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Dissertations and Theses: UCSD and UC Dissertations & Theses

Searching for Dissertations and Theses in UC Library Search

Most UC and UC San Diego dissertations and theses (print and online) are cataloged and discoverable in UC Library Search, along with some dissertations at other institutions.

How to search if you are not looking for a specific title or author:

Are you Then try
Searching for dissertations by topic? Search by keyword, and then In the search results, select Resource Type = Dissertations
Searching for UC San Diego dissertations only, regardless of format? Instead of searching "Articles, Books, and More," change the search to "UC San Diego Library Catalog," and then select Resource Type = Dissertations.
Searching for only UC/UC San Diego dissertations that you can access immediately? In the search results, select Show Only = Available Online
Searching for UC San Diego Dissertations from a single department or program?

Most UC San Diego dissertations have a subject or genre line in the record like

  • Dissertations, Academic -- UCSD -- Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Dissertations, Academic -- UCSD -- Materials Science and Engineering
  • Dissertations, Academic -- UCSD -- Anthropology

You can search UCSD dissertations with the name of the major or program. However, many of the program names have changed over time, so this will retrieve some (but not all) dissertations from department or program without additional searching.

Accessing or Requesting Dissertations via UC Library Search - Including UCSD and UC

For electronic/online theses and dissertations (ETDs) via UC Library Search

When you retrieve a UC or UC San Diego dissertation or thesis record in UC Library Search, you will often see several access options: 

eScholarship - Available in eScholarship, the University of California open access repository. This copy can be read or downloaded by anyone, on or off campus and regardless of UCSD/UC affiliation, at no charge.

ProQuest. Restricted to UC IP addresses - Available in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, and access is similar to that of any of our other online resources, where UC San Diego faculty, staff and students can access off campus using VPN.


If there is only a print version in UC Library Search, or "No Online Access?" 

You may come across UC San Diego theses and dissertations that are print only (or physical, non-print formats), as well as dissertations from the other UC campuses and elsewhere that simply say No Online Access. Some of these may even have the Open Access logo.

  1. If if is a print or otherwise nondigitized thesis/dissertation from UC San Diego, most of these are at the Annex and you can sign into your library account to request it be sent to campus. Some items may say "limited use."
  2. Search Google Scholar and/or Google for the dissertation to see if that university has made the dissertation available online through their own repository, even if it's not identified as "available online" in UC Library Search.
  3. If you still can't find it online, sign into your library account in UCLS and follow the steps to request a copy through interlibrary loan. 
    1. You can also check ProQuest Dissertations & Theses to verify that it can be requested and that it's not embargoed. There is also the chance that it is freely available/open access in PQDT as well.

Embargoed Dissertations

If you see Embargoed until [date] or Full text available after [date], the author chose to delay the public release of their dissertation until that date. The library does not have access, nor can we acquire embargoed dissertations, even if they are from UC San Diego.

Your best option here might be to contact the author directly, or their advisor, or check the appropriate database(s) to find related journal articles and other works by the author.