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About theses and dissertations

word art

Thesis and dissertation are terms used to describe a longer piece of written work, usually done as part of a university degree.

In the UK, the term dissertation generally refers to an extended piece of work for an undergraduate or taught Masters degree, while thesis describes the written part of the submission for a research degree at Masters or PhD level. However, they are reversed in the US, where dissertation is usually used to describe a piece of extended writing for a PhD. You will see references to both theses and dissertations in the resources in this guide.

As original research is reported in theses, they are a rich source of information about research in your field. They can help you to:

  • discover current research
  • assess research topics
  • get more references to books and articles


How to get hold of theses

The resources listed in this guide will give you bibliographic information about theses. Many will also give you a link to the full text of a thesis, or explain how you can acquire it. However, there are still many theses which you will have to have sent to Manchester Metropolitan Library for consultation, or you many even need to visit the Library of the awarding institution. To request a thesis please use the Request It! service: