Free Theses & Dissertations Online: Vital Search Hints


No matter what type of academic writing you have to prepare, it is very helpful to have a good example. Graduate students often try to get free theses and dissertations, in order to understand what their papers should look like. The majority of students search for them online. On the Web, there are many resources that you can use, but it is often hard to find reliable websites. The following vital search hints are designed to help you find the examples you need:

  • Search for theses and dissertations separately.
  • Some students think that there is no difference between these two types of papers. Typically, theses are written by Master’s students and dissertations are prepared by PhD students. The former follow the requirements for a Master’s degree, so it might not help you much if you are a PhD student. The latter often happen to be longer, and contain solid research results. So, you will significantly save time if you search for the kind of paper you actually need.

  • Check the repositories of universities first.
  • University repositories contain dissertations and theses written by former students. You can download them for free. It is faster to search by a title, subject, or author. Some repositories allow users to browse by a department or university. If you do not get the results you need, you should read the FAQs section carefully, or use the contact form to ask your question.

  • Consider the most important keywords.
  • Most online databases allow students to select subjects, or keywords, to find papers which contain them. So, you have to consider which keywords describe the document you want to find in the best way, write them down, and use them to clarify your search. You should be specific; otherwise you will spend lots of lime looking through hundreds of documents that are barely related to your research topic. Don’t forget to specify that you are looking for free papers when you use your search engine.

  • Look through different databases.
  • Although university databases are the most reliable ones, you could also look through other websites which contain free collections of theses and dissertations. Many libraries offer access to collections of academic papers. You can also visit educational portals, study blogs, and student study groups. The latter offers document exchange opportunities for students from different countries; so that you can find examples ready to download, or ask your peers to share good examples.