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How to Cite a Lecture in APA, MLA and Chicago Styles

Live and video lectures create exceptional sources of information for your research paper. Learn how to cite a lecture in styles like APA, MLA, and Chicago. Explore examples for creating a reference list, works cited, and bibliography lecture citation. You’ll also learn how to cite lectures in text for any style.


Citing a Lecture in MLA

Citing a lecture in MLA isn’t anything to stress over. While a lecture isn’t your typical citation, it’s not hard. To cite a lecture in MLA, you use the nine core elements system. This is also the same format you follow for a speech, reading, or address.

diagram MLA lecture citation example

Format for Live Lecture MLA Citation

Speaker’s Last, First Name. “Title of the Lecture.” Title of the meeting or organization, Date, Location. Descriptor.

MLA Live Lecture Citation Example

Draven, Barry. “The Song of Silence.” Discovering the Value of Silence, 22 Oct. 2020, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO. Lecture.

cite different sources of lectures in MLA

How to Cite an Online Lecture in MLA

When you find your lecture online, the creation of the lecture citation changes; instead of listing the location of the lecture, list the website and URL where it can be found. This works for recordings of TedTalk and Zoom lectures.

Format for Online Lecture MLA Citation

Speaker’s Last, First Name. “Title of the Lecture.” Website Location, Date, URL.

MLA TedTalk Online Lecture Citation Example

Moore, Kelly. “Exploration of Literature.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Oct. 2020, www.ted.com/talks/moore_exploration_of_literature/transcript?language=en.

MLA Zoom Lecture Citation Example

Sarkis, Sarah. “The Psychology of the Uncertain: Zoom Lecture Series.” YouTube, 26 Mar. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLgGWEIEjFE.

How to Cite Lecture Notes in MLA

If you need to make a citation from lecture notes, MLA has your back there too. Cover the who, what, where of those lecture notes in your citation.

Format for Class Lecture Notes MLA Citation

Speaker’s Last, First Name. “Title of Lecture.” Course Name/Series Name, Location, Date Received. Descriptor.

MLA Lecture Note Citation Example

Curtis, Kim. “Critical Critique.” English 100, Boulder College. Received 6 Apr. 2020. Course Lecture.

How to Cite a Lecture MLA In-Text

When it comes to lecture in-text citations in MLA, use the author-page number format. However, since a lecture doesn’t have a page number, you use the author’s last name in the in-text citation.

Format for MLA Lecture In-Text Citation

(Author’s Last Name)

MLA Lecture Note In-Text Citation Example



How to Cite a Lecture in APA

Creating an APA lecture citation isn’t as easy as MLA. Why? Because APA doesn’t have the 9 elements system to follow. However, APA 7 offers a comprehensive guide breaking down every citation imaginable. For a live lecture, you cite this as a personal communication and only include an in-text citation. Personal communications are not included in the reference list.

cite different sources of lectures in APA

Format for Live Lecture APA Citation

(Speaker’s First initial, Last Name, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

APA Live Lecture Citation Example

(B. White, personal communication, October 9, 2020)

How to Cite a Video Lecture APA

Citing an online lecture in APA gets a little easier. Why? Because you have a file for the reader to reference. Therefore, you include a reference list citation for this one. Since these are usually videos, you follow the APA format for an online video.

Format for Online Lecture APA Citation 

Speaker’s Last Name, Initial. (Date). Title in italics [Descriptor]. Website. URL

APA TedTalk Online Lecture Citation Example

Barry, K. (2020, October). Science of minds [Video]. TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. www.ted.com/talks/moore_exploration_of_literature/transcript?language=en

Zoom Lecture Citation Example in APA

Cutts, S. (2019, September 24). Uncertainty of psychology. Zoom webinar series [Webinar]. YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLgGWOEKjaI

Note: For unrecorded Zoom lectures, follow the format for a live lecture.


Citing Lecture Notes in APA

Lecture notes can also be found online. Therefore, you can cite these in your reference list as well. For lecture notes, you follow the citation format of a professor’s PowerPoint in APA.

Format for Lecture Notes APA Citation

Speaker’s Last Name, First Initial. (Date). Title in italics [Descriptor]. Name of site. URL

Lecture Notes APA Citation Example

Beck, T. (2020, June 1). Creating citations for open source images [Lecture notes]. Department of English, University of Boulder. https://uofb.academic.edu/lecture/beck/creatingcitations

How to Cite a Lecture In-Text APA

Now has come the time to look at how to cite lectures in APA in-text. Any APA source with a reference listing must also be cited in-text. And, APA is known as the author-date system for a reason. This is because the in-text citations include the author and date. It’s truly that simple.

