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KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School PhD dissertation latex class
TeX Makefile Python Shell

ADS PhD LaTeX template

This template is the result of a group effort. Please contribute updates and improvements. If you are familiar with Git you can submit changes using a GitHub pull request or a Git format-patch.

If you have tips and tricks you wish to share, questions or problems. Add them as a GitHub issue.


This package provides a template when submitting a Phd dissertation to the Arenberg Doctoral School at KU Leuven.

Latest version of the ADS PhD template is available at

Questions and issues can be submitted to the ADS PhD issues component at Github.

Directory structure

The directory structure looks like this

  • thesis.tex: Main tex file for the final booklet.
  • Simple compilation script.
  • Makefile
  • Makefile.settings: This file contains file names and other settings used by make.
  • chapters
    • chapter1: Per chapter a directory with
      • chapter1.tex: Tex file with identical name
      • image/: Images directory. Note that to include a figure in chapter1.tex, you should NOT include the relative path, i.e., \includegraphics{myfigure} and not {image/myfigure}!

Using Latex directly

The adsphd.cls class can be used directly by latex:

pdflatex thesis
bibtex thesis
# biber thesis
makeindex thesis.glo -s -t thesis.glg -o thesis.gls
makeindex thesis.nlo -s -o thesis.nls
pdflatex thesis
pdflatex thesis

Any other Latex build tool like latexmk, rubber, SCons, TeXShop or TeXWorks should also work out of the box (makeindex might not run by default in which case you will not see the glossary).

Using the simple Python compile script

There is a simple and naive Python compilation script supplied which should work cross-platform.

python3             # Compile to pdf
python3 clean       # Clean auxiliary files
python3 cleanall    # Clean everything
python3 newchapter  # Set up files for a new chapter
python3 --help      # Help and more options

Some settings are available at the top of the file.

Using make and other utility scripts

Some convenient Makefile targets:

In the main directory [./]:

make                       # create the full booklet thesis.pdf
make clean
make realclean             # cleanup all mess, including leftover
                           # {dvi,pdf,ps} files of main file or the
                           # chapters
make damnthatsreallyclean  # brutally remove all possible temporary
                           # files

In a chapter directory [./chapters/chapterX]:

For this to work you need to generate the chapter directory using the script which also generates a custom Makefile for the new chapter.

make                       # Creates chapterX.pdf containing the
                           # TOC, the contents of only chapterX and
                           # the bibliography.
make bare                  # Create chapterX.pdf containing only the 
                           # chapter text (no TOC, no bibliography).
make clean                 # remove temporary files left from
                           # compilation
make realclean             # clean + also remove {ps,pdf} files
make figurelist            # Print out the names of all figures that are
                             effectively used in ./chapters/chapterX/chapterX.tex
make cover                 # Generate a separate pdf the cover

Creating a chapter directory:

./chapters/ # Create the directory structure for a new
                               # chapter.


Settings for the Makefile script can be found in the makefile.settings file.

Options for the adsphd class

faculty               : faculty
                          [firw] Faculty of Engineering Science
                          [fbiw] Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
                          [fw]   Faculty of Science
                          [fa]   Faculty of Architecture
                          [fiiw] Faculty of Engineering Technology

department            : department
                          [aow] Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
                          [arc] Department of Architecture
                          [bio] Department of Biology
                          [bsy] Department of Biosystems
                          [bwk] Department of Civil Engineering
                          [che] Department of Chemistry
                          [cit] Department of Chemical Engineering
                          [cws] Department of Computer Science
                          [elt] Department of Electrical Engineering
                          [mtk] Department of Materials Engineering
                          [m2s] Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems
                          [nat] Department of Physics and Astronomy
                          [wtk] Department of Mechanical Engineering
                          [wis] Department of Mathematics

phddegree             : official PhD degree on diploma (only for the
                        faculties of Engineering Science and Science)

                            [arc] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD): Architecture
                            [bwk] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD): Civil Engineering
                            [cit] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD): Chemical Engineering
                            [cws] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD): Computer Science
                            [elt] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD): Electrical Engineering
                            [mtk] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD): Materials Engineering
                            [wtk] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD): Mechanical Engineering
                            [gen] Doctor of Engineering Science (PhD)

