skip straight to the issue that affects you:

  • Online items
  • URL web addresses
  • Multiple authors
  • Corporate author(s) or organisation(s)
  • Multiple publisher details
  • Editions and reprints
  • Missing details
  • Multiple sources with different authors
  • Sources written by the same author in the same year
  • Sources with the same author in different years
  • Two authors with the same surname in the same year
  • The work of one author referred to by another
  • Anonymising sources for confidentiality

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Thesis - online

Thesis - print.

  • Web site/Web document

The title is not italicised and is placed in single 'quotation marks'.

Author, AA Year of preparation of thesis, ‘Title of thesis', award (g.g PhD, Masters, etc), Institution issuing degree, Location of institution, viewed date, <URL>.

Adam, B 2016, 'Cosmic warfare: changing models of the universe and C.S. Lewis's defence of truth and meaning', PhD thesis, James Cook University, viewed 17 April 2017, <https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/52960/>.

In-text citation:

Adam (2016) suggests that  …

Author, AA Year of preparation of thesis, ‘Title of thesis', award (g.g PhD, Masters, etc), Institution issuing degree, Location of institution.

Ward, I 1998, 'Sedimentary history of the Pandora wreck and surrounds', M.A. thesis, James Cook University, Townsville.

Ward (1998) described the process …

… processing gold (Ward 1978)

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Reference Guide | How to reference a dissertation

Getting started.

Harvard referencing a dissertation or thesis is extremely easy when you follow the guide below. Firstly you need to collect the following information from the dissertation.

  • Author(s) - First and last names. Sometimes there can be more than one author.
  • Title of dissertation - Full title of the dissertation.
  • Place of University - The place/location of the university where the dissertation was submitted, eg London.
  • Name of university - Full name of the University where the dissertation was submitted.
  • Level - Level of the degree, eg B.A. Thesis.
  • Year of publication - Year the dissertation was submitted.

Building the reference

Once you have found the above information from your thesis or dissertation, you can begin to assemble your reference in the following format (hover over for more information).

Author surname , Author initial ., Year of publication . Title of dissertation . Level . Place of University : Name of university .
Foster , A ., 2005 . Can media provoke violence among people? . B.A. Thesis . Belfast : University of Ulster .

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  4. Harvard Referencing: Theses

    Basic format to reference a thesis · Author. The surname is followed by first initials. · Year. · Title (in single inverted commas). · Level of

  5. Thesis or dissertation

    Thesis or dissertation · Author. · Year of submission (in round brackets). · Title of thesis (in italics). · Degree statement. · Degree-awarding body. · Available at:

  6. Theses

    Reference: Author, Initial. (Year of submission) Title of thesis. Degree statement. Degree-awarding body. Example: Allen, S. J. (2009) The social and moral

  7. Harvard: how to cite a PhD thesis [Update 2023]

    How to cite a PhD thesis in Harvard · Author(s) of the PhD thesis: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J.) · Year of submission: Give the year in

  8. Harvard: how to cite a master's thesis [Update 2023]

    How to cite a master's thesis in Harvard · Author(s) of the master's thesis: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J.) · Year of submission: Give the

  9. How to reference a Dissertation in Harvard style

    Author Surname, Author Initial. (Year Published). Title. Level. Institution Name. Example: Darius, H. (2014)

  10. Harvard referencing style

    Author Year, 'Title', Type of thesis, Publisher, Place of Publication. Example. In-text ciation

  11. GSTM Harvard Referencing Method

    Indeed, all the main tenets of your argument in your dissertation must be supported either by credible sources or new evidence from primary data. References

  12. Thesis

    Format: Author, AA Year of preparation of thesis, 'Title of thesis', award (g.g PhD, Masters, etc), Institution issuing degree, Location of

  13. Reference a Dissertation

    Building the reference. Once you have found the above information from your thesis or dissertation, you can begin to assemble your reference in the following