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LaTeX template for students of The University of Alabama to write their thesis or dissertation

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README.md

The University of Alabama Thesis Template

This is a LaTeX template for students writing a thesis at The University of Alabama. This is the class file I created and ended up using for my MS work. It is a reverse-engineering of the style guidelines posted by the graduate school and a few other theses I've seen. I worked primarily from this guideline:

http://www.graduate.ua.edu/etd/td\_sample.pdf

Document Preamble

The first step is to include the document class. uathesis is based on the report document class if in case you are familiar with working in it.

\documentclass[thesis]{uathesis}

OR

\documentclass[dissertation]{uathesis}

You may then include any \usepackage statements you might need specifically for your document. There are some introduced fields which are new to uathesis.

  • \author{<name>} sets the author as you see in other document classes
  • \adviser{<name>} sets your adviser/committee chair's name
  • \committee{<names>} specifies your committe (use \and to separate names)
  • \title{<title>} is the title of your thesis (you must form the inverted pyramid manually using \and)
  • \degree{<name>} is the name of the degree you're seeking
  • \department{<name>} is the subject name of the relevant department (e.g., Computer Science)
  • \abstract{<text>} are the abstract paragraphs of your thesis
  • \dedication{<text>} is the dedication section of your thesis
  • \acknowledgments{<text>} is the acknowledgements of your thesis

There are a few optional commands as well:

  • \university{<name>} will change the University name in case you are not at The University of Alabama
  • \school{<name>} will change the school in case you're not at the Graduate School
  • \gradyear{<year>} changes the graduation year in case it's not this year
  • \place{<city, state>} changes the place in case it's not Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Front Matter

The most attractive feature of the document class is the automatic generation of the front matter. If you have completed the preamble, then you can generate the front matter like so:

\begin{document}
\makefrontmatter

Body Chapters

When you area ready to start writing your body chapters, you must first open up the body environment:

\begin{body}

Chapter names needs to be specified in all caps. This is because the table of contents currently does not do this for you automatically because I couldn't figure it out.

\chapter{MY CHAPTER NAME IN ALL CAPS}

List of Abbreviations and Symbols

The template also asks that you include a glossary of abbreviations and symbols. The document class handles this for you via the use of the glossaries LaTeX package. You may find the documentation for it here:

http://tug.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/glossaries/

The user guide may be found here:

http://mirrors.ctan.org/macros/latex/contrib/glossaries/glossaries-user.pdf

Some example usage may also be found in the included example.

Tables and Figures

Tables and Figures automatically get listed in a "List of Tables" or "List of Figures" section. If you've done academic writing before, tables and figures are used the way they are normally. If not, here are some examples:

\begin{figure}
  \centering
  \includegraphics[width=5.0in]{fig/shapes.pdf}
  \caption{Some shapes which I find very interesting.}
  \label{fig:shapes}
\end{figure}

The above example includes the file fig/shapes.pdf into your document. If you don't know, you really should use PDFs as your figures if you're using pdflatex.

\begin{table}
  \centering
  \input{tab/love-shapes.tex}
  \caption{Shapes and corresponding love in Love Standard Units (LSU).}
  \label{tab:love-shapes}
\end{table}

The above includes a table (with the tabular environment defined in tab/love-shapes.tex) into your document.

You should keep your captions short as they end up becoming the names in the List of Figures/Tables. You don't want to bloat that section.

The Bibliography

I assume you're using BibTeX (you probably should).

I used the plain bibliography style. The guidelines state that the table of contents must include the bibliography and I'm still having trouble with that, so this is done manually for now.

\addcontentsline{toc}{chapter}{REFERENCES}
\bibliographystyle{plain}
\bibliography{thesis-template}

Appendix

To start the appendix:

\appendix

Finally, continue adding chapters as normal.

Workflow

A big part of this is staying organized so I'm going to include my workflow as well.

Here are the things you need:

  • An editing system (though I just used vim, :set spell, and aspell)
  • Source control (git)
  • Diagram editor (Dia is nice and free -- Inkscape as well)

First of all, here's what my directory structure looked like.

  • /thesis.tex -- the main document
  • /thesis.bib -- the bibliography database
  • /dia/ -- all of my 'original' diagram files (.dia files)
  • /svg/ -- all of my 'original' svg files (.svg files)
  • /tab/ -- all of my tabular's (.tex files)
  • /fig/ -- all of my generated PDFs (and other temporary files)

I ended up writing scripts that would generate PDFs from my Dia files. You can do the same with Inkscape. The scripts would generate PDFs in /fig/ from the diagrams in /dia/. /fig/ would not contain anything I wouldn't mind losing immediately, unless it was some sort of raster file (.png or .jpg) that I was forced to use.

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