Discover & Retrieve Dissertations and Theses

Retrieve Copies of Dissertations and Theses - Find Research for your Dissertation or Thesis. 

Ordinarily, “dissertations” are written by doctoral students and “theses” by master’s students, but the terms are often used interchangeably.  A search for dissertations or theses written on your topic should be part of a comprehensive literature review for major research projects.

  • The studies performed are often the basis for later scholarly articles, essays, or books.  They help you identify key or seminal authors who have written on your topic.
  • By evaluating existing dissertations, you can determine where there is a “gap in the literature” or implications for further or expanded research.  You don’t want to merely duplicate or replicate existing research.
  • Examining the methodology and theoretical framework of other studies will help you decide the best approach for researching your topic.
  • Comprehensive bibliographies can point you to key sources written about your subject. Generally, try to then find the original source rather than quoting a source “as cited in” a dissertation.

Typically, begin your search with Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global. This is our largest collection of dissertations and most dissertations since 1997 are in full-text.  Those for which full-text is not available may sometimes be purchased through UMI Dissertation Express, but always check first to be sure we don’t have access to it through the database.

Whereas books are cataloged by professional catalogers, dissertations and theses are often indexed using author supplied tags.  Try a variety of keywords to maximize your search.  Our subscription databases usually allow Boolean searching (e.g. marriage OR marital OR couples).

  • Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global
    The world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses. It is the database of record for graduate research, with over 2.4 million dissertations and theses included from around the world.
  • Liberty University DigitalCommons
    All Liberty University theses and dissertations, beginning with Fall 2006, are available electronically through the Digital Commons. In addition, some theses and dissertations completed prior to Fall 2006 have been scanned and are also available in the Commons.
  • Jerry Falwell Library Catalog (formerly LUCAS)
    You may want to set the catalog search limit function to "Liberty University Theses and Dissertations" Look for the "Limit" button on the bottom right of the screen. Links to the Digital Commons electronic copies may be found here. Print bound dissertations are usually not checked out of the library unless we have two copies.
  • Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD)
    NDLTD is an international organization of major research universities and associations dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). You can search more than 200,000 ETDs, a significant number of which are freely available in full-text and can be viewed online.
  • Center for Research Libraries (CRL)
    CRL's dissertation collection is an active, circulating collection of non-U.S., non-Canadian doctoral dissertations that numbers almost 800,000. While not comprehensive, it spans almost two centuries of scholarship from more than 1,300 institutions.  The collection ranges from the mid-1800s to the current day. It includes dissertations from more than 115 countries. Germany, with 276, has the largest number of institutions represented. More than 80 languages are represented in the collection. Many of these dissertations have been digitized.  To take advantage of our institutional membership, use the proxied link above to access this collection.
  • Ethos
    Ethos is the online thesis service of the British Library.  Many theses have been scanned and are available online.  Upon request, many that are currently only available in print can be digitized and added to Ethos at no charge.
  • WorldCat (FirstSearch)
    This catalog of library catalogs includes records for thousands of dissertations held by libraries worldwide. You may be able to access a link to an online full-text or pre-view version. On rare occasions you may be able to borrow a copy from another university or visit the library to examine the dissertation.
  • UMI Dissertation Express
    Purchase your own unbound copies of dissertations and theses with express delivery to your home, school or office. Select from over 1.9 million graduate works available from UMI.

Finding Theological, Biblical Studies, Ministry, and other Religious Dissertations

Begin by checking Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global, TREN (Theological Research Exchange Network), and Liberty University DigitalCommonsResearch in Ministry Online (On-Campus Access Only) only provides abstracts, whereas TREN provides full text for the select institutions that submit dissertations to it.  For instance, Liberty University dissertations are available in Digital Commons and ProQuest, but are not indexed in TREN. Not all theological dissertations and theses are in TREN

By using the proxied link below, you can download TREN electronic documents free rather than purchasing them.  You will need to use the provided password to open the document.

  • Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global
    The ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database (PQDT) is the world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses. It is the database of record for graduate research, with over 2.4 million dissertations and theses included from around the world.
  • Research in Ministry Online (On-Campus Access Only)
    RIM® Online is a freely available database that indexes DMin and DMiss projects from reporting schools of theology accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Indexing began in 1981. Author, title, project advisor, institution, and subject access are provided. In addition, an abstract for each project is included when one has been provided by the author.
  • TREN (Theological Research Exchange Network)
    TREN is a distribution service for over 10,000 religion-oriented theses/dissertations representing research from as many as 70 different institutions. TREN also makes available conference papers presented at annual meetings of several academic societies. TREN’s search features are limited, but since most TREN documents have been cataloged by libraries, you can also search for them using WorldCat. Most documents can be ordered in electronic form.
  • Liberty University DigitalCommons
    All Liberty University theses and dissertations, beginning with Fall 2006, are available electronically through the Digital Commons. In addition, some theses and dissertations completed prior to Fall 2006 have been scanned and are also available in the Commons.
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