Dissertations are generally unavailable through interlibrary loan because they are not traditionally published and very few physical copies are made.

Finding a dissertation online

However, many universities have begun digitizing all of their locally produced dissertations and making them available for free on an institutional repository. If you know the university where it was produced, you can track down its institutional repository and search for the dissertation there. However, if you know the title of a dissertation and it was written within the last ten to fifteen years, you can probably find it simply by typing the title into a search engine.

Searching for dissertations when you don’t know the title

If you are looking for a dissertation but don’t know the title, there are a few ways to search:

  1. Dissertation.com is one central place to search across many repositories at once to find the full text of a dissertation. However, it is not comprehensive.
  2. Search in a library database and narrow Source Type to Dissertations. They will generally not be available in full text, but you can use the citation information to search for a copy on the web.
  3. If you belong to another library that subscribes to it, Proquest Dissertations and Theses is a database that includes full text of many dissertations that have not yet been made available for free online.

Purchasing a dissertation

If a dissertation has not been published in an institutional repository or made available elsewhere on the web, many times the only way to access it is to purchase it through Proquest Dissertation Express.