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Jazz Research Guide: Dissertations

About Music Dissertations

A dissertation is a thesis submitted as a requirement for a doctoral degree.  Library catalogs often use the technical term thesis: e.g. "Thesis (Ph.D.)."

There are different types of doctoral programs in music.  The most frequently encountered are

D.M.A. (Doctor of Musical Arts):  a performance degree

Ed. D. (Doctor of Education)

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy): musicology, ethnomusicology, theory, composition.

While D.M.A. dissertations may be particularly useful to performers, Ph.D. dissertations tend to examine the topic in greater depth and to offer more extensive bibliographies.

Obtaining Dissertations

There are two ways to obtain dissertations that Emory doesn't own or provide via online access.

  • Borrow a copy via Interlibrary Loan: Many universities lend dissertations via interlibrary loan. Emory students, faculty, and staff can place a request via ILLiad, Emory's Interlibrary Loan Department.
  • Purchase a copy: Emory students, faculty, and staff can purchase a copy via the Emory Library's Interlibrary Loan Department, from ProQuest's Dissertation Express service. Please see ILLiad's "Dissertation/Thesis Purchase Information" site for further purchasing information.

About foreign dissertations at the Center for Research Libraries

Finding Citations to Dissertations

Dissertations and Theses Full Text (ProQuest)
This is the primary bibliographic tool for dissertations in all disciplines, but coverage of titles from outside the U.S. is spotty.  Master's theses are included selectively.  PDFs of many dissertations are available for download, but note that others are unavailable due authors' restrictions.  Also, some titles have no abstract: for these, references to the print editions of Dissertation Abstracts International, American Doctoral Dissertations, and Masters Abstracts indicate where the abstract may be found.  (Dissertation Express is ProQuest's free site for searching and ordering dissertations.  It contains no abstracts.)

NDLTD: Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
In recent years numerous universities, including Emory, have switched to electronic dissertations and theses (EDTs). This site provides access to EDTs from the various schools.  (To search, choose the "VTLS Visualizer" option.)  Many can be downloaded free.

Emory Electronic Theses and Dissertations (2007– )

Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology Online (hosted by Indiana University)
Indexes dissertations in musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, and related disciplines. Particularly useful for its international coverage, inclusion of dissertations in progress, and listings by historical period. No abstracts. The successor to the print publication Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology.
Search tips:  Only one term per box permitted.  Truncation symbol:  *.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
Coverage starts with 1967 and is international in scope. To limit your results to dissertations, use the Advanced Search and specify "doctoral dissertation" as the Publication Type.

Proquest Dissertations and Theses—UK and Ireland
Indexes theses accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland, and provides abstracts.

DMS: Dissertationsmeldestelle der Gesellschaft für Musikforschung
Dissertations in musicology (and from 1998 those in music education as well) from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

Finding Dissertations
This guide will help you expand your research beyond the specialized music resources listed above.

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