About the collection:

The Hong Kong University Theses Collection holds theses and dissertations submitted for higher degrees to the University of Hong Kong since 1941. The first recorded thesis was dated 1928, though all theses prior to 1941 were lost during the occupation of WWII. The HKU Scholars Hub includes theses in the arts, humanities, education and the social, medical and natural sciences. Many of them deal entirely with or focus on subjects relating to Hong Kong. The collection is primarily in English, with some in English and Chinese, and others in Chinese only. Almost all existing HKU theses are included in the HKU Scholars Hub. Missing older ones might still be located in HKU departmental libraries. As of 2006, HKUTO began to include some theses done by the HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPACE).

Electronic Theses & Dissertations (ETDs):

The University Libraries began in 1996 to place HKU ETDs online. In 2000, The HKU Senate made new policy requiring new Research Postgraduate (rpg) students entering after 1 Jan 2001 to create an ETD and be placed online in the Libraries servers in open access. Almost all other thesis producing HKU degrees now (2011) require the same. From Dec 2010, only rpg theses are collected both in print and ETD. For other degrees, only ETDs are collected. A retrospective digitization project on older theses was completed in 2010.

Printed Thesis Access:

The original hardcopy of the Theses Collection is housed in the University Archives and does not circulate. All print theses are housed in off campus University Archives storage and must be ordered for you by the archivists. Please contact the University Archives by email at to request one or more theses for your research and please give the author, title, year, and call number of the theses you wish to consult. They will contact you as soon as they are available for you. Viewing must be done in the University Archives. You may also reach the Archive by telephone at (852) 2219-4191. Occasionally, an author may restrict access to his or her thesis for a limited period of time and it will not be available right away, or not available on line in the HKU Scholars Hub.

If you cannot download copies of the pages you need from the HKU Scholars Hub and wish to have copies made by the Archivists you may request the Archives to do the copying for a small fee, provided that the author has no restrictions on copying the work. They restrict the copy orders to 1/3 or less of the entire thesis and you are required to cite the thesis properly in your work including: the author, the title, date of publication, courtesy of the University Archives, University of Hong Kong.

Retrospective Conversion of Print Theses

Please note that most HKU postgraduate programs require students to now produce electronic theses. Please see Theses at HKU for a description of this procedure, and the thesis submission form for the regulations concerning them.

However the great majority of postgraduate students graduated without these new requirements. The paragraphs below describe the digitization of these theses.

Most graduate programs at HKU began to require electronic theses from their students from 2001*. Usage statistics in 2004 showed that electronic theses were receiving 400 times more usage than the printed theses. In order to further unlock this hidden treasure, we searched out postal and email addresses of our post-graduate alumni, who had written theses before this new electronic requirement, and wrote to them in 2004/05 asking for their permission to digitize their printed theses. We received 1,000s of positive replies, and a handful of negative ones. Some even sent us the original source files, so that we could convert and make text-embedded PDF files. We have now (June 2011) finished retrospective digitization of all HKU theses deposited in the HKU Libraries.

Most thesis authors are very happy to find their thesis online now. Whereas printed theses were rarely found and read, the online theses are indexed in many worldwide search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, and can be found and read by anyone around the world. Potential employers and scholarly collaborators can easily find, read and cite them.

However, some thesis authors, for their own reasons do not wish to allow online access. If this is the case for you, could you please send us a copy of your HKU Library card, or a copy of some other form of identification, and we will remove access to the online thesis. Could you please send this to, or to,

  • Cataloguing Department
  • HKU Libraries
  • Pokfulam Road
  • Hong Kong

The letter that went out to thesis authors asking their consent for digitization, wrote that, "If we don't hear anything from you we will assume that you approve. However, should you decide at a future time that you do not want your thesis included, simply notify us in writing and we will immediately remove it from the database."

* Please note that if you entered a HKU postgraduate program requiring an e-thesis, you should follow instructions in the Submission Form for your degree if you wish it to be restricted.

We celebrate the distinguished post-graduates of HKU and their work.

HKU Libraries