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Theses and Dissertations: The Basics

A guide to finding theses and dissertations either here at UNM or elsewhere.


A thesis or dissertation is:

"a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings."

"In some contexts, the word "thesis" is used for part of a bachelor's or master's course, while "dissertation" is normally applied to a doctorate, while in others, the reverse is true."

Thesis. (2016, September 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 

Interlibrary Loan

Is the dissertation you need not available online? Eligible researchers may request dissertations held by other libraries through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Keep in mind that libraries may only keep one copy of a dissertation or thesis. If an institution will not loan their theses/dissertations, ILL will notify you and cancel the request. 

Researchers who are not affiliated with UNM and who wish to access UNM theses and dissertations are advised to first check UNM's institutional repository to see if the item is available online. If not, researchers may request copies of these works through their library's ILL office.


Finding UNM Theses & Dissertations

  • Circulating hard copies of UNM theses and dissertations are shelved by call number in the basement of Zimmerman Library.
  • Non-circulating hard copies are available in the Center for Southwest Research, including a few theses and dissertations that are only available there.
  • To find a particular thesis or dissertation, you can search for it using the University Libraries' QuickSearch. (Author or title searching works well but unfortunately, there is not an easy way to search for theses or dissertations as a material type as consistent labels were not used over the years.) Use the Request It button to request that a circulating copy be pulled and placed on hold for you at the Zimmerman Library Service Desk.
  • Remember that dissertations completed since 2010 are available online as part of UNM's institutional repository. They may also be available in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global Full-Text database (see Finding Other Theses & Dissertations box below).

Use QuickSearch to Find UNM & Other Theses/Dissertations

Search the library catalog (including e-books)

  • Keyword
  • Title
  • Author
  • ISBN
  • ISSN

Other Ways to Find Theses & Dissertations (non-UNM)

  • TIP: Many colleges and universities, including UNM, have set up institutional repositories to make their theses and dissertations available online. If you know the dissertation you are looking for, try searching for it using keywords (author's name, title words, university name). For information on finding UNM works, see the Finding UNM Theses and Dissertations box of this guide.

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