Final Examination and Thesis Defense

Graduate Program in Chemical Engineering
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Final Examination

Each doctoral candidate shall undergo broad oral examination on the major subject, the scope of the thesis, and its significance in relation to the major subject.

The examination, subject to the approval of the dean of graduate studies, may be taken after admission to candidacy whenever the candidate is prepared; however, it must take place at least three weeks before the degree is to be conferred.

An examination committee should consist of a minimum of four voting members, three of whom must be Caltech faculty. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the dean of graduate studies in advance of the defense.

The final examination will include the candidate's oral presentation and defense of his or her Ph.D. thesis.

All Ph.D. students are required to perform a minimum of 18 term-hours of chemical engineering graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) duties during their studies. GTA duties will normally be assigned after the first year in residence. Serving as TA for classes outside chemical engineering may be allowed at the discretion of the option representative.

Dissertation - Caltech Graduate Studies Office


Thesis Defense

The candidate is to provide a draft copy of his or her completed thesis to the members of the examining committee at least two weeks before the final oral examination.

Registration is required for the term in which the thesis defense is undertaken, but is not normally allowed beyond the last date of the term. Approval of the dean of graduate studies is required for any student seeking to enroll for subsequent terms following the thesis defense.

The last date for submission of the final, corrected thesis to the dean of graduate studies is the fifth week of the succeeding term if the candidate defended his or her thesis during the previous summer or the first or second terms; or two weeks before the degree is to be conferred if the candidate defended his or her thesis during the month of May.

A copy of the corrected thesis is to be submitted to the chemical engineering graduate secretary for the chemical engineering library. It is required that all doctoral candidates submit an electronic copy of their dissertation, which the Caltech Library System will then archive and make available online, as part of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), an international organization that allows researchers to globally search a database of electronic theses and dissertations.  

Before uploading the final, corrected thesis, the candidate must obtain approval of the thesis by the option representative of his or her option and the members of the examining committee.

With the approval of the option concerned, a portion of the thesis may consist of one or more articles published jointly by the candidate and members of the Institute staff or other coauthors. In any case, however, a substantial portion of the thesis must be the candidate's own exposition of his or her own work.