Algebraic theories describe mathematical structures that are defined in terms of operations and equations, and are extremely important throughout mathematics. Many generalisations of the classical notion of an algebraic theory have sprung up for use in different mathematical contexts; some examples include Lawvere theories, monads, PROPs and operads. The first central notion of this thesis is a common generalisation of these, which we call a prototheory. The purpose of an algebraic theory is to describe its models, which are structures in which each of the abstract operations of the theory is given a concrete interpretation such that the equations of the theory hold. The process of going from a theory to its models is called semantics, and is encapsulated in a semantics functor. In order to define a model of a theory in a given category, it is necessary to have some structure that relates the arities of the operations in the theory with the objects of the category. This leads to the second central notion of this thesis, that of an interpretation of arities, or aritation for short. We show that any aritation gives rise to a semantics functor from the appropriate category of prototheories, and that this functor has a left adjoint called the structure functor, giving rise to a structure{semantics adjunction. Furthermore, we show that the usual semantics for many existing notions of algebraic theory arises in this way by choosing an appropriate aritation. Another aim of this thesis is to find a convenient category of monads in the following sense. Every right adjoint into a category gives rise to a monad on that category, and in fact some functors that are not right adjoints do too, namely their codensity monads. This is the structure part of the structure{semantics adjunction for monads. However, the fact that not every functor has a codensity monad means that the structure functor is not defined on the category of all functors into the base category, but only on a full subcategory of it. This deficiency is solved when passing to general prototheories with a canonical choice of aritation whose structure{semantics adjunction restricts to the usual one for monads. However, this comes at a cost: the semantics functor for general prototheories is not full and faithful, unlike the one for monads. The condition that a semantics functor be full and faithful can be thought of as a kind of completeness theorem  it says that no information is lost when passing from a theory to its models. It is therefore desirable to retain this property of the semantics of monads if possible. The goal then, is to find a notion of algebraic theory that generalises monads for which the semantics functor is full and faithful with a left adjoint; equivalently the semantics functor should exhibit the category of theories as a re ective subcategory of the category of all functors into the base category. We achieve this (for wellbehaved base categories) with a special kind of prototheory enriched in topological spaces, which we call a complete topological prototheory. We also pursue an analogy between the theory of prototheories and that of groups. Under this analogy, monads correspond to finite groups, and complete topological prototheories correspond to profinite groups. We give several characterisations of complete topological prototheories in terms of monads, mirroring characterisations of profinite groups in terms of finite groups.
