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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I locate and obtain Princeton University senior theses and Ph.D. dissertations?

The senior thesis has been a requirement of all students at Princeton University since 1926. The Mudd Manuscript Library houses 57,000 (as of 2007) theses.

  • The longest thesis is 756 pages. [Jeanne Faust '76, English, "Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald '17: A Collection of Short Stories"]

  • The shortest thesis is three pages. [Gianluca Tempesti '89, Electrical Engineering, "Overview Opto-Electronic Integrated Circuits"]

  • The departments with the most theses archived are: History (7,663), English (6,421), Politics (6,158), Economics (6,082), and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (3,550).
    A look at some thesis titles can provide a preview of students' future careers.

A look at some thesis titles can provide a preview of students' future careers.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Princeton professor John McPhee '53 : "Skimmer Burns" (a novel).

  • Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito '72 : "An Introduction to the Italian Constitutional Court."

  • Editor of The New Yorker David Remnick '81 : "The Sympathetic Thread: 'Leaves of Grass' 1855-1865."

  • Health and community affairs executive Michelle Robinson Obama '85 : "Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community."

  • Political blogger and Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall '91 : "Virginia During the Nullification Crisis."

  • Executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Angela Ramirez '97 : "Acceptance of Differences in the National Origin and Race in Public Policy: Passage of the 1965 Immigration Act."

  • San Diego Padres pitcher Chris Young '02 : "The Integration of Professional Baseball and Racial Attitudes in America: A Study in Stereotype Change."

The Mudd Manuscript Library houses both senior theses and Ph.D. dissertations written by Princeton University students. Senior theses are listed in a dedicated database. Dissertations can be searched by using the Princeton University Library's online main catalog. The following discussion details the procedures for locating and obtaining copies of senior theses and dissertations.

Senior Theses

Class of 2013 senior theses will be available in PDF format on DataSpace on October 1, 2013.

A database listing of thousands of Princeton University senior theses dating from 1926 to 2012 is available online. It can be searched by author, words in title, department, class, and, since 1993, advisor. All senior theses must be examined in our reading room at the Mudd Library. They do not circulate.

If you cannot visit the library in person, you may request photocopies. Instructions on how to order a photocopy of a senior thesis are available here. Photoduplication fees are also available online. All orders must be prepaid and are processed in order of receipt, usually within two to three weeks. Failure to sign the form or return it with your payment will result in a delay in processing your order. For additional information on photocopying procedures and requests, please see the FAQ How do I Order Photocopies?

Ph.D. Dissertations

Princeton University Ph.D. dissertations are cataloged as books. By searching the library's main catalog you will find the call number and location for a specific dissertation. All dissertations must be examined in our reading room at the Mudd Library. They do not circulate.

Due to federal copyright law, only twenty percent of dissertations published after 1950 may be photocopied. [Note: Before 1950 the copyright law does not apply.] The process for photocopying a portion of a dissertation is the same as requesting a copy of a senior thesis. You can, however, a PDF digital or paper copy of an entire dissertation from ProQuest Information and Learning Company through UMI, 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106-1346. For fuller particulars, please visit UMI's Dissertation Services web site or call UMI's Dissertation Hotline at 800-521-0600, extension 7044. Alternatively, U.S. and Canadian residents may borrow Princeton University's dissertations through their local academic or public library's interlibrary loan service, provided a circulating copy is available. For researchers outside the U.S. and Canada, please visit the ProQuest UK web site.

Rosemary Switzer

Last modified: Tuesday, 25-Jun-2013 14:17:55 EDT