Skip to Main Content

APA Style Guide for Citations and Student Papers: Formatting Guidelines

Formatting Student Papers

The 7th edition of APA's Publication Manual provides guidelines for formatting papers. APA makes a distinction between student papers and professional papers (papers being submitted for publication). This guide outlines the requirements for student papers.

Student papers usually include a title page, the text of the paper, and a reference list. There will be page numbers at the top right of all pages, with the title page as page 1.

The major change from the 6th edition of the Publication Manual, is that a running head is no longer required on student papers. However, your professor may still require it, so follow the directions of the assignment. For instructions on creating a running head, see here.


Formatting the Title Page

  • The title of the paper will appear about a quarter of the way down from the top of the page.

  • The title will be centered, in bold font, and all major words in the title will be capitalized.

  • Include the name of each author, first name first.

  • Include the author's affiliation, in this case the school - Houston Community College.

  • Include the professor's name and the course information

  • Also include the due date of the assignment

General Guidelines for the Paper Format

  • The first page of your paper will be a title page.

  • Your paper will have one-inch margins.

  • The recommended font is Times New Roman, 12 point.

  • The page number will appear at the top right corner of every page, starting with the title page.

  • Indent the first line of each paragraph.

  • The reference list will appear at the end of your paper, starting on a new page.

Formatting the Reference List

  • Your reference list will be a separate page at the end of your paper. Title it References, in bold font, and center the title at the top of your page.

  • Capitalize only the first word in the title and subtitle. Capitalize any proper nouns (e.g. United States, Abraham Lincoln, World Health Organization)

  • Alphabetize entries by authors’ last names.

  • If an entry has no author’s name, alphabetize by the first significant word in the title.

  • If you have more than one work by the same author, order by year of publication, with the earliest first.

©2022 Houston Community College Libraries