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Citation Styles

Learn how to cite articles, books, reports, theses, legal documents, and more using citation styles like APA, Chicago, and IEEE.

Citation Styles by NPS Department/Program

See required or preferred citation styles for theses, dissertations, capstone project reports, and final project reports. If your department/program is not listed below, then you are allowed to choose a recognized citation style or you will be directed to use a particular style by your advisor.

We recommend students check with their advisor at the thesis proposal stage.

Required or Preferred Citation Styles by Department or Program

Department or Program

Citation Style

Acquisition Research Program (ARP)
Graduate School of Business and Public Policy (GSBPP)
Center for Homeland Defense and Security
Turabian (Notes & Bibliography) preferred, but any recognized style will be accepted
Cyber Systems and Operations (CSO/MACO)
IEEE preferred, but any recognized style will be accepted
Defense Analysis (DA)
Chicago (Notes & Bibliography) preferred, but any recognized style will be accepted
Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)
Engineering (if not listed separately)
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
Recognized citation style preferred by advisor.
Department prefers AIAA and ASME
Meteorology and Operational Oceanography (METOC)
Information Sciences (IS)
APA preferred, but advisors may determine another citation style is necessary
Human Systems Integration (HSI)
National Security Affairs (NSA)
Operations Research (OR)
Some OR advisors require INFORMS
Systems Engineering (SE)

Notes from the Thesis Processing Office

  • When other citation styles are silent on how to properly cite a source, we defer to Chicago, which is the most complete of the established guides.
  • Citation management tools such as RefWorks are useful, typically getting users’ citations 80-85% correct; however, proofreading and editing by the author(s) are still needed.
  • As the publisher of NPS theses, we review thesis citations for the following, in order of importance and effort: 1) avoiding plagiarism, 2) complete source information, 3) chosen citation style followed correctly, and 4) consistency within a document.

Notes from the Graduate Writing Center

  • Class Papers: If teaching faculty do not require a specific citation style for course papers, we suggest that you practice using your department’s or advisor’s chosen thesis citation style while writing class papers; practice should make formatting and citing less daunting during the thesis process.
  • Additional Citation Guidance: We have handouts and videos on our website to help you understand plagiarism and the rules and norms for citing sources. Please see “Writing Resources by Topic"
  • Citation-related Workshops: We offer a workshop, Paraphrasing and Quoting Effectively, that provides tips, techniques, and practice paraphrasing, quoting, and summarizing sources that need citations. See our Workshops page to learn more and sign up.

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