Electronic copies of Ph.D. theses submitted at over 100 UK universities are obtainable from EThOS, a service set up to provide access to all theses from participating institutions. It achieves this by harvesting e-theses from Institutional Repositories and by digitising print theses as they are ordered by researchers using the system. Over 250,000 theses are already available in this way. Please note that it does not supply theses submitted at the universities of Cambridge or Oxford although they are listed on EThOS.
Registration with EThOS is not required to search for a thesis but is necessary to download or order one unless it is stored in the university repository rather than the British Library (in which case a link to the repository will be displayed). Many theses are available without charge on an Open Access basis but in all other cases, if you are requesting a thesis that has not yet been digitised fund you will be asked to meet the cost. Once a thesis has been digitised it is available for free download thereafter.
When you order a thesis it will either be immediately available for download or writing to hard copy (indicated by this symbol page icon on the search results page ) or it will need to be digitised. If you order a thesis for digitisation, the system will manage the process and you will be informed when the thesis is available for download/preparation to hard copy.
Electronic versions of non-UK theses may be available from the institution at which they were submitted, sometimes on an open access basis from the institutional repository. A good starting point for discovering freely available electronic theses and dissertations beyond the UK is the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) , which facilitates searching across institutions. Information can also usually be found on the library web pages of the relevant institution.
The DART Europe etheses portal lists several thousand full-text theses from a group of European universities.
The University Library subscribes to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database which includes 2.4 million dissertation and theses citations, representing 700 leading academic institutions worldwide from 1861 to the present day. The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works. Each dissertation published since July 1980 includes a 350-word abstract written by the author. Master's theses published since 1988 include 150-word abstracts.
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses includes 1 million full text dissertations that are available for download in PDF format. There is a charge for ordering a dissertation from this source which is payable online to ProQuest. The cost is dependent on the format selected.
Dissertations and theses submitted at non-UK universities may also be requested on Inter-Library Loan through the Inter-Library Loans department (01223 333039 or 333080, email@example.com)
Apollo holds full-text digital versions of several hundred Cambridge Ph.D. theses and is a rapidly growing collection deposited by Cambridge Ph.D. graduates.
More information on how to access these by University of Cambridge students can be found on the access to Cambridge theses webpage.
Are you a Cambridge alumni and wish to make your Ph.D. thesis available online? You can do this by depositing it in Apollo the University's institutional repository. Click here for further information on how to proceed.
Please note we are only able to accept requests from alumni who completed Ph.D study at Cambridge. If you completed your undergraduate degree at Cambridge but your doctorate at another institution, you will need to deposit your thesis in the repository of the institution that awarded your Ph.D.
Current Ph.D students at the University of Cambridge can find further information about the requirements to deposit theses on the Office of Scholarly Communication theses webpages.