Thesis research is ordinarily done in residence at the Institute. However, on some occasions and in some fields, work such as the gathering of data away from the Institute may be essential or desirable. While nonresident thesis research status applies only to doctoral candidates, thesis research in absentia may pursued by either master or doctoral candidates.
Students interested in conducting research in absentia should consult with the thesis supervisor and the departmental graduate officer to establish that there are compelling educational reasons. In addition, if your research will be performed outside the US, this may introduce important considerations for an RA or TA appointment (certificates required).
If a student’s project is supported with sponsored funds and the field work was not initially envisioned as part of the project, the sponsor may need to provide approval. The student’s PI/faculty supervisor should work with their Department/Lab/Center (DLC) administrator and the Research Administration Services (RAS) contract administrator to determine if approval is needed.
The Thesis in Absentia Form should be signed by the thesis supervisor and graduate officer and transmitted, along with an abstract of the thesis proposal, to the Office of Graduate Education for approval. Such approval must be requested before leaving the Institute, with ample time for full consideration by the department and the Office of Graduate Education.
Students must register and pay full tuition while pursuing thesis research in absentia. In unusual circumstances, the OGE may set a special tuition rate for such students. There are no restrictions on fellowships while on thesis research in absentia.
In consultation with the OGE, departments may establish certain programs and/or locations as exempt from the individual approval procedures noted above.
The following requirements must also be met:
- The opportunity for the continuing intellectual growth of the student must be clearly evident.
- The thesis must continue to be supervised by an Institute faculty member, or by a senior staff member approved by the department.
- The student must be registered as a full time resident during the final term before graduation
- A doctoral student must normally have completed the general examination requirement for the degree, and devote full time to thesis research in absentia.