A basic formula of differential thermal analysis is evolved for the case when the heat transfer coefficient between the specimen cell and the reference cell is not zero. The more general formula obtained differs from the classical formula by including the parameters of the reference cell and the heat transfer coefficient between the cells. It indicates that utilization of the classical formula is not correct if heat exchange occurs between the cells. To utilize the generalized formula, additional measurements of the temperature changes of the reference material are required. However, if the time constants of the two cells are identical, the formula can be changed to assume the form of the classical formula for DTA if a correction factor is introduced which takes into account the effect of heat exchange between the cells.