Find Theses and Dissertations

In the UK, thesis usually means an unpublished work submitted for a doctoral degree, while a dissertation is a work produced at undergraduate or masters' level.

Doctoral Theses

Lancaster University doctoral theses must be deposited with the Library when a degree is awarded. They will be searchable in OneSearch as soon as possible.

  • If you know the author or title of the thesis, search OneSearch and limit your search to Theses/Dissertations using the 'Limit to:' dropdown.
  • If you wish to browse through recent theses from your department, go to Advanced Search, and set the Material type to Theses/Dissertations. Use the Publication date box to set the date, and put the name of the Department into one of the search boxes. Click on the Lancaster Collections tab.
  • Theses and dissertations are for use only within the Library. Ask at the Information Point.
  • Some theses have been digitised by the British Library and are available in their Electronic Theses Online Service (EThOS) database.

Masters' and Undergraduate Theses and Dissertations

Theses and dissertations at other levels do not have to be deposited with the Library. However many masters' theses are presented to the Library and can be found via OneSearch.

  • MBA dissertations are not held in the Library and may be consulted in the Management School.
  • Undergraduate dissertations are sometimes available in departmental offices.

Tab Content: Find 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

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 many cases, if you are the first person to request a thesis and so it has to be digitised for you, you will be asked to pay towards the costs of digitisation. You can see details of the charges before you order it.

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 the Republic of 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.

Tab Content: Find Non-UK Theses

Many theses and dissertations are available electronically free-of-charge or for a small fee.

Where the thesis is not available electronically, please contact our Interlending and Document Supply service for advice.

Dissertations and Theses from ProQuest 

Contains information on dissertations and theses from many countries across the world.

Its coverage of the USA and Canada is comprehensive and includes masters' as well as doctoral theses. Coverage of other countries is less thorough, but there are records from individual countries as far apart as the Czech Republic, Australia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Germany. Coverage of the US goes back to 1861. It includes well over two million records.

Recent US theses (from 1997) allow you to see the first 24 pages of the work free-of-charge. The full text of many US theses may be downloaded for a charge of around £35, which you pay using a credit card.

Dissertations and Theses (via ProQuest)

Electronic Theses Around the World

Many universities make some of their theses available electronically, free-of-charge The resources here will help you find them.

NDLTD – An Open Access Initiative union catalogue of theses and dissertations from many countries, which are all immediately available electronically. There are links through to institutional repositories.

Open Access Theses and Dissertations – This is an index of over 1.6 million electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) which are freely available over the web.

Theses and Dissertations by Country or Region

Australia:

  • Trove – Access to lists of ALL Australian theses and dissertations, and to a database of Australian doctoral theses freely available electronically. 

Austria:

France:

  • Theses.fr – Details of theses awarded in France, with access to the full text of around 5,000 of them. Also information on theses in preparation
  • SUDOC – is a French union catalogue which can be restricted to searches on theses and dissertations completed at universities in France. 

South Africa:

Spain:

  • Dialnet – Theses at Spanish universities, many with links to full text.

Subject Lists

Many subject databases include theses and dissertations alongside articles and books. These include: EconLitMLA Bibliography, and PsycINFO.

Tab Content: Theses in Progress

Finding out about theses and dissertations in progress is not easy.  There are a number of listings, many concentrating on a particular subject or geographical area.  The links below cover some of them.  Many of the listings are not updated frequently.

Do remember though that people often change the topic of their thesis during the course of their research.  Many students do not complete on time and there is no guarantee that someone who registered to do a particular subject will in fact produce written work which you can read.

If you know of departments and institutions working in your field, do investigate their websites.

UK Research Councils – all list the projects they are funding. A search of their Gateway to Research databases will help you to identify current and completed research awards, including publications and theses.

Theses.fr – Theses in progress in France, from 2001 onwards.

Current Legal Research Topics Database – is maintained by the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies. It aims to cover theses in preparation in the UK in the field of legal research and is updated annually.

Theses in Progress in Commonwealth Studies 2013 – covers UK universities and is updated annually.

History On-Line: Theses in Progress – is a service from the Institute for Historical Research, which covers the UK and Ireland.