Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Princeton University Doctoral Dissertations
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
1877-2010 (mostly 1950-2010)
1242 linear feet


The dissertations represent doctoral work in over forty graduate departments. They date from 1877 to the present and they are arranged chronologically.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Mudd Manuscript Library holds most dissertations completed at Princeton since 1877, when the first graduate degree was awarded, and annually receives graduate students' most recent efforts. Of the few degrees awarded by departments originally offering doctoral programs, only about half are preserved in the archives. Because President McCosh supported the creation of the school of science, it is not surprising that a slight majority of the degrees awarded during his tenure are in the sciences. Modern dissertations represent 45 graduate departments and tend to be substantially lengthier than the earlier papers. For example, the 38 papers written between 1877 and 1899 span 0.45 linear feet of shelf space, papers from 1900 to 1920 span four feet, and the 1930s and 1940s about twelve feet apiece. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1950s and later, with the 1980s requiring over 500 linear feet of shelf space.

Some security classified dissertations from the 1940s through the 1960s are not in the collection and could not be located.


Dissertations are arranged chronologically.

Collection History


Students are required to submit two bound copies and one PDF of their dissertations to the University Library upon graduation.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Most dissertations written prior to 1950 were removed from heavily acidic bindings, placed in acid free folders and boxes and arranged by call number. More recent dissertations are bound into volumes.

This collection was processed by Kyle Weston and Laura Burt in 1994. Finding aid written by Kyle Weston and Laura Burt in 1994. Finding aid updated in 2010 by Lynn Durgin.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. If copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with non-commercial use of materials from the Mudd Library. For materials where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Princeton University Doctoral Dissertations; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

One copy of each dissertation is retained in the University Archives collection and does not circulate. The second copy is placed into circulation in the Princeton University Library system.

Most Princeton University dissertations dating from 1937 to the present are available as full-text PDFs from the subscription database ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: Full Text. Researchers outside of the Princeton University domain (or those that are unaffiliated with an institution that subscribes to this database) can purchase dissertations from ProQuest's Dissertation Express service.

Other Finding Aids

Access to most 20th century dissertations and all 21st century dissertations is via the Princeton University Library online catalog. In addition, dissertations created in the fall of 2011 and later can be found in Princeton University's digital repository DataSpace. A card catalog at the Mudd Manuscript Library provides information on dissertations created between 1920 and the mid 1990s. For information on accessing late 19th century and early 20th century dissertations, contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Electronic versions (PDFs) of dissertations dated from 1950 and after are distributed by ProQuest/UMI. Researchers within the Princeton University domain can access these works through ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: Full Text. Researchers outside of the Princeton University domain (or those that are unaffiliated with an institution that subscribes to this database) can purchase copies at a fair price via the ProQuest Dissertation Express service.

Subject Terms:
Graduate students -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- Dissertations.
Genre Terms:
Princeton University