**Ashford will use APA 6th edition guidelines until Jan. 1, 2020. At that time, Ashford will move to using APA 7th edition guidelines and the resources on this site will show APA 7th edition guidelines.

APA formatting is a set of rules and guidelines for styling your paper and citing your sources. If you need help setting up your paper in APA style, the following documents can be downloaded and used as templates for your APA-styled papers:

    To meet APA style requirements, follow these guidelines:

    • 12 pt. Times New Roman font is used throughout the document.
    • Entire document is double spaced.
    • Margins are 1 inch on all sides.
    • Align the body text in your paper left, leaving the right side uneven or ragged. Do not use justified alignment.
    • Paragraphs in the body of the paper are indented 1/2 inch or one “tab” stop.
    • 2 spaces are used between sentences.
    Need help formatting your paper? See our guide on APA Formatting in Word 2013.
    • Title page header states: Running head: INSERT YOUR ESSAY TITLE IN ALL CAPS
    • Title page headers have the page number in the top right corner.
    • An Ashford University title page contains:
      • title of your essay (first letter of any major words capitalized)
      • your full name
      • your course title
      • your instructor’s name
      • the date submitted
    • A College of Doctoral Studies title page contains:
      • title of your essay (first letter of any major words capitalized)
      • your full name
      • your university's name (e.g., Ashford University)
    • This information is centered, double spaced, and near the upper half of the title page. Do not bold or underline anything in this section.
    • After the title page, each page header just has the TITLE IN ALL CAPS and the page number. The words “Running head:” are omitted for the rest of the pages.

    Sample Title Pages:

    Sample Title Pages for Ashford University


    Sample Page 2 Header:

    Sample Page 2 Header
    • The abstract is on page 2.
    • The page title, Abstract, is centered, 1 inch from top of page. It is not bold or underlined.
    • The abstract is 150-250 words and is block style aligned to the left.
    For help making an abstract, view our Writing an Abstract page.
    • All in-text citations for direct quotations include...
      • the authors’ last names (or title if no author)
      • the year the source was published
      • the page, paragraph, or section number of the quotation.
    • All in-text citations for paraphrased information includes...
      • the author (or title if no author)
      • the publication year.
      • Note: Including the page, paragraph, or section number is optional for paraphrased information.
    • All sources cited within the paper are also in the References list.
    • All quotations less than 40 words are enclosed in quotation marks. The in-text citation comes before the ending punctuation.
    • All quotations more than 40 words are formatted as a block quote. They start on a new line with the entire quote indented a half an inch from the left margin—no quotation marks are needed. The in-text citation comes after the punctuation.
    For more help with In-Text Citations, see our guide on Citing Within Your Paper.


    • The References list starts on a new page.
    • The title, References, is centered, 1 inch from the top of the page. It is not bold or underlined.
    • Reference entries are listed in alphabetical order.
    • All sources listed in the References have at least one corresponding in-text citation within the body of the text.
    • References are double spaced and each entry uses a hanging indent.
    • Titles of books, journals, and technical reports are given in italics, as well as volume numbers.
    • Titles of books, journal articles, and web pages are in lower case except for the first word, the first word after a colon, and any proper nouns.
    • Remove all hyperlinking (blue, underline) from your citations that have a URL. Make sure there are no periods at the end of your URLs.
    • Page numbers are given as a range (e.g., 45-56) without using p. or pp.
    • For electronic articles, state the DOI or URL of the source.
    For more help with formatting your Reference page, see out Formatting Your References List page. For help citing different types of sources, refer to our downloadable formatting guide.
    APA References Guide
    • Numbers one through nine are spelled out. Any numbers above 10 are written using actual numbers.
    • Limit the use of contractions (e.g., don't, can't, shouldn't), personal pronouns (e.g., I, me, my), and slang.
    • Limit the use of passive voice.
    • Limit the use of anthropomorphism .
    • Use italics only when appropriate.
    • Avoid biased language.
    • Use appropriate APA level headings.
    • The serial comma is used for a series of three or more items.
    • Lists follow seriation rules.
    • Format and properly cite all tables, images, and figures.
    • Use past tense when discussing literature.
    For details on each of these style elements, visit the APA Style Elements page.

    Practice Quizzes


      Quiz Icon
      Test your knowledge of APA-style formatting.