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Last Updated: Apr 28, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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This guide explains

  • what is a dissertation
  • what is a thesis
  • how dissertations are published
  • how to use Dissertations & Theses to find online dissertations
  • how to find print and microfilm dissertations


Definitions (these are the usual definitions in the United States)

  • Dissertation -- a very long essay about a very specific topic or research project.   Usually written as a requirement for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.  
  • Thesis -- a shorter essay.  Written as a requirement for a master’s degree.  The plural of “thesis” is “theses.”

These terms may vary.  For example, in the Library's catalog, Gallaudet dissertations are called  “Thesis (Ph.D.).”


How dissertations are published

  1. After a student’s dissertation is accepted by his/her university, it is printed.  

  2. Most universities, including Gallaudet, send their students’ dissertations to a company called ProQuest for publication.  ProQuest digitizes them and makes them available online.  

  3. Gallaudet's Graduate School and Continuing Studies usually gives the Library two print copies of each dissertation written by Gallaudet students.

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