What is a thesis?
- lengthy, formal papers usually written by candidates for a master's or doctoral degree at academic institutions
- papers containing original research on a specific topic
- also referred to as dissertations, particularly when written for a doctorate.
Theses from McMaster University
To find McMaster theses, search one or more of the following sources:
- McMaster's library catalogue, is the primary tool for finding theses written by McMaster students.
Look up a thesis by author, title, subject or keyword(s).
- If you don't have a specific title or author in mind, perform a search Anywhere using the terms thesis and McMaster and a word that best describes your topic e.g., thesis and McMaster and Internet
- For detailed searching instructions, please refer to the Find McMaster Theses in the Library Catalogue guide.
PAPER COPY: Note the location, call number and status of the thesis in the library catalogue.
- If the status of the thesis is:
- Copies available in the Bookstacks may be borrowed with a valid McMaster identification card. Visitors wanting to borrow a McMaster thesis should submit a request for the item with their local library's interlibrary loan department.
- ONLINE COPY (if available): To access an online version of a thesis, click on Link to Online Resource noted in the catalogue record. NOTE: Only McMaster faculty, staff and currently registered students can view / download the full-text of a McMaster thesis for FREE. Visitors may be able to access a free digital copy via the Theses Canada Portal. If not available, an online copy may be purchased.
Archives & Research Collections
- The archival copies of McMaster theses are housed offsite. Contact Archives & Research Collections for assistance. The archival copies are partially accessible by a card catalogue. Some archival theses are unique, and are not recorded in the library catalogue.
- Date coverage: 1971 to current (Ph.D. theses); 1972 to 1982 (some Master's theses may be included)
- Includes full-text, online (PDF format) copies of McMaster dissertations & theses.
- Excludes Faculty of Health Sciences theses.
- Search by keyword(s) or browse by year or author.
- McMaster faculty, staff and currently registered students can download the full-text of McMaster theses for FREE. Off-campus users should login to LibAccess first.
- Visitors may be able to access a free digital copy via the Theses Canada Portal. If not available, an online copy may be purchased.
Dissertations & Theses @ McMaster University (McMaster users only)
Theses from Other Institutions
- Theses completed at other institutions are purchased selectively by McMaster University libraries.
- Using the information provided in the sources below (i.e., title, author), search our library catalogue to determine if we own a copy of a particular thesis.
- If not available at McMaster, you may be able to borrow or purchase the thesis.
- Sometimes a thesis will not be available for loan or purchase and a visit to the institution owning the thesis is the only way to view it.
Many Universities are digitizing and hosting theses from their own institutions and making those available to the public at no charge. You can use Google to locate an institution's repository, or you might try the Directory of Open Repositories, Open Access Theses & Dissertations (OATD) or BASE, a database that contains records from 2000+ repositories.
Canada & the United States
- Includes citations and abstracts for doctoral dissertations as well as some master's theses completed at accredited North American and selected European colleges and universities.
- McMaster faculty, staff and currently registered students can download full-text online (PDF) versions of McMaster theses for FREE. Theses from other institutions can be downloaded for a FEE.
The paper versions of this index may provide summaries that are not included in the online version. This is particularly true for older theses.
MILLS Periodicals (3rd floor) & THODE Reference (Lower Level) ZLB 2369.D58 (1938-1951)
MILLS Periodicals (3rd floor) & THODE Reference (Lower Level) ZLB 2369.D58 (1952-1966)
Dissertation Abstracts A: The Social Sciences and Humanities
MILLS Periodicals (3rd floor) ZLB 2369.D58 (1966-1969)
Dissertation Abstracts B: The Sciences and Engineering
THODE Reference (Lower Level) ZLB 2369.D58 (1966-1969)
Dissertation Abstracts International A: The Social Sciences and Humanities
MILLS Periodicals (3rd floor) ZLB 2369.D58 (1969-1979)
Dissertation Abstracts International B: The Sciences and Engineering
THODE Reference (Lower Level) ZLB 2369.D58 (1969-1981)
- The paper versions of this index may provide summaries that are not included in the online version. This is particularly true for older theses.
Theses Canada Portal (1930 to present)
- Includes citations to ~300,000 Canadian master's theses and doctoral dissertations in the Library and Archives Canada theses collection.
- Provides free access to full-text electronic versions of some Canadian theses and dissertations (~50,000).
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertation
A catalogue of over 1 million theses from a variety of North American and International online thesis repositories.
Site indexes and provides full-text access to over 1.6 million electronic theses and dissertations freely available from over 800 institutions worldwide.
- Includes 750,000+ doctoral dissertations from universities outside N. America.
- Search for dissertations by keyword(s) or browse by country or awarding insititution.
- See CRL's dissertations topic guide for more information about this collection.
- To obtain dissertations from CRL (Center for Research Libraries), submit an interlibrary loan request via RACER.
WorldCat (Free version)
- A catalogue of books, theses and other materials in libraries worldwide.
- Search by author, title, subject, year and/or keyword(s).
- On the Advanced Search screen, limit your results to Thesis/dissertation.
~300,000 Theses from over 400 Universities and 20 European Countries
France - Theses.fr
6000 full-text online theses; 8000 records since 2006; and 65000 in preparation
Includes dissertations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as German-language and foreign-language online dissertations with reference to Germany.
Netherlands - NARCIS
~30,000 electronic theses from the National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System of the Netherlands
United Kingdom - EThOS - British Library Electronic Theses Online Services
250,000+ UK theses hosted by the British Library, from participating institutions. Theses held can potentially go as far back as the 1600s, depending on what is digitized and from whom.
UK/Ireland - Index to Theses (1716 to present) (McMaster users only)
A comprehensive listing of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland.
Retrospective index to theses of Great Britain and Ireland, 1716-1950
MILLS Reference ZLB 2369 .G7R45 (2nd floor) (Vol. 1)
THODE Reference ZLB 2369 .G7R45 (Lower Level) (Vols. 2, 4 and 5)
Index to Theses ...
Storage ZLB 2369.G7A8 (1950 to 1967)
JAIRO - Japanese Institutional Repositories Online
Use the checkboxes below the search bar to limit to theses
Choose advanced search and select 'theses' under format.
Borrowing and Purchasing Theses
Borrowing McMaster Theses
- All McMaster theses in print can be borrowed with a valid McMaster identification card (e.g., McMaster faculty, staff, currently registered students, external borrowers, etc.). The availability or circulation status (e.g. checked out) of a thesis will be noted in the library catalogue.
- Visitors wanting to borrow a McMaster thesis should submit an interlibrary loan request for the item with their local library.
Borrowing Theses from Other Institutions
- McMaster faculty, staff and currently registered students wanting a thesis not available at McMaster libraries can submit a request for the item with interlibrary loan via RACER. NOTE: Very few libraries will lend copies of theses in their collection. If a thesis is unavailable for loan, Interlibrary Loan will contact you.
- Theses not available for loan or download, can usually be purchased.
- Costs vary widely, according to supplier and format of reproduction.
- Copies of most Ph.D. dissertations in universities in North America can be purchased via Dissertation Express, either through interlibrary loan, or as an individual. Use Dissertations & Theses: A&I to find the order number, author or title of the theses you'd like to purchase.
- Copies of international theses can usually be purchased through Interlibrary Loan from a variety of sources such as the university library involved.
- Questions?: Please contact Interlibrary Loan.