The SB in Mechanical Engineering requires a thesis with a minimum of 6 units credit. The objective of this requirement is to give students an opportunity to learn about a topic in depth through independent study under the guidance of an advisor who is knowledgeable in the field.
The nature of the work may be the review of an engineering topic of interest to the student, an original research project, or a design project. In any case, the work must involve additional learning of a substantive nature. The work must be documented by a thesis document graded by the advisor. With the approval of the advisor, up to 15 units of credit are permitted.The SB in Mechanical Engineering requires a thesis with a minimum of 6 units credit. The objective of this requirement is to give students an opportunity to learn about a topic in depth through independent study under the guidance of an advisor who is knowledgeable in the field.
Thesis Forms
  • Thesis Registration Instructions and Proposal Form:
  • Fillable Thesis Proposal Form (no instructions):
  • Thesis Preparation Guidelines:
  • Thesis Checklist:
  • Example Title and cover pages - PDF - Word document
  • Example Table of Contents and List of Figures - PDF - Word document

Due Dates

  • Thesis proposals are due: Add Date of the semester that you register for thesis. (If you are doing a multi- term thesis, it is OK to turn in the thesis proposal when you add thesis to your registration.) Fall 2014: October 3 Spring 2015: March 6
    *It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that students find a thesis project and supervisor prior to spring term of Senior year.
  • Add Thesis to your Registration: Drop Date
  • Fall 2014: November 19 Spring 2015: April 23
  • Recommended Dates to submit final thesis to your supervisor - Fall 2014: November 19 Spring 2015: April 23
  • Submit final thesis: Submit one copy, with the title page signed by you and your advisor, plus one additional copy of the title and abstract pages (unsigned) to 1-110. Note: You must leave time for your thesis supervisor to review and for you to make revisions before submitting the final thesis to 1-110!
  • Final thesis due dates: Fall 2014: January 16, 2015 Spring 2015: May 8

