Need dissertation or thesis assistance?

If you are a master’s student writing a thesis, or a doctoral student writing a dissertation, University Dissertation & Thesis Services (UDTS) is here to help you navigate the process. UDTS exists to assist Mason’s graduate students who are writing theses and dissertations navigate the steps you must complete in order to graduate on time.  

UDTS has various resources in place to assist you with formatting your document according to University Formatting Guidelines, and with passing the Format Review. All theses and dissertations written by Mason’s master’s and doctoral students must pass the Format Review. 

UDTS also offers workshops covering the steps in the process you must complete in order to graduate on time and introducing the Interactive (Word) template, which is designed to make formatting your thesis/dissertation easier and faster. Visit University Libraries Workshops and Events to register for upcoming workshops offered throughout the month of February. 

If you have any questions, you can reach UDTS via email at or you can set up a virtual meeting by visiting the LibCal Scheduler to make an appointment. 

Please note that for the Spring 2021 semester UTDS will continue offering all services via a virtual format. All in-person appointments are currently suspended.

Welcome to Mason Libraries – Spring 2021

Mason Libraries welcomes new and returning students and faculty to the Spring 2021 semester! As our environment continues to look different this year, know we are here to support your scholarly endeavors and to help you succeed in your studies. The best place to find out about our current services and any updates are our FAQs page and our Services Updates page, which we update regularly.

What to expect this spring:

Expanded Online Resources & Virtual Services. The Libraries will continue to support the Mason community through expanded electronic resources and virtual services, including virtual workshops, instruction sessions, and research consultations. We will also continue our expanded hours for our virtual reference service.

Library Access: Access to any library location will be limited to Mason students, faculty, and staff. Signage will be posted to indicate the university’s Safe Return to Campus guidelines – such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and other protocols – and those who do not adhere to the university policies and guidelines may be asked to leave. Our hours have been updated for the spring semester and may change if needed.

Closed Stacks: Circulation requests should be made via your library account, and the stacks will be closed for browsing. If you encounter difficulty placing your request, please email Requests for access to some collections (such as in our Special Collections Research Center) will be by appointment-only.

Study Spaces and Computers: To promote physical distancing and follow university guidelines, some tables, carrels, workstations, and chairs have been removed or marked out-of-use in each library. The number of people allowed in each library building will also be limited to allow for appropriate distancing. Some spaces and areas may also be closed. For example, group study rooms will be closed, while individual study rooms will be available for reservation.

Furniture: The furniture in each library location has been moved (or removed in some cases) and spaced to allow for appropriate distancing. Please help us all stay safe by not moving or rearranging the furniture.

Food and Drink: No food and beverages are allowed in library locations, with the exception of water in a closed container. Please help us maintain clean and safe spaces by not bringing in food or drink. Face coverings should be worn at all times, unless actively drinking.

Health & safety protocols:

Current status information:

The Libraries will follow university and state guidelines. Our FAQs will be updated as needed. Responses are based on Mason’s Safe Return plan and current information. Responses and available services are subject to change.

General information on library services:

Mason Libraries provides free 24/7 access to thousands of online resources for Mason faculty, students and staff – just use your Mason NetID and password. Visit to discover what the Libraries offer to support and enhance your learning, teaching, and research at Mason. Highlights include:

A few updates on library subscriptions and services:

Virginia research libraries negotiate amended contract with Elsevier

Six members of the Virginia Research Libraries (VRL) group recently completed contract negotiations with Elsevier, the largest publisher of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scholarly journals. Through a new one-year 2021 agreement, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, William & Mary, and James Madison University libraries addressed their priorities for affordability, accessibility, and equity.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia’s research libraries were moving toward a new contract with Elsevier beginning in 2022. Due to the pandemic’s negative effect on operating budgets, the group asked to renegotiate its last year of the current five-year contract. VRL appreciates Elsevier’s willingness to modify the agreement a year early in light of budget needs. The library group will be back at the negotiating table in 2021 to pen a longer-term agreement.

What does this new one-year agreement with Elsevier mean?

Cost savings

Most of the Virginia research libraries involved in the negotiation are experiencing budget shortfalls for 2021 and projecting budget shortfalls for 2022. Each institution involved reduced its overall spend for the year, balancing its COVID-distressed budget for 2021. The new agreement frees the institutions from the “Big Deal” Freedom Collection, allowing for a collection that better suits users’ needs.

This new agreement only includes subscriptions that are consistently used by our constituents. The libraries included titles in the agreement based on download data, article citations by institutional authors, open access availability of articles, articles published by institutional authors, and faculty and library liaison input. The group also analyzed the projected costs of alternative access to those titles. This is part of a longer-term effort to realign investments in favor of tools and resources that are more affordable, equitable, and sustainable. And it allows the libraries to build a more tailored collection from more diverse vendors that better service evolving needs of their universities.


Researchers will continue to have access to everything they need to do their research. Subscriptions are just one mode of access to research, and our libraries are committed to helping researchers navigate alternatives.

