MLA Heading Format for Research Papers and Essays
What is a MLA Heading?
MLA refers to Modern Language Association of America that presents a complete version for referencing and citation. The heading format is the standard practice for title pages, inner pages and work cited pages.
How to Write a Heading in MLA Format?
This article is a brief look on how you can use MLA format for headings in your research and essay papers. It will also highlight a brief outlook on MLA header and footer that are also used to place headings in a proper manner.
The structure of an MLA style paper can broadly categorized into:
- Title page
- Inner pages
- Works cited pages
MLA is an acronym which stands for Modern Language Association, an American organization that published the first MLA Style Manual in 1985. Since then, many schools, colleges and universities have adopted this writing style all across the world.
How to write an essay in MLA style can be a little tricky and requires some defined guidelines to be followed strictly, especially the heading. Next time your teacher asks you to submit an essay written in MLA style, keep the following guidelines in check:
Contents of a Heading
The heading contains 4 lines:
- Student’s full name
- Instructor’s full name and title
- Class information (course name and number)
- The submission date in DD Month YYYY format
No part of the heading is bold, underlined or italicized.
Avoid Titles: MLA Heading is for Title Page Only
An essay written in MLA style does not require a title but a heading that appears on the first page and a header that appears on all pages. Most articles in MLA style don’t have a title page but some people insist on adding it.
The MLA heading is set in the top left corner of the first page, 1/2 inches down from the top margin.
MLA Heading Format for the Title/First Page
First of all, it is important to note that title page is not an essential part of MLA style document. It is just added to research paper if asked by the supervisor or a teacher.
However, if you wish to add title page then you must concentrate on the headings as well. The first heading should be placed in the upper left hand corner of the page.
Your full name, the name of the supervisor, class title and the due date of the paper are the information that must be placed under this head in the same upper left hand corner. There should be a double space between two lines.
MLA Heading for Headers of Inner Pages
Header MLA style is another way to place headings in a proper manner. Header is, basically, a line that appears on the top of every page. MLA citation style offers specific format for header and footer. In MLA format, header usually includes a heading of your name along with page number. This appears and repeats again and again on every page.
This header and footer options are easily available in Microsoft Versions. From menu bar you can easily insert such options to give headings in MLA style in a more proper manner.
MLA Heading for Works Cited Page
Essential Components of MLA Format for Headings
- The heading should always be mentioned in 12 font size. It should not be larger than that. The text should also be normal.
- Do not use effects with your headings.
- Moreover, it is also a better option to exclude underlining, italics and highlighted effects for your headings. This creates non professional and an immature look.
Setting up Paper Structure: Paper, Margin and Indents
Use only white paper that is 8 and 1/2 by 11 inches. Good quality paper should be used and printed on one side only. All pages must be typed unless hand-written assignments are required. For hand-written assignment, use blue or black ink.
The margins should be left at 1 inch from the sides, top and bottom. Leave five spaces for the tab indention setting for your paragraphs.
Margin for the Page Sides
Here are some important points that should be remembered while going through MLA heading formats. First of all, remember you should always include 1 inch margin on all sides of the paper including top, bottom and the sides.
Font Size and Font Type
Next, there should be no spaces between titles and the headings. Moreover, there should be no space between headings and the body of the paper. Reasonable fonts must be adopted to ensure MLA formats. These generally include Arial and Times New Roman having 12 font sizes.
Paragraphing and Indentation
Indentation space will be 1 and 1/2 inches for the first line, beginning under the date. After that the lines will outdent and align with the page margin.
Samples/Examples for MLA Headings
First Page/ Title/Cover Page Example
Amanda Hoover (Author name)
Dr. Maven Rafique (Supervisor’s name)
Literature -7001 (Course name/title)
Essay (Paper information)
23 August 2016 (Due date for submission)
Josh Steele [Student’s full name]
Dr. Alexander Fleming [Instructor’s full name and title]
Phonetics 55 [Class information (course name and number) ]
4 October 2010 [The submission date in DD Month YYYY format]
- Same font is used throughout the essay (including the heading, the header and title). Most commonly used fonts are Times New Roman and Arial.
- Decorative and script fonts are not at all recommended.
- Standard font size is 12 pt and do not increase your font to make the paper look longer.
- There is no punctuation mark between the last name and the page number in the header.
MLA Citation Style for Internal Page Headers
- The entire essay is to be double-spaced including the works cited and quotations. The only portion without it is your heading.
- Do not leave an extra space between paragraphs.
- Punctuation at the ends is followed by two spaces including periods, question marks, and exclamation marks. All other punctuation is followed by one space such as comma, colon, and semi-colon. The dash and hyphen have no spaced after them.
Header for Remaining Pages
The heading appears only on the first page, on all other pages, there appears a header along with your last name and page number. The header should appear on the top right corner of every page.
References and Further Reading
Modern Language Association of America. (2010). MLA handbook for writers of research papers. Modern Language Association of America.
Gibaldi, J., & Achtert, W. S. (1980). MLA Handbook. Modern Language Association, New York.
Roberts, E. V., & Jacobs, H. E. (1998). Literature: An introduction to reading and writing. Prentice Hall.