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APA 7th ed. Style Guide

Help with using the APA 7th ed. Style Guide for writing.


Student Papers

The APA 7th edition provides separate formatting guidelines for student and professional writers. Most students will follow APA 7’s guidelines for student papers but should always ask their professors which guidelines they prefer them to use (see separate tabs for student and professional papers in this LibGuide). 

This page presents APA 7th edition guidelines for formatting student papers. 

NOTE: The Masters programs in the College of Psychology and Counseling require the Professional Papers format.


Required elements for Student Papers

First, the following three sections are required:

  • Title Page
  • Body
  • References List

NOTE: No abstract or running head is required for Student Papers (unless your professor requires it).

Rules for Formatting

Fonts - It is recommended that APA papers be typed in 12-point Times New Roman or 11-point Calibri fonts.

Spacing - Use only one space at the end of each sentence in the body of your paper. In general, APA papers should be double spaced throughout. A list of exceptions can be found here on the APA website. To make sure that your paper is double spaced throughout in Microsoft Word, select the text, right click, select 'Paragraph,' and look under the section 'Line Spacing' as shown below:

screen shot of MS Word settings for paragraph spacing double

Margins/Alignment - Your paper should use 1-inch margins on standard-sized paper (8.5' X 11'). Make sure that you use Align Left (CTRL + L) on the paper, except for the title page.

Indentation – The first sentence in each new paragraph in the body of the paper should be indented a half inch. (Use hanging indentation in the references lists.)

Headings - Please note that all headings are in title case. Level 1 headings should be centered (and in bold), and Level 2 and 3 headings should be left-aligned (and in bold or bold italic, respectively). Level 4 and 5 headings are indented like regular paragraphs. An example of formatting headings in a paper is available here on the APA website

Title Page - The following elements should be present on the title page: 

  • Title of paper (bolded and centered) NOTE: There is no limit to the number of words in the title
  • Add an extra blank double-spaced line between the title and author’s name
  • Name of each author (centered)
  • Name of department and institution (centered)
  • Course number and name (centered)
  • Instructor name (centered)
  • Assignment due date (centered)\
  • NO running head (This is only required for professional papers)
  • Page number in top right corner of the header, starting with page 1 on the title page

Sample Student Paper

See a sample student paper in APA 7th edition style discussing various formatting issues: