Students of Grand Canyon University (GCU) are required to use the guidelines provided by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association b




Students of Grand Canyon University (GCU) are required to use the guidelines provided by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) for preparing written assignments, except where otherwise noted. GCU has made APA templates and other resources available within the Student Success Center; therefore, students are not required to purchase the APA manual.

The curriculum materials (Syllabus, Lectures/Readings, Resources, etc.) created and provided by GCU in the online or Web-enhanced modalities are prepared using an editorial format that relies on APA as a framework but that modifies some formatting criteria to better suit the nature and purpose of instructional materials. Students and faculty are advised that GCU course materials do not adhere strictly to APA format and should not be used as examples of correct APA format when preparing written work for class.


APA Format and Style


Academic writing, which is independent thought supported by reliable and relevant research, depends on the ability to integrate and cite the sources that have been consulted. Use APA style for all references, in-text citations, formatting, etc.

Write in first- and second-person sparingly, if ever. This means, avoid using I, we, and you; instead, use he, she, and they. Do not use contractions.

Paper Format

1)      Use standard-sized paper of 8.5″ x 11″.

2)      Margins should be 1″ all around (top, bottom, left, right).

3)      Use Times New Roman 12-point font.

4)      For emphasis, use italics (not quotation marks, bold, etc.).

5)      Double-space.

6)      Align the text flush left.


The basic organization of an APA-style paper includes the title page, abstract, body, and reference section, though students are encouraged to follow any specific directions given in their Overview assignment.

Title Page

The title page includes four elements that should be centered in the middle of the page: title, author byline, institutional affiliation followed by the course prefix and number (e.g., Grand Canyon University: PSY 351), and date of submission. Please note that even though APA does not require the date on a title page, it is a requirement for GCU papers.

Being the first page, the title page is where to set up your page header, which includes the running head and the page number. The running head—an abbreviated title that is a maximum of 50 characters—should appear flush left in all uppercase letters in the header on all pages. Page numbers should be in the header, flush right.

To format your running head and page numbers in Microsoft Word 2010, click InsertàHeader àBlank. In the header box that shows up, type Running head: ABBREVIATED TITLE HERE. After the title, tab over till the cursor is at the right margin, highlight the space, and click InsertàPage Number and select Current PositionàPlain Number. 


The abstract covers the main points of the paper and is not always required in a GCU writing assignment. Read the assignment instructions carefully to determine whether the assignment requires an abstract or not.

1)      Abstract is page 2 of the assignment.

2)      The word Abstract should be centered at the top of the page.

3)      As per GCU policy, the abstract should not exceed 120 words.

4)      Do not indent the abstract paragraph.


The body will contain all of the author's main points as well as detailed and documented support for those ideas.

1)      The body begins on its own page.

2)      The title of the paper should be centered at the top of the first page of the body, in initial caps.

3)      The introduction follows the title, but is not labeled.

4)      Use headings to separate sections of the paper, but none of the sections should start their own page. The first level of heading is centered and bolded with each word of four letters or more capitalized (see template for an example). The second level of heading (subheading) is flush left and bolded, with each word of four letters or more capitalized. Note that not all papers will have headings or subheadings in them. APA dictates that you should avoid having only one subsection heading and subsection within a section. In other words, use at least two subheadings under a main heading, or do not use any at all.


The references page will contain a list of all sources actually cited in the paper.

1)      This should start its own page.

2)      The word References, though not in italics, is centered at the top of the page.

3)      Include all, any, and only sources that were actually cited in the paper.

4)      Arrange the sources in alphabetical order using the authors' last names.

Instruction Files

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