Frequently Asked Questions
Students who have questions about candidacy, defense or thesis submission should first consult the General Announcements. All policies surrounding these events for doctoral candidates can be found here, and master's candidates here. A list of programs with contact information can be found here. Some commonly asked questions, with solutions, can be found below.
- Why do some places say that candidacy is due Oct. 31 or Feb. 28 and other places say it is due in August?
There are factors that affect when your candidacy petition is due. The first, based on when you started your degree program, is referred to as a "Time-Boundary". Review the General Announcements for more information, or review your individual time boundaries for candidacy and defense in your Esther account. In some cases, a student may achieve candidacy and plan to defend before their candidacy is actually due. In that case, the candidacy petitions are due Oct. 31st for a December conferral, February 1st for a May conferral, and July 1 for an August conferral. These deadlines are based upon when a program would be finished rather than when it began.
- I am not sure how to format my thesis or what paper to use.
Students should follow the format guidelines here. Information on defense, thesis submission, and candidacy can be found here. The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies no longer requires that the thesis be printed, all submissions through our office are done so as PDFs. Some programs require students to provide printed copies of the thesis as part of the defense.
- How do I change my thesis committee?
If you have already achieved candidacy but have not yet defended, you may change your thesis committee. Check with your program administrator prior to your defense to begin the process. Guidelines can be found in section B here. All thesis committee changes must be made prior to defense.
- What do I need to do as far as thesis signatures?
Refer here for instructions and process on obtaining thesis signatures.
- One of my committee members will be unavailable to sign my thesis, what do I do?
- Is it possible for one of my committee members to attend my defense via video conference?
Currently, yes. While virtual defenses are permitted without additional permissions, students may also plan for an in-person or hybrid defense, following campus COVID protocols as posted at emergency.rice.edu. When announcing your thesis, in the section for your abstract, please also add a zoom link to your defense in order to maintain the public nature of thesis defenses.
- What are the changes to thesis submission for the 2023 - 2024 academic year?
While virtual defenses are permitted without additional permissions, students may also plan for an in-person or hybrid defense, following campus COVID protocols as posted at emergency.rice.edu. When announcing your thesis, in the section for your abstract, please also add a zoom link to your defense in order to maintain the public nature of thesis defenses. Thesis signatures will now be collected remotely via Adobe Sign. For more information on remote defense, click here; for information on electronic thesis submission, click here.
- What advice do you have for approaching a virtual thesis defense?
For tips and tricks, click here.
- What resources are available for planning my online thesis defense? How can I keep my defense secure?
- From GPS: Tips & Tricks for virtual defense
- From Rice OIT: Getting started with Zoom
- From Rice OIT: Zoom Privacy & Security
- From Rice OIT: Best practices for video conferencing
- How do I request an embargo?
If you require a delay on the publishing of your thesis, you may make this request directly through thesis.rice.edu when submitting your documents.
- I have heard that Rice digitally archives my thesis. Who owns the intellectual property rights and can I still publish my work if it is archived by Rice?
You own the copyright to your work, so intellectual property concerns should not impede your ability to publish your work. In general, having a publicly-available dissertation does not make publishers less likely to publish your work, especially since you are likely to make significant revisions to your dissertation in preparing the manuscript for publication. See documentation here for more guidance on copyright in dissertations.
- If I am offered the opportunity to publish my thesis later, who has the copyright of the thesis?
As the author, you hold the implicit copyright of the thesis. You may also register your copyright directly with the U.S. Copyright Office.
- How do I copyright my thesis?
- I would like to have my thesis bound. Does Rice have any recommendations for binderies?
If you wish to have your thesis bound, you can contact Bella Becho Book & Print Bindery, The Bookbindery, or Houchen Binding. No kind of agreement or contact has been created between these companies and Rice, and this is not intended as an endorsement.
- I need to maintain medical insurance eligibility after my defense, but before graduation. How can I do this?
You can maintain your registration until the end of the semester in which you submit your thesis. If it is not necessary for you to continue to register for credit hours, you will be able to do this by registering for DSRT 999. Students that are enrolled in this course are required to hold health insurance and are able to sign up for Rice's plan. Doctoral students will not be eligible for the subsidy if they are not registered full-time. Please send an email to email@example.com to register for the zero credit hour course. There will be a $100 fee associated with this course and you will be required to pay the Health Service fee.
- I need to correct some significant errors in the content of my thesis after the final acceptance of my thesis by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. How do I go about requesting the inclusion of this correction with my thesis in the University archives?
Students and advisers should check thesis content carefully before submission to avoid errors. On occasion, however, significant errors in content are discovered after the acceptance of the thesis by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for degree conferral. Use the following form to request an errata form to be included with your thesis record in the University archive. The request form is available here.
- I need to maintain my stipend after my defense, but before degree conferral. How can I do this?
At the discretion of the funding source, students may continue to be paid after their defense and before graduation if they continue to be registered full-time.
- I need to maintain my visa status after my defense, but before degree conferral. How can I do this?
Please consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) regarding your specific situation. Some students will be advised to register for the zero-credit DSRT course. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the zero credit hour course. There will be a $100 fee associated with this course and you will be required to pay the Health Service fee.
- I have an academic need to maintain building access after my defense, but before degree conferral. How can I do this?
Please consult with your graduate program administrator. Some students will be advised to register for the zero-credit DSRT course. Please send an email to email@example.com to register for the zero credit hour course. There will be a $100 fee associated with this course and you will be required to pay the Health Service fee.
- My six-month thesis submission deadline falls on a weekend or holiday. Can I submit it after?
No. The thesis must be submitted prior to the thesis submission date. Extension requests without reexamination must be made by the candidate with the unanimous support of the thesis committee, endorsed by the school dean, and approved by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. All theses are to be submitted electronically. See the Thesis Submission pages for instructions.
Updated November 2023