Columbia University Archives: Master's Essays & Dissertations

University Archives

Butler Library postcardColumbia University Archives
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Butler Library, 6th Floor
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027

Phone: (212) 854-3786
Fax: (212) 854-1365
E-mail: uarchives@columbia.edu

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Related Collections

Barnard College
The Barnard Archives and Special Collections serves as the final repository for the historical records of Barnard College, from its founding in 1889 to the present day. For more information, please contact archives@barnard.edu.

Health Sciences Library
The Archives and Special Collections at the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library of Columbia University can help you find information about the schools of the Medical Center: College of Physicians & Surgeons, School of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine (formerly the School of Dental & Oral Surgery), Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. For more information, please contact hslarchives@columbia.edu.

Master's Essays & Dissertations

How to find Master's essays and PhD dissertations

Master's essays can be found in the Columbia University library catalog, CLIO. They usually have a call number that begins with COA.

  • To request to see a Master's essay in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) reading room, you will first need to create a Special Collections Research Account. Once you have your account, look for the essay in CLIO. From the catalog record, select "Request: Special Collections" on the right side of the page. You will then be able to add the request to your account. Please note that these volumes with the call number starting in COA contain multiple essays from the same year and that these volumes are stored offsite. We prefer 5 business days advanced notice to retrieve materials from offsite storage, but require at least 48 business hours to process such requests.
     
  • Another way to search for older Master's Essay titles and authors is to consult a set of publications printed by the University listing authors alphabetically and arranging essays by department for a particular year. The University Archives copies of these publications can be requested (depending on what year you need) via three different CLIO records: Master's essays from 1891 through 1950/1951 (call number COA A); Master's Essays and Doctoral Dissertations from 1951/1952 through 1956/1957 published by University Libraries (call number CW4 C724); and Master's Essays and Doctoral Dissertation from 1957/58 through 1970/1971 published by the Graduate Faculties (call number CW4 C724).  To request access to these publications go to the appropriate CLIO record and click on the link that says “Request from Special Collections”. At this point you may be prompted to log back into your Special Collections Research Account to schedule the retrieval date and once you do that you should see the request listed in your account.
     
  • In addition to individually cataloged titles found in CLIO we have three collections of Master's Essays which can be requested using online finding aids. These are: Harriman Institute Theses and Dissertations, 1947-2006, the Department of History Master's Essays, 1971-1989 and School of General Studies Literature-Writing Theses, 1984-2007. To request a thesis from the finding aid: click the check box located on the right for the thesis you would like to see in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red-rimmed box at top. This should lead you directly to your Special Collections Research Account to complete the request form.
     
  • School of Social Work theses are also found by searching CLIO, but these are not serviced by the University Archives. If you wish to obtain access or are seeking a copy you will need to contact the Social Work Library for assistance.
     
  • There is a $30.00 flat rate if you wish to purchase a PDF copy of a Master's essay serviced by the University Archives up to 650 pages in length. To place an order, please complete, sign and return the photocopy order form.  Payment can be made by calling us with MasterCard or Visa credit card details or by sending a check drawn on a U.S. Bank made payable to "Columbia University".

School of the Arts Writing Division MFA theses can be found in the Columbia University library catalog, CLIO. They usually have a call number that begins with ARTSMA.

  • To request to see an MFA thesis in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) reading room, you will first need to create a Special Collections Research Account. Once you have your account, look for the thesis in CLIO. From the catalog record, select "Request: Special Collections" on the right side of the page. You will then be able to add the request to your account. Please note that these volumes are normally stored offsite. We prefer 5 business days advanced notice to retrieve materials from offsite storage, but require at least 48 business hours to process such requests.
     
  • To request a copy of a School of the Arts Writing Division MFA Thesis, written permission of the author is required. Researchers should request permission via SOA Writing Division Office ((212) 854-4391; writing@columbia.edu). Once permission is received, the reproduction order can be processed.
     
  • There is a $30.00 flat rate if you wish to purchase a PDF copy of a MFA thesis up to 650 pages in length. To place an order, please complete, sign and return the photocopy order form.  Payment can be made by calling us with MasterCard or Visa credit card details or by sending a check drawn on a U.S. Bank made payable to "Columbia University".

Ph.D. dissertations can be found in the Columbia University library catalog, CLIO. They usually have a call number that begins with COY, CWO CXO, CZO or LD1237.

  • To request to see a dissertation in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) reading room, you will first need to create a Special Collections Research Account. Once you have your account, look for the dissertation in CLIO. From the catalog record, select "Request: Special Collections" on the right side of the page. You will then be able to add the request to your account. Please note that these volumes are stored offsite. We prefer 5 business days advanced notice to retrieve materials from offsite storage, but require at least 48 business hours to process such requests.
     
  • Full text copies of dissertations published since 1997 (and some earlier dates) are available to Columbia UNI holders via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database. Non-Columbia patrons may order copies via ProQuest Dissertation Express. Various formats & fees apply.
     
  • If a dissertation is not available via Proquest you may request a copy from us. There is a $30.00 flat rate if you wish to purchase a PDF copy up to 650 pages in length. To place an order, please complete, sign and return the photocopy order form.  Payment can be made by calling us with MasterCard or Visa credit card details or by sending a check drawn on a U.S. Bank made payable to "Columbia University".
     
  • Another way to search for dissertation titles and authors is to consult a set of publications printed by the University listing authors alphabetically and arranging dissertations by department for a particular year. The University Archives copies of these publications can be requested (depending on what year you need) via three different CLIO records:  Master's Essays and Doctoral Dissertations from 1951/1952 through 1956/1957 published by University Libraries (call number CW4 C724); Master's Essays and Doctoral Dissertation from 1957/58 through 1970/1971 published by the Graduate Faculties (call number CW4 C724); and Doctoral Dissertations from 1971/1972 through 1987/1988 (call number CW4 C725).  After 1987/1988 you can find annual lists of Doctoral Dissertations in Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Convocation Programs which can be accessed via our Commencement Collection. To request access to the cataloged publications go to the appropriate CLIO record and click on the link that says “Request from Special Collections”. At this point you may be prompted to log back into your Special Collections Research Account to schedule the retrieval date and once you do that you should see the request listed in your account.
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About the image

Low Library and campus view postcard, 1903. (Scan 127)  Buildings and Grounds Collection, University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.