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Use the following strategies to streamline locating theses and dissertations for research, including evidence synthesis.
Theses and dissertations can be found in a variety of places, including subject or discipline-specific databases and university-hosted institutional repositories.
Find a specific, known thesis
Databases and Google
Search a discipline or subject-specific database, or Google.
For searching open access theses, Google is better than Google Scholar.
If you know the name of the institution or university for the author of the thesis, search the institution's institutional repository. Institutional repositories (IRs) contain articles, theses, dissertations, and other projects generated by researchers at a university.
To find a university's IR, search OpenDoar, a directory or list of academic repositories, or search an individual university repository via the university's website.
There are several databases dedicated to searching across multiple IRs. While their coverage is comparable, to ensure that your search is exhaustive it may still be a good idea to search all of them:
Open access research papers with global coverage. After searching, use "type" filter to narrow results to theses.
Open access research papers with global coverage, particularly suitable for science and math. Use advanced search to filter by thesis/dissertation.
Open access research papers with global coverage, though more limited than CORE and BASE. After searching, use "format" filter to narrow results to theses.
Find theses by topic or subject
To find theses by subject or research area, search discipline or subject-specific databases.
Some databases may provide citations only without the full text while others, such as PsycINFO, provide the full text of theses and dissertations in addition to citations.
Find theses using databases, websites, or search engines that originate from a geographic area
This is not an exhaustive list of available websites, but rather a sample of noteworthy national and international initiatives.
Canadian theses and dissertations
References to citations, abstracts, and full text (where available) for theses and dissertations from Canadian universities.
Note: Another alternative to finding theses and dissertations in Canada is via Canadian institutional repositories.
Global theses and dissertations databases
Open Access Theses and Dissertations search
Index of citations for open access theses and dissertations.
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD)
Full text theses and dissertations (limited African and South American coverage).
Global coverage. After searching, use "format" filter to narrow results to theses.
ProQuest dissertation and theses global
Historic and ongoing coverage of theses and dissertations, including indexes, abstracts, and full text. Does not index SFU theses after 2013 (see Summit) and has limited coverage of Canadian theses in general after 2010. For Canadian theses, see Theses Canada.
Note: Full text of theses and dissertations not available on ProQuest can be requested through interlibrary loans.
Full text theses and projects from the National University of Mexico.
South America and Central America
Brazilian Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
Theses and dissertations from Brazilian universities (can filter by language).
Catalogue of scientific research outputs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Filter by "tesis doctoral" for dissertations or "tesis de maestría" for theses (can filter by language).
Index of technical and scientific literature from Latin America and the Caribbean with some full text availability. Enter search, click "add filter" in left column and select "document type" for option to limit search to theses and dissertations (can filter by language).
Ethos and Theses
Index and full text of doctoral theses from UK universities.
Open access theses from over 500 universities across Europe (can filter by language).
African Digital Research Repositories
Comprehensive list of African institutional repositories sorted by country.
Database of African theses and dissertations and research (DATAD-R)
Citations and abstracts for theses and dissertations completed in African universities.
Full text theses and dissertations from Chinese universities.
Dissertations from Japanese institutional repositories and the National Diet Library with some full text.
Full text theses and dissertations from Indian universities (can filter by language).
HKU Scholars Hub Theses
Theses and dissertations from the University of Hong Kong.
National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations in Taiwan
Index, abstracts, and reference information for theses and dissertations in the National Central Library of Taiwan.
Australia and New Zealand
National Library of Australia's catalogue. Limit search to "research and reports".
Research outputs from New Zealand universities, polytechnics, and research organizations.
Finding full citation information for a thesis
To locate a thesis or dissertation, you may need:
- thesis title
- issuing institution
To find full citation information for a thesis or dissertation, search:
- ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index
- Journal databases, which may also include full text or citation information for theses, such as:
Obtaining a copy of a thesis when unavailable
Can't find a non-SFU thesis online? Request it via Interlibrary Loans.
If you cannot find the full text of a thesis, please place a request with the Library's Interlibrary Loans Division and they will attempt to obtain the thesis.
If you have a list of theses to obtain for an evidence synthesis project, Interlibrary Loans may be able to accommodate a list submission. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 778.782.3625 to inquire.
There is no cost to using the interlibrary loan service.