4.6 Classification of BYU Theses and Dissertations


Use this policy to determine call numbers for papers produced in fulfillment of a degree program at BYU. Such papers include theses, dissertations, field projects and project reports. (The term thesis is used throughout this document to refer to these papers in general.) Two copies are usually acquired of each of these papers; one is cataloged for the stacks and the other for the BYU Collection, which is part of Special Collections. Stacks copies are classed together by academic department in the general subject area. Only one copy each is acquired of Closure Projects for the Bachelor of Independent Studies, which are cataloged for the BYU Collection, and Honor theses or University Scholars projects, which are cataloged for the stacks. Copies of doctoral dissertations are usually not delivered to the Catalog Department together; upon receipt one copy is sent unbound to UMI by the Acquisitions Department for microfilming. With these catalog the first copy you receive for the stacks and the subsequent copy, when it arrives, for the BYU Collection.


Classify the stacks copy in the classification number for the academic department issuing the degree, as given in the following tables:



Formulate the portion of the class number following the decimal to reflect the type of paper as in the table below, where x is the portion of the classification number preceding the decimal.

x.02 Theses for the M.A. or the M.S.

x.021 Field projects, research papers or other papers written for master’s degree programs but not designated as theses. Also, theses for master’s degrees other than M.A. or M.S. (i.e. M. Ed., etc.)

x.022 Doctoral dissertations

Add a cutter number and date using the LC Cutter Table as with any LC call number. (Since these are not true LC classification numbers, no x is needed after the final cutter.)

Classify the copy for the BYU Collection in Dewey 378 with a similar decimal suffix.

378.2 Theses for the M.A. or the M.S.
378.21 Field projects, research papers, etc.
378.22 Doctoral dissertations
378.23 Closure projects (Bachelor of Independent Studies)

As with any Dewey number, determine an appropriate cutter based on the author’s name using C. A. Cutter’s Three-figure Author Table. In general, use the same cutter for individuals with the same surname. Extend the cutter beyond three digits as needed to insert additional names. Add the year of the thesis to the call number. Differentiate identical call numbers for different theses with a number, e.g. 378.2 M692 1992 no. 2; 378.2 M692 1992 no. 3; etc. (No number is needed the first time the call number is used.)


As Dewey collections are reclassified, collections of theses found within them should also be moved into LC numbers. Sometimes selecting the right LC number presents a problem, since some departments have undergone reorganizations or name changes since the theses were written. Refer to the table below, for a list of current and former department names, together with the corresponding LC call numbers to use for re class:



Honor theses or University Scholars projects are papers that are written primarily by undergraduates to fulfill requirements for special scholastic recognition, but are not required for an actual degree. These papers are not classified with theses, but are all kept together in AS36.B752. A second cutter is assigned for the author. To facilitate filing while reducing the number of lengthy cutters, observe the following suggestions:

  • Extend each cutter to at least three digits.
  • Use the same cutter for individuals with the same surname.
  • Add the year from the title page to the call number.
  • If the above steps do not result in a unique call number, add numbering as with thesis numbers in the BYU Collection as described in the first part of these instructions.

Do not catalog honor theses for the BYU Collection.


3.4.2: Descriptive Cataloging of Theses & Dissertations

Last updated: August 2012

Maintained by: John Wright

Location / Hours

The Catalog Department is located on Level 6 of the Harold B. Lee Library. The Department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.