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MIT Thesis FAQ: Student Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing my thesis

Starting with February 2022 degrees, students no longer need to pay a thesis fee to MIT Libraries. However, doctoral degree candidates will still have a $65 fee for UMI/ProQuest abstracts.

Journal publishers usually acquire the copyright to scholarly articles through a publication agreement with the author. Their policies then determine what authors can do with their work. Visit Theses and Article Publishing to see if your publisher's policy is already listed.  If your publisher is not listed or if you have any questions about a listed publisher, contact  

Each student is responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions for including previously published materials as part of the thesis. Visit Scholarly Communications for additional information.  If permission is given, published material can be used in its original typeset form as long as the thesis formatting requirements are met.  

Styles of quotations, footnotes, and bibliographic references may be prescribed by your department. If your department does not prescribe a style or specify a style manual, choose one and be consistent.

Listing thesis readers is not a thesis requirement. If you would like to list thesis readers, you can do so on the acknowledgment page.

A thesis title page should include a thesis title; author’s name as they choose to write it, thesis supervisor name, and department chair name; previous degree information; a sentence that include department or degree granting program; month and year degree will be granted (May/June, September, February only); and copyright statement. See this Sample Title Page.

The abstract page should include the title of the thesis, author name, date the thesis was defended, thesis supervisor name, and a brief abstract. Please view the Sample Abstract Page.

No. Biographical notes are optional.

For the main body of the text, including appendices and front matter, font size should at least 11-point and should not be script or italic. Italics may, however, be used for short quotations or to highlight variables in an equation, for example. Notes and the text in tables, etc., should not be smaller than 10-point.

At this time DSpace@MIT does not support additional files or media in addition to your PDF. We accept digital and magnetic materials such as cassette tapes, CDs, and DVDs alongside the written thesis. Please note that the information in these formats should also be represented in the written text of the thesis. These formats will not be reproduced on DSpace@MIT, therefore there is no size limit. The media will be available as a component to the physical copy of the thesis in the Institute Archives once it has been processed and cataloged. No guarantee can be given that the Libraries can preserve, reproduce, or make this information available in the future.

Students can use this Overleaf Template. Please contact with any questions about the template.

Fill in the ProQuest/UMI form with your information as best as possible. The necessary fields are Full name in the "Personal Data section," the Doctoral Degree Data section, and at least one subject code and category.

Combine the filled form with the title page and abstract page of your thesis in a single PDF file. Please see the attached example below.


In most cases the Institute will hold ownership of the copyright to a thesis. In general, students may retain ownership of thesis copyrights when the only form of support is from (1) teaching assistantships (the duties of which do not include research activities) and (2) NSF and NIH traineeships and fellowships (although the trainee or fellow may be required to grant certain publishing rights to NSF or NIH).

Students may request a waiver of the Institute’s copyrights by written application to the Institute’s Technology Licensing Office (NE25-230). Specific questions on permission to copyright should be referred to the Technology Licensing Office (617-253-6966,

In general, MIT holds ownership of the copyright to MIT theses. To request permission to republish contact


If you retain your copyright you may also 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:

  • Review the policy to determine if you may retain copyright to you thesis.
  • If you believe you retain copyright, remember to submit this form to TLO. Additonal information from TLO can be found here.
  • To determine which 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 follwing statement: In Copyright

Formatting Your Copyright Statement

  • Following the instructions in the thesis specifcations under How To Copyright a Thesis.
  • If using a CC license, replace "All Rights Reserved" with your chosen CC lisense (CC-BY-NC 4.0).
  • Rembember 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.


The copyright year on the thesis title page is the same year your degree is issued. For example, if you are graduating in February 2014 but submit your thesis to the Institute Archives and Special Collections during the fall of 2013, your copyright date will be 2014.

The student is authorized to post electronic versions of the student’s own thesis, in whole or in part, on the internet. When copyright is held by the Institute, students and third parties should contact the to obtain permission to reuse thesis content in other publications.

Access to my thesis

The two offices authorized to temporarily restrict access to theses are the Office of Graduate Education (for government restrictions, privacy and security) and Technology Licensing Office (for patent claims).

For information about requesting a temporary publication hold on your thesis from the OGE:

Request for temporary holds must be submitted prior to graduation

There is currently no policy on removing theses from public view after degrees are granted. Thesis publication online is considered part of the process of completion of the MIT degree. Each thesis is part of the legal and scholarly record of work completed at MIT, and neither the paper copy nor the electronic copy can be removed from public viewing.

If your thesis is available in DSpace here, you can download the thesis free of charge. Otherwise, a request can be made through the Distinctive Collections Request System here, or contact the Department of Distinctive Collections

Holds, errata, and page substitutions

Once certified by your thesis supervisor, accepted by the chair, and transferred to the MIT Libraries, all thesis content becomes part of the formal record. Changes, including the excision of content or the correction of significant errors in content, must be approved by the thesis supervisor or department chair and by the Vice Chancellor or his/her designee, in consultation with the Vice President for Research & Associate Provost.

Thesis holds are temporary restrictions on the distribution of theses, which may be related to a patent, government restriction, or privacy or security issue. Holds can be authorized by the Office of Graduate Education for government restrictions, privacy, and security and the Technology Licensing Office (TLO) for patent claims.

Thesis holds are typically granted for only two reasons: exploration of patent potential and prevention of harm to an individual or organization. TLO holds are requested as part of the technology disclosure process. For more information on requesting OGE temporary thesis publication holds:

Request for temporary holds must be submitted prior to graduation


Both errata and page substitutions require approval. When the purpose is to correct significant errors in content, the student should create an errata sheet using the form and instructions and obtain approval from both thesis supervisor or program chair and the Vice Chancellor or his/her designee.

If the purpose of change is to excise classified, proprietary, or confidential information, the student should fill out the application form and have the request approved by the thesis supervisor or program chair and the Vice Chancellor or his/her designee. Students and supervisors should vet thesis content carefully before submission to avoid both scenarios whenever possible.