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Finding Dissertations and Theses: Home

Dissertations & Theses

Full text options | Browsing Wheaton titles | Value in research




  • Theses (sing. "thesis") - refers to a longer academic paper typically required to earn a Master's degree.

  • Dissertation - an even longer work than the thesis (100+ pages), and required for most doctoral degrees. Often dissertations are later published as academic books (also referred to as monographs).



Recognizing a thesis or dissertation in your search results


  • In the library catalog: “icon-bks.gif Thesis/dissertation”

  • In library databases (e.g. PsycINFO)   ebscodiss.png OR dissertationstheses_src.gif


Full text options:


  1. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text is the first place to check. This resource provides full text PDFs of most dissertations written since 1997. It also contains select full text dissertations for works written prior to 1997.  
  2. TREN (Theological Research Exchange Network) - If the topic is theological, TREN is worth a look. You can search by author, title, institution, or degree level. The more recent a title, the more likely it’s available full text online for a cost of 10 cents per page, and a maximum cost of $15. You can pay by credit card.
  3. Request via I-Share and ILLiad - If the title you want is not available in either source above, you can usually request it through one of Wheaton’s resources sharing networks, I-Share and ILLiad, just as you would a published book. A dissertation record in either the library catalog or database will have at least one of these buttons below, each of which will enable you to request it from another library:

Screenshot 2014-08-19 09.37.38.png or greensfx.giforScreenshot 2014-08-19 10.18.22.png


Browsing theses or dissertations written at Wheaton College

Sample library catalog searches:

  • thesis m.a. wheaton college (for Master’s theses)

  • thesis ph.d. wheaton college (dissertations, Bible and theology)

  • thesis psy.d. wheaton college (dissertations, clinical psychology)

  • “action research paper” wheaton college (for MAT theses)


Value in research

In most cases, you will cite only published secondary sources in an academic paper, and theses and dissertations are not considered published works. However, they can be very useful and it’s legitimate to even reference them in a bibliography, especially when there’s little else on your topic. Consult with a subject librarian if that’s the case.

More commonly, it is the bibliographies in theses and dissertations that are most valuable to a researcher. Doctoral students in particular are expected to conduct a comprehensive and up-to-date search of the literature related to their topic. Take advantage of their time and effort and save yourself the same.