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Library FAQs: Thesis FAQs

Frequently asked questions and answers for my library account, library materials, notices and assessment materials.

Thesis FAQs

How do I search for doctoral and master's theses? (Overview)

  • For dissertations produced by Alliant, CSPP, California Western University or USIU search Encore or Classic Catalog.
  • For dissertations produced by other universities and colleges search the database Dissertations & Thesis (ProQuest).
  • For proposals search the library catalog.
  • If you can't find it in the Alliant system, search LINKplus (for help, see How can I request items from LINK+ libraries?).
  • Dissertations not available in print or online at Alliant can be requested from the owning university through an Interlibrary Loan request.  Please be aware that not all universities loan dissertations and you might need to purchase directly from ProQuest.

Searching for Doctoral and Master's theses in Encore


  • Type subject in Encore search box.
  • On left side of screen limit Format to Thesis.
  • If you want to limit to home location click on appropriate location (i.e."Fresno" for items only available at the Fresno campus).




  • Click on Encore Advanced Search.
  • Type in keyword or words.
  • Limit to to Thesis.
  • Limit Location to home library if only interested in items at your home library.


Searching for  Doctoral and Master's theses in the Classic Catalog

  • Click on Classic Catalog under Research.
  • Click on Advanced Search
  • Type in keywords.
  • Under Limited to:
    • Material Type select Thesis
    • If limiting to location select appropriate location.
  • Click on Submit

How do I limit to Chair, Methodology, Statistics or Tests (Alliant only dissertations)?

  • Click on Alliant Theses
  • Select catagory to search from pull-down menu.
  • Type in chair person's name, methodology, type of statistics or name of test.
  • Click on Search.

How can I request a dissertation from another Alliant library? (No charge).

  • Go to the library home page. Select Classic Catalog or search Encore.
  • Search for the thesis you want.
  • If the item is available, click the "Request" button.
  • Enter your first name and your last name, with a space between your first name and last name.
  • Enter the 14-digit barcode or six-digit ID number. Do not use spaces or hyphens.
  • Click on "Submit." If you experience problems, go to the Log In FAQ.
  • Dissertations published after 1996 may be available full-text through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses and through a link on the dissertation’s record in the catalog (Alliant dissertations and some theses only). To search ProQuest Dissertations and Theses go to the Databases link located on the Library’s home page.

How can I request a thesis from a library that is not Alliant or LINKplus (Interlibrary Loan-ILL)?
Disclaimer: The Interlibrary Loan Department at your home library will try to obtain the material you requested, but please understand that some items are not available for loan. This can include dissertations from universities that do not loan and recently published items. Request may take 1-6 weeks to arrive.

  • Go to the library home page.
  • Click on Interlibrary Loan.
  • Enter your name and barcode/ID #.
  • Click on the link for Dissertation.
  • Type in all the information you have. Incomplete requests will create delays; please fill out all requested fields.
  • Click on "Submit This Request."
  • Your request may not show in "My Library Account" for 24-48 hours, as the staff will need to process the request first.

How do I know where a thesis is located?

  • Look in the first column on the left-hand side. It lists the library location and the type of collection (some dissertations are located in archives and may be unavailable for viewing).
  • Look at the status to see if the item is available, checked out, or in storage.
  • Certain campuses will put "proposal" in the call number if the item is a proposal.


Dissertations at most Alliant libraries are filed alphabetically by author's last name, with the following exception:

In San Diego, Alliant & CSPP dissertations are filed alphabetically, but USIU and Cal Western dissertations are filed by call number. The format is:

BF (Library of Congress call number)

USIU (university)

2001 (year completed)

A1 (where A is the first letter of the author's last name).


Finding Dissertations online 

  • Alliant, CSPP and USIU dissertations published online since 1996 should be available full-text either through the link on the item's record in the catalog or through a search in the Dissertation & Theses database. New dissertations may not be available for 3-9 months from the submission date.
  • Dissertations in PsycInfo -- dissertation records are available in the PsycInfo database but you will not find full-text links to the item.  It is recommended that you open a second window and search the Dissertation & Theses database directly for the author to see if available full-text online.
  • See search guide on Dissertations and Theses for further information on searching for dissertations in the ProQuest database.


Updated 7/11/2014 RES