Ph.D. Candidacy must be completed before beginning the fourth year of residence. Students should submit a proposed Plan of Study in REGIS, and in consultation with the Option Representative select a candidacy committee of a minimum of three members, two of which must be Caltech professorial faculty. The chair of the committee is a professorial faculty member distinct from the advisor. Completing the prescribed Plan of Study and passing the oral and/or written exams constitutes admission to candidacy.
Final PhD Defense
Final exam committee - Students should log on to REGIS to schedule the final thesis exam and select an approved committee for the defense. An approved committee consists of four total members, three of whom must be current Caltech professorial faculty. The chair of the committee is a professorial faculty member distinct from the advisor.
A requirement of all Ph.D. programs at Caltech is that the student must prepare and successfully defend a dissertation, known as a "thesis". Caltech theses have a common format and there are regulations regarding the contents and final submission to CaltechTHESIS. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations, following the recommended format, carefully proofreading the thesis, meeting deadlines, working with their adviser and thesis committee to schedule the final defense, providing timely copies of the thesis for review, and making requested revisions. Each thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Office for proofreading no less than two weeks before the scheduled exam date. In order to complete the Ph.D. degree requirements, the student must not only pass the oral thesis defense but also upload a final, approved version of the thesis to CaltechTHESIS as well as the necessary steps as described in the regulations and checkout procedures. Official certification of degree completion will be provided once all the steps have been completed and Institute approvals have been noted in Graduate Degree Progress in Regis.
In addition to the thesis, each Ph.D. candidate must complete the following forms:
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 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. 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. Completed forms should be submitted to the Registrar's Office once all signatures have been obtained.
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 proposed Plan of Study and fulfilling Institute requirements.
Additional Requirements for All Graduate Candidates
- If you are a member of the Athenaeum, and have no plans to retain membership, please submit an Athenaeum Termination notification to avoid additional dues.
- You must make arrangements to clear your student account before leaving Caltech by completing a Bursar Exit Interview. The formal diploma may be held if accounts have not been cleared or a payment schedule agreed upon before commencement.
- Please supply a forwarding address via access.caltech.
- Refer to the Checklist for additional instructions and notifications.