Answered By: Library Staff
Last Updated: Jul 20, 2017     Views: 6831

An academic dissertation or thesis is a large research paper written by students in order to complete their master's or doctoral degrees (PhD). Generally, "thesis" refers to a Master's degree and "dissertation" refers to a Doctoral degree.


Cal Poly offered a joint doctorate with UC Irvine in Educational Administration and Leadership.  Click here to see their dissertations. See Help Finding Masters Theses & Projects for finding Masters Theses and Projects done here at Cal Poly. We have some databases for finding Dissertations:

  • Dissertations & Theses: (Proquest) This database lists lists more than 1 million dissertations and theses and contains the full text for many of them. It does not include Cal Poly Pomona theses, but does have quite a few from other CSUs.
  • You can do a general search for dissertations in the UMI Dissertation Express.  If you find one you like, search for it in Google, Google Scholar and/or OpenDOAR for the possiblity of a free copy (see below) or request a copy via our Document Delivery Service before purchasing it from UMI. 

A lot of the recently published Theses and Dissertations are available for free on the web. Search Google, Google Scholar and OpenDOAR:





(Google and Google Scholar searches
sometime benefit from adding "pdf" )




More sources for identifying and finding dissertations: 

    NDLTD is the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, an international organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination, and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs).

  • Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD)
    A resource for finding open access (free) theses and dissertations published around the world.

  • PQDT Open
    From ProQuest, PQDT Open connects you to open access dissertations and theses available free of charge

 For full text copies of items you cannot get via the above sources, you can request copies to be borrowed from another library by using our Document Delivery Service (request these as books). If Document Delivery cannot borrow it, you can purchase (with your own money) a personal copy from Dissertation vendors such as UMI Dissertation Express.

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