Thesis Finding Aids

Using SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online) to find theses

If the actual title or author of a thesis is known, it may be easy to use a standard keyword search using combined title/author details. However, if the author has a common name, has written many works, the full details of the thesis are not known, or you are looking for theses on a particular subject, a other keyword searches may be useful.

In SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online) you can limit your search to a specific type e.g. Author, Title, Subject using the dropdown menues offered.

Oxford theses

Oxford theses have the word “thesis” in the author field, and therefore can be found using an author keyword search in SOLO. Example: smith thesis

Additional details of theses are also given, usually in the notes field, most importantly the type of degree, and supervisor’s name (post-2000) and these details can also therefore be used in keyword searching. Example: d.phil smith.

These can be combined with normal author, title or subject keywords as required in an anywhere in the record keyword search.
Example: thesis smith Constantinople d.phil

The name of the Oxford faculty can also be used, can the division, faculty/sub-faculty/department, or college (for post-2000 theses).

Theses from other universities

Adding the word thesis as a keyword in SOLO may help; not all theses from other universities held in Oxford may be catalogued in a uniform way and may not be found by such a search, and this search may well find published works based upon theses, not just unpublished theses.

Using Index to Theses

  • Quick Search takes you to the basic search screen.  This enables you to enter keywords, combined with the boolean operators and, and not, or to search for theses. Example: Comprehensive and education and wales searches for theses with all these words in the thesis details; the phrase search "Comprehensive education" and wales searches for theses with both the phrase "Comprehensive education" and wales in the thesis details. The latter will find more theses specifically about comprehensive education.
  • Simple search allows you to search by keyword for title, author, or within an abstract.
    - it also allows you to limit the results by year or institution.
    - there is also the option to search by subject – scroll through the class list and click to select your chosen area.
  • Standard search allows more advanced searching, combining any of the fields of author, title, year, university, with the boolean operators and and or to further refine the search.

Using Dissertations and Theses

The default Basic search page allows for general keyword searches across all indexes using and, and not, and or to link the keywords as appropriate. Click on the More Search Options tab for specific title, author, subject, and institution (school) searches, and to browse indexes of authors, institutions and subjects. These indexes allow you to add the word or phrase recognised by the database to your search (i.e. University of Oxford (United Kingdom) not Oxford University).

  • The Advanced search tab (at the top of the page) enables keyword searching in specific indexes, including author, title, institution, department, adviser, and language. If you are unsure of the exact details of thesis, you can use the search boxes on this page to find it by combining the key information you do have.
  • In both the Basic and Advanced search pages you can also limit the search by date, by using the boxes at the bottom.
  • Use the Search Tools advice in both the Basic and Advanced pages to undertake more complex and specific searches.
  • Within the list of results, once you have found the record that you are interested in, you can click on the link to obtain a full citation and abstract
  • You can read a 24 page PDF file preview of all theses published since 1997.
  • You also have the option to purchase a copy of the thesis.
  • You can use the back button on your browser to return to your list of citations.
  • The Browse search tab allows searching by subject or by location (i.e. institution). These are given in an alphabetical list. Clicking on a top-level subject reveals subdivisions of the subject. Clicking on a country location reveals lists of institutions in that country. At each level, lists of individual theses for that subject division or from that location are revealed by clicking on View Documents.
  • In Browse search, locations and subject divisions are automatically added to a basic search at the bottom of the page, so you can search within a subject or location by title, author, institution, subject, date, etc, by clicking on Refine Search at the top of the page, or More Search Options at the bottom of the page.

Searching the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA)

Browse in Collections in ORA for a list of Oxford Theses.

Use Detailed Search to search by author, title, subject, supervisor, in other record fields, and in the abstract. For example, all theses supervised by a supervisor with the surname Houlsby may be found with the search "supervisor:houlsby". Sort the search by Collection (tick the box)for a link to search results from the theses collection.

Link to this search to obtain the URL to re-run your search in future and RSS feed feature.

Where can I find full text theses online?

Links to full or partial digital copies of a growing number of more recent Oxford theses are given on OLIS. These digital theses and some others can also be found in the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) via OxLIP (see above for how to search this resource). Please consult the Terms and Conditions of use on the record for each thesis. The Oxford eTheses pages give more information about this resource.

Many theses from other UK universities are available to be downloaded for free from the British Library's EThOS service (

The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) is an international organisation that promotes electronic theses. It provides a searching facility across many Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) collections. This site can also be found at

OAIster is a union catalogue of digital resources from universities and other institutions from all over the world, and includes many recent theses.

Australia: The Australasian Digital Theses Program provides full-text access to a wide range of Australian (plus some New Zealand) higher degree theses.

Canada: Theses Canada Portal provides full-text access to theses submitted to the Theses Canada programme between 1998 and 31st August 2002.

Europe: DART-Europe E-theses Portal is a partnership of research libraries and library consortia who are working together to improve global access to European research theses. The DART-Europe partners help to provide researchers with a single European Portal for the discovery of Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), and they participate in advocacy to influence future European e-theses developments. This resources is a search interface for thesis across Europe, containing over 220,200 full text thesis.

France: Cyber-theses was established to enable the diffusion of French electronic theses. An English version of the site is coming soon.

Germany: Open Access to Scientific Literature enables searching of bibliographical data held on various document servers in Germany and abroad. This includes scientific theses, some of which are full-text.

Spain: Virtual Library Miguel de Cervantes makes available a selection of Spanish theses, with the addition of some theses from American universities written in Spanish. The catalogue is not available in English.


  • Lund University Dissertations provides information on doctoral theses presented at the university since 1996 containing citations with abstracts and a growing number of full-text theses.
  • Karolinska Institutet has information on its doctoral theses from 1995 onwards. Full text is available for some theses.

How do I find out about current research?

Information about current historical research and recently completed theses can be found at the Institute of Historical Research.

Thesa provides information about doctoral theses on aspects of engineering and management currently being researched at accredited higher education establishments in France.

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