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last updated: 6/5/2013

Finding Dissertations

Finding Dissertations: a Research Guide

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
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 this country.

The database also includes citations done in institutions of higher learning in other contries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Britain and Germany.  For a full list of countries convered browse "locations" or see: the t"locations" list

You may limit your search to CIC institutions (full online texts available since 1996).

Please be aware that there are no hard and fast rules regarding scope and coverage, since authors may embargo their work and/or choose not to make their work available for full publication or sale. Therefore, there will be exceptions to the following guidelines. If you encounter difficulties in obtaining the full text of of a dissertation or thesis, please see section on Obtaining Dissertations and Theses at the end of this document.

Doctoral dissertations:
1997 to present,: Full text for almost all IU and CIC* dissertations as well as for some other institutions
July 1980 to present: 350-word abstract written by the author
1900 (or possibly earlier) to present: some previews of the first 24 pages
1637 to present (and in some cases as recently as last semester): simple bibliographic citations at minimum
To find abstracts of dissertations from 1942 to 1980, go to the print version (known as Microfilm Abstracts from 1942- 1951 and Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) from 1952-2000) in the Research Collection stacks of the Wells Library
Call number: AS30. M6

Master’s theses:
1988 to present: 150-word abstracts

To access the database, enter: “Dissertations & Theses” in the main search box on the IU Libraries homepage, then click on the link in the “Online Research Tools” box or go directly to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Select Advanced Search, where you can enter search terms and limit by schools and other features, such as manuscript type.

See also
More information on this database.

Access from the Resource Gateway on the IU Libraries homepage or go directly to Worldcat

Limit by thesis/dissertation, enter your search terms and then specify “thesis/dissertation” in the Content box under “Subtype limits”. If you are interested in an item that isn’t available at IU, request from Interlibrary Loan at the link next to “External Resources” in the full record for the item.

While GoogleScholar is primarily a tool for searching for articles, and it probably doesn’t contain the full text of any dissertations or theses, it can be a good place to look for references to dissertations which may appear in article bibliographies. If these references are to unpublished work, however, it may be extremely difficult to track down the full document. (See Obtaining Dissertations and Theses below.)

Searching for Dissertations by Subject or Country

In some subject areas, Indiana University-Bloomington librarians have compiled lists of dissertations and theses. Some of the lists are limited to Indiana University dissertations, while others are more general. The lists are not exhaustive.
For more information contact the subject librarian in your area of study.
Africana Electronic theses and other countries

Bibliography of Doctoral Dissertations (Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies)


Public Health Library - full list of titles and authors of IU dissertations accepted by the School of Public Health

Geography Dissertations List

Geoscience Theses & Dissertations from IUB - Indiana Region (Geosciences Library)

Index to IU Theses & Dissertations of Indiana (Geosciences Library)

Slavic Dissertations (general, not confined to IU)

Dissertations on music

Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology Online

Websites of Interest: Metasites
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
A collection of more than 800,000 international full text theses and dissertations.

OpenDOAR - the Directory of Open Access Repositories
The OpenDOAR service provides a quality-assured listing of open access repositories around the world.

OpenThesis is a free repository of theses, dissertations, and other academic documents, coupled with powerful search, organization, and collaboration tools.

An open database of doctoral dissertations in progress around the world.

Center for Research Libraries
CRL holds more than 800,000 doctoral dissertations outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Search dissertations in the dissertations section of the CRL catalogue.
Digitized dissertations can be searched in the catalogue's e-resources section.

For further suggestions, visit this website from the University of London.

Sites by country (a selection):
The DATAD database contains citations and abstracts for theses and dissertations completed in African universities.

Formed to establish a distributed database of digital versions of theses produced by the postgraduate research students at Australian universities.

Biblioteca Digital de Teses e Dissertacoes
Access to electronic dissetations and theses produced in Brazilian universities.

Access to doctoral dissertations (paper and electronic) from UK institutions of higher education.

Index to Theses
Indexes theses (some with abstracts) accepted for higher degrees in Great Britain and Ireland.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses - UK & Ireland
A comprehensive bibliographic listing of dissertations and theses, most with abstracts, accepted for higher degrees by universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Date range: 1716 to current.

Theses Canada

China Doctor Dissertations Full-Text Database
Searchable full-text database of dissertations and theses done in Chinese institutions.

China Master Dissertations Full-Text Database
Searchable full-text database of dissertations and theses done in Chinese institutions.

DART-Europe is a partnership of research libraries and library consortia who are working together to improve global access to European research theses.

A French collective catalogue created by Higher Educational and Research libraries and resource centers describing a wide range of documents, including dissertations.

The contains primarily scientific theses and is not complete; authirs must have contributed their theses to appear in the collection.

Cyberthèses contains selected French dissertations from 1972 to the present and access to another service which provides some full texts.

The National Library of Germany has collected dissertations from 1998-

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses - UK & Ireland
A comprehensive bibliographic listing of dissertations and theses, most with abstracts, accepted for higher degrees by universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Date range: 1716 to current.

