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Caltech Theses: Introduction

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.

Caltech's Expectations for a Thesis

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is conferred by the Institute primarily in recognition of breadth of scholarship, depth of research, and the power to investigate problems independently and efficiently, rather than for the completion of definite courses of study through a stated period of residence. The work for the degree must consist of systematic studies of an advanced character, of research and the preparation of a thesis describing these. A thesis is to be a substantial new contribution to the field that would be released into the stream of scholarship. In addition, the candidate must have clear self-expression in both oral and written English.

Caltech theses have a common format and there are regulations regarding the contents, submission, proofreading, and final disposition.  Please use the Grad Office's "Regulations for the Format and Presentation of a Graduate Thesis" as your primary guideline in formatting your thesis. 

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations, following the correct format, meeting deadlines, working with their advisor and dissertation committee to schedule the examination, providing timely copies of the thesis, and making requested revisions. 

Annual Deadlines

Final 2019 deadlines:

Please call the Graduate Office if you have any questions about these dates, or if you know you will not be able to meet theses deadlines!  It is easier for them to remove you from the graduation list than to add you!

IMPORTANT: The final, corrected, thesis must be uploaded to CaltechTHESIS by the fifth week of the succeeding term if the candidate defended his or her thesis during the previous summer or the first and second terms; or two weeks before the degree is to be conferred if the candidate defended during the month of May.

  • End May, 2019: Always check  with the Graduate Office.  Last day to defend thesis. Defenses should generally be scheduled at least two weeks before the submission deadline. Contact Grad Office if cutting it close.
  • June 7, 2019: Last day to submit thesis to CaltechTHESIS, unless defending later.  Double-check with the Graduate Office. (UPDATED on May 31)
  • June 12, 2019: Last faculty meeting of the academic year ; includes final faculty approval for graduation.
  • June 14, 2019: Graduation

If you anticipate cutting it close, we highly recommend that you talk to the Grad Office.  They may be able to make special accommodations, especially if your defense date is what is causing the delay.


Kathy Johnson's picture
Kathy Johnson
Sherman Fairchild Library 1-43
Rm. 324
(626) 395-6065