Counselling, Psychology, & Social Work Presentation Requirements (APA)

The following presentation guidelines are adapted from the APA style. These guidelines are compulsory for School of Counselling students.

All written assignments must be submitted in Microsoft Word format. PDF format is not  accepted. The key presentation requirements are as follows:

  • Size  A4 paper
  • Include a cover sheet as the first page
  • Word count (actual) provided on assignment cover sheet 
  • Numbering on each page included in the top right hand corner (use the header)
  • Student name and unit name to the left of the page number (use the header)
  • Times New Roman font in size 12 point
  • Margins of 2.54 cm on all sides 
  • Double spacing used with no extra spacing between paragraphs
  • Lines are flushed left and not justified
  • Indentation for first line of every paragraph at 1.25cm
  • Hanging indent of 1.25cm required for reference list entries

Using headings

Most reports and case studies include headings but not all papers should so check with your educator to make sure that headings are appropriate for the specific paper you are writing. 

The APA Publication Manual gives guidelines for up to five levels of heading in a paper, although most lab report assignments will need only two or three levels. The first level heading should be centred and in bold. Each main word should start with a capital letter. For more details on heading levels visit the APA website ( and the APA Style Blog (; more specifically, Heading Levels (

Assignment word count

All assignments specify a word count. An assignment that is within 10% of the specified word count (either more or less) will not be penalised. However if you submit an assignment that is more than 10% under or over the specified word count, your grade will be penalised.

As in-text citation of your sources is an assumed part of academic writing, the word count does include the in-text referencing (e.g. author/date/page number) in your assignment, but not the title page, table of contents page, reference list or appendices. It is recommended that you use a computer generated word count by selecting from the first word of the introduction (or if a report, either the abstract or summary) to the last word of the conclusion (or if a professional report, the recommendations).

Remember, quotations and verbatim examples are included in the word count. The word limit for direct quotes depends on the school and field of study. For example in the School of Counselling the upper limit for the use of direct quotes is 10% of the final word count. In the School of Psychological Sciences 5% would be considered excessive.

The header of each page of your assignment will look something like this:

Alex Smith                                Professional Practice                                1