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Law theses: Finding law theses

A guide to finding law theses, both in print and online, in the IALS Library and further afield

Law theses

Guide last updated by Alice Tyson, July 2021

About the author

This guide was created by Lisa Davies, former Access Librarian at the IALS Library.

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IALS and University of London PhD/MPhil law theses

IALS Library holds MPhil and PhD law theses from University of London colleges from 1945 to 2011.

From 2011 onwards the IALS Library only collects theses from its own research students and each University of London college keeps its own students' law theses with the expectation that they will also be available electronically through the British Library's EThOS database (see below for more information on EThOS). If looking for a University of London thesis since 2011 and it is not available on EThOS, check the college's library catalogue or institutional repository, or contact the relevant college library for further information.

Finding print law theses at IALS Library

To search IALS Library's collection of print law theses on the Library Catalogue:

1. Select the Classmark search option

Screenshot image of the Library Catalogue with arrow pointing to the Classmark search

2. Type in "thesis" as the search term and submit the search

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3. Select the option "Limit/Sort Search" from the search results screen

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4. Type in some appropriate search terms for your subject area into the "Words in Title" or "Words in Subject" fields

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5. Submit the search.

Make a note of the numbers of any theses which you would like to look at. As thesis are not stored on the open shelves, you will need to fill out a basement request form at the 2nd floor enquiry desk for each thesis you would like to view and a member of staff will fetch them for you.

Theses are available for consultation in the library only and there are strict rules about photocopying from theses. If in doubt about whether copying is allowed, please ask a member of library staff.

Finding electronic law theses at IALS Library

Selected PhD theses written by IALS students are available online in the IALS section of the School of Advanced Study's E-repository, SAS-Space.


IALS Masters dissertations

Selected dissertations written by IALS Masters students are available online in the "thesis" section of the School of Advanced Study's E-repository, SAS-Space.


Online resources for law theses

DART Europe is a portal to online theses provided by a partnership of research libraries and library consortia who are working together to improve global access to European research theses.

EThOS is the British Library's Electronic Theses Online System. It aims to provide open access to UK theses in many disciplines including law. EThOS includes a record of approximately 90% of UK theses. Many of them are available to download for free. If the thesis is not available to download, you can make a request for it to be digitised (there may be a fee for this service).

NDLTD (Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations) is an international organisation dedicated to promoting the creation of electronic theses. The website provides a list of online repositories of theses from many countries around the world.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global and Index to Theses is a subscription database that provides access to theses and dissertations from the UK and overseas. Many university libraries provide access to this database; check with your own college or university librarian if you are unsure. School of Advanced Study students and those with Senate House Library membership have access to this service.

Many universities maintain their own e-repositories, which provide online access to PhD theses.


Historic legal research in the UK

Legal Research in the UK in the 20th Century is an IALS open access database which provides a list of legal theses and dissertations successfully completed for postgraduate degrees awarded by universities and polytechnics in the United Kingdom 1905-1984.