Should a project labeled “thesis” that is submitted for a doctoral degree in the United Kingdom be referred to as a PhD thesis or a PhD dissertation in my works-cited list?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

In the United States, the written project submitted by a candidate for a doctoral degree is called a dissertation. In the United Kingdom, it is often called a thesis. The name of the degree itself also varies in the UK. Some schools call it a PhD, but some call it a DPhil. You should determine how to refer to the project by looking at the document itself. It will probably have a title page that provides the terms you need. The example that follows shows how to cite a thesis submitted for a DPhil at Oxford University:

Woudhuysen, H. R. “Leicester’s Literary Patronage: A Study of the English Court, 1578–1582.” 1981. Oxford U, DPhil thesis. Oxford University Research Archive, PDF download.