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Finding Dissertations and Theses

Use this guide to learn how to obtain copies of dissertations and theses.

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Using Proquest

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses is the most comprehensive source for information about U.S. doctoral dissertations and selected master's theses. It is the official digital dissertations archive for the Library of Congress and the database of record for graduate research in the United States. The database also includes citations from institutions of higher learning in other countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Britain, and Germany.

What you’ll find in ProQuest:

Doctoral dissertations:

  • 1997 to present:         Full-text for most dissertations
  • July 1980 to present:   350-word abstract written by the author
  • 1900 to present:          Some previews of the first 24 pages
  • 1637 to present:          Simple bibliographic citations at minimum

Master's theses:

  • 1997 to present:          Some full-text theses
  • 1988 to present:          150-word abstracts

Limited Access?

Can't find what you're looking for?

Double-check the bibliographic information. Ensure proper spelling of author names. Sometimes it helps to use partial titles, such as "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in China" versus "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in China and the United States: Law & Society and Criminological Perspectives."

Preview or Abstract Only?

When an author submits a dissertation or thesis for publication, they choose various copyright options, which may limit what you find in ProQuest.

Some authors will allow for wide dissemination of their work, making it easy for you to access the full-text simply through an internet search tool, such as Google. Conversely, authors can limit access so that only their home institutions have full-text electronic versions. In this case, you can use Interlibrary Loan services for either a digital or print copy.

Finally, authors may embargo their work for a period of 6 to 24 months. Reasons for an embargo vary, but you still may be able to obtain a copy by either contacting the author or the lending institution. It never hurts to ask!