Citation Styles

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

Required or Preferred Citation Styles by Department or Program

Each of the following departments has a required or preferred citation style for theses, dissertations, capstone project reports, and final project reports. If you don't see your department or program listed below, then you are allowed to choose a recognized citation style or you will be directed to use a particular style by your thesis advisor.
We recommend you check with your thesis advisor at the thesis proposal stage.

Department or Program

Citation Style

Acquisition Research Program


Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS)

Turabian (Notes & Bibliography)

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 and Computer Engineering (ECE) IEEE
Engineering (if not listed separately) IEEE
Graduate School of Business and Public Policy (GSBPP) APA
Human Systems Integration (HSI) APA
Information Sciences (IS) APA preferred, but advisors may choose another citation style
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE) ASME preferred, but advisors may choose another citation style
Meteorology and Operational Oceanography (METOC) AMS
National Security Affairs (NSA) Chicago (Notes & Bibliography)
Operations Research (OR) Some OR advisors require INFORMS
Physics (PH) IEEE preferred, but advisors may choose another citation style
Space Systems Academic Group (SSAG) IEEE or Chicago (Author-Date)but advisors may choose another citation style
Systems Engineering (SE) Chicago (Author-Date); IEEE if using LaTeX


Other Relevant Guides & Websites

Notes from the Thesis Processing Office

  • As the publisher of NPS theses, we review thesis citations for the following, in order of importance: 1) avoiding plagiarism, 2) providing complete source information, 3) complying with chosen citation style, and 4) demonstrating consistent citation formatting throughout your document.
  • When other citation styles are silent on how to properly cite a source, we normally defer to Chicago, which is the most complete of the established guides.
  • Citation management tools such as RefWorks, Zotero, and Endnote are useful when writing theses; they typically generate citations that are 80-90 percent correct, assuming users made no entry errors. Proofreading and manual editing of citations by the author(s) are still needed. User guides and FAQs are forthcoming.
  • Do you have questions about which citation tool to use? Please visit the Citation Tools guide, or Ask a Librarian.

Notes from the Graduate Writing Center

  • Class Papers: If teaching faculty do not require a specific citation style for course papers, the GWC suggests that students practice using their 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: Our website includes handouts and videos to help students understand plagiarism and the rules and norms for citing sources. Please see “Writing Resources by Topic."
  • Citation-Related Workshops: We offer two workshops related to citing. Building Blocks of Academic Papers and Paraphrasing and Quoting Effectively provide tips, techniques, and practice on paraphrasing, quoting, and summarizing sources that need citations. Learn more and sign up for these workshops.
  • Reference Materials: Our Citations page also includes the following reference materials: