Theses and dissertations

The library holds a large number of Bristol theses and dissertations, including many PhD and doctoral theses. Read our advice about how to locate theses from other institutions, both in the UK and internationally.

University of Bristol theses and dissertations

To find a University of Bristol thesis:

  • Use Library Search as if you were trying to find a book, using either the author's name, the title or a combination of the two. When your search results display, you can refine your search by using the Resource type - Thesis option;
  • If the thesis is not on Library Search and it is pre-1978 it is worth checking the Card Catalogue Online.

Arts and Social Sciences

The collection includes theses from Arts Faculty, Social Sciences and Law Faculty, Physics, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, Geographical Sciences, Agricultural Science and the School for Policy Studies.

MA, MSc, MPhil and MLitts do not have to be deposited with the library under the Regulations, so our collections of these are incomplete. 

How to consult a thesis

  • Go to the ground floor Information Desk and complete a request in the Thesis Request folder. Collections are made after 3.30 pm Monday to Friday and by special request on Saturday;
  • Contact the Issue Desk (tel. (0117) 928 8000; email: ) in advance if you are making a special journey. This allows adequate time for the item/s you require to be collected;
  • Thesis loans are for use in the Arts and Social Sciences Library only.


School of Chemistry PhD, MSc and DSc theses from 1910 to date.

Thesis loans are for use in the Chemistry Library only, though postgraduates with seats may keep a thesis at their desk. You may ask if a particular thesis can be kept behind the Issue desk if you will be using it repeatedly for a period of time. Other theses are kept in a Library Staff room and are not available during the evenings.


School of Education EdD, PhD, MPhil, and a selection of Masters theses. Many theses written before 2005 are located to the Research Reserve.

How to consult a thesis

  • The MSc and Masters theses are located in the Quiet Study Area;
  • The MPhil, PhD and EdDs are located in Research Reserve.


The thesis collection from the Medical Library has been relocated to the library's Research Reserve. The collection includes: PhD, MD, MSc, ChM and DSc theses of staff and postgraduate students of the Health Sciences Faculty, from 1910 to date.

A card catalogue in the Medical Library contains details of the earlier theses, or you may check the Card Catalogue Online.

How to consult a thesis

  • If it has a Store (Research Reserve) number, it can be requested using an online form. Please allow three days for it to be retrieved;
  • If it does not have a Store (Research Reserve) number we may still be able to retrieve it for you. Please email the details to;
  • We will notify you when the thesis arrives at the library;
  • Theses are for use in the Medical Library only and you will be asked to sign a register.


School of Physics PhD, MSc and DSc theses from 1950 to date, with a few earlier ones. BSc and MSci projects are also held.

A card catalogue in the Physics Library contains details of the earlier ones.

How to consult a thesis

  • Ask at the Issue Desk to borrow a thesis, quoting author, year and category;
  • Theses may be borrowed by staff and postgraduates as standard loans;
  • Undergraduates may use theses in the library only;
  • BSc and MSci projects may be borrowed by undergraduates: for the standard loan period.


Some undergraduate projects and postgraduate PhD theses, from 1910 to date.  Mathematics PhD theses are held in the Arts & Social Sciences Library, including Computer Science theses before the Department transferred to the Faculty of Engineering.

A card catalogue, on the right beyond the Issue desk, contains details of pre-1978 theses.

How to consult a thesis

  • Theses are kept in a restricted area and must be requested on a ‘Thesis Request Form’ located in front of the New Books display opposite the Issue desk. Once completed please hand the form in at the Issue desk;
  • It can take one working day for a thesis to arrive and you will be notified when they are available;
  • PhD theses may not be borrowed by undergraduates; taught postgraduates or external members but ay be consulted in the library.

MSc Projects

  • Library Search has details of all projects from 1994 to date (and some from earlier years). A card catalogue, on the right beyond the Issue desk, contains details of the earlier projects;
  • These are on the open shelves in the Gallery or Lower Reading Room and can be borrowed at the Issue Desk in the same way as borrowing a book;
  • Earlier projects are kept in a restricted area and must be requested on a ‘Thesis Request Form’ (see above). It can take one working day for a project to arrive and you will be notified when it is available.

Undergraduate projects

Veterinary Sciences

MSc Meat Science theses from 1979 to date and a small number of PhD theses. The majority of veterinary sciences PhD theses are housed in the Medical Library.

Theses are shelved in the Computer Room and are for use in the library only.

Wills Memorial

Collections of both Law and Earth Sciences theses.

Theses are confined to the library; please ask at the information desk if you wish to borrow one.

UK and international theses

Information about many UK and international theses can be found via Library Search. If the thesis you are interested in is not available online, you can use our inter-Library Loan service. Non-UK theses can be difficult to obtain: in some countries, universities are working together to make full text electronic collections available:

Submit a thesis

Advice on how to submit a thesis for a higher degree can be found on the Presenting and submitting your dissertation for examination page. Information on how to submit a thesis to the library can be found on the Library's own Thesis Guidance pages.

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