Theses: Searching for St Andrews theses

Finding a thesis using Library Search

You can search for a thesis in Library Search in the same way that you would search for any other book.

The results will give you a variety of ways to access a thesis because St Andrews theses are indexed in multiple databases.

Online search results

The first result provides access to the thesis through EThOS, (the British Library's full text catalogue of UK doctoral research theses available online.) If you click on the green button, it will take you to the thesis page on EThOS. Here, you can access the full text of the thesis by clicking either of these links:

EThOS screenshot with access to thesis

The second result will show you the record for the thesis that the library has created. Click on the title and it will take you to a page where you can access information about the thesis, such as the classmark of the print copy and a link to the St Andrews Research Repository, where you can access the full text, (if not embargoed).

Screenshot of Library record of thesis

The third result will take you to the repository record for the thesis that the Library has created. This will link to the St Andrews Research Repository, where you can access the full text, (if not embargoed).

Screenshsot of repository record for thesis

Digitisation and requesting a full text digital copy of a St Andrews theses

Our policy  is to provide digital delivery of St Andrews theses wherever possible.  If you wish to consult a St Andrews thesis please check the Library collections first to discover if a digital copy is available.

From 2007, all St Andrews doctoral theses have been submitted as electronic theses and will be digitally available subject to any full text embargos being in place.  Major digitisation projects in 2016 and 2018 have made some 90% of pre 2007 St Andrews theses available digitally.  These theses date from the early twentieth century up to 2007.  Please note that some digital full text for earlier theses is still in the process of being loaded and some digitisation for unique copies of theses still has to be carried out in-house.

So, for example, if you find a thesis you want to read and there is no link to full text then you will probably see notes similar to these, asking you to contact us to give you help on accessing a digital copy:  

Screenshot - thesis in process of being digitised offsite.  Contact Library for full--text access.

Screenshot - thesis to be scanned in-house.  Contact Library for full-text access.

Here is a note in the full Library Search result:

Screenshot of full Library search result

To contact us with any electronic theses queries, please email:

St Andrews is also a fully participating member of the EThOS service.  EThOS is a British Library national service to provide a central source for the discovery and supply of electronic theses. St Andrews is an Open Access Sponsor of EThOS which means that we are committed to providing our theses for digitisation on demand, and requests are made available to researchers open access and free of charge.  Over 500 St Andrews theses have been digitised as a result of researcher requests via EThOS.

The service can still be used to request digitisations of any remaining St Andrews theses which have been excluded from previous digitisation projects. Once you find the details of the thesis you wish to consult on the EThOS website you can make a request for the thesis to be digitised.  If you do not find the thesis listed in the EThOS database, please follow the instructions provided.  You will be presented with an on screen form to request an unlisted thesis.

(Please note that EThOS will not charge for the standard delivery format which is a downloadable PDF, but users choosing alternative delivery formats such as print, CD/DVD will be quoted charges.)

*The British Library is continuing to experience a major technology outage as a result of a cyber-attack. Services including EThOS may be affected. Information is available on a temporary website.

Want to consult a print thesis?

You may still want to look at a print thesis.  Perhaps because of its uniqueness, or because the print can be consulted even though the electronic thesis full text is embargoed or not available for digitisation, (at the request of the thesis author).

Did you know that our earliest digitised thesis was written in 1919?

'The structure of mannitol', by Ettie Stewart Steele

Index information for first PhD thesis from University of St Andrews


If a print copy is available for consultation, it can be consulted at the Napier Reading Room, (located within the Richardson Research Library at Martyrs Kirk on North Street.)

To arrange a time to view the print copy of a thesis, please email Special Collections at, or make an appointment using their online booking form at  

Please give two working days’ notice of the time you’d like to view the thesis - this gives Special Collections time to retrieve the thesis from the deep store.


Searching in the St Andrews Research Repository

If you know that the research thesis you are looking for was awarded from St Andrews you can search for it directly in the St Andrews Research Repository.

Here you can view a list of all theses in the Repository in title order.

You can also browse by school for theses in a particular discipline, e.g.

Screenshot - browse by School

In the Repository record for each thesis, you'll be able to view information about the author, supervisor(s), title, date of completion, as well as project funding and embargos, where applicable.

You may also be able to read the thesis abstract and subject keywords, where present.

If the full text of a thesis is available for you to view, you will see a thumbnail of the thesis' first page in the upper left-hand corner, e.g.

Screenshot - first page of thesis

Embargoed Theses

Some theses are embargoed, at the request of the author, which means that access to the print copy, electronic copy, or both copies is restricted. The three main reasons for an embargo are that any publication would be;

  • commercially damaging to the researcher, the supervisor, or the University;
  • professionally damaging, by virtue of precluding future publication;
  • in breach of law or ethics.

If a thesis is embargoed, you will see a note on the repository webpage, e.g.

Screenshot of details of embargoed thesis

This tells you whether the print or electronic copy is restricted, and the date when the restriction ends. But please note that authors can request for restrictions to be renewed and extended.

Example Theses

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