Theses are a valuable source of research but they can be hard to track down. Most collections only include doctoral theses or dissertations so if you are looking for a master’s dissertation you may have to try contacting the author or the institution where they studied.
The most useful online source is ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, available via the Electronic Library. It is made up of two databases:
- The UK and Ireland collection provides bibliographic information for all theses accepted for higher degrees by the universities of the UK and Ireland from 1716 onwards. Abstracts are also available for theses awarded since1970. Many of the records include a full text link to a university digital repository, Ethos (the British Library’s thesis department) and/or a pointer page to the relevant university department. All records display the name of the awarding university.
- The Global collection has dissertations and theses from around the world, from 1743 to the present day and has the full text for graduate works added since 1997, along with selected full text for works written prior to 1997.
For full information and links, please visit the Electronic Library (subject resource Theses) or search on the catalogue.
As most universities around the world have now set up online archives, or repositories, for their research it is also worth trying specialist search engines to find theses online.
Probably the best of these is BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine). This allows you to search in a collection of 70 million documents in most world languages. Use the Advanced Search option to limit your search by languages, author, date, document type, etc.