Thesis Preparation

The following information is provided to assist Chemistry graduate students as they prepare their theses. If graduate students have any questions that are not answered by this guide, they should either email the Chemistry Education Office or stop by in person (6-205, Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm).

Degree candidates must fill out the Degree Application via WebSIS at the start of the term. Important dates and deadlines (including late fees) for the upcoming academic year are listed below.  It is strongly advised that degree candidates apply for the degree list even if there is uncertainty about completing the thesis defense and submission by the  deadline, as there are no penalties for being removed from the degree list.

Important Dates & Deadlines

Scheduling your Thesis Defense

All PhD candidates must have a Thesis Defense. As soon as your defense is finalized, please email the Chemistry Education Office with the date, time, location, and thesis title. The office staff can assist with reserving conference rooms or classrooms for defenses. To request a room reservation please fill out the request form.

Degree candidates should provide their advisor with a copy of the thesis at least two weeks before the defense and provide their thesis committee chair and member with a copy at least one week before the defense. However, degree candidates should talk with their advisor, committee chair, and committee member to find out if they need the thesis further in advance or if there are preferred formats. Degree candidates should allow time in between their thesis defense and the submission deadline to make edits and print the final copies.

Please note that Chemical Biology students receiving a PhD degree are required to present a seminar as part of the thesis defense. This seminar is open to the department. The degree candidate is responsible for reserving the room and any A/V equipment needed for the seminar, and providing the Chemistry Education Office with information about their thesis defense at least two weeks ahead of time. Following the seminar, the candidate will meet privately with the thesis committee.

Thesis Formatting & Printing

The Institute has very specific requirements for thesis preparation and printing. Specifications for Thesis Preparation is available on the library’s website and should be read very carefully. The MIT Thesis FAQ may answer additional questions and a helpful checklist is also provided. The specifications also include information about copyright and use of previously published material in a thesis. Do not rely on any templates or prior theses from your research group – they may not reflect the most current guidelines. We have highlighted some especially important points below.

Final Thesis Submission

For Final Submission to the Chemistry Education Office:

Thesis Hold Requests

Details about requesting a thesis hold are available here and the requests are made to different offices based on the type of request. Please note that planned or pending submissions to scholarly journals related to thesis work will not be considered for thesis holds.

Postdoctoral Appointments

If you plan to transition to a postdoctoral appointment within the Department of Chemistry at MIT, please contact Jennifer Weisman and Michele Harris (Human Resources Administrator) as soon as possible. Your final signed thesis must be submitted before a postdoc appointment can start. If you are an international student, it is extremely important that you start this process early to allow sufficient timing for visa processing. In addition to talking with Jennifer and Michele, please consult with the International Students Office.