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Caltech Theses: Submission Process

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.

Important Links for the Submission Process

Submission Process

  1. Retrieve and fill out all the forms necessary from the Grad Office.
  2. Make sure you have taken care of all copyright considerations related to your thesis. 
    • Publishers' policies vary on how they handle thesis copyright issues. 
    • Contact the copyright owners (usually the publishers) by email.  Save the email responses for future use.
    • Call or email the library if you need help with this.
  3. Send in an electronic (preferred) or deliver a hard copy of your thesis to the Grad Office for proofreading at least two weeks before your defense. Call the Grad Office to finds out what their current preference is at it can vary by assigned proofreader.
    • Give yourself more time (at least 4 weeks) if you are defending within 6 weeks of graduation.
  4. Retrieve Petition for Examination form and your proofread copy from the Grad Office in time for your defense.
    • 1-2 days ahead is normal.
  5. Defend your thesis.  Good luck!
  6. Make required changes in your thesis.  Include committee-required and -recommended changes as well as proofreader's changes.
  7. Fill out and submit the Survey of Earned Doctorates.  This is a required form!
  8. Submit the FINAL version of your thesis to CaltechTHESIS
    • You must upload your thesis to CaltechTHESIS to be able to graduate!  Proquest/UMI and CaltechTHESIS are completely unrelated databases.
    • Use your IMSS credentials to create an account.
    • Make sure all your thesis files have embedded fonts.
    • Check for common mistakes before submitting.
  9. DO NOT submit a new record when there are corrections to be made.  See our corrections instructions for further details

Last Steps

  • Make sure you have turned in ALL your Caltech forms to the Grad Office. Delay in turning in all your forms could affect your ability to graduate on time.
  • Once your thesis submission to CaltechTHESIS has been approved by the Grad Office, both you and the registrar's office will receive an automated email from 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.

Common Mistakes Made During Submission

Do NOT create a new record when resubmitting your thesis.  Simply make the required changes on the original record and resubmit that one.  If you need help, call x6065.

We will return the submitted thesis to you for corrections if the following common mistakes have been made:

      •    The Degree Date in the Thesis Details section of the Description tab should also be your graduation year.  This could be a different calendar year from the current one, depending on when your thesis defense submission dates occur in relation to upcoming commencement cerremonies.
      • Your defense date needs to be on your title page, under your graduation year.
      •  You did not add a non-Caltech email address in the Author's field in the Description tab.
      • Advisor and committee member addresses are missing.
      • If the advisor is also on the committee, his/her name must appear appear in both areas.
      • Individuals' roles for advisor/committee section must be designated. Use the pull-down menu options.
      • Email addresses must be included.
      • The thesis availability in the Description tab and the file access statuses under "Upload Open" or "Upload Withheld" Files don't coordinate. This can be confusing.  Please read the instructions carefully, or call us directly for further clarification.
      • You did not add a restriction end date for the restructed or embargoed file(s).  Open "Options" for each file and add a specific date in the "Access-Visible" field.
      • You did not upload a file including the complete thesis, although all the chapters have been uploaded as separate files.We need a single file with the complete thesis.  
      • If you are withholding specific chapters for patenting or publication reasons, you may also withhold the full thesis file for the same length of time.

Other types of mistakes that could affect completion and/or graduation:

      • If you don't resubmit it, the thesis will sit in your buffer, where our reviewers can't see it. We will not be able to review it and send it on to Grad Office for final approval.
      • Even if your thesis has been satisfactorily submitted and we have forwarded it to the Grad office for final approval, they will most likely withhold approval if all your forms have not been handed in to them.
      • Check the list carefully, and have someone in the Grad Office double-check the paperwork you hand in to make sure nothing is missing.
      • The Survey of Earned Doctorates is the form missed most often.  You can fill it outl electronically, and email a copy of the certificate of completion directly to the Grad Office