Online Writing Lab

MLA Format in Detail

This page contains general guidelines on how to properly format the headings on a paper using MLA format.

Without a Cover Page:

This is the most common way to begin an MLA essay because MLA does not require a cover page. Some instructors, however, may require one (see instructions and example below).

1. The Opening Page:
On the opening page or the first page, a comprehensive identification (sometimes referred to as the main heading) and essay title should appear. The identification includes the following information:

Settings:

Sample of the opening page:
http://academictips.org/mla-format/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/03/sample-research-paper-format.png

With a Cover Page:

The Modern Language Association (MLA) does not require a cover page, but some instructors may require it. In certain situations or assignments, a paper with a cover page can look more professional.

Instructors who require the paper to have a cover page usually provide specific instructions on what should be included. Here is the general MLA Format cover page. This page should include your school or university’s name (i.e. Aims Community College), a paper title, author name, class name, professor name and paper due date.
Here is how to format an MLA cover page:

Sample MLA Format Cover Page:
http://academictips.org/mla-format/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/03/mla-format-cover-page.png
Sample MLA Format Cover Page

Alternate First Page:

If an instructor requires a cover page, the identification heading on the first page should be omitted. Below is an example of the first page if a cover page is used. Last name and page number should appear on all pages, and the title should appear at the top of the first page only.
http://academictips.org/mla-format/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/03/mlaformatfirstpagesamplewithcoverpage.png
Sample MLA Format First Page with Cover Page


2. The Inner Pages:
For the pages that follow the first page, set the heading like this: instead of the whole heading, use the header feature in the word-processing program to include author last name and page number.

Inner Page Example:
http://academictips.org/mla-format/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/03/mla-heading-inner-page.png
Example of the heading for inner pages.

3. The Works Cited Page:
Every research paper must include a works cited page(s).

Example of the works cited page:
http://academictips.org/mla-format/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/03/mla-format-works-cited.png
Example of the works cited page.

For moreiInformation on MLA works cited pages, including in-depth instructions for citing various sources, view MLA Works Cited Page.