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MIT Thesis FAQ: New Degree Candidates


Reminder: Students - submit your thesis electronically to your department or program.

Since March 15, 2020, theses have been submitted electronically in accordance with the Institute’s Emergency Academic Regulations.

The thesis specifications do not reflect the transition to electronic submission. Some portions do still reference physical printing and submission of your thesis. You may disregard these references.  

Please pay close attention to the following sections of the Specifications for Thesis Preparation:

Here are some sample title and abstract pages to assist you with formatting:

What to submit to your Department/Program

Submit the following:

  • A PDF of your final thesis document (with no signatures)
  • A PDF of your completed ProQuest form with included title page and abstract page (this should be a single PDF that combines all 3 documents. Please see the ProQuest FAQ for more information) [PhD candidates only]
  • Signature page (if required by your department; your department will provide specific guidance)

If possible, students should save their thesis as a PDF/A-1

File naming

Files must be named according to this scheme: authorLastName-kerberos ID-degree-dept-year-type_other.ext


  • Thesis PDF: macdonald-mssimon-mcp-dusp-2022-thesis.pdf
  • Proquest Form: macdonald-mssimon-mcp-dusp-2022-proquest.pdf
  • Signature Page: macdonald-mssimon-mcp-dusp-2022-sig.pdf

Temporary Holds

The Office of Graduate Education oversees the policies and procedures for requesting a temporary publication hold of your thesis. 

Note: Request for temporary holds must be submitted prior to graduation.

What to submit to the Libraries

This form must be completed by the day of graduation:

The information you provide must match the title page and abstract of your thesis. You will be asked to confirm or provide:

  • Your name as it appears on your thesis (Family Name, Given Name Middle Name)
  • Thesis title
  • Department or Program
  • Degree(s)
  • Abstract
  • Supervisor(s)
  • Copyright (see the Copyright and Licensing section below)

Copyright and Licensing

If you retain copyright you may also, optionally, apply a Creative Commons License to your thesis. The Creative Commons License allows you to grant permissions and provide guidance on how your work can be reused by others. For more information about CC:

Before you apply a CC license or CC0 (public domain) to your work, please note that the licenses cannot be revoked. This means once you apply a CC license to your material, anyone who receives it may rely on that license for as long as the material is protected by copyright, even if you later stop distributing it.

  • Review the policy to determine if you may retain copyright to your thesis. If you need help confirming, check with your department. 
  • If you believe you retain copyright, submit this form to TLO. Additional information from TLO can be found here. (not required for undergraduate degrees)
  • To determine which CC license is right for you, use the CC license chooser 
  • Note: You do not need to apply a CC license to your work. If you choose not to, your thesis will be available in DSpace@MIT with the following statement: In Copyright

Formatting Your Copyright Statement

  • Following the instructions in the thesis specifications under How To Copyright a Thesis.
  • If using a CC license, replace "All Rights Reserved" with your chosen CC license (CC-BY-NC 4.0).
  • Remember to also include the following statement below your (c): "The author hereby grants to MIT permission to reproduce and to distribute publicly paper and electronic copies of this thesis document in whole or in part in any medium now known or hereafter created."

What Copyright information to submit to the Libraries

  • You will choose from the following Copyright options:
    • MIT holds copyright 
    • I hold copyright (if you choose this option you will have the option of also choosing a CC license)
    • I hold copyright and give it up to the public domain (this means that your thesis will be released openly under CC0 "No Rights Reserved" and opts out of copyright and database protection.  This may not be revoked.)
    • This is a work of the US government
    • Another person or organization owns copyright 

Here is an example of a title page with one of the CC licenses:

ORCID: Open Researcher & Contributor ID

What is ORCID?

ORCID is an open, non-profit, community-based effort to provide a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a method of linking research-related items, such as articles as datasets, to these identifiers.

ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher. The goal is to support the creation of a permanent, clear, and unambiguous record of scholarly communication by enabling reliable attribution of authors and contributors.

Register for an ORCID ID.

This process also associates your ORCID with your MIT profile. Once you have the ID you also have the option to build your profile through the “import works” button, associating your papers, data sets, and other research output with your ID. You can then include the ID as a link on your CV or web page. You can also create an account without linking it to your MIT profile here.

See our ORCID FAQ for more information.