How do I format a table of contents in MLA style?

Tables of contents may be formatted in a number of ways. In our publications, we sometimes list chapter numbers before chapter titles and sometimes list the chapter titles alone. We also sometimes list section heads beneath the chapter titles. After each chapter or heading title, the page number on which the chapter or section begins is provided. The following show examples from three of the MLA’s books.

From Elizabeth Brookbank and H. Faye Christenberry’s MLA Guide to Undergraduate Research in Literature (Modern Language Association of America, 2019):

Table of contents page from Elizabeth Brookbank and H. Faye Christenberry's MLA Guide to Undergraduate Research in Literature

From Approaches to Teaching Bechdel’s Fun Home, edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner (Modern Language Association of America, 2018):

Table of contents page from Approaches to Teaching Bechdel's Fun Home, edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner

From the MLA Handbook, 8th ed. (Modern Language Association of America, 2016):

Table of contents page from the MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

Need more information? Read about where to place a table of contents in your paper.

Published 27 July 2020

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