*Guidelines for preparing your thesis for submission are given on this web page:
*Thesis Checklist:
*Example title and cover pages - PDF - Word document
*Example table of contents and list of figures - PDF - Word document
Finding a thesis supervisor
Students have the responsibility to find their own thesis supervisor, and it is best that this be done by the beginning of the senior year. Many students develop theses from UROP projects that they have had during the junior year or summer between junior and senior years. In that case, the UROP supervisor becomes the thesis supervisor. In other cases, students will contact faculty members whose research is of interest to them, and a thesis project can be developed by discussion between the student and the faculty member. In some cases, students may have their own clear idea of the subject of their thesis, and the task will be to find a faculty member who is interested in working with the student on that topic. If you are looking for a MechE-focused UROP or thesis project; go to Mechanical Engineering Thesis and UROP (M.E.T.U) opportunities ( to browse listings.
The thesis advisor of record must be an MIT faculty member or select members of the research staff (graduate students and postdocs are ineligible to act as thesis advisors). Students who are looking for an appropriate thesis advisor should consult the Undergraduate Office (Room 1-110). Theses may be done off campus, but students are cautioned that off-campus supervisors usually are not familiar with the thesis requirements which may put the student at risk when seeking approval of the Department. Also, work done at an industrial firm may be considered proprietary by the firm which would prevent the student from submitting the thesis to the Department. In such cases, a representative of the firm must sign a release letter, a sample text of which is available at the MechE Undergraduate Office.
Thesis registration and grading
Students may elect to start and/or finish the work in the fall term, the spring term, or IAP, and they may choose to extend the work over several terms. In the latter case, a progress report is required for each term of registration. If the work in progress is judged satisfactory by the advisor, a grade of "J" will be awarded. Unsatisfactory progress will be awarded the grade "U." Students must be registered for subject 2.ThU for the term in which the thesis is submitted. Before registering for 2.ThU, students must complete the thesis proposal form and attach a brief paragraph summarizing the work planned. (The form is available on the "Documents" page in this web site.) The form must be signed by the thesis advisor and returned to the MechE Undergraduate Office (Room 1-110). In the event of a change of advisor or project, the proposal must be updated in the Undergraduate Office as soon as possible. Students who submit the completed forms on or before Registration Day may register for 2.ThU on the registration form for the number of units agreed upon with the thesis advisor. Students who complete the thesis proposal after Registration Day but before the Add Date must add 2.ThU by submitting to the Registrar a completed Add/Drop Form signed by both the thesis supervisor and the student's faculty advisor. To add a thesis after the Add Date, the Undergraduate Administrator (Ms. Brandy Baker) must also sign the Add/Drop Form. Drop date is the absolute deadline for adding or dropping 2.ThU. Students may not register for the thesis after the drop date.
At midterm, the thesis advisor will be asked for an assessment of the student's progress on the thesis. Thus, it is important for the student to maintain contact with the advisor so that an accurate assessment can be made. If the thesis advisor judges progress to be unsatisfactory, a grade of "U" will be submitted and the number of units for 2.ThU registration will be reduced to 1. The grade of "U" will remain on the transcript and the Course 2 degree requirements cannot be completed until another thesis is started and completed with a passing grade. Students who are making satisfactory progress but fail to complete the thesis by the Thesis Due Date will receive the grade "J" to indicate that at least one additional unit of registration for 2.ThU will be required to complete the Course 2 degree. Upon satisfactory completion of the thesis, the thesis advisor will assign a grade that will apply to all units of 2.ThU registration from previous terms, up to an absolute limit of 15. For thesis credit during IAP, students should register during the first week of IAP in the Undergraduate Office.
During the semester in which the student expects to graduate, it is the responsibility of the student to maintain contact with the thesis advisor. In the event that thesis progress is reported as unsatisfactory, the student's name will be removed from the Degree List. Students are reminded that graduation also can be delayed by late submission of an acceptable thesis or by submission of a thesis that fails to conform to the current Thesis Specifications. Theses may not be submitted after 5pm on the Thesis Due Date.
*Consult the MIT Academic Calendar for Add Date, Drop Date, and Thesis Due Dates for the semester in question:
*Guidelines for preparing your thesis for submission are given on this web page:
Thesis Submission
Be sure to submit a draft version of your thesis to your thesis supervisor well before the thesis due date. Your thesis supervisor may have edits for you to incorporate into your final draft. One copy of the final thesis must be submitted to the Undergraduate Office in 1-110.
  1. Be sure that the thesis meets the library’s published thesis specifications, published online at:
  2. Pay special attention to the title page and abstract page – examples are provided online.
    1. Title page (required, please look at the example for formatting)
      1. Layout:
      2. Sample title pages (scroll down):
      3. The date on the Title Page MUST BE one of the following (this reflects the date of your degree, not the date of your thesis submission): February, 2014 or June, 2014
      4. The Signature block should contain the following:
        1. Signature of Author:
        2. Department of Mechanical Engineering[Date of thesis submission] Certified by:[Your thesis advisor’s name]
        3. [Thesis advisor’s title]
        4. Thesis Supervisor Accepted by: Annette Hosoi
        5. Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
        6. Undergraduate Officer
    2. Abstract page (required, please look at the example for formatting)
      1. Layout:
      2. Sample abstract:
      3. The date on the Abstract Page reflects your thesis submission date.
    3. Print one copy of the thesis on archival bond paper. You can print to the Athena printer “Thesis” in 11-004 or request printing on thesis quality paper at Copytech. Covers and clips are available at the MechE Undergraduate Office – covers are also available at the Library Archives in 14N-118.
    4. Sign the title page, get your thesis advisor’s signature, and bring it to 1-110. The Undergraduate Office will get Professor Hosoi's signature.
Latex templates
  • The thesis specs web site says: “If you are writing your thesis on Athena, follow the formatting and typeface instructions under the LATEX or FRAME olc stock answer topics by typing the command ‘olc_answers’ on any Athena workstation.”
  • You might also find a template here:
  • Here is one posted by a student (scroll down to Useful Things):
General Thesis Writing Information
For formatting guidelines, please see the Thesis Specifications: specs. This web site has information relating to required pages (title and abstract), as well as suggestions for fonts and formatting figures/graphics. Note: One copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Undergraduate Office in 1- 110. (The thesis specs state that two copies must be submitted, but that only applies to a graduate student thesis).
The usual structure of a thesis is:
  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract Page
  3. Acknowledgements (optional)
  4. Table of Contents (optional) Introduction
  5. Content, in chapters for a long thesis Conclusion
  6. Bibliography/References
  7. Appendices (optional)
The content of the thesis is to be determined by the student and faculty supervisor. Your thesis will be letter graded.
The WCC at MIT (Writing and Communication Center) offers free one-on-one professional advice from lecturers (who all have advanced degrees and who are all published writers) about all types of academic, creative, and professional writing and about all aspects of oral presentations (including practicing your presentations), no matter what department or discipline you are in. The WCC is located in Kendall Square (E39-115, 55 Hayward Street—the same building that houses Rebecca’s Café). To register with their online scheduler and to make appointments, go to To access the WCC’s many pages of advice about writing and oral presentations, go to The Center’s core hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm; evening hours vary by semester; check the online scheduler for up-to-date hours.