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Literature and Writing Research


Thesis Submission

There are guidelines, forms and deadlines available through the CSUSM website for several aspects of your thesis process. It is strongly recommended to examine each and question and discrepancies as deadlines, etc. may change and the information not be transmitted to all parties!

Master's Thesis, Project or Comprehensive Exam Information and Forms (CSUSM Graduate Studies)
The current deadlines, requirements and forms for your thesis are here.

Thesis Submission Guidelines (Library)
CSUSM has recently moved to electronic format theses, rather than print. Be sure to review these instructions as exceptions cannot be made.

CSUSM University Catalog
Individual disciplines may have additional requirements for your thesis. From the campus home page, select "Current Students" then look under "Academic Programs".

Guide to Preparing Dissertations and Theses

Dissertations and Theses are book-length studies based on original research and written in partial fulfillment of requirements for the doctoral (dissertations) or master's degree (thesis). They provide in-depth research on narrow topics, and are primarily used by graduate students and faculty.

The following are tools for developing a thesis or dissertation. For submitting a thesis to the CSUSM collection, please see The CSUSM Thesis Submission Guide.

Information on Dissertations

Be sure to check your discipline's manual of style found in the library reference collection. Many of the publishers offer additional helpful web sites. See the library page on citation manuals or visit these sites: 

APA for Students

Chicago Manual of Style

MLA (From Indiana University-South Bend as is for members only.)

How to Read an Electronic Dissertation (from their site "Creating an Electronic Dissertation")
Useful information from Virginia Tech on browsing and navigating online dissertations.

From the CSUSM Collection

Mauch, J.E. and Namgi, N. (2003). Guide to the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: A Handbook for Students and Faculty. 5th ed. New York: M. Dekker. (In Reference LB2369 .M377 2003).

Rudestam, K.E. and Newton, R.R. (2007). Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process. 3rd ed. Los Angeles: Sage.  (In Stacks LB2369 .R83 2007, 2nd edition from 1992 also available)

Locating CSUSM Theses

Browse theses completed by Cal State San Marcos graduate students.

REMEMBER! The thesis guide, written by Carmen Mitchell, CSUSM Institutional Repository Librarian, provides EVERYTHING you are required to do in order to successfully submit your thesis. Do NOT ignore these steps and adhere to any deadlines from this page or your department.

As you will be referring to this guide during your writing and submission process, it is recommended to bookmark


Borrowing dissertations is generally by request via Interlibrary Loan. If a local university (i.e., SDSU, UCSD, USD) owns the dissertation, use the Circuit for faster service. An additional option for a copy that you keep is to purchase an unbound copy through UMI (if the work was submitted to them.)

Interlibrary Loan
We can ask a university that owns a dissertation to lend us a copy. Note that not all universities lend copies of dissertations, while some lend only microfilm copies.

If you find the dissertation in the Circuit, you can request it online, and pick it up at our Library, sometimes within 24 hours. Excludes weekends and holidays.

UMI Dissertations Express
Order your own unbound copy from UMI's collection of over one million titles. You need to know the author and keywords from a specific title to locate the desired item.

Research Databases--Other Universities' T& D

For the most comprehensive search for dissertations, use a research database. None of the databases provide the full-text of the dissertation,so once you have all the information for a specific item (author, title, institution, etc.), you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Multi-disciplinary Collections

Dissertation and Theses
Dissertations and Theses Database includes digitized dissertations in a variety of subject areas including Art, Communications, Education, History, Linguistics, Literature, and Social Sciences.

WorldCat Dissertations
Index of published and unpublished dissertations from around the world. This database does not provide abstracts, but does provide subject headings.

Subject-specific Collections

America History and Life
US and Canadian history. Choose Advanced search. Under "Document Type" select "dissertation"

Art Full Text
Indexes over 550 journals covering a wide variety of the arts (film to fashion, classic to cutting edge, ancient to modern) from the US and around the world.

Historical Abstracts
World history except US and Canada. Choose Advanced search. In "Document Type" type "dissertation"

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)
Literature, humanities

Literature. Go to advanced search. Under Limit to: Document Type Phrase, choose "Dissertation Abstract."

Psychology. Under "Publication Type" choose "Dissertation Abstract."

Music. Go to advanced search. Under Limit to: Document Type, choose "Dissertation."

Social Services Abstracts
Indexes Dissertation Abstracts International: A. Try using the term "dissertation" with your topic keywords.

Sociological Abstracts
Indexes Dissertation Abstracts International: A Try using the term "dissertation" with your topic keywords.

Women's Studies International
Indexes both Dissertation Abstracts International A and B. Try using the term "dissertation" with your topic keywords.

Locating Local Universities' Theses

If the dissertation you are looking for was submitted at UCSD, SDSU, or USD, it is faster to order it through the Circuit than to do an Interlibrary Loan. For dissertations submitted at a University of California campus other than UCSD, you need to  order the item through Interlibrary Loan.

Use "word" search with "dissertation" and your topic terms.

Melvyl -- University of California
Under format select "dissertation."

Web-based Theses and Dissertations

Although a large number of theses and dissertations are only available in print through ILL or UMI, many newer dissertations are being published and made available on the Internet (in whole or part) through university repositories.

Multi-university collections

International Multi-University Collections (may not be in English)

Individual University Collections (Just a sample, there are many more!)

Commercially-provided access

Dissertations and Theses Database CSUSM Users only
A mix of full-text and abstracts for dissertations and theses from a variety of discplines.

Dissertation Express from UMI (formerly University Microfilms, Inc.)
Useful for a very surface skim of submitted dissertations. UMI is the largest commercial thesis and dissertation registery and provides this database for ordering unbound dissertations. The search results (limited to 40) provide minimal information as to title, author and institution and no abstract.