Ask a Librarian
What is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation?
A thesis is the culminating requirement for a master's degree. Not all master's degrees, however, require theses. In some countries, especially Great Britain, a thesis means the culminating requirement for either a master's degree or a doctoral degree, so it may be called either a master's thesis or a doctoral thesis. A doctoral thesis in Great Britain is called a dissertation or doctoral dissertation in Canada and in the United States. Dissertations usually happen to be longer than theses.
How can I find dissertations that were written at Purdue?
Purdue theses (M.A. or M.S.) and dissertations (Ph.D)
The Purdue Libraries holds one copy of each title from 1876 to present. They are housed in the Hicks Repository (Undergraduate Library). There are sometimes additional copies in the Repository or in one of the college or departmental libraries; these second copies may be borrowed. Please note that it may take 6 to 12 months before a new thesis or dissertation is available for use.
Are you looking for a …
- Dissertation published after 1997? Most are available FREE in PDF files from ProQuest’s Dissertation and Theses database.
- Thesis or dissertation published after 1973? Check the catalog by author and/or title for the Purdue library location and thesis/dissertation number.
- Thesis or dissertation published in 1973 or before? The Hicks Repository and several other campus libraries have a microfiche list for finding the Purdue library location and the thesis/dissertation number.
Go to Dissertations and Theses (PQDT). It offers a comprehensive listing of bibliographic entries for theses and dissertations in the Dissertation Abstracts database. Theses and dissertations listed since 1997 are available in PDF digital format for users affiliated with Purdue University with access to theses and dissertations from CIC institutions. For those entries not full-text, 24-page previews are available. For non full-text entries and possible borrowing of non-Purdue titles, consult Interlibrary Loan.
How can I find dissertations that are free?
- From Center for Research Libraries search for available paper-bound titles, consult their database here. CRL has more than 750,000 uncataloged foreign [non-U.S. or Canadian] doctoral dissertations, of which approximately 20,000 are presently in this database. Please consult with CRL if you are unable to find a dissertation that you may require.
- Cybertheses permits access to selected French dissertations from 1972 to the present. This database can provide access to another index where full-text provision for selected dissertations [th�ses in French] may be provided.
- NDLTD - Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. NDLTD provides access to thousands of digitally available dissertations and theses. Both U.S. and foreign dissertations and theses can be accessed through this site for those institutions participating within this association.