Phd Dissertations Theses

Finding dissertations and theses will depend on what you are looking for. If you are looking for non-Iowa State University dissertations and theses, see below.

ISU dissertations and theses

All Iowa State University dissertations can be found in the Digital Repository @ Iowa State. A growing number of Master theses can also be read and downloaded from the Repository. More information on locating ISU dissertations/theses can be found below: 

Digital Repository @ Iowa State University

  • Includes: All dissertations; all digitized theses (2007-present)
  • Access: Open access, no log in required 
  • Best use: finding all dissertations or recent theses; browsing by year/department/college 
  • Note: Dissertations and theses are added roughly one semester after degree is awarded. 

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses @ ISU

  • Includes: All dissertations; most digitized theses (2007-present)
  • Access: Requires current ISU affiliation (library login)
  • Best use: to purchase copy from ProQuest; alongside other ProQuest databases
  • Note: Browsing/searching by department not possible; dissertations and theses are added roughly one semester after degree is awarded

Quick Search

  • Includes: Contents of Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses @ ISU, and print copies located in Iowa State University Library.
  • Access: No login required to use Quick Search
  • Best use:  searching for pre-2007 Masters theses; locating print copy of a dissertation or thesis (pre-2010); searching for a theses or dissertation with unknown date.
  • Note: Add to your search term the word "thesis" (rather than "dissertation") and the phrase "iowa state," along with relevant keywords for subject, date, and/or degree. Examples:
    • "iowa state" AND thesis AND 1926
    • "iowa state" AND thesis AND engineering
    • "iowa state" AND thesis AND ms AND bridges
    • "iowa state" AND thesis AND phd AND biomass

The ISU Library maintains printed versions of all doctoral dissertations and masters theses completed by ISU students through Fall 2009. Commencing in 2010, electronic copies only are available. Locations of printed copies vary, depending on publication date:

  • Published prior to 1974: One printed copy is housed in Special Collections, another in the Parks Library General Collection, shelved by call number based on subject area.
  • 1974-Summer 2006: One printed copy is housed in Special Collections, another in the Parks Library General Collection. Commencing in 1974, theses in the general collection are shelved together under a uniform call number, beginning ISU <year>, where <year> is the publication date. Within a given year, theses are sub-arranged by author.
  • Fall 2006-Fall 2009: A printed copy is maintained only in the Special Collections Department.
  • Spring 2010-present: There is no printed copy in the ISU Library; only electronic copies are available.


Non-ISU Dissertations and theses

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: Global

  • Includes: Dissertations and theses from around the world; 1743-present (majority 1997-present)

  • Access: Requires current ISU affiliation (library login)

  • Best use: finding dissertations and theses from American universities

  • Note: Includes participating American universities; growing number of international dissertations and theses; not all full-text.

Open Access Theses and Dissertations

  • Includes: Covers 1100 institutions, over 3.2 million theses and dissertations

  • Access: Open access, no login required

  • Best use: locating full-text, open access theses and dissertations

  • Note: Includes American universities not participating in ProQuest.

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations

  • Includes: 4.4 million dissertations from around the world 

  • Access: Open access, no login required

  • Best use: searching the largest number of dissertations and theses

  • Note: Not all dissertations and theses are available full-text

Need more help?

Contact a liaison librarian or Ask us!

All UW-Madison dissertations and theses required by the department for submission to the library are cataloged in the Library Catalog. If you do not find a dissertation or thesis in the Library Catalog, contact the department. Full-text PDF files of UW-Madison doctoral dissertations completed 1997 or later are available through ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.

Locating UW-Madison Dissertations & Theses

  • In the Library Catalog
    • In the Library Catalog advanced search, click Manuscripts, Theses from the list of facets on the right.
    • Enter an author, title, and/or year search terms.
    • Click Search.
  • In Library Databases
    • Proquest Dissertations & Theses index and full text to dissertations and theses from over 700 academic institutions around the world
    • Most pre-1997 UW-Madison dissertations and theses have been scanned as part of the Google Digitization Project. Digitized copies have been deposited in Hathi Trust, a repository for the digitized collections of major research institutions and libraries. When available, Library Catalog records contain links to Hathi Trust and Google Books. Content in the public domain is available full text.

Borrowing UW-Madison Dissertations & Masters Theses

UW-Madison dissertations and theses from 1965-present are stored in the Theses collection in the basement of Memorial Library. UW-Madison dissertations and theses from 1892-1964 are located in the UW-Madison Shelving Facility. UW-Madison master’s theses are not available for check out; they may be viewed in a library.

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