Standards and Guidelines for MLA and APA Formatting

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Burlington College asks that all students format their writing in either MLA or APA style depending on which courses they take. MLA (The Modern Language Association) is used primarily in the humanities while APA (American Psychological Association) is used in the social sciences. The college encourages all students to use Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual that details both forms and also contains extensive sections on writing mechanics and research. Instructors at the college can expect students to follow the guidelines laid out in A Pocket Style Manual with specific attention paid to the following:

MLA Formatting :



Your full name
Your Instructor’s Name
Course Title
Date (151)

  • Always use a 12-point serif font for everything in the text on 8.5x11 paper
  • Place your name and page number on the top right corner of each page (Example in Hacker on page 151)
  • On the first page, or title page, in the top left margin place:
  • The title of your paper is centered on the page (151)
  • Do not underline your own title, but do remember to underline or italicize the titles of others, and place poetry, short stories, articles, and essays, in quotations
  • Double space throughout the text
  • The first sentence of a paragraph is indented one tab
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides of the page
  • Use parenthetical citations to denote work that is not your own (the comprehensive model for MLA in-text citations is on pages 128-135)
  • Compile a Works Cited page that comes at the end the whole document (the directory to MLA Works Cited Models is on pages 135-150 and a sample Works Cited can be found on pages 152 and 154) NOTE: There is no one model for in-text citations or Works Cited entries. The format changes depending on the type of source.

APA Formatting

  • Always use a 12-point serif font for everything in the text on 8.5x11 paper
  • Place the title of your paper and page number on the top right corner of each page including the title page (Example in Hacker on page 181)
  • On a separate page preceding your paper, or title page, center and place:

    The Title of Your Paper
    Your Name
    Course
    Instructor
    Date (181)

  • Duplicate the centered title on the first page of your paper (181)
  • Do not underline your own title, but do remember to underline or italicize the titles of others, and place poetry, short stories, articles, and essays, in quotations
  • Double space throughout the text
  • The first sentence of a paragraph is indented one tab
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides of the page
  • Use parenthetical citations to denote work that is not your own (the comprehensive model for APA in-text citations is on pages 165-170)
  • Compile a References page at the end of the whole document (the directory to APA Reference List Models is on pages 170-179 and a sample References page can be found on page 182) NOTE:There is no one model for in-text citations or References entries. The format changes depending on the type of source. Also, there are distinct differences between MLA and APA in-text citations and bibliographic entries.

Academic Honesty

Please also familiarize yourself with the college’s policy on academic honesty located in the Academic Catalogue. Briefly, plagiarism consists of “Representing the words, ideas, arguments, or findings of another person or persons as one’s own. For example, plagiarism occurs when one copies portions of another person’s writing with only minor changes in wording or fails to give adequate and appropriate credit for others’ concepts, theories, or conclusions. When making use of someone else’s work, one must credit that person by using quotation marks, references, or footnotes, in accordance with one of the conventional documenting systems (e.g., that of the Modern Language Association [MLA] or the American Psychological Association [APA]). Submitting, as one’s work, a homework assignment, a term paper, a laboratory report, or other comparable document prepared wholly or in part by others or downloaded from the Internet is also an example of plagiarism.”

Keep in mind that this list is a quick reference and should not be used solely for your formatting needs. As a writer, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with A Pocket Guide and apply its standards to all writing assignments.

Other valuable writing resources include: Purdue University’s Online Writing Center, Owl:

The student companion website for A Pocket Style Manual: