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Doctoral theses

Searching and accessing Royal Holloway doctoral theses

Due to the transition over time with different formats and the development of Open Access, it is advised to search LibrarySearch, the College website and Google to ensure that records of all potential formats can be found and then accessed using the instructions below, especially before any Inter Library Loans or Depository requests are made.

Library Services are working on a number of developments to improve the discoverability and accessibility of Royal Holloway doctoral theses.

Publication date before 1990

The majority of theses produced before 1990 have been digitised and are available as Open Access via the College Research Repository. They are also held in print format. Royal Holloway PhD theses are listed on the library catalogue, Library Search. Print copies are not kept on the open shelves, and need to be requested from the Depository Library using the online request form. They are delivered to Founder’s Library, and may not be borrowed however they will be kept there for as long as needed.

Nearly 2000 PhD theses published from the early 1900s to about 1990 have been added to the College's Open Access Research Repository and also added to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database (PQDT). College staff and students can access PQDT via the E resources A-Z.

PQDT is available at 3000 institutions worldwide so please check with your institution's Library.

Publication date between 1990 and 2010

The majority of theses produced in this time period are held only in print form in the Depository. A small number of theses from between 1990 and  2010 have been digitised and are also available via LibrarySearch.

Publication date between 2010 and October 2016

Print theses produced between 2010 and October 2016 are listed on LibrarySearch.

Since October 2010, newly submitted theses have also been supplied in electronic form.

Etheses are available via the College website. The Advanced search option enables the type "doctoral thesis" filter to be added. Adding the search word "thesis" will display a list of theses which can be further sorted and filtered. Some etheses will be under embargo.

Publication date after 1st October 2016

College PhD students are no longer required to submit a print copy of their finalised thesis to the Library. Students are required to submit an electronic copy of their finalised thesis to Pure. This means that the majority of PhD theses produced after this date will only be available electronically.

Etheses are available via the College website. The Advanced search option enables the type "doctoral thesis" filter to be added. Adding the search word "thesis" will display a list of theses which can be further sorted and filtered. Some etheses will be under embargo.

Instructions for current College PGR students:

Royal Holloway's Academic Board approved an E-thesis Submission Policy in June 2010. This means, that since 1st October 2010, all submitting postgraduate research students studying for PhD or MPhil qualifications were expected to submit one print copy of their post-viva corrected thesis and one electronic copy.

From 1st October 2016, students are no longer required to submit a print copy of their finalised thesis to the College. Students are required to submit an electronic copy of their finalised thesis to Pure.

For instructions on how to submit e-theses via Pure, please consult the Pure pages. Full details, instructions and the forms necessary for thesis submission are available from the Exams office website.


A selection of Royal Holloway Masters theses are kept in Founder’s Library; they are all on the library catalogue, and the Master’s Theses filter option can be used to narrow results down to just these items. If the thesis does not appear on the catalogue, the Library does not hold a copy, please contact the departmental office to ask if they have retained a copy.

All theses accepted for higher degrees (MPhil and PhD) in Britain and Ireland can be comprehensively searched on the Index to Theses on campus, or from off campus using CampusAnywhere.

Most British PhD theses are no longer supplied on inter-library loan, as they are now available through EThOS (Electronic Theses Online System). 

Anyone can search EThOS, you will need to register and login before ordering and downloading theses. Each user needs to personally have to accept the terms and conditions of supply and undertake not to quote the work without proper citation. There is normally no charge for online downloads, unless you make the first request for a thesis from an institution which is not sponsoring Open Access. In this case it may only be available if you are willing to pay for digitisation, which costs about £40. It is possible to pay for supply of theses on CD-ROM or other formats. The waiting time before a thesis not already on the system is available for download is about 30 days, but can be longer.

British theses not available via EThOS require two vouchers/voucher numbers plus a thesis declaration form. These theses will always be for use in the library only. Some British theses are available in the British Library’s St Pancras Reading rooms. To view a thesis there you will need a British Library reader’s pass – you will also need to check with British Library beforehand that it is available for you to consult. A few institutions, including Oxford and Cambridge Universities, will not lend theses at all - in these instances there is no alternative to visiting the library of the awarding institution.

Virtually all American and some other foreign theses are indexed in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global database. Royal Holloway subscribes to PQDT, which provides online full-text access to a substantial number of theses from 1990 onwards. 

Some Canadian theses and dissertations are available online for free download at the Theses Canadaportal.This service also provides details of all Canadian authored theses, including theses submitted to U.S. universities.

European theses can be searched for usingDART - Europe E-theses portal. It does not contain everything, but has a substantial and steadily growing list of contributors.

For Music there is a subject service, Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology-Online. It does not contain the texts, but provides details of over 14,000 theses in Music from a wide range of countries, some of which cannot otherwise be traced.

Similarly, there is an Art & Design thesis collection, drawn mainly from Index to Theses data, called ADIT.



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