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Dissertations and Theses

Locating theses and dissertations

Electronic Access to Dissertations Completed at ISU

The database Dissertations & Theses @ Illinois State University provides access to doctoral dissertations completed at Illinois State University and published by ProQuest.  Downloadable full text is available for all dissertations beginning in 1997 unless prohibited by the author; full text for selected dissertations prior to 1997 is available based on demand and author permission. Updated monthly.

Advantages: Dissertations are available through this database before they are available in the print collection.

Limitations: You must have a valid ISU ULID and password to search.  It is not possible to search by department, but you can search by author, and you can search for key words in the title, the abstract, and the full text.

Go to Dissertations & Theses @ Illinois State University

Locating Print Copies of ISU Dissertations and Theses


Individual theses and dissertations are given a unique number based on the order in which they come into the library. Thus, dissertations and theses produced by any given department will not be shelved next to each other. Copies of ISU doctoral dissertations and masters theses completed after 1990 are shelved by call number with the library’s other circulating books in the northeast area of the 6th floor. Theses and dissertations completed prior to 1990 are in storage and must be requested using the library catalog.  Theses and dissertations that include accompanying media (primarily Master of Fine Arts theses) are also located in storage and must be Requested using the catalog.   A second copy of each thesis and dissertation is kept in the University Archives. These archival copies can be viewed at the Archives, but they cannot be taken from there.


There will be two entries for newer dissertations in the library's catalog; one entry is for the bound paper copy, and the second entry links to the electronic full text.  To locate a call number, go to the library's web site and click on the tab for Books & Media, and then select Advanced Search.  In the Search for box, enter the words theses doctoral or theses masters. Note that the term dissertation is NOT used.  Use the drop box for Search by to change the designation to Subject Words. You can then enter key words or subject headings in the next boxes.


A 3-volume paper index was maintained from 1945 through 1990 and is located in the reference section on the main floor under the call number LD2347 .Z89 1989. This paper index includes a Keyword section and is the only way to search by subject for dissertations completed between 1966 and 1990.

Dissertations appear in the database Dissertations and Theses @ Illinois State University before the print copy is available, so when looking for recent dissertations, the database is a better option than trying to locate a print copy.

Locating Dissertations Completed at ISU and Other Universities

Electronic Access

Search the Dissertations & Theses database to locate dissertations completed at both Illinois State University and other universities. Dissertations & Theses is multidisciplinary and includes doctoral dissertations and masters theses from over 1000 accredited institutions. Coverage dates back to 1861, and it is updated monthly. From 1980 forward, 350-word abstracts written by the author are also included. Beginning in 1997 most dissertations are available full text. Dissertations and theses prior to 1997 are also now becoming available full text.


The subject headings used in the Dissertations & Theses database are very broad. Try experimenting with different combinations of key words. Remember that you can limit to various fields, including keyword, author, title, subject, advisor, and school.

The print version of this index, Dissertation Abstracts International, is available from 1938-1996 and is kept in storage on Floor 1. Volumes must be requested. Use to locate abstracts of pre-1980 dissertations.

Go to Dissertations & Theses

When Electronic Access is Not Available

Theses and dissertations completed at universities in Illinois before 1997 can be requested through the I-Share option in the Milner Catalog. However, some theses and dissertations, especially those with accompanying media, may not circulate.

Dissertations that are not available through I-Share or for free download can be ordered through Interlibrary Loan. However, many institutions will not lend their dissertations. If the institution owning the dissertation will not lend it, most dissertations can be purchased. An Order option is available as part of the Dissertations & Theses database.