Format for APA Lecture In-Text Citation

(Author’s Last Name, Date)

Lecture Note Citation in MLA Example

(Cutts, 2019)

(Beck, 2020)

Cite a Lecture in Chicago

With MLA and APA out of the way, you can dive headfirst into lecture citations in Chicago style. Chicago citation style is unique in that it gives you choices. And by choices, you have two different citation styles depending on what you are writing about. Chicago’s author-date is similar to APA and designed for science research papers. The notes-biblio style is great for humanities works and uses the endnotes/footnotes system. Author-date is by far the more preferred, but you should see how both work for lecture citations.

Author-date versus Notes-bibliography infographic
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Live Lecture and Lecture Note Citation in Author-Date Example 

Burns, Janice. (2020) “Understanding Shakespeare.” Lecture presentation, English Series, San Diego, CA, April 19, 2020.

Live Lecture and Lecture Note in Notes-Biblio Example 

Tallen, Jeremy. “Spacial Reasoning.” Lecture presentation at University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, March 11, 2019.

How to Cite a Video Lecture in Chicago

When citing a video lecture or transcripts in Chicago, you use the format for web content. Therefore, you include the label of the video and the time of the video.

Video Lecture Citation in Author-Date Example 

Beskin, Ruth. 2020. “Looking at Black Holes.” Filmed November 2020 at TEDxBeaconStreet, Brookline, MA. Video, 13:51. https://www.ted.com/talks/ruth_beskin_looking_at_black_holes.

Video Lecture in Notes-Biblio Example 

Skips, Betty. “The Perfect Portrait.” Filmed September 2020 at TEDxBeaconStreet, Millington, MI. Video, 10:36. https://www.ted.com/talks/tedskin_betty_the_perfect_portrait.

Creating In-Text Lecture Citations in Chicago

In-text citations in Chicago for a lecture or lecture transcript depend on the citation style you use. See how each different type is used through examples.

Lecture In-Text Author-Date Example 

(Burns 2020)

(Beskin 2020)

Lecture Notes Citation Example

     1. Janice Burns, “Understanding Shakespeare,” (lecture,  English Series, San Diego, CA, April 19, 2020).

    2. Betty Skips, “The Perfect Portrait,” filmed September 2020 at TEDxBeaconStreet, Millington, MI, video, 10:36, https://www.ted.com/talks/tedskin_betty_the_perfect_portrait.

Citation generator

Knowing How to Create a Lecture Citation

Writing styles are all different. Therefore, it’s important to know how to create a lecture citation in your distinct style. Now that you know how to cite a lecture, it’s time to get citing. And if you need a little bit of help, try a citation generator. Additionally, always remember to follow your teacher’s guidelines for creating citations for your research paper, even if they go against style guide requirements.

FAQ How to Cite a Lecture in APA, MLA and Chicago Styles

How do you cite a lecture in APA?

A lecture in APA is cited like you cite a personal communication. Therefore, a lecture in APA is only cited in the text with the name and date. An example of an APA lecture citation looks like:
(T. Whitney, personal communication, October 12, 2020)

How do you cite a university lecture?

The way that you cite a university lecture depends on the format you are using. In MLA, an in-person university lecture is cited the same way as a speech or address. However, in APA, a live lecture is cited the same way you cite a personal communication. However, in Chicago, your citation varies based on if you are using author-date or notes-biblio. An example of an MLA lecture citation looks like:
Whitney, David. "Silence of Song." Explore Silence Alone, 24 Oct. 2020, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. Lecture.

How do you cite a professor's lecture slide?

To cite a professor's lecture slide, you would use the citation format for a PowerPoint presentation in MLA, APA, or Chicago. Generally, you include the author's name, the title of the slide, PowerPoint title, date, and location.

How do you cite a guest lecture?

The citation for a guest lecture follows the same format as any lecture series. Therefore, in APA, MLA, and Chicago, you need to include the guest's name, the title of the lecture, date of the lecture, location of the lecture.

How do you cite a PowerPoint lecture in APA?

To cite a PowerPoint lecture in APA, you include the author, year of the publication, the title of the presentation [Descriptor], and URL. An example of an APA PowerPoint lecture looks like:
Brads, B. A. (2020). Understanding English 101: An overview [PowerPoint slides]. www.uofm.com

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