Libraries & Collections
Finding Theses and Dissertations

UC Davis Theses and Dissertations are available in a variety of formats

Electronic Copies
As of September 2010 all doctoral dissertations and masters theses are submitted to the Proquest Dissertations & Theses ( database. Electronic copies of doctoral dissertations began to be available in 1997 while masters theses began to be available in September 2010. After a dissertation or thesis is submitted to Graduate Studies, it can take up to several months for it to appear in the database.
Paper Copies
Masters theses from mid-2003 to September 2010 are located in the Shields Library bookstacks.
Microfiche Copies
UC Davis theses and dissertation issued between 1978 and mid-2003 are available for use in the Microcopy Collection, Lower Level, Shields Library. Microfiche copies are available for inter-library loan and for reading, copying, or scanning within the library.
Archival Copies
UC Davis theses and dissertations issued before 1978 are typically only available in Special Collections. These are stored offsite and are for use only in the Blanchard Special Collections Reading Room. They can be requested by e-mailing Turnaround time is 48-72 hours.

Note: Duplicate copies of selected UC Davis dissertations may also be found in the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library or the Carlson Health Sciences Library. Check the Harvest Online Catalog ( for locations.

Locating Theses and Dissertations in the Library Catalog

Locate theses and dissertations completed at UC Davis through the Harvest UC Davis Library Catalog ( Search the main catalog (and limit your search to the form "dissertations" in the advanced search), or, for better retrieval, use the "Search Specific Harvest Collections" option to search a subfile of all dissertations in the collection. In this Dissertations Catalog ( subfile you can search by author and by title and by the department issuing the degree. The Dissertations Catalog subfile also includes in-process theses and dissertations.

Searching by subject: theses and dissertations do not receive standard "subject" headings. Dissertation titles are required to be descriptive, so title word searches are often effective. Another strategy, applicable for dissertations only, is to search in the Digital Dissertations database (limiting to UC Davis if desired), where one can search titles, abstracts and subject descriptors.

UC Davis theses and dissertations, and all dissertations held by any University of California Library, are listed in Melvyl ( . In searching the Melvyl catalog, you will need to select "Thesis/Dissertations" from the "Content" drop-down menu.

Note: with our new catalog options, searching by dissertation subject heading is less used, but in case you need to know, UC Davis catalogs its theses and dissertations with a limited subject heading, constructed of the phrase Dissertations, Academic -- University of California, Davis plus the name of the department in which the degree is granted, for example:

Dissertations, Academic -- University of California, Davis -- Genetics

For 1989 and earlier, use the heading Dissertations, Academic -- California plus the name of the department in which the degree is granted, for example:

Dissertations, Academic -- California -- Soil science

Digital Dissertations

The Digital Dissertations ( database via ProQuest ( includes Dissertation Abstracts International, with more than 1.5 million entries and the Masters Abstracts International. The Dissertation Abstracts International database includes citations for theses and dissertations from 1861 to the current year. Entries for dissertations from 1980 forward include 350-word abstracts, written by the author. Citations for master's theses from 1988 forward include 150-word abstracts. UC Davis submits only doctoral dissertations for inclusion in Digital Dissertations via Proquest.

Search Digital Dissertations ( by Author, Keyword of title or abstract, Abstract, Subject, School ("Davis," for example), Degree, Advisor name, and other fields.

Some UC Davis dissertations are not sent to ProQuest at the request of the author. In such cases, locate the bibliographic record in the Harvest or Melvyl online catalog. There may be a microform or print copy available for use, or you may request retrieval of the archival copy via Special Collections.

The Digital Dissertations ( database provides access to the complete full-text of all University of California dissertations in addition to UC Davis doctoral dissertations from the year 1997 forward. Free 24-page previews are available for most other university theses and dissertations listed in the database from 1997 forward. Access to the ProQuest database and full-text is limited to UC computer addresses.

Instructions for obtaining PDF Files from ProQuest: When displaying a citation for a dissertation, the Digital Dissertations database will indicate via a "Free Download" button that the dissertation is available for full text download. UC dissertations since 1997 are available in full-text format. Users accessing the database from a UC Davis computer will be able to issue a download request for UC full-text dissertations. You will receive a URL by e-mail, and may retrieve and view the requested text from any computer, including off campus.

Obtaining Non-UC Davis Dissertations

The UC Davis Library acquires very few dissertations from other institutions. Those that we own can be identified through the Harvest UC Davis Library Catalog ( or the Melvyl Catalog ( Use the Request feature to to obtain dissertations listed in the Melvyl Catalog. Use the Digital Dissertations database ( to do a broader search for dissertations.

UC Davis faculty, staff and students may obtain dissertations from other institutions via interlibrary loan. Please consult the Interlibrary Loan staff (530) 752‑2251 if you have questions.