Italian dissertations

NARCIS provides access to some Dutch e-theses

Spanish Dissertations
Bases de datos de tesis doctorales
The Bases de datos de tesis doctorales indexes Spanish dissertations since 1976.
Subject Databases
A number of electronic databases include dissertation and theses in addition to journal articles, books, chapters, Festscriften and other scholarly materials.
Among them are:

America: History and Life       Historical Abstracts       PsycINFO       Bibliography of the History of Art       Bibliography of the History of Art             Gender Studies Database       GeoRef       ARTbibliographies Modern       MLA International Bibliography       Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature       RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

Searching for Older Dissertations in Print Bibliographies
Search IUCAT to find print bibliographies of older dissertations and for those from outside North America. These are kept in the Reference Reading Room, the Research Collections stacks, and the Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF).

• Browse by topic and/or country in IUCAT’s “Begins with/browse”:
Enter: dissertations academic
Click on “subject”

• Go to Advanced Search and enter:
SUBJECT = dissertations academic bibliography AND
SUBJECT= [country name]
Refine your results using keywords for your field of interest

• View the Reading Room’s collection of bibliographies:
Go to Advanced Search
SUBJECT = dissertations academic and bibliography AND
Location (under Search Options) = Wells Library – Research Coll. – Reference Dept.
Indiana University Dissertations and Theses
Most IU dissertations and some MA theses – print or electronic - are cataloged in IUCAT. We recommend starting any search there. However, there are some works that are not entered in IUCAT, so you may need to search BOTH ProQuest Dissertations and Theses AND IUCAT.

If you are searching by topic, go to Advanced Keyword Search in IUCAT:
KEYWORDS ANYWHERE = thesis same Indiana university AND
Then enter your topic or concept in another box as keyword or enter a subject if you know the correct subject heading.



Refining your search

• To limit to ph.D theses:
KEYWORDS ANYWHERE = thesis same Indiana university AND
KEYWORDS ANYWHERE = ph.d [use the period]

• Before clicking on the Search box, you may limit your results by using the limiters at the foot of the screen. For example, to limit to IU Bloomington work, set the library limit to ALL BLOOMINGTON LIBRARIES.

• after performing your search, click on the subject categories in the right-hand column of the results.
Access the full text, if available electronically, by clicking on the URL in the full record of the title in IUCAT.

1996 to Present
Most IU dissertations and theses published since 1996 are available full-text electronically in ProQuest. Search for IU works by going to Advanced Search where, at the foot of the screen, you can limit by school.

Also, many recent theses and dissertations are now available from IU ScholarWorks to which you will link from the record in IUCAT.

Since 2004, most IU dissertations have been submitted in electronic format only. (Dissertations produced by the Jacobs School of Music are an exception – see above under “Librarians’ Lists”.)

Indiana University Dissertations and Theses: Pre-1996
Most IU dissertations and theses for any date are included in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. There is also a series of print bibliographies spanning 1883 to 1984, organized by subject and with an author index, which is housed in the Reference Reading Room. These volumes provide lists of citations only and provide no abstracts:

A Bibliography of Theses Submitted to Indiana University for Advanced Degrees, 1883- 1927
REF Z 5055.U5 I6

A Bibliography of theses submitted to Indiana University for Advanced Degrees, 1927/1935-1983/1984
REF Z 5055.U5 I62

Obtaining Dissertations and Theses
1. IU Dissertations
A large number of circulating dissertations and theses are located in the Research Collection stacks, 6th floor (north end). Some non-circulating single copies of dissertations are in the ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility) and are allowed to circulate only to the Lilly Library or the GIMSS reading room for two-hour periods.

2. From CIC institutions, post 1996
All CIC (Big Ten universities, plus the University of Chicago*) dissertations after about 1996 are available full text electronically through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

3. From all other institutions
Dissertations and some theses from outside IU may be obtained through Interlibrary Loan. Check first to see if the item you seek is listed in WorldCat (access from the Resource Gateway). If so, you can request from Interlibrary Loan by clicking on the link next to “External Resources”. There is no charge for this service.

If a hard-copy is not available to borrow from another institution, ILL will attempt to buy a paper copy from ProQuest to circulate to the requestor and then retain for the library collection (shelved in the ALF -- the Auxiliary Library Facility). If not available, they will send a request to the institution’s library where the dissertation was written; some have their own dissertations available online. If the library does not have a copy or cannot share it, DDS will notify the requestor and may suggest contacting the author directly. Often, the author is willing to share the dissertation. If available, materials can also be obtained direct from ProQuest for a fee.

*CIC institutions are:
University of Chicago
University of Illinois
Indiana University
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
Michigan State University
University of Minnesota
Northwestern University
Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Purdue University
University of Wisconsin-Madison

sm 6/3/10 latest revision jg January 3, 2012

last updated: 6/5/2013