                            [ste] Doctor of Science (PhD): Astronomy and Astrophysics
                            [bct] Doctor of Science (PhD): Biochemistry and Biotechnology
                            [bio] Doctor of Science (PhD): Biology
                            [bfy] Doctor of Science (PhD): Biophysics
                            [che] Doctor of Science (PhD): Chemistry
                            [ggr] Doctor of Science (PhD): Geography
                            [glo] Doctor of Science (PhD): Geology
                            [inf] Doctor of Science (PhD): Informatics
                            [mat] Doctor of Science (PhD): Mathematics
                            [fys] Doctor of Science (PhD): Physics
                            [sta] Doctor of Science (PhD): Statistics
                            [tou] Doctor of Science (PhD): Tourism
                            [gen] Doctor of Science (PhD)

10pt, 11pt, 12pt      : text point size
oneside, twoside
showgit               : when showing extra info (with [info] or
                        [frame] option), also show git version.
                        You need to run latex with '-shell-escape'
                        for this to work! (default in Makefile)

british               : Use British spelling in cover (i.e.
                        fulfilment instead of fulfillment)

showinstructions      : show instructions provided by the
                        faculty. These can be included anywhere
                        in the tex by commands of the form
                        \instructionsintroduction, ...  

info                  : put logical page on physical A4 paper and
                        show some info (compilation time, ...)
draft                 : show info and compile the document as a
tothejury             : generate a version of the document
                        suitable to send to the jury. This means
                        that the logical page is put on an A4
                        without info, frame, ... 
final                 : generate true size (cropped!) pdf without
                        info, frame, ...
print                 : generate true size (cropped!) pdf without
                        info, frame, ... suitable for
                        printing (basically equal to final, but
                        forcing uncolored links, even when this
                        option is given explicitly)
online                : generate true size (cropped!) pdf without
                        info, frame, ... suitable for
                        printing (basically equal to final, but
                        forcing colored links)
croppedpdf            : generate true size pdf
frame                 : put frame around the logical page and
                        place the result on an A4 page
cam                   : instead of a frame, use cropmarks
cropmarks             : identical to cam

covershowcommittee    : show the committee also on the cover.
coverfontpercent=<int>: change the cover title font size. Should
                        be an integer number between 1 and 100.

Most of the useful commands provided by this class can be found in the provided example file thesis.tex.


Inclusion of normal chapters

Use the command \includechapter{.}, e.g.,


includes ./chapters/introduction/introduction.tex.

If the chapter is an appendix, use \includeappendix{.}!

Inclusion of 'special' chapters

The term 'special' chapters refers to the

  • preface (preface)
  • dutch preface (prefacenl)
  • abstract (abstract)
  • dutch abstract (abstractnl)
  • list of publications (publications)
  • curriculum vitae (cv)

To include any of the above, use the command


where XXX stands for the name indicated in between brackets above, and filename is as in the \includechapter command. For instance,

\includeappendix{myappendix} % includes ./chapters/myappendix/myappendix.tex as an appendix

Other special chapters are

  • list of figures
  • list of tables
  • table of contents
  • bibliography

but these different from the above as they are generated using standard commands (\listoffigures, \listoftables, \tableofcontents, \includebibliography).

For typical usage, see the provided file thesis.tex.

Loaded packages

The following packages are loaded automatically by the adsphd.cls class:

  • ifpdf
  • iftex
  • xcolor
  • kvoptions
  • etoolbox
  • showlabels
  • hyperref
  • datatool
  • listings
  • framed
  • geometry
  • textpos
  • placeins
  • fancyhdr
  • babel
  • setspace
  • rotating
  • ifthen
  • calc

Generating the cover page

Most printing services will create their own cover page based on the details you send them (title, name, affiliation, ...). The template generates only a front and back cover for the version you want to distribute online, not for the version you send to the printing service.

However, the template has some support to create a separate cover page. Use make cover or python cover to generate cover.tex and run.


  • To be able to make the chapter compilation work, you should make sure that the desired chapter is included in thesis.tex (e.g., using \includechapter{introduction})!!
  • If you get spurious empty pages when compiling a single chapter, this is probably due to the combination of \cleardoublepage and \includeonly. To avoid it, make sure you end all included chapters (and appendices) with \cleardoublepage (if you use to generate the chapter skeleton this is automatically done!)

Presentation template

A Beamer template has been created by Roland Pastorino and is available on the KU Leuven template page.


Wannes Meert, Yves Frederix, Bart Vandewoestyne, Nele Famaey, Tias Guns, Jan Hendrik Becker, Steven Op de beeck, Frederik Colle, Dominique Devriese, Marko van Dooren, Rutger Claes, Dirk Van Hertem, Anthony Van Herrewege, Tassos Natsakis, Roel Van Beeumen.

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