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How to Find Dissertations and Theses: Finding Dissertations and Theses

Locating and citing APU and non-APU dissertations and theses using APU library resources.

Finding Dissertations & Theses

Are you looking for copies of dissertations or theses to reference for your research? Most article databases do not incorporate scholarship from these sources. However, ProQuest provides a dedicated database containing dissertations and theses that students have chose to submit for electronic access. Follow the steps on this page to access the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database and begin your research.

Note about using PQ Dissertations & Theses

Electronic copies of many dissertations and theses can be downloaded from the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation authors are responsible for submitting their documents and setting download permissions, so not all dissertations will appear in the database. (This applies to APU doctoral students, as well. So while many of our student's have chosen to submit their dissertations for access in this database, not all chose to do so. If you are looking for a specific dissertation by an APU student and can't find it electronically in the database, follow the instructions on searching our catalog for the print copies of their work.)

Working on Your Thesis or Dissertation?

Copies of the APU Style and Format Handbooks for Doctoral Publications and Master's Theses, as well as the Institutional Review Board Handbook, are available through the APU portal,

If you have questions about formatting or submitting dissertations and theses, please contact Janice Baskin, Director of Publications (626-815-6000, Ext. 5266,

For research assistance, please contact the subject specialist librarian for your discipline.

Finding Electronic Copies of Dissertations

Searching in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database (PQDT) works similarly to other APU databases. You can access the databases using the link provided or by looking it up in the All Database list found on the University Libraries website.

Once you have logged in to the database, you will be presented with a search screen. You can search PQDT by keyword to find dissertations and theses on topics similar to yours, or you can search by school, author, or degree type. PQDT can also be a good resource when you are looking for a copy of an inventory or other instrument for your research; just do a keyword search for the name of the tool (e.g., Leadership Practices Inventory), then look in the dissertations' table of contents or appendices to see if the author has included a copy of the instrument.

In the example below, we are looking for material on the leadership styles of women in university administration positions.


Once you've selected the search button, you will be taken to the brief results screen. From here you will be able to access dissertations and theses, as well as place further limiters on your search. For example, if you would like to only see doctoral dissertations in your results, check the box below your search string and then click on the search button again to filter out the other results. Or, you can use the limiters on the right to add things like publication date limits and school/institution.


While much of the content in PQ Dissertations and Theses is full text, you will occasionally find citations that are not available in the database. For the full text options, simply click on the PDF link to access the material. For items not available in full text, click on the Full Text Finder link to request that the library attempt to find the item elsewhere.