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Mastering the APA Style Title Page: A Comprehensive Guide

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is a popular format in social and behavioral sciences. It provides a uniform framework for manuscript layout and citation. An integral part of this format is the title page, which offers essential details about the paper. This article will guide you through the process of writing an APA Style title page, complete with examples to help simplify the process.

What is an APA Style title page?

An APA Style title page is the cover page of your research paper, thesis, or dissertation that follows a specific set of formatting guidelines. This page includes elements such as the paper's title, the author's name, the institutional affiliation, and a page header (also termed running head). It's crucial to get these details right because they set the tone for your entire paper.

APA Style guidelines for title page formatting vary slightly depending on the type of paper you're writing. For instance, professional papers intended for academic publishing have somewhat different directions compared to student papers submitted for coursework in high school or college.

All title pages must include the paper's title, the name of the author(s), and the associated institutional affiliation. In the case of a professional paper, an author's note is a necessary addition. Conversely, student papers need to provide additional details like the course number and name, the instructor's name, and the due date of the assignment.

Understanding the importance of the APA Style title page

Before we delve deeper into the nuances of creating a flawless APA Style title page, let's understand why it is important.

The title page is often the first thing your reader, be it a professor, peer, or a journal editor, sees. Therefore, it acts as the first impression of your work. An accurately formatted title page suggests that you've given due attention to details, thereby hinting at the quality of the research that lies within. Moreover, it provides the essential details for anyone referencing your work, ensuring appropriate attribution.

Components of an APA Style title page

An APA Style title page comprises several key elements, each with its unique formatting requirements. Let's look at each component in detail:

Title of the paper

The title should be a concise summarization of the main idea of the manuscript. The title text should be bolded and centered in the upper half of the page. Use a clear, concise title that accurately reflects your paper's content. Capitalize the first letter of each word of the title and any subtitles, as well as any proper nouns.
 Do not capitalize conjunctions, prepositions, and articles (e.g., and, of, on) unless it is the first word, or the first word immediately following a colon.

The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Your title should be specific to your research and provide a snapshot of your study's content. It should not contain any unnecessary words or filler phrases. If your research is part of a larger study or a series of studies, mention it in the title for context.

Evaluating the Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: A Longitudinal Study

Author's name

Directly under the title, type your name. It should be your first name, middle initial, and last name. Avoid using titles or degrees.

John D. Doe

You should use the name under which you usually publish. If you have a common name, consider using your middle initial or name to differentiate yourself from other researchers. If there was more than one author, all authors should be included here.

John D. Doe and Jane E. Poe

Institutional affiliation

This refers to the location where you conducted your research. It should be centered under the author(s)'name.
 If the author does not have an institutional affiliation, list the city and state of residence below the author's name.

University of California, San Francisco

If you conducted your research at multiple locations, per APA Style guidelines, you can include a dual affiliation only if two institutions contributed substantial support to the study. No more than two affiliations per author should be listed. Otherwise, only one affiliation should be listed.

Course details

Some educational institutions require the course name and number, the instructor's name, and the due date. These should be placed after the institutional affiliation and should each be on their own line.

PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology
Professor Jane Smith
Due May 16, 2023

These details help your professor or course coordinator identify your work. Always confirm the format and the information needed with your instructor or the course syllabus.

Page header and running head

Include a page header at the top of every page also known as the "running head." Please note that APA 7th edition removes the running head for student papers. However, many professors still follow this rule. It should be aligned to the left and contain a shortened version of your title (a maximum of 50 characters, including spaces). The first page should read "Running head: SHORTENED TITLE," and the rest should have the shortened title only.

Example on the title page:

Example on subsequent pages:

The running head helps keep your paper identifiable in a concise way when it's printed out among others.

Formatting the APA Style title page

APA style title page example
The title of the paper is positioned approximately in the upper half of the page. The author's name follows, then the department and university name. Lastly, the name of the professor and the date are listed.

Beyond the content, the formatting of your title page is equally important in APA Style. Here are the primary formatting rules to follow:


The recommended font is 12-pt Times New Roman, although some alternatives like 11-pt Calibri or Arial, and 10-pt Lucida Sans Unicode can be used.


Your entire paper, including the title page, should be double-spaced.


All of the text on the title page should be centered, except for the page header or running head, which should be aligned to the left, and the page number, which is aligned to the right.


Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the page.

Page number

The page number should appear on the right side of the header on the first and all subsequent pages.


All words in the title and headings should be capitalized, except for conjunctions, prepositions, and articles in the middle of the title or heading.


Avoid using abbreviations in your title or headings. Spell out all terms.

Steps to create an APA Style title page

Now that we've covered the key components and formatting rules, let's walk through the steps to create an APA Style title page.

Step 1: Start a new page

Your title page should be the first page of your paper. In a Microsoft Word document, you can do this by clicking "Insert," then "Page Break."

Step 2: Write the running head

In the header of the page, type "Running head:" followed by a shortened version of your title in capital letters. Remember, the running head needs to be under 50 characters, including spaces.

Step 3: Insert the page number

Still in the header, click the "Insert" tab in Word, then "Page Number." Choose "Top of Page," then "Plain Number 3" to align the page number to the right.

Step 4: Write the paper title

Move down to around the top third of the page. Center your cursor and write your paper's title in title case.

Step 5: Write your name

On the next line, still centered, write your full name.

Step 6: Write your institutional affiliation

On the next line, write the name of your institution.

Step 7: Add course details (if required)

On separate lines, write the course name and number, instructor's name, and due date.

Common mistakes to avoid

When creating an APA Style title page, it's easy to overlook small but critical aspects. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid:

Inaccurate running head

The running head must be a concise version of your title. If it's too long or doesn't reflect your title, it needs to be adjusted.

Incorrect capitalization

Ensure that you are capitalizing the first letter of significant words in your title, excluding conjunctions, prepositions, and articles in the middle.

Adding extra information

Your title page should not include any information not mentioned in the guidelines, such as your email address, contact number, or a picture.

Delving into APA Style formatting rules

The APA's formatting rules ensure consistency and readability. Following these helps your work appear professional and respect the norms of academic publishing.


The standard font ensures your paper is legible and looks professional. While 12-point Times New Roman is widely accepted, the APA also suggests alternatives for those who wish to use a different typeface (e.g., 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, and 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode).


Double spacing helps enhance readability, making it easier for reviewers and readers to engage with your content.

Alignment and margins

Proper alignment and margins improve your paper's aesthetics, ensuring that it is easy on the eyes and that no text is cut off when the document is printed.

Page number

Including the page number on every page is crucial, especially for lengthy papers. It helps readers and reviewers to reference specific parts of your work.

Practical tips for creating an APA Style title page

While knowing the guidelines is important, practical tips can make the process of creating an APA Style title page easier.

Use a template

Many word processing software programs like Microsoft Word and Google Docs offer APA Style title page templates that you can use as a starting point.


Always proofread your title page for typos, misspellings, and incorrect capitalization. Minor mistakes can detract from the professionalism of your work.

Get a second opinion

Have someone else review your title page. They might catch mistakes or inconsistencies that you've missed.

Follow updates

APA Style guidelines are updated periodically. Stay current with the latest edition to ensure your work adheres to the most recent standards.

Frequently asked questions about the APA Style title page

To round off this comprehensive guide, let's address some frequently asked questions about the APA Style title page:

How do I shorten my title for the running head?

The running head should ideally represent your full title, but if it exceeds 50 characters, try to retain the most critical words that capture the essence of your paper.

What if I have multiple affiliations?

If your research was supported by multiple institutions, consult your professor or the publication you're submitting to, to understand how to best represent this.

Can I include acknowledgments on the title page?

No, acknowledgments should be included in a separate section following the body of your paper.

What if I'm co-authoring the paper?

If there are multiple authors, list them in the order of their contributions on separate lines, with the name of each author followed by their respective institutional affiliation.


The APA Style title page might seem like a small part of your paper, but it carries significant weight. It sets the tone for your entire research paper and provides crucial information to your readers. By following the guidelines in this article and paying attention to every detail, you can master the APA Style title page. The first impression of your paper will be one of academic rigor and attention to detail, thereby instilling confidence in your readers about the quality of research that follows.

In academic writing, adhering to established standards like the APA Style is critical. Not only does it enhance the readability and professionalism of your work, but it also ensures that the focus remains on your research findings. The APA Style title page, with its specific components and formatting rules, is a testament to this fact. So, the next time you embark on a research project, remember that a well-formatted title page can pave the way for your paper's success.

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