« The Rules for Federal Regulations: I. The Code of Federal Regulations | Main | How to Cite the DSM–5 in APA Style (UPDATED) »

July 18, 2013

The Rules for Federal Regulations: II. The Federal Register





by Melissa

The last blog post in this series covered federal regulations in the Code
of Federal Regulations
, which is the primary source for federal regulations.


However, for proposed regulations and regulations that haven’t been published in the Code of Federal Regulations yet, you need the Federal Register.


Reference Elements
Here are the basic elements of an APA Style reference for a regulation drawn from the Code of Federal Regulations.

  1. Name of the regulation 
    Start the reference with the name of the regulation if it is commonly identified by its name. You can include the abbreviated name of the agency that issued the regulation as part of the name (e.g., FDA Prescription Drug Advertising Rule).
  2. Volume number
    The Federal Register is divided into numbered volumes. The volume number should be included in the reference. If the reference doesn’t begin with the regulation’s name, then the title number is the first element of the reference.
  3. Abbreviated name of the source 
    Use the abbreviation Fed. Reg. for the Federal Register.
  4. Page number
    Use the page number on which the regulation (or discussion of the regulation) begins. You won’t need the section symbol for this element.
  5. Date and other information
    The date format differs from the usual APA Style. Include the month, date, and year of the regulation (not the edition year of the Federal Register) in the reference list entry. Spell out the months of May, June, and July; for the other months, use first three letters of the month and a period (Jan., Feb., etc.).

For nonfinal regulations, add the status to the date (e.g., proposed Jan. 11, 2008). If the Federal Register provides information about the regulation’s future location in the Code of Federal Regulations, include that in a separate set of parentheses after the date and before the period at the end of the reference. 


Reference Formats
Here are the basic reference formats for the Federal Register. Use the first format for named regulations, and use the second format for unnamed regulations. 

Name, Volume number Source xxx (Month, Date, Year) (to be codified 
at X C.F.R. pt. xxx).

Volume number Source xxx (Month, Date, Year) (to be codified at
X C.F.R. pt. xxx).

Compare this to the format for the Code of Federal Regulations. Note the lack of a section symbol, the differences in the date format, the addition of parenthetical information after the date, and the abbreviation of part as pt.


Here’s a reference example from the Federal Register:

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; HHS Notice of Benefit 
and Payment Parametersfor 2012, 78 Fed. Reg. 15410 (March 11, 2013)
(to be codified at 45 C.F.R. pts. 153, 155,156, 157, & 158).


In-Text Citation Formats
The in-text citation format for a named regulation follows the standard name–date format used in APA Style. Here’s the format and a sample citation:

Name (Year) or (Name, Year)

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2013)
(Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 2013)

If the name is particularly long, you can shorten it, provided that the shortened name clearly identifies the appropriate reference list entry.


If you have an unnamed regulation, use this in-text citation format:

Volume number Source xxx (year) 
(Volume number Source xxx, year)


To learn more about citing federal regulations, consult section A7.06 (pp. 223–224) of the sixth edition of Publication Manual or consult the most recent edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.




For seventh edition guidelines, visit the seventh edition APA Style blog.

This search includes only sixth edition blog archive results:


My Photo

About Us

Blog Guidelines

APA Style FAQs


Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Twitterrss

American Psychological Association APA Style Blog

Recent Comments

Twitter Updates