1. Ethos - Request UK PhD Theses via Ethos

How can I access UK PhD theses?

The British Library has set up EThOS, a service which enables individuals to register online at http://ethos.bl.uk and access PhD theses directly without library mediation. EThOS currently provides details of more than 250,000 theses.

EThOS is also available via PRIMO under Find Databases.

Accessing EThOS:

Register at http://ethos.bl.uk and then search the database.  EThOS provides free, direct access to the full text of as many theses as possible. However, each university has a different approach and there may be one of 4 options that apply:

1.      Thesis is available for immediate download.
Action: click the Add to Basket button, accept Terms and Condition and you will then be given a link to download the pdf to your computer.

2.      Thesis can be digitised at no charge; delivery time is quoted.
Action: click the Add to Basket button and accept Terms and Conditions to create an order. You will receive notification by email when the thesis is available for download.

3.      Thesis can be digitised at a given cost; delivery time is quoted.
make a request to the ILL Team, using the British Library Loan form. Please specify that it is a PhD Thesis. LDS have agreed to cover the cost
or you can place a request immediately and pay by credit or debit card (no refund from LDS).

4.      Thesis not available via Ethos.
Action: make a request to the ILL Team, using the British Library Loan form. Please specify that it is a PhD Thesis and that it is not available via ethos, eg: ‘N/A Ethos’.


If you would like more advice and support on using EThOS, please contact your subject librarian if known. You can also email: informationspecialists@plymouth.ac.uk.


The ILL Team can be contacted by email: illply@plymouth.ac.uk

1.1. EThos - Can I obtain a thesis which is not on Ethos?


There are several web-based sources that you can try (below) to get a copy, some providing immediate access if the thesis you need is not on EThOS.




Dart-Europe E-Theses Portal

Allows you to search for theses from Universities in 16 European countries, the majority of which are available for immediate download.



Trove –the National Library of Australia’s discovery website.


This help page gives you tips on how to find Australian theses.



Theses Canada


A portal to find Canadian theses and dissertations. Participation is voluntary, but around 25% of entries are available for immediate download.





An initiative of the Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe that aims to provide access to doctoral theses submitted to French universities and colleges.





A single point of access to open access Irish research publications, including some doctoral and research masters theses.


South Africa


The South African national e-theses portal.





This service from the principal provider of US theses is specifically limited to doctoral theses that are available as open access.



Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations


The NDTLD site is an excellent starting point for tracing the existing of online theses from around the world. As well as a search, it also maintains a directory of links to other key websites. To search, click on the ‘For Researchers’ box.



If you are still unable to find the thesis you need, the Inter Library Loan service may beable to obtain it for you. Place a request using the British Library Loan Request Form available after clicking on Requests on the Primo home page and signing in. In the ‘Publisher’ box you must enter Thesis level and University,e.g.: PhD, University of Plymouth. Failure to provide this information may lead to your request being declined.


Please contact the Document Delivery Team for further advice or help.

1.2. Adding my own Thesis to the EthOS database?

I would like my own Thesis added to the EthOS system, can this be done?


The British Library are digitising theses as they are requested so if anyone asks to read your thesis it will be added to the system.

If your thesis was written as a Plymouth University student, then Ethos should already have the details of your thesis.