| Using MIT theses | Search Barton:
MIT Libraries' catalog
Institute Archives is responsible for maintaining
the preservation copy of all graduate theses (as well as selected senior
theses). The Institute preserves student
theses because they are official records related to the MIT degree.
In addition, the thesis is a record of original research containing information
of continuing value to other researchers, businesses,
historians, and descendants and family
first graduating class submitted handwritten senior theses in 1868.
As departments developed programs of graduate study, the master's
thesis and doctoral dissertation became integral parts of the graduate
provide a snapshot of what students and their advisors were interested
in at any given time in MIT's history. Biographers often read a
subject's student work to trace ideas or career objectives back
to their source. Historians use old theses to identify historical
trends. Theses raise questions and point the direction for future
research. Faculty members, students, and other scholars use the
thesis collection at MIT to determine what facts have been established,
what problems have been solved, and what topics remain to be explored.
Harold ("Doc") Edgerton's 1931 study of efficiency in
synchronous motors, I. M. Pei's 1940 design for standardized propaganda
units for China, and Ellen Swallow Richards's 1873 observations
about sulpharsenites and sulphantimonites were first coherently
expressed in tangible form as MIT theses.