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Caltech Theses: Theses FAQ

Ph.D. theses must be submitted in electronic form as part of the graduation requirements for Caltech. This guide serves as a stepping-off point for this process.

FAQs

Deadlines

Proof of completion for future employers

  • Once your thesis has received final aproval from the Grad Office, both you and the registrar's office will receive an automated emailfrom CaltechTHESIS indicating your thesis has been approved.  Once the registrar has noted the final thesis approval in your REGIS record, you should be able to access and download, within REGIS, a PDF copy of a letter of proof of degree completion.  This letter can be sent to future employers.

Copyright

Thesis Format and Preparation

File Formats

  • Why does it have to be a PDF?
    • PDF is a unique type of cross platform file format, and the software to read PDF files is widely installed and globally available.
  • Do you want my LaTeX file?
    • Please upload a copy of your LaTeX file into the Withheld section of your thesis record if possible.  We may need it for future use.
  • What is the difference between TeX and RevTex?
    • RevTeX and AMSTeX are TeX styles which utilize specific macro sets; those from Physical Review and the American Mathematical Society, respectively.
  • What kinds of formats can I use for my supplemental material?

Citation Format and Linking for Theses

  • This citation format is derived from the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.).  We have merely added the Resolver URL in these examples:
  • Use the Resolver URL as a permanent link to your thesis.  Do NOT use the link from your browser's search box, as it may become obsolete as the hardware and software used for CaltechTHESIS change.

"someone wants to publish my thesis"

You have just received a letter or an email from a publisher offering to publish your thesis for you.  What now?

We would caution you to look carefully at such solicitations.

The companies that have contacted you, unsolicited, may be a vanity press or belong to questionable and highly suspect publishers. 

Vanity Presses

Vanity press publishers do not ask you to pay them up front.  They are in essence a a print-on-demand publisher.

The most well-known "publishers", all based in Europe, are:

  • Lambert Academic Publishing
  • Scholars' Press
  • VDM Publishing

It is good to know that Lambert Academic Publishing, for example, uses the same phrases in their email solicitations as "Scholars' Press", which shares the same address as VDM Publishing.

You Need to Know

Most thesis and dissertation authors seek to publish at least part of their thesis or dissertation -- usually substantially re-worked from the strict thesis/dissertation format -- in a peer reviewed journal (article length) or by a university press, learned society, or well established commercial publisher (book length).  These vanity publishers might not impress a tenure review board, especially if you are planning a career in academia.  I suggest you do a simple search engine search (google, bing, yahoo) and draw your own conclusions.

This article is highly recommended reading, and explains matters pretty well: http://www.universityaffairs.ca/publishing-your-thesis-online.aspx. Another source of information is this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=45997.15

If you're still not certain, your thesis advisor is an excellent resource for more specific advice. Caltech's Office of the General Counsel is another great resource, as they deal regualry with Intellectual Property matters.