University of Tasmania Mathematics Style File and Thesis Template for LaTeX2e

  1. What is this?
  2. What this isn't.
  3. Who can use it?
  4. How do you use it?
    1. Get the required packages
    2. Download the thesis files
    3. Test the bare-bones files
    4. Customise the template
    5. Populate the Thesis pages with original ideas!
  5. Acknowledgements
  1. What is this?

    A style file is a way of getting LaTeX to do a lot of formatting and processing for tasks that are so common that they are deemed style file "worthy". The generation of a PhD thesis is once such task that (in my opinion) falls into this category. Since the Research Higher Degrees Resource Book lays out fairly specific formatting guidelines for the thesis it becomes the task of the style file to automatically meet these formatting requirements. Basically then, we can visualise a style file in this instance as performing the appropriate formatting commands behind the scenes. The advantage of this approach is two fold: It enables easy alterations to the thesis as a whole and, more importantly, it frees the student from the sometimes troubling formatting problems that arise, allowing them to focus entirely on the contents of the thesis.

    A template is, in this instance, a set of basic fundamental files that constitute the various elements of a thesis. These can be used as bare-bones starting points for populating the thesis with ideas. The template files include chapters, appendices, bibliography etc. To make a thesis from the template all one needs to do is edit the appropriate files with one's own content and the overall structure should already be in place.
    [Back to the top]
     
  2. What this isn't.

    This is not a tutorial on how to use LaTeX. There are many fine references on the net that address this issue. A good place to start is "The (Not So) Short Introduction to LaTeX2e" which is not only a good introduction but also serves as a handy reference manual . Thus in the following discussion I assume that you know what LaTeX is and how to use it on your operating system of choice. I also assume you know how to install packages (add-ons for LaTeX that increase its functionality) since the thesis style file is dependent on a few packages for fancy effects...no point reinventing the wheel.
    [Back to the top]
     
  3. Who can use it?

    This style file is designed primarily for students of mathematics at UTas who are undertaking a PhD. However, only very minor changes need to be made to the wording in a few places to use it as a template for an honours or Masters thesis as well. In fact, there is no particular reason why this could be not used for, say, an Arts thesis (Shock, Horror!) since it is mainly about the formatting and less about the content. However, the heading and chapter structure has been chosen so as to be more in line with standard practice in the scientific streams. Again, if you know what you're doing then it's really not that difficult to modify the style file at the appropriate places. I have tried to comment it quite heavily so that interested persons can see how it does all its work and, hopefully, make changes that reflect personal tastes etc. Okay, if you're still with me then read on...
    [Back to the top]
     
  4. How do you use it?

    Follow the steps below to set your computer up to use the thesis style file and templates.

    1. Get the required packages

      You must ensure that your LaTeX installation has the following packages installed.
      • 'graphicx' for graphics manipulation
      • 'makeidx' for generating the index
      • 'fancyhdr' for nice headers and footers.
      • 'tocbibind' for adding table of contents entries for bibliography, index etc.
      • 'sectsty' for generating stylised chapter and section headings.

      I believe the first two are part of any standard LaTeX installation but unless you have a complete installation with all packages the remaining three will have to be obtained. This is easy enough to do. Just go to CTAN and grab the ones that are listed above and follow their self install directions for your particular OS.
      [Back to the top]
       
    2. Download the thesis files

      You must download the following files and save them all to the same directory on your computer


      If you prefer, you can just download the zip archive thesis.zip which contains all the files listed above as well as the dvi and pdf versions of the bare bones thesis that you will generate in the next section.
      [Back to the top]
       
    3. Test the bare-bones files

      Now that you have all the files in one directory with all the relevant packages installed you can make the bare bones thesis by running LaTeX on the file 'thesis.tex'. In order for LaTeX to determine the page numbers correctly in the table of contents you have to execute the commands in the following order.

      • Run LaTeX on thesis.tex
      • Run BIBTex on thesis.tex
      • Run MakeIndex on thesis.idx (note the different file extension)
      • Run LaTeX again on thesis.tex
      • Run LaTeX once more on thesis.tex

      This may look a little strange but this sequence of commands is necessary to make sure LaTeX gets all its page numbers and references correct. If you are interested in why this is so, read up on how LaTeX generates its table of contents, bibliography and index.

