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Theses: How to find theses: Home

How to find printed and electronic theses at the University of Strathclyde and other universities

Thesis or dissertation - what's the difference?

In general in the UK a dissertation is a piece of independent research carried out at undergraduate or taught postgraduate level. The term thesis refers to a piece of work undertaken for a research degree for example a PhD, MLitt, MRes. Dissertations are generally shorter than a thesis. However, in many cases and in many countries the terms thesis and dissertation are used interchangeably. Before requesting or consulting a thesis or dissertation it is advisable to check the level of degree for which it was submitted. 

Finding dissertations in the library

Dissertations undertaken as part of a taught postgraduate or undergraduate degree programme are not held in the library. You should contact the department/s concerned directly, to arrange consultation.

Practical information about submitting a Strathclyde research thesis

Obtaining theses - Inter-Library Service

If you wish to consult a thesis from another library, which is not available electronically, you should use the Inter-Library Service. This service is available to 4th year undergraduates, postgraduates and staff. Please be aware that it may take some time to obtain a thesis from another library, particularly if the library is based overseas. 

Related Guides

Finding Strathclyde theses

All of the theses available from the library are listed in SUPrimo. You can either:

  • Search for a subject or topic of interest using the Library Collections filter, e.g. photonic devices, and then limit your results to theses using the Collection > Strathclyde theses filter. Searching SUPrimo this way will list printed and electronic theses. 

image of a search in SUPrimo for photonic devices limited to Library Collections


Image of the collection filter in SUPrimo

or, if you wish to see a list of electronic theses

  • Search the Strathclyde Research tab, e.g. photonic devices. Searching SUPrimo in this way will only display theses which can be accessed electronically, printed theses will not be included in your results list. 

image of a SUPrimo search showing a search for photonic devices limited to Strathclyde Research


If you have searched using the Library Collections filter, you may see the wording 2 versions of this record exist. This indicates that there may be both print and electronic versions of the thesis. Click on the wording 2 version of this record exist to display both records. 

image from SUPrimo showing that 2 version of a thesis exists

Electronic thesis

To view an electronic theses, click on the Online access link. Scroll to the View It section and follow the link there to display the full text. You may need to enter your DS users and password to view the thesis. Here is an example of an electronic thesis record in SUPrimo. 

image showing a record in SUPrimo for an electronic thesis. The wording online access is highlighted.

Print format thesis

Print theses are kept in a store and so must be requested in advance. To request a thesis, click on the wording Available - see 'Get it' for details as highlighted in the image below. Next, scroll to the Get it section and sign in to SUPrimo. Once you have signed in the Request option will be visible. Click on this and place your request. 

Library staff will fetch the thesis from store. We will email you when the thesis is ready for you to collect from Level 3 (entrance level) of the Library. If only one copy of the thesis is listed in SUPrimo the thesis will be a reference only item and you will not be able to borrow it from the Library. If there is a second copy listed in SUPrimo, one copy will be available for borrowing. 

If you are not able to make use of the request function in SUPrimo, please email with the details of the thesis which you would like to consult. 

Image showing a SUPrimo record for a printed thesis. The wording "available - see get it for details" is highlighted.

Finding non Strathclyde theses and dissertations

Many of the Library's databases will search for theses as well as journal articles and book chapters. The following databases are particularly useful for finding theses: 

Another useful source is Jisc Library Hub Discover a combined catalogue of the largest research libraries in the UK and Ireland. Searching Jisc Library Hub Discover will help you identify theses available from other universities. To limit your results to theses use the Main Search, then limit results to Theses in the Material Type menu. 

Why should I consult other people's theses?

  • They contain research that may not have been published in any other format
  • They can help you avoid duplicating research and identify areas for further research
  • You can see examples of how to layout a thesis
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