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Caltech Theses

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

Submission Timeline

Submission Timeline

Please note: If you are defending in April or May, expect that the Proofreader will need extra time, so adjust your timeline accordingly.

  • 1-3 months before your defense, start taking care of any copyright questions you may have:
    • Make sure you have taken care of all copyright considerations related to your thesis - GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME! 
    • Publishers' policies vary on how they handle thesis copyright issues, but most no loner require embargoes of accepted versions of published or submitted papers. 
    • If you are not an author/creator, you will likely need to contact the copyright owners (usually the publishers) by email.  Save the email responses for future uploads to your CaltechTHESIS record.
  • 2-4 weeks before the week of your defense:
    • Fill out Petition for Examination form in REGIS  to the Graduate Office
    • Turn in your thesis for proofreading to the Grad Office, a minimum of 2 weeks before your defense
      • Expect to turn it it in much sooner during the busy season (March-June, but especially May) if you want it back in time for your defense.
      • Send a copy of the Proofreader Agreement form along with an editable PDF copy of your thesis to the Grad Office.
      • Yes, this is required. The Grad Office hires the Proofreaders.  The Library is not involved in the proofreading of theses, and is merely providing a link to the Agreement form.
      • An editable PDF copy is preferred for the proofreader.  It does not have to be perfect, but the thesis should be substantially complete.
    • 1-2 days before your defense:
      • Pick up from the Graduate Office:
        • Proof-read copy of thesis
        • Petition for Examination form
  • On the day of your defense:
    • Petition Examination form must be signed by each member of your committee
    • The result of your exam must be filled out and signed
    • If you have a subject minor, a faculty representative of the minor option must sign Section VII on p. 4
  • After your defense:
    • Return completed and signed Petition for Examination form to Graduate Office
    • Fill out the Survey of Earned Doctorates.  A certificate of completion will be automatically sent to the Graduate Office.
    • Check REGIS to make sure all your signatures have been added (advisor, committee, division chair, etc.) to your account.
  • After your final edits:
    • Submit your final thesis to CaltechTHESIS
    • Log into your REGIS account to check on the status and to see if any paperwork or signatures are missing - be pro-active if anything is missing!
    • Once the Grad Office has approved your thesis deposit and made sure that all requirements have been met, it will notify the Library who will then release your thesis record. 
    • The Registrar will receive an automated email generated by the release of your thesis record, and they will finalize your REGIS account.  You should be able to download your Letter of Completion soon after.
  • IMPORTANT: The final corrected version of a thesis must be uploaded to CaltechTHESIS by the fifth week (~2 months) 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.
  • TIP: If you are in a hurry to get your Letter of Completion from the Registrar, it is your responsibility to notify the Grad Office.  The best time to do so is right after you have deposited your thesis.

Deposit Your Thesis

Deposit your Thesis into CaltechTHESIS

  • Log into CaltechTHESIS using your IMSS logion/password.
  • ​​The deposit process begins in Manage Deposits (default screen once logged in).
    • Click Submit a Thesis to open the CaltechTHESIS record form.
    • You can move from tab to tab in the form, or click the Next or Previous button.
    • Copy-paste or type in the appropriate  information for each field.
      • Any starred field is a required one.
      • If you have not filled out a required field, you will get "missing information feedback" in orange.  
    • Description tab:
      • Thesis Details: Do not delete or change any pre-filled fields: Collection, Record Number, Persistent URL, Institution.
      • Related URLs: Add the DOIs or other links for any previously published chapters or parts of your thesis into the URL subfield.  Add descriptive phrases for the URLs in the Description subfield - EXAMPLE: "Article adapted for ch.1".
      • Funders: If you have funders that need to be acknowledged, add funder names, and grant numbers if possible.
      • DOI: Library staff will generate a DOI for your thesis once the Grad Office has given its final approval of the thesis.
    • Advisor/Committee tab:
      • Research Advisor: Add requested information in thee whole line, including Role, email, and ORCID if available.
      • Thesis Committee: Add ALL members of your thesis committee including your advisor. Indicate Roles, email addresses and ORCID if available.
    • Division/Option tab:
      • Pretty self-explanatory.
    • Upload Files tab:
      • Upload ALL your attached files in this tab. 
        • Leave them all as Public even if you are requesting an embargo. If you mark them as Staff Use Only, they will disappear from your view into a dark directory. Reviewers will move the necessary files for you during the review process.
        • Change the Content field for each file: Show Options/Content. Update Metadata to save.
        • For source files that are Word docs with a docx extension, manually change the Format to MS Word: Show Options/Format. Scroll to MS Word and highlight. Update Metadata to save.
      • PDF file of your thesis AND the source file (original pre-PDF). 
        • Leave all your attached files as "Public". Reviewers will make all necessary status changes for you.
        • TeX source files can be uploaded in a zip file.
        • All source files are always permanently embargoed. They are accessible only to Library staff who may use them to recreate the PDF if it is ever corrupted.
      • Copyright or permissions documents 
        • Briefly describe the contents of the files in the Description field (Click "Show Options" to see the field).
      • Supplementary materials
        • Data sets can be loaded or linked to as supplementary material. We highly recommend adding your datasets to CaltechDATA and linking them back to your thesis record. 
        • If you decide to add them to CaltechTHESIS, upload them as zipped files if they are extremely large (>100 Mb - use your judgment).
        • Add short descriptive phrase for each of the supplemental files: Show Options/Description. Update Metadata to save.
    • Deposit tab:
      • Deposit your record for review and approval.
      • Click-through license gives Caltech permission to hold your thesis

