Theses Canada Portal (National Library of Canada)
More than 300,000 theses and dissertations with more than 50,000 are available online.
UK and Ireland
EThOS - Electronic Theses Online Service (Beta)
This database offered by the British Library contains records for doctoral theses from UK higher education institutions and allows immediate download of an increasing number of electronic and digitized theses.
The database covers ALL UK theses so, in theory, could go back to the 1600s!
Doctoral Dissertation Bibliographic Database
Coverage varies depending on the university.
The database includes records of dissertations produced in French institutions. Search for theses by limiting to Dissertations in Advanced Search.
Australasian Digital Thesis Program
A distributed database of digital versions of theses produced by the postgraduate research students at Australian universities.
PhdData (The Universal Index of Doctoral Dissertations in Progress)
This site holds a database of doctoral dissertations in progress around the world.
Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)
Includes links to 100+ sites providing e-theses.
Until relatively recently, graduate students had no alternative to ProQuest/UMI if they wanted to disseminate their dissertation online. The development of online repositories, such as Carnegie Mellon’s Research Showcase, challenges UMI’s dominance as the publisher for dissertations.
You can give Carnegie Mellon University Libraries permission to publish, preserve, and provide open access to your dissertation at no charge to you or your readers; with this option you can also give your readers re-use rights (for example, under a Creative Commons license). Alternatively, you can pay ProQuest/UMI to publish, preserve, and provide access to your dissertation under a variety of terms and conditions, none of which gives your readers re-use rights. Or you can publish in both venues. You must decide what is in your best interests and the interests of your discipline.
ProQuest/UMI’s Dissertations & Theses Database is a well-established, frequently used resource providing access to a large collection of material, but many graduate students and university administrators are questioning the practice of enabling a commercial publisher to profit from author fees, database licensing fees, and dissertation sales when universities can publish and disseminate these important works at no charge to authors or readers. For a brief discussion of the tradeoffs written by a graduate student, see ProQuest, Dissertations, and Creative Commons Licensing: An Open Letter.
For a table of features/functionality, pros and cons of publishing dissertations in Research Showcase versus publishing with ProQuest/UMI, see Options for publishing CMU dissertations.
For more information about open licenses, see Creative Commons licenses, the Guide to Open Licensing, and the list of Conformant Licenses.