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 email the Chemistry Education Office .

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, zoom link, and thesis title.

Students scheduled to defend theses during the Fall 2020 term can request space to present their theses remotely from campus. This request is for the student to be in a room individually, connecting with the thesis committee and attendees virtually (Zoom, etc.). If you are interested in this option, as soon as your defense is schedule, please email building-access@mit.edu to request a room reservation.

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 submit 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 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

The Institute has very specific requirements for thesis preparation. 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

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.

Graduate Student Exit Interviews

In order to best serve the educational, scientific, and social needs of graduate students in the Chemistry Department, it is critically important that Departmental leadership be appropriately informed of issues of importance to graduate students, ideally on an ongoing basis. Graduate student exit interviews provide information that alert the Department to acute issues that affect graduate students and provide data for longitudinal assessments of graduate student experience within the program.Graduate exit interviews are administered to all graduate students departing the Chemistry Department. The exit interview applies equally to graduate students departing with completed degrees (Ph.D. and M.S.) and without degrees.

  • Graduating students will be sent a list of interview questions by the Chemistry Education Office when the student joins the degree list. Instructions about scheduling a time for the in-person or virtual discussion will be included with other informational correspondence from the Chemistry Education Office regarding degree completion. Graduating students will perform their exit interview after the thesis defense so as to avoid making the interview an additional burden.
  • For students departing the program without a degree, the interview questions and instructions for scheduling an in-person discussion will be sent by the Chemistry Education Office at the point in time that a date for termination of their appointment in Chemistry is determined.
  • For the majority of departing students, this interview coincides with the end of the semester, but a rolling schedule of surveys is anticipated.

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.