Skip to Main Content
Caltech Library logo

Guide to CaltechTHESIS

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

CaltechTHESIS - Deposit Your Thesis

Deposit theses in CaltechTHESIS

CaltechTHESIS is the digital archive for of Ph.D., Engineer, Masters, Bachelor and Senior theses authored by Caltech students.  It also contains essays submitted by students for writing prizes to the Hixon Writing Center.  It is updated continuously as students add new theses, and as library staff scan and add older theses.

Important Notes

  • ALL PhD AND ENGINEER'S THESIS MANUSCRIPTS MUST BE PROOFREAD BEFORE THE FINAL THESIS EXAM (i. e. defense). Send a copy of your thesis to the Grad Office proofreader at least a couple of weeks before your defense. 
    • TIP: Give yourself even more time in May if possible, as many students are submitting their theses for review at this time and there are only a limited number of proofreaders available.
    • Send PDFs of both your thesis and the Proofreader's Agreement form to the Grad Office either via email or via the Caltech Dropbox. You can send both files together in a zip file:
    • You can make the recommended changes after you get it back either before or after your defense – discuss the best option for you with your advisor.
  • Do NOT deposit your thesis before your defense.
    • Both the Grad Office and the Library expect that the deposited copies (PDF and pre-PDF files) are the final version.
    • Caltech anticipates that you will need to make revisions to your thesis based on both your committee's and your Grad Office proofreader's comments and suggestions.
    • You normally have 2 months to deposit your thesis after your defense, unless you are on deadline for graduation. We recommend not postponing the  deposit of your thesis, as life gets in the way.
  • You must attach at least TWO (2) files of your thesis to your CaltechTHESIS record

    • One (1) PDF file of the FINAL version of your thesis
    • One (1) source file - can be a zip file - of your pre-PDF thesis
    • Once a file is uploaded, go to Options in the box to further update the file information. 
      • Use Content Type to indicate version information
      • Leave access status as Public. Library staff will update as needed
    • Let us know if you have any questions or encounter problems!
  • Upload ALL your attached files in the Upload File tab.
    • Change the Content field for each file: Show Options/Content. Update Metadata to save
    • Leave each file's status 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.
    • 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.

Caltech's Expectations for a Thesis

What should a thesis look like?

Caltech theses have a common format and there are regulations regarding the contents, submission, proofreading, and final disposition.

  • Authors are encouraged to use the templates included in this Thesis LibGuide regardless of type of thesis, from dissertation to senior thesis.
  • Please use the Grad Office's "Regulations for the Format and Presentation of a Graduate Thesis (updated April 2024)" as your primary guideline in formatting your thesis. 
  • Do check out examples of already viewable theses in CaltechTHESIS using the Browse options.
  • If the thesis consists of relative independent chapters, a unifying summary should be included at the end or beginning of the thesis. Such a summary will generally be quite different in style and length than the abstract.
  • Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with both the Grad Office regulations as well as any special requirements in their Option/Division.  
What is a graduate thesis?

The PhD Dissertation, Engineer's Thesis, or Masters Thesis, is a document prepared by the candidate and represents an exposition of the candidate’s research topic and findings. There are specific requirements for format as well as the process of thesis acceptance, but the content and length are flexible and vary substantially between individual candidates. The expectation by the faculty and the Dean of Graduate Studies is that the thesis should represent independent work by the candidate and meet the highest standards of scholarship as well as written expression. The Dean relies on the candidate, the advisor, and thesis committee to uphold these standards.

What if I'm writing a senior thesis?