My students are required to use APA style. I'm familiar with the research paper format, which requires a separate title page (like a cover page). This makes sense for longer papers, but how should students format the first page of a one- or two-page assignment?

My question is: What do students do if the paper is one to two pages? How do they format their name and information w/o a title page?

In the style guides, I can only find information for research papers.

  • 4
    I'm surprised that you aren't in complete control here. What is the external force requiring this?
    – Buffy
    Feb 19 '20 at 20:37

General points: APA style is principally designed for submitting manuscripts to academic journals.

When it is used as a style guide for student assessments at universities, it is common for the requirements to be adapted. So for example, many people completing honours, masters, or PhD theses in the behavioural sciences will use APA style for referencing. But their university may have other requirements for the formatting of title pages, heading formats, line spacing, paragraph indentation and so on. Or these details may be left up to the student.

If you are setting the assignment, you are free to pick and choose which aspects of APA style you want students to follow.

Your specific question: Note that APA style calls it a "Title Page" rather than a "Cover Page". Any manuscript submitted to a journal using APA style requires a title page (i.e., with title, author names, affiliations, author note, etc.). Those who create a university assignment based on APA style are free to adopt or not adopt aspects of APA style when it pertains to APA style. In some respects it doesn't even make sense to fully adopt APA style for Title pages on student assignments. For example, you wouldn't require them to provide a "corresponding author address" (a key requirement of APA style title pages), but you would require them to include their student number.


Well, that's really what APA style is there for: Research papers. If you're using it for a different purpose, then it presumably doesn't have much to say about these other cases.

But: I assume you are requiring your students to use APA style because you want them to learn how to write research papers in APA style. In that case, it makes sense to let your students pretend that their short papers are research papers. So then, if APA requires a cover page for research papers, you should also require a cover page for student papers.


The APA style guide has specific instructions for how to format the title page for "student papers", i.e. course essays etc. It provides specific instructions of where to put things like the name of the courses and instructor.

Rule number 1 is that any rules set by the instructor (you) or University trump those of the style guide.

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