APA Format

Style and Formatting of Papers and Submissions

New Sixth Edition of the APA Publication Manual

On July 31, 2001 the Fifth Edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual was released. “APA Style” has become a widely-accepted standard for academic documents, and is long-established at UCSF School of Nursing.

APA Style, logo

Just recently (in July 2009), the APA released the Sixth Edition of the APA Publication Manual (also see Errata/Errors, below).

Instantly, all APA official support for the 5th edition were removed from the APA.org and APAStyle.org websites. This also meant that existing versions ofAPAsyle, EndNote, Word, WordPerfect, and other applications/programs containing "APA Format" features became obsolete unless/until they have updated.

Note: EndNote has released a "APA 6th Edition" patch, see their website for details (--C. Miaskowski):

The 6th edition APA Manual has a few major changes (e.g., number of authors listed and how listed), and lots of “minor” changes. Updated information on the use of (and referencing of) electronic sources, and on reducing bias in language, are just two examples of new sections in the manual. A broad overview of the new manual may be found at: http://www.apastyle.org/manual/whats-new.aspx (website).

A companion manual, “Concise Rules for APA Style, Sixth Edition,” provides clear, concise explanations and examples for the most commonly used aspects of APA formatting. If additional information is needed, the manual guides the reader to more in-depth information on the APA website. Athttp://www.apastyle.org/products/4210004.aspx is an overview of the Concise Rules companion manual.

The Sixth Edition of the APA Manual, and a link to supplemental materials for manual owners, may be viewed at http://www.apastyle.org/manual/ (website).

Errata/Errors in the First Printing of the APA Sixth Edition

Many errors in the First Printing of the Sixth Edition have been identified and corrected in the Second Printing. Owners of the First Printing may qualify to receive a replacement (Second Printing) at no cost. Also, notes, replacement pages, and corrections to the first printing may be found at the following web pages:

Notes for Students

The following notes are for the academic year beginning September 2009.

All new/incoming students (School of Nursing) will be required to use the 6th edition APA formatting style for their paper submissions.

Incoming Master's students will be required to obtain and use Concise Rules of APA Style (6th Edition – ISBN: 1-4338-0560-X; ISBN-13: 978-1433805608) to guide the writing and formatting of their writing assignments and papers, except those related to clinical residencies.

Second Year (or continuing) MS students: may continue to use the 5th edition APA manual.

Incoming PhD students will be required to obtain and use the 6th edition of the APA Publication Manual (Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-1433805615; Spiral-bound:ISBN-13: 978-1433805622).

Pre-Qualifying Exam PhD students will be asked to obtain the 6th edition APA Manual, and begin using the manual for papers /assignments they produce, beginning Fall 2009. If a student is in the midst of writing papers for the Qualifying Exam, the Qualifying Committee may determine a student can continue to complete the exam papers using the 5th edition guidelines.

Post-Qualifying Exam PhD students are asked to confer with their Dissertation Committee Chairpersons for a decision on the use of the 5th versus the 6th edition guidelines for the research proposal and chapters of the dissertation.


One commonly used reference website has been recently updated with APA 6th edition tips:

OWL at Purdue, logo

  • OWL: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
    This site is part of the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University, Indiana; it provides a general overview of APA 6th edition formatting concepts and a number of samples/examples of abstracts, papers, and reference pages. This source will also be shared with students, both incoming and continuing.

Medical Journals. Because APA is rarely an acceptable format for medical journals, individual faculty advisors of doctoral students (and doctoral course FORs) may prefer papers to be submitted in the format of Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals so the student can submit for publication without extra time spent on formatting. (--Barbara Drew)



Thesis and Dissertation. UCSF Graduate Division rules for the creation and submission of Theses and Dissertations are available at the following website:

  • UCSF Graduate Division: Thesis, Dissertation, and Manuscript Guidelines