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AMA (American Medical Association) is most commonly used in health science and medical fields. It involves the general format of a paper, in-text citations within the body of a paper, and reference list at the end. It is important to note that in most cases, every reference should have an in-text citation. Inversely, every in-text citation should correspond to a reference in the reference list.

AMA provides the following formatting rules for writing assignments:

  • AMA does not have a standard for line spacing, however most professors prefer double-spacing
  • 1″ margins on all sides
  • 12-point sized font
  • Times New Roman or Arial font
  • Title page:
    • Title of paper
      • Capitalize it like a sentence
    • Your name
      • First name, middle initial, last name
    • Name of school
    • Abstract
      • It should contain the objective of the study, the main concepts explored, the study design and methodology; and the main conclusions of the study
  • The header:
    • First page only, left-hand side
      • Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
    • Rest of pages, left-hand side
    • Right-hand side of every page
      • Page number

In-text citations are found within sentences and paragraphs of assignments and make clear that the information quoted or paraphrased comes from a specific source found on the Reference page. IMPORTANT: An in-text citation is necessary whether the information used is directly quoted from a source, or if it is paraphrased.

AMA handles in-text citations differently than APA or MLA. Each reference should be cited in the text by placing a superscript arabic numeral at the end of the sentence where the reference is used. If multiple sources are used in a single sentence, separate each number with a hyphen (see examples below). Superscript in-text citations should appear outside periods and commas, and inside colons and semicolons.


A single source at the end of a sentence

admitting you need help is the first step.2

Multiple sources at the end of a sentence

admitting you need help is the first step.2-3


Direct Quotes

This is optional with AMA citation, individual instructors might require direct quotes being cited with page numbers. Be sure to speak with your instructor to clarify expectations. Below are is an example of how to cite direct quotes with the AMA with this additional information.

A direct quote is taken word-for-word from the original text. To indicate it is a quote by using double quotation marks around the original phrase. The superscript appears after the quotation mark.

In-Text with Page Numbers, Individual Page

“Admitting you need help is the first step.”2(p19)

In-Text with Page Numbers, Multiple Pages

“Admitting you need help is the first step.”2(pp19-32)

Format the reference page using the following rules:

  • AMA citation methodology uses endnotes, not footnotes.
  • “References” is written in bold at the top-center of the page. Do not include the quotation marks.
  • Start at the top of the following page after the paper ends.
  • Number the references consecutively with arabic numerals in the order they appear in the text.
  • If the citation extends to a second line, do not indent.
  • Journal titles are abbreviated and italicized. Use PubMed Journal Database to find abbreviations for journal titles.
  • Capitalize only the first word of journal article titles.
  • Journal page numbers and dates: Format is the year followed by a semicolon; the volume number and the issue number (in parentheses) followed by a colon; the initial page number, a hyphen, the final page number followed by a period and are set without spaces.
  • Citing online journals:  The DOI number is preferred over the URL link.

Below are examples of the types of sources most commonly used. When creating a reference pay attention to all of the details. What needs to be italicized? How should things be capitalized? When and where do you need a period? All of these are important to creating a properly formatted reference.

Journal Article, Magazine, and Newspaper Articles

If you’re missing information needed for a reference, don’t assume it doesn’t exist. A quick Google search of the article title can help locate missing information.

An electronic scholarly journal article with DOI

Propper L, Abidi S, Bagnell A, et al. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder in offspring of parents with depression and bipolar disorder. Br J Psychiatry. 210(6):408-412. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.117.198754

An electronic scholarly journal article without DOI

Smith JM, Sullivan SJ, Baxter GD. Massage therapy: more than a modality. NZ J Phys Ther. 2010;(2):44. Accessed December 1, 2020.

An article with more than six authors

When there are more than six authors, write out the first three authors followed by ‘et al’. This rule applies to all types of sources.

Simpson H, Flanders N, Brady W, et al. Living in middle America. Midwest Life. 2012: 33-36.

A magazine article

Citing a magazine article is the same as citing a journal article.

A newspaper article

Schirano M. Vidal vows to crack down on crime. The Democrat and Chronicle. June 19, 2012: 1A


When referencing books, be sure to know whether someone is an author or editor. This distinction can be unclear when looking at the cover of a book. Again, a Google search can help confirm the information you have, or find the information you are missing.

One author, no editor

Duncan T. Winning On and Off the Basketball Court. San Antonio, TX: Russell Sage Foundation; 2014.

Multiple authors, no editor

James L, Irving K. The Challenge of Teamwork. Cleveland, OH: Cavaliers Foundation; 2015.

Editor, no author

Curry S, ed. Practice Makes Perfect. San Francisco, CA: Anchor; 2015.

An edition other than the first

Jackson P. Getting the Most Out of Your Employees. 3rd ed. Los Angeles, CA: University of Chicago Press; 2002.

An article or chapter in a book

Schirano M, Sherman M. Library services in higher education. In: Dowgiert R, ed. Libraries Across the World. Bridgeport, CT: Springer; 2014: 125-143.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry

When using multiple entries from an encyclopedia or dictionary, provide one reference for the entire book. The same in-text citation is used no matter which entry you use in the assignment. If only a single entry is used, provide a reference for that specific entry.

Whole encyclopedia or dictionary

Lillard D. The Encyclopedia of Sports Terminology. Portland, OR: Trailblazers Publishing; 2015.

A specific entry in an encyclopedia or dictionary

Steinberg A. Thermodynamics. In: The Concise Physics Encyclopedia. Chicago, IL: Springer; 2009: 101-103.


When using multiple pages from a single website create one reference for the homepage of the website. Do not create separate references for each page used.

Website with an author

Smith T. Copy Cataloging for the Digital Era. Updated August 14, 2014. Accessed May 13, 2015.

Website with organization as author

United States Department of Health and Human Services. Medicaid Drug Price Comparisons: Average Manufacturer Price to Published Prices. Updated May 15, 2015. Accessed May 21, 2015.

Website with no author

How to Camp Safely With as Little Equipment as Possible. Updated June 19, 2008. Accessed October 23, 2013.


Below are a few other examples of media types cited in AMA format.


Tracey, E. What Is a Food Swamp and How Does It Impact Your Risk for Cancer? Johns Hopkins Medicine Podcasts. 2023. Accessed July 18th, 2023.


West B, Cohen JRBG [DVD]. United StatesMagnolia Pictures2018.