Finding UK Theses
Index to Theses
Index to Theses lists most postgraduate theses and dissertations accepted by universities in the UK and Ireland since 1716. Abstracts are provided for many theses. There are also links to universities' electronic repositories, so you can check for the full text.
EThOS is a service from the British Library. Its long-term aim is to provide electronic access to the full text of doctoral theses produced in the UK. You may search their records without registering, but if you wish to download a thesis you must first register. This ensures that a full record is kept of who has consulted each thesis, protecting the author's intellectual property. There is no charge for downloading a thesis, but you can purchase a printed copy if you prefer. As of October 2014 there are approximately 350,000 records relating to theses awarded by over 120 institutions. Around 120,000 of these also provide access to the full text thesis, either via download from the EThOS database or via links to the institution’s own repository.
If the thesis you require has not been digitised yet, the British Library will obtain it and digitise it, and you'll be informed when it is ready to download. In some cases, if you are the first person to request a thesis and so it has to be digitised for you, you may be asked to pay towards the costs of digitisation. Currently (October 2014) the cost of digitisation is £44.37 + VAT £8.87 = Total £53.24.
A few UK universities are not taking part in the EThOS service, including Oxford and Cambridge. If you need a doctoral thesis from one of these institutions, please contact Interlending and Document Supply for advice.
EThOS does not cover Ireland and does not include masters' theses. Find out how EThOS has been used by researchers in this video from the British Library.
Masters' and Undergraduate Theses
In the UK, doctoral theses are always kept in the institution's library, either in print or in electronic form. The rules for masters' theses vary. In some institutions they are in the library, but in others copies are kept only in individual departments. Undergraduate dissertations are seldom retained by university libraries; however the student's department may have a copy.
Most UK libraries will lend masters' dissertations to other libraries. Please apply through our Interlending and Document Supply service.