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Education: research guide: Theses/dissertations

Theses outside Oxford

Searchable abstracts of theses & dissertations from around the world are available via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global - many are available for full text download.

The EThoS service from the British Library contains information about UK doctoral theses and there is increasing availability of full-text downloads, which are available once a library or individual has paid for digitisation.

Oxford University theses are not available in full online format via EThos but some are available in ORA (the Oxford Research Archive) - these will show in your SOLO search results, you do not need to search ORA separately.

Copyright and dissertations & theses

When consulting an Oxford thesis or dissertation recognise that the copyright of the thesis rests with the author and that no quotation from it or information derived from it may be published without the prior consent of the author.

A thesis or dissertation is an unpublished work therefore no copyright exceptions apply which let you copy. However, for the MSc dissertations held in the Education Library, the authors have agreed to permit limited copying of their thesis by individuals (no more than 5% or one chapter) for personal research use. 

Obtaining copies of or from Oxford dissertations & theses

DPhil theses

Copying from an Oxford thesis, even of a single page, may require the author's written permission. For more information about the copyright of Oxford theses and how to obtain copies of or from an Oxford thesis please follow the links or ask us.

MSc dissertations

Limited copying is possible (no more than 5% or one chapter) for personal research use. No quotation or information derived from an MSc dissertation may be published without the written consent of the author of the dissertation. The Higher Degrees office may be able to help you wish to contact an author, but usually you can find possible contact details via an internet search.

Theses & dissertations

To find theses and dissertations in Oxford

  • On SOLO - just add the word thesis to your searches. For instance, if you search for oxford thesis education using the Oxford Collections search filter, you will get a large selection of theses & dissertations on educational topics. The results will include both Masters dissertations and Doctoral theses and come from various departments including the Department of Education.

  • If you add "department of education*" then the search will bring back theses & dissertations produced in the Department of Education. The asterisk at the end of 'education*' ensures the results will include older theses dissertations from when the Department was called Educational Studies.

  • You could try adding particular research methods, e.g. "department of education*" thesis case study using the Oxford Collections search filter but be aware that most older dissertations have not yet been catalogued with any information about research methods used. 

  • A growing number of Oxford theses & dissertations are available online, but often only several years after submission. These will be included in the results of your SOLO searches once the author has deposited their thesis or dissertation into ORA.

  • Theses submitted recently may take a while to be processed and to appear on SOLO - you may need to check back periodically to see new additions.

MSc Dissertations in the Education Library

On the open shelves in the Education Library you will find some older printed copies of MSc Education, ALSLA and ALLT dissertations. This includes dissertations which received distinctions, marked with a red dot on the spine. Please note that very few dissertations are available from 2020 and 2021 as the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the requirement for students to submit a hard copy was waived. Since 2021 dissertations are primarily submitted online with optional donation of a hard copy to the library shelves.

MSc dissertations are shelved on the far wall of the Front Reading Room. These are for consultation in the library only and cannot be borrowed.

MSc dissertations are grouped first by course, e.g. ALSLA, Higher Education, and within each course are arranged alphabetically by author’s surname.

To search for MSc dissertations on SOLO type:  "department  of education*" thesis M.Sc. using the Oxford Collections search filter. Most of the results will be our dissertations.

You could also include author surnames or keywords in your search.

A list of the titles, authors and supervisors of the more recent Department of Education MSc Education and ALSLA dissertations is available from this page. A printed list is also available within the library.

Other older MSc dissertations are stored offsite in the Bodleian Closed Stack. They can be requested to the Education Library (or any other Bodleian Library) and consulted there (not borrowed). 

MSc dissertations from other courses

MSc Learning & Teaching (MLT) and MSc Educational Assessment (MEA) students are asked to submit an online copy of their dissertation. Exemplar dissertations are chosen to be made available online via ORA - simply type: MLT or MEA

Lists of recent theses & dissertations

DPhil Theses

DPhil theses are stored offsite in the Bodleian Closed Stack. They can be requested to the Weston Library and consulted there (not borrowed).

To search for departmental DPhil theses on SOLO type:  "department  of education*" thesis D Phil using the Oxford Collections search filter.

Note that it is important to include a space between the 'D' and the 'Phil'. You could also include author surnames or keywords in your search.

In recent years DPhil candidates have been required to deposit an online copy of their thesis with ORA. These can be found via SOLO in the same way as described above. Some may be embargoed so that the full text is not available for a few years. In most cases, a hard copy should be available in the Bodleian Closed Stack and can be requested for consultation in the Weston Library via SOLO.

A list of the titles, authors and supervisors of the more recent Department of Education DPhil theses is available from this page. A printed list is also available within the library.

Supervisors in the Department have also made a short list of ‘recommended theses’ that students can draw on for inspiration about layout, format and more substantive issues. The list includes some DPhil and MSc theses with the reason for recommendation, e.g. substantive, methodological, well written etc.