Final Steps

  • Library staff review your thesis deposit. After any necessary corrections have been made, the Grad Office is notified that you have satisfactorily deposited your thesis.
  • Once the Grad Office notifies the Library that your thesis is officially approved, library staff update and release the thesis record.
  • The Registrar is automatically notified and finalizes your REGIS account.You will then be able to retrieve a Letter of Completion.

What Happens on the Library's End

Library Reviews your Submission

  1. After you have deposited your CaltechTHESIS record, library staff reviews it.
    • are all the required fields in the CaltechTHESIS record filled in?  Is anything missing?
    • Have all required files have been uploaded? Both PDF AND Source Files?
    • Has an embargo request been submitted?
  2. If corrections are needed:
    • The reviewer will email the student to let them know what changes are required.
    • The CaltechTHESIS record is returned to the student's Manage Deposits work area for corrections.
    • The student makes the corrections, and resubmits the CaltechTHESIS record for further review.
  3. After successful Library review:
    • The Library notifies the Grad Office that the student has satisfactorily submitted their thesis.
    • Library staff wait for the Grad Office to notify them that thesis has received official final approval.

Library Releases your CaltechTHESIS Record

    • After the Grad Office gives the official approval, library staff update the CaltechTHESIS record with the new status and approval date.
    • The Registrar's Office is automatically notified that the thesis has been approved and they add the final checklist item in the student's REGIS account.  This also triggers the generation of the student's Letter of Completion.
    • Library staff generate a DOI for the thesis, then release the CaltechTHESIS record to public view.
      • Library staff automatically embargo from public view all thesis for 7 days, even those marked as immediate Public View.
      • If embargo request have been submitted, thesis files will be embargoed for as long as necessary - see The Thesis Embargo section for more details.

Common Questions

  • What DOI do I add to the DOI field in the Description tab?
    • Library staff will generate a DOI for your thesis as soon as the Grad Office has given its final official approval. The DOI field is where the DOI for your thesis will be located.
  • Where are my files? I uploaded them and now they've disappeared!
    • It is likely that you marked the file as "Staff Use Only".  When you do that, the file is moved to an dark directory that is not visible to anyone but CaltechTHESIS library staff.
    • Mark/leave all your files as status Public, including your source (pre-PDF) files.  We will change the file status as needed when we are reviewing your deposit.
  • My thesis record has been approved and released. Why can't I see my files?
    • We grant an automatic 7 day full embargo to every student who deposited a thesis without requesting an embargo. This is in case either the student or the advisor has second thoughts about not having requested one. If we don't hear from either of you in those 7 days, we release the files to public view.

