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Title Pages

Title pages are a standard expectation for academic essays, but the information on the title page may change, depending on which style rules students are using and/or the expectations of the instructor. For example, per the APA Style 6th edition rules, title pages should include a running head (Lee, 2010, para. 3-4); however, per the 7th edition rules, running heads are no longer required on title pages for student essays unless instructors request them (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 37). Two additional elements that are typically required on title pages are the title of the essay in title case and the name of the author. Other information that may be presented includes (but isn’t limited to) the submission date, the instructor’s name, the course title, the program title, and the name of the university. In the case of a title page for a thesis or dissertation, additional information will be required, such as the names of the committee members and their titles and academic credentials.

When students start writing for a new instructor, it’s a great opportunity to ask the instructor what information and formatting they would prefer in the title page. Academic title pages are one element in the academic expectations for the work, so an instructor’s preference takes precedence over the APA Style rules. Pursuing clarification from the instructor before starting to write can help to avoid later frustrations, and instructors may have examples of their preferred approach that they can share with students.

When instructors ask students to format a title page that adheres to the APA Style rules, there may be a couple of elements of an academic title page that differ from the instructions provided in the APA Style manual. For example, both the 6th and 7th editions of the APA Style rules ask authors to start page numbering on title pages at "1" (APA, 2010, p. 229; APA, 2020, p. 30); however, a common academic convention is for page numbering to start on the second page of the document at "2". If instructors don’t have a strong preference, either approach is acceptable; however, it’s a good idea to ask if you’re not sure what’s expected.

Another example where expectations may differ is the author note, which "provides additional information about authors, study registration, data sharing, disclaimers or statements regarding conflicts of interest, and help or funding that supported the research" (APA, 2020, p. 35). Author notes aren’t a standard item on academic title pages; in fact, "students should note that an author note is usually not a requirement for theses and dissertations" (APA, 2010, p. 24), and "student papers do not typically include a[n] . . . author note . . . unless specifically requested by the instructor or institution" (APA, 2020, p. 30). 

If an instructor requests an author note, please ask what information should be included and the order of the information. The instructor may also provide information regarding the location of the author note on the page; for example, the author note in the Sample One-Experiment Paper, which is formatted to the APA Style 6th edition rules, is presented beneath the other information on the title page (e.g., title of work and the author’s name). However, in the Sample Published APA Article, which is also formatted using the APA Style 6th edition rules and shows the finished form of a published article versus the unpublished manuscript, the author note is presented in a footnote. The difference in that formatting reflects the publication process where an editor transforms the unpublished manuscript into the final published form, but since students are acting as their own editors, that final polish is the student’s responsibility. For an example of the placement of an author note on a professional title page that adheres to the APA Style 7th edition rules, please visit Annotated Professional Sample Paper.

If an instructor requests different formatting than what is identified in the APA Style rules, students should follow the instructor’s direction.

Do you have questions about this writing tip or any other writing-related matter? Please contact the Writing Centre as we’d be pleased to assist you.

Theresa Bell
Manager, Blended Learning Success

References

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Lee, C. (2010, November 11). Running head format for APA style papers. APA Style Blog 6th Edition Archive. https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/11/running-head-format-for-apa-s...

(Originally published in Crossroads November 29, 2017; updated August 12, 2020)