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Degree Tracking and Degree Completion

Ph.D. Degree

A requirement of all PhD programs at Caltech is that the student must prepare, submit, and successfully defend in an oral examination a written dissertation, known in the vernacular as a "thesis".  Caltech theses have a common format and there are regulations regarding the contents, submission, proofreading, and final disposition.  Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations, following the correct format, meeting deadlines, working with their adviser and dissertation committee to schedule the examination, providing timely copies of the thesis, and making requested revisions. Please refer to the docment entitled "Regulations for the Format and Presentation of a Graduate Thesis" for details. Each thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Office for proofreading a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled defense.  In order to complete the PhD degree requirements, the student must not only pass the oral thesis defense but also submit a final, approved version of the thesis as well as the necessary steps listed below and follow the checkout procedures.  Official certification of degree completion will not be provided until all the steps have been completed.  

The Caltech Library has a comprehensive website section on thesis topics:

  • LaTeX2e style files
  • Word templates
  • Deadlines and timelines
  • Updates or corrections
  • Caltech's Graduate Office regulations
  • Printing and binding services
  • Copyright, Fair Use, and Getting Permission
  • Publishers' thesis policies

PhD Candidacy

  • Ph.D. Candidacy must be completed before beginning the fourth year of residence.  Students should log on to the Graduate Degree Progress application within REGIS to schedule candidacy and obtain the necessary approvals. 

Final PhD Defense


Caltech does not require a minor for the Ph.D. degree, but individual options may have minor requirements as part of their requirements for the major.  A student may undertake a minor in most academic options as specified in the Institute Catalog

A minor program of study should be at a level of study in the minor substantially beyond that typically acquired by students as part of the major requirements.  Most options require 45 units or more, including at least one 200-level course and a coherent program of the supporting 100-level courses.  The faculty of the minor option may approve a proposed minor program on the basis of overall class performance and/or by an oral examination.  Detailed requirements for minor options are listed under the individual option requirements in the Catalog.

M.S. Degree 

  • Master's applications must be submitted no later than Add Day of spring term for a June graduation.  Students should log on to the Graduate Degree Progress application within REGIS and click on the M.S. Candidacy tab and select the option and the year in which the M.S. is to be awarded.  Then, follow additional instructions for developing a plan of study and fulfilling Institute requirements.

Required for all students exiting campus