How to cite a lecture in MLA

In MLA (8th edition), the Works Cited entry for a lecture looks like this:

MLA lecture citation format

Lecturer Last Name, First Name. “Title of Lecture.” Course or Event Name, Date, Venue, City. Descriptive label.

MLA lecture citation example

Dent, Gina. “Anchored to the Real: Black Literature in the Wake of Anthropology.” Moving together: Activism, Art & Education, 16 May 2018, The Black Archives, Amsterdam. Lecture.

This format also applies to other types of oral presentation, such as a conference panel or a public talk.

Lecture titles and event names

The title of the lecture goes in quotation marks. You can usually find the title in the course syllabus, the conference programme, or publicity materials for the talk.

After the title, you add the name of the course, conference or event of which the lecture was part. Don’t use italics or quotation marks.

Coyle, John. “Week 3: Modernism and Memory.” English Literature 2A, 21 Sept. 2009, University of Glasgow. Lecture.

It is possible to add more than one event name here. For example, conferences are often divided into themed sessions; after the title of the presentation, you can add both the session and the conference name.

Lecture locations

Often the location of the lecture will appear in the venue name. For example, many university names include the city where they are located.

Halberstam, Jack. “Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Guide to Gender Variance.” Doing Gender, 26 March 2018, Utrecht University. Lecture.

If the city is not already named, add it directly after the venue. If necessary, you can also add the state or country for clarity (for example, if there are multiple cities with the same name).

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Descriptive labels

At the end of the citation, add a short label that describes the type of event (e.g. Lecture, Presentation, Keynote). If you are quoting or paraphrasing directly from a handout or slides, you can use this as the label (e.g. Lecture handout, PowerPoint presentation).

Coyle, John. “Week 3: Modernism and Memory.” English Literature 2A, 21 Sept. 2009, University of Glasgow. Lecture handout.

MLA in-text citation for a lecture

When you use information or ideas from a lecture in your paper, an MLA in-text citation requires only the last name of the lecturer, either in the text itself or in parentheses after the relevant information.

(Dent)

If you refer to a specific slide of a PowerPoint or page of a handout, you can add this to the in-text citation.

(Halberstam, slide 4)
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Shona has a bachelor's and two master's degrees, so she's an expert at writing a great thesis. She has also worked as an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing.

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