Avoid Common Mistakes Made During Submission

How to Avoid These Common Mistakes During Thesis Submission

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

  • Making new versions of the original thesis record and submitting the newer version.
    • DO NOT CREATE a new version of the original record in CaltechTHESIS. We will have to transfer all your changes from the new to the original record, and delete the new version. This slows everything down for everyone.
    • Simply make the required changes on the original record and resubmit that one.
  • Degree Date (year)
    •  Caltech only holds one graduation per year, so the Degree Date on your Title Page and on your CaltechTHESIS record's Thesis Details should be the calendar year of your upcoming graduation.
      • If you are graduating in the same calendar year that you defended, use the calendar year as your Degree Date
      • If you are graduating in the following June of a different calendar year than when you defended, your Degree Date should be the following calendar year.
  • Defense Date
    • Your defense date needs to be on your Title Page, under your graduation year.  Example: (Defended March 1, 2019).
  • ORCID iD (p. ii)
    • Add your ORCID iD to the title page verso, below the copyright statement.
    • If you do not have an ORCID iD, either create one or remove the statement from the page.
  • Missing Published Content and Contributions Page (~p. v)
    • Include a bibliography of published articles or other material that are included as part of the thesis. Citations must include DOIs or publisher URLs if available electronically.
    • Describe your role with each article and its contents.
  • Missing Links in the Related URLs field in the Description Tab
    • If you have publication citations listed in your Publications and Contributions page, you must list the DOIs or links in the Related URLs field
    • Also add the DOI links for any previously published chapters or parts of your thesis into the Related URLS field in the CaltechTHESIS record's Thesis Details area in the Description section.,/li>
    • You may also use this field to provide links to related material that is not included in your thesis but might be of interest to your readers.
  • Student Email Addresses
    • Add your NON-Caltech email address in the Author's field in the Description tab.
    • If you do not choose the visibility of your email address, we will change it to "No".
  • Incomplete Advisor/Committee Sections
    • If the advisor is also on the committee, his/her name must appear in both subsections.
    • Advisor and committee member email addresses must appear in both subsections.
    • Individuals' roles for advisor/committee section must be designated. Use the pull-down menu options.
    • Email addresses must be included.
  • Thesis Embargo Forms
    • If you want to restrict access to your thesis in any way, you must fill out an embargo form. Read the Thesis Dissemination Policy section carefully to see if your reasons apply.
    • Library staff will add your embargo request to your CaltechTHESIS record, forward the request to the Thesis Embargo Review Committee if required, and update the information once the Committee has rendered its decision.
  • Missing Complete Thesis
    • You did not upload a full thesis file, even though chapter files have uploaded separately. You must provide a full thesis file.

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

  • Not Redepositing CaltechTHESIS record After Corrections
    • If not redeposited, the thesis will sit in your buffer, and will not be sent to the Grad Office for final approval .
  • Missing Paperwork and Signatures in the Grad Office (check REGIS!)
    • The Library does not have access to REGIS, You must do this yourself.
    • The Grad Office will wait on giving final approval of your thesis until all paperwork, forms, and signatures have been turned in.
    • Check your REGIS 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.  Once you have filled out and submitted the electronic form, a notice of completion will be automatically sent to the Grad Office.

Handling Special Types of Files

Handling Special Types of Files

  • Upload all your files into the Upload Files tab in your CaltechTHESIS record. 
  • Click on the Show Options link in each file's box to see more functionality available to you.

Source Files:

  • Leave the source files as publicly viewable when you upload them to your record. 
    • Library staff will move them to an internal dark directory for you. 
    • If you mark the files as "'Staff Use Only", they will disappear on you because you do not have access to the internal directory.  They have not simply vanished.  Just contact us if you need them pulled back.
  • In Show Options, choose Archival Material as your Content type. Add "source files" to the Description field.

Copyright Permissions Files:

  • Upload either PDF or .txt files of any copyright permissions letters you've gathered for your thesis content.
  • In Show Options, choose Copyright Permission as your Content type. Add descriptive information, such as the article or copyright owner information, to the Description field.

Supplemental Material Files:

  • Seriously consider adding these to CaltechDATA, which is more user-friendly for data, software, audio and video files. 
    • CaltechTHESIS simply does not make it easy for readers to open non-textual files.
    • CaltechDATA will give you DOIs for your supplemental material, which you can then add to your CaltechTHESIS record's Related URLs field.

Partially Embargoed Thesis Files:

  • See more information in the Thesis Embargo section on Partial Embargos
  • If you are interested in restricting access to your thesis, ask yourself if you only need to embargo certain portions of your thesis. You may not need to embargo the whole thesis.
    • If a partial embargo will do, upload both your full thesis file AND a redacted thesis file.
    • The redacted thesis file can have the relevant material omitted.  On the page in the thesis where the omitted content would normally be, and add a statement to the reader saying something like "[This chapter is temporarily embargoed.]" or "[Intentionally redacted.]"