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Information Literacy Research Skill Building: Dissertations and Theses

This guide contains information literacy instructional materials based on the ACRL Information Literacy Standards.

Dissertations and Theses

Overview:  It's possible to get information about WSU dissertations a number of ways. You may:

  • Conduct a keyword search in Search It (see Part 1 below).
  • Use the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database (see Part 2 below).
  • What to do if the dissertation is not available via Search It, ProQuest, or in print format from the WSU Libraries.  (See Part III below.)


Part 1:  Searching WSU Dissertations via Search It

  • All dissertations completed at Washington State University are cataloged in Search It. You can locate dissertations in Search It by searching by author, title, keyword, or subject.  It is currently not possible to find WSU Dissertations by call number through Search It.  You can, however, browse the stacks by general call number ranges.
  • If you have a topic in mind, but don’t know the name of a specific dissertation, another way to locate dissertations in Search It is to make use of the keyword “thesis.” ALL WSU dissertations have the word “thesis” in their description (Thesis (Ph. D.)--Washington State University, 2001), so you can search for thesis and another word or phrase that describes your area of interest.
  • Accessing WSU Dissertations via Search It

FOR PRINT:  Many dissertations are available in print from the WSU Libraries. If the item is not available electronically, write down the call number, which begins with "WSU."  Use the location and call number information to find the dissertation in the stacks.

ONLINE ACCESS: Electronic copies of recent WSU dissertations are sometimes available through the Search It record.  You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the dissertation.

screenshot of online dissertation in Search It

Part II:  You may search for WSU Dissertations via the ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis database:

You may search ProQuest dissertations & theses (PQDT).  Include the following in your search to limit by WSU graduates:

sch.Exact("Washington State University").

If the dissertation is available online, you will see a "Full-text PDF" link to it. If you do not see a Full-text link, it means the resource is available in print.  Copy the title of the dissertation and paste it into Search It.  Click the search button, and you should see the item in the results list.  Write down the location and call number.

Example of a dissertation available in full text in the Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest) Database:

full text dissertation

Part III:  If the disseratation you need is not available from the WSU Libraries, see if it is online via Google Scholar, or from Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD).  If it is not, you will need to either request a copy from the host institution (via Interlibrary Loan) or purchase an electronic copy from the (PQDT) database 

The Processing of WSU Dissertations and Theses


1. Graduate school went electronic only in Fall 2008. Library may receive a few TDs in print but they are generally gifts from the graduate and not from the Graduate school.

2. Theses are managed via a local system maintained by Library Systems

3. Dissertations are managed via ProQuest since 2010

4. The Graduate school has had a lot of turnover in the last year. Our current contact is preparing to process her first batch of paperwork for the August 2012 graduates.

5. TDs may be embargoed and not released to Library until embargo is over.


Masters Theses:

·         Candidate submits digital Thesis to Graduate school via email, they go through a three to four month vetting process at which time the Candidate submits the final version to the Library server

·         Library notifies Graduate school of receipt

·         After final graduation clearance (approximately 30 days following Commencement), Graduate School informs the WSU if final submission is approved

·         Library Systems notifies TS that Theses are ready for cataloging

·         Due to the large numbers received in a few days, it may take two-three months to catalog all theses, although they may already be available on Research Exchange

  • To find in Search It, Limit search to WSU Libraries - Summit.  Do a keyword search on: Washington State University Name of Department
  • Limit to years after 2008.


·         Candidates submit digital Disseration to UMI/ProQuest,

·         UMI notifies Graduate school, dissertation goes through a three to four month vetting process

·         After final graduation clearance (approximately 30 days following Commencement), Graduate School informs the UMI/ProQuest if final submission is approved

·        When UMI receives final delivery notification from Graduate school they begin processing. This takes approximately 12 weeks

·        After processing is complete, UMI sends Library Systems electronic files for loading on the Library server

·       Systems staff review embargo metadata for each dissertation and mount files consistent with requests

·       Systems notifies TS that Dissertations are ready for cataloging

·       Due to the large numbers, it may take two-three months to catalog all dissertations, although they are already available on Research Exchange and via ProQuest

Upon request, Cataloging can expedite cataloging of a thesis or dissertation but only if they have received notification that the file is available.




WSU Thesis and Dissertation Call Numbers

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us