      Now look at the dvi file that is produced. It should look like this thesis.dvi (or the pdf version thesis.pdf). If it does, then all that's left to do is to read the next section to find out how to customise your name, abstract etc. for inclusion in the thesis.

      If it doesn't work I would guess something wrong with the LaTeX processing step so try repeating the commands above. It's also possible that your package installation went awry so perhaps reinstall (?). Other than that, your guess is as good as mine. You can try emailing me (see below) but I don't guarantee any form of dedicated technical support. I can only offer advice and suggestions etc.
      [Back to the top]
       
    4. Customise the template

      Now that you have a working bare-bones thesis you can modify the parts that will customise it for you personally. The file that you will need to edit is 'prelude.tex'. If you have a look in this file you will see the following lines...

      \title{PLACE THESIS TITLE HERE} % use all capital letters
      \author{Your Name} % use mixed upper & lower case
      \prevdegrees{B.A. B.Sc. Hons (Qld)} % Used to specify your previous degrees...use mixed upper & lower case
      \advisor{Dr Ask Me} % example: Professor Lawrence K. Forbes
      \dept{Mathematics} % your academic department
      \submitdate{August, 2004} % month & year of your thesis submission

      Just simply change your relevant details in the fields. For example, if your name was John Smith B.A. Hons (QUT) and you were studying Ship Hydrodynamics you would put

      \title{SHIP HYDRODYNAMICS} % use all capital letters
      \author{John Smith} % use mixed upper & lower case
      \prevdegrees{B.A. Hons (QUT)} % Used to specify your previous degrees...use mixed upper & lower case
      \advisor{Dr Ask Me} % example: Professor Lawrence K. Forbes
      \dept{Mathematics} % your academic department
      \submitdate{August, 2004} % month & year of your thesis submission

      Now change the abstract and acknowledgements text by altering the text between the {} braces after the commands \newcommand{\abstextwithesis} and \newcommand{\acknowledgement}.

      Look at the very top of the file 'prelude.tex'. You will see a lot of commands with 'true' contained at the end of the command name. These are actually flags that specify which elements of the preface you want to generate. By default all the commands are set to true (include everything) but if you don't want to include something you merely change the 'true' to 'false' at the end of the command name. For example, to not include the title page you would change \titlepgtrue to \titlepgfalse. This is actually a handy thing to do since the title page contains the University logo on it and this causes a delay in display refresh times when viewing the dvi file since the image has to load each time. If your computer is slow-ish you probably want to set the above command to false to leave it out until you want to print a rough draft etc.


       
    5. Populate the Thesis pages with original ideas!

      The easy part, or the hard part, depending on what we are talking about. From here all that remains to do is to fill out the chapters with your own work. You edit the chapters as you would any normal LaTeX document by placing your text and markup commands inside a chapter declaration. See the files 'chap1.tex', 'chap2.tex' etc. for examples. You can also add more packages to the preamble (after the documentclass declaration) to extend the functionality of LaTeX even more but you should always be careful of nullifying the formats that are set up in the style file. To make sure your commands are local you should always declare them inside an environment (inside {} braces).

      A sample bibliography database has also been included to give you an idea of how to set one up. See the BibTeX manual for more help on this topic. In addition, appendices have been added but these can be removed if needs been by simply commenting the appropriate include statements out in 'thesis.tex'.

      Perhaps this is not the best way to produce a thesis but it's a reasonable start and hopefully over time we can all make suggestions about what this style file should include so that the department has a quality style file that can be used by all students. For this reason suggestions and comments are most welcome and should be forwarded to me by way of the contact below.
      [Back to the top]
       

     

Acknowledgements

I obtained the information to make this file from a variety of sources on the internet. In particular I have drawn on the work of John Castelloe. I have used his templating system as it is the obvious way to do things neatly. I have also used some of his code for populating dynamic content.

Some other useful links that I have profited from along the way are...
I don't pretend to take credit for originality, however the general code design has been altered enough so as to justifiably call it my own...sort of ;)

Please send any comments (especially suggestions and bugs/errors) to Tim Callaghan

[Back to the top]