Until recently theses and dissertations (Masters and PhD) were only available in printed form. Now, worldwide, institutions are digitising their collections putting these resources into the public domain. See the centre column for information about UKZN's digitising project and the right hand column for access to national and international resources.
UKZN is digitising its theses starting with the most recent ones and working backwards so a free pdf copy is available.
1. All theses are always listed in the Library's catalogue with a URL link to the full text where it is available. Some 132 masters and PhD geography theses and over 300 environmental sciences theses have been added to date.
2. The digitised theses are also available via http://researchspace.ukzn.ac.za/xmlui and a thesis can be searched for via author, title and community. It is best to access ResearchSpace via Firefox.
3. ResearchSpace also provides links to sites that deal with publisher copyright policies.
4. Theses can also be traced via Google.
The UCTD (Union Catalogue of Dissertations and Theses) on SABINET provides an index to all Masters and PhD theses completed in South Africa since 1918. This is the most comprehensive index to South African theses.
The Proquest collection of databases incorporates an international thesis collection for several disciplines. Most are not full text although the first 24 pages are often available.
Denise Nicholson of Wits Library has put together a useful guide of those South African institutions digitising academic materials inclusive of theses as well as a list of some international collections
Google and Google Scholar will also list theses in results.