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Michigan State University

Arab American Studies Research Guide: Dissertations and Theses


This guide provides information on locating, borrowing, and purchasing doctoral dissertations. It also addresses similar issues with regard to theses. Please note that doctoral dissertations are collected and archived more systematically than master's theses.

If you are unable to locate dissertations (or theses) using these instructions, ask a librarian for assistance.

What is a dissertation? A dissertation is a book-length thesis or treatise prepared as a requirement for the award of a doctoral degree (Ph.D.)

What is a thesis? A thesis is book-length essay or treatise prepared as a requirement for the award of a master's degree.

Why use a dissertation (thesis) for research? Dissertations can be especially useful for locating recent research that may not yet be published in book or article format. Revised dissertations are often published later as books or scholarly articles; to find these, try searching for other works written by the same author.

Search Proquest Dissertations and Theses

MSU faculty, students, and staff with a Net ID and password may search this index off-site.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses offers the capability of searching over 1.4 million doctoral dissertations and master theses (1861- current)  from MSU and other universities across the globe (primarily Canada and the UK/Ireland). Around 55,000 dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.  Search by keyword, subject, title, or author. 

The MSU community now has access to every digitized dissertation or thesis available from Proquest.   Records for pre-1997 or for other colleges and universities may produce a citation only or a short preview. If full text is not available go to the Interlibrary loan form to order it.  First time users will need to click on the link on the left of the page, 'First Time ILLiad Users,' to set up an account.  Note: interlibrary loan is only available for the MSU community.

For a print or microfilm copy of a MSU thesis or dissertation, check the MSU catalog .

MSU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Repository

Welcome to the MSU Libraries Electronic Theses & Dissertation (ETD) repository. This collection contains over 2,000 ETDs published from 2010 to the present. This is just the digital subset of the Theses & Dissertations collection, of which MSU Library is the official depository. You can learn more about finding Theses & Dissertations at the MSU Library Finding Theses and Dissertations libguide.

Starting with the spring 2011 semester, MSU now mandates that all theses and dissertations must be deposited electronically with ProQuest/UMI ( These dissertations are made available through the MSU Libraries digital repository infrastructure. In this guide you will find instructive examples regarding searching and browsing the electronic collection, repository functionality, and more.

This digital repository is built using the Fedora Commons repository software, Islandora, Apache Solr and Drupal. Questions regarding the repository or the collection can be directed to the Digital Curation Librarian (

Search Open Access Digital Repositories

More and more universities are making their dissertations and theses available free of charge over the internet.  Here is a list of some of these sites:

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations / Started by Virginia Tech University, this is a global database of over 750,000 ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations).

OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center  / Browse ETD's from over 30 participating colleges and universities in the state of Ohio.

Texas Digital Library / Texas Digital Library offers over 6,000 ETDs from several large research universities in the state.

Theses Canada Portal  / Over 50,000 ETD's are available from the Library and Archives Canada's collection. For full-text, select "Electronic Theses" on the search screen.

British Library EThOS Beta  / Individuals may login and search this database of over 250,000 British theses and dissertations, without a fee. Some theses may be available on an Open Access basis. For others, individuals may have to pay a charge and wait for digitization to take place before delivery.

DART-Europe E-theses Portal / Over 130,000 full-text ETD's are available from 230 participating universities from 17 European countries.

Subject Guide

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Erik Ponder
African Studies Librarian
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Dr. (E 224B)
East Lansing, MI 48824

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