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Caltech Theses: Format and Presentation

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.

Format and Presentation Guidelines

File format and presentation

  • The final text of the deposited thesis must be in PDF format.
  • Please use the Grad Office Ph.D. thesis regulations for format and presentation as your primary guideline in formatting your thesis.
  • Include a separate page with a bibliography of all published, or accepted-for-publication, material included in the thesis. Include the URLs as part of the citations whenever available.
  • If one of your files requires specific software to run it that is not regularly or easily obtainable, consider uploading a copy of that software as a zipped file.   Ther same applies to programs you may have written for material in your thesis.
  • Data sets can be loaded as supplementary material. Add them as zipped files if they are extremely large (>100 Mb - use your judgment).

Embedding fonts

Original source files

  • We highly encourage you to upload your original source files (i.e, your thesis in its pre-PDF format), and store them as archival sources in the Withheld section of your CaltechTHESIS record.  This well help us as we deal with format migration and obsolesence in the future, and also preserve a copy for you should you ever need one.

Abstract presentation in CaltechTHESIS

  • If your abstract has mutiple paragraphs, include HTML paragraph coding (<p>...</p>) in your abstract to ensure your paragraphs display properly.
  • Problematic symbols and special characters in an abstract:
    • If your abstract contains the mathematical symbols "<" or ">" AND you are using any kind of HTML coding as well, you will need to replace the ">" with "&gt;", and the "<" with "&lt;" to prevent display errors in the text block of the abstract.
    • Avoid the use of and ampersand (&), and use the word "and" instead.
    • Check out Character Entity References in HTML 4 and XHTML 1.0 for alternatives for the dispaly of special characters.

File size restrictions

  • We set no limit to the size of any of the files you submit for your thesis. We do require 1 file with the full thesis.  However, do additionally consider uploading separate chapter files to make it easier for readers to download.

Inclusion of published content

  • Check for copyright restrictions
  • If necessary, contact the copyright owners (usually publishers) by email for permission to include the published material in your thesis.  Save the email responses and upload them as withheld documents into your CaltechTHESIs record. 
  • Cite the published material
    • Include a separate page with a bibliography of all published, or accepted-for-publication, material included in the thesis.  Include the URLs as part of the citations if possible.
    • Most publishers require that citations be added to the article/chapter included in the thesis. 
      • They usually have a specific citation format they want you to follow.  Check the publisher's website.
      • The citation is most commonly added at the bottom of the first page of the article/chapter included in the thesis.

Symbols and Special Characters for Abstracts

Many authors have trouble replicating the appearance of their thesis' abstract in the CaltechTHESIS record.  Below are some tips to get you started.  While your abstract may look funny in the user mode, it should display correctly in public mode.  Save your changes as you go along and check the abstract's view in the Preview mode.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call!

  • HTML coding can be used to break up paragraphs:
    • <p>at the beginning of each paragraph
    • </p> at the end of each paragraph
  • Superscripts can be similarly noted:
    • <sup> ... </sup>  ex: <sup>4</sup>, or <sup>123</sup> - for superscripts
    • <sub> ... </sub> - for subscripts
  • There are many tables online that have useful coding that can be copy-pasted into the abstract.  I find this one particularly helpful:
    • Some day-to-day symbols, "&", ">' and "<", are particularly problematic, and you should use the number column display (&#...;) in their place
    • For others, you can copy-paste either the entry in the entity displayed column or the number column
  • If you need further help, just ask!  We have other helpful web pages at our fingertips, especially for math and astronomy