The Virginia research libraries are confident that they can meet demand through existing subscriptions, backfile content, open access journals and repositories, and interlibrary loan services including article purchase. Recently, the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) invested in an improved interlibrary loan service for all Virginia public institutions that will decrease turnaround time and lower costs.

In addition to accessing articles, the new Elsevier agreement clarified privacy provisions and broadened the university community’s rights to allow for text and data mining of the scholarly materials.

What’s next?

The Virginia research libraries will be working with other big publishers to take similar steps toward a more sustainable scholarly communications ecosystem in the coming year. They will continue watching how resources are used, including the demand for alternative access, and use that knowledge to inform next year’s negotiations with Elsevier.

What does this mean for the Mason community?

Mason Libraries remains committed to providing our community with the published research and resources they need to pursue their scholarship and instructional activities. If an article is not immediately accessible, we will locate a copy for you via other networks. To learn more about our amended contract, visit our Elsevier overview site. To discover alternate methods for locating articles in journals we no longer subscribe to, visit our new Alternative Access site. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your subject librarian or fill out this feedback form.

New streaming media content resources available

Virginia’s Academic Library Consortium – VIVA – has acquired three new streaming media products: Academic Video Online (AVON), three Sage Video Collections, and Docuseek2. These recent acquisitions are thanks to one-time CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated by the Governor for streaming media content, in support of online and remote education at public institutions.

As a member of VIVA, the Mason Libraries is pleased to share that access for these resources is now available to our Mason community. The Libraries’ prior subscription to Docuseek will continue, enhanced by the acquisition of AVON and SAGE.


Academic Video Online (AVON), an Alexander Street Press/ProQuest streaming media product, includes over 72,000 titles spanning a wide and interdisciplinary range of subject areas including anthropology, business, counseling, film, health, history, music, and more. Included among the titles are news programs, training, lectures, interviews, documentaries, ethnographies, performances, and feature and short films. Additionally, there is a set of over 2,000 videos to support student success in areas such as stress management, college life, communication, and success in math. AVON is highly rated for its accessibility, with such features as on-demand audio described video, onscreen captions, and scrolling/searchable transcripts.

To get started with AVON, go directly to our database. Mason faculty, students, and staff may access AVON on or off campus by clicking this link. Off-campus users will be prompted to sign in using their Mason credentials. Access for this resource will continue through December 2021.

SAGE Counseling & Psychotherapy, Criminology & Criminal Justice, and Nursing Video Collections

The Counseling & Psychotherapy Collection includes over 130 hours of video and addresses a wide range of academic and practitioner issues through tutorials, interviews, and demonstrations. 

The Criminology & Criminal Justice Collection includes over 120 hours of video covering all branches of the criminal justice system.  It supports students and researchers via tutorial videos that take viewers step-by-step through the criminal investigation process; case studies that show how that research affects policy and practices; and films that take viewers inside forensics labs, correctional facilities, and court rooms. 

The Nursing Collection includes over 75 hours of video and features content aligned to support traditional baccalaureate- and masters-level nursing programs, including demonstration, tutorial, and in-practice videos as well as interviews with leaders and practitioners in the field. The Nursing Collection also includes an assessment tool, accessible only to instructors, that allows instructors to select questions specifically curated for the video content. For access to the assessment tool, contact Kathy Butler, Health Sciences Librarian, at

Mason faculty, students, and staff may access SAGE on or off campus by clicking this link. Off-campus users will be prompted to sign in using their Mason credentials. Access for this resource will continue through December 2021.


The Libraries already subscribed to the Docuseek2 Complete Collection, which includes 1800 titles from such distributors as Bullfrog Films, Icarus Films, Film Movement, MediaStorm, First Run Features, and more. These documentary films are on a variety of subjects, including education, healthcare, science and technology, and critical thinking. 

Mason faculty, students, and staff may access Docuseek on or off campus by clicking this link. Off-campus users will be prompted to sign in using their Mason credentials. Access for this resource will be funded by VIVA for three years, through December 2023.


Questions about the above resources? Please contact your subject librarian. Questions about our media collections and services? Check out this resource guide.

Updates on Libraries’ resource subscriptions

With the start of a new calendar year, some of the Libraries’ journal, database, and streaming media subscriptions have changed.

Streaming Media

Thanks to a one-time CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds, VIVA is able to provide one-year access to Academic Video Online; three-year access to Docuseek2; and one-year access to SAGE Counseling & Psychotherapy, Criminology & Criminal Justice, and Nursing Video Collections. Read the full announcement for more details and to find out how to access the collections.

Journal Subscriptions

Are you looking for a journal article that no longer appears to be immediately accessible? It may be that the Libraries’ subscription access has changed, but there are alternative methods of access, such as Open Access (OA) versions and interlibrary loan options. Check out our tips for locating OA articles. Unable to locate an OA version? Place an InterLibrary Loan request for the article so that we may find a copy for you.