Preparing your Ph.D. dissertation using LaTeX

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Preparing Your Ph.D. Dissertation Using LaTeX

The Graduate Division now requires that Ph.D. dissertations be submitted electronically as pdf files. In the Math Department, the recommended way of preparing a suitable pdf file is with LaTeX, using the ucthesisnew document class.

Take careful note of the following:

  • You should not use the ucthesis document class included in most TeX distributions. It has not been updated for the current requirements.
  • Refer to this page only if you are writing a doctoral dissertation. For a master's thesis, go to the page Preparing your master's thesis using LaTeX.

Graduate Division policies can be found on the web by going to the web page and following the link "Dissertation Filing Guide".

In case the wiki is down, this page is also available at .

Preparing the LaTeX File

To prepare the LaTeX file, copy the files from the sample thesis located at , and adapt them to your situation.

The document class ucthesisnew is already installed on our computer network. However, if you are using a thin client, then you will need to type the following command, just once, in each terminal window in which you plan to use TeX:

set path = (/local/depot/texlive-2007/bin $path)

If you have already started your thesis using the ucthesisnew document class, the only changes you need to know about for Spring 2010 are:

  • You are required to use 12-point type (or larger) for your main font. Therefore, do not use the 10pt or 11pt class options for the final version of your thesis.
  • Be sure that you have the current version of ucthesisnew (dated 2010/04/27 or later). Earlier versions did not ensure that the paper size of the pdf file was correctly set to 8.5 x 11 inches (many TeX systems are incorrectly set up to use A4 paper size by default).

If you have been using the old ucthesis document class, then you should update your thesis to use ucthesisnew instead, as follows:

  • Use \documentclass{ucthesisnew} instead of \documentclass{ucthesis}
  • Do not use the \abstractsignature macro in your abstract
  • The \prevdegrees macro will be ignored


Keep in mind that when TeX produces pdf output, it handles graphics differently than it does when producing dvi output. Generally, for pdf output, graphics need to be provided in pdf format. An exception is that MetaPost output can be handled directly.

Therefore, if you normally use latex for producing drafts, sometime well in advance of the deadline you should make sure that you have no problems running pdflatex instead.

Downloading the Macros to Your Computer

The ucthesisnew package consists of the files ucthesisnew.cls, uctn10.clo, uctn11.clo, and uctn12.clo. These files can be found in the directory indicated below:

Linux machines: /local/depot/4/texlive-2007/tex/latex/local
Solaris machines: /local/sol/9/depot/texlive-2007/tex/latex/local

To install them as a document class on your home computer, download them and either put them in the same directory as your thesis files, or follow the instructions for your TeX installation on installing new LaTeX document classes.

Steps for Final Submission

First, print the approval page. To do this, add a macro \approvalpage just after \maketitle in your LaTeX file, and run TeX as usual. You can then print just that page from xdvi, evince, or Adobe Reader (acroread) by going to that page and selecting the appropriate option on the "print" popup.

To create the final pdf version, do the following:

  • Make sure that you are not invoking the \approvalpage macro.
  • Make sure that you are not using the twoside option (page numbers are not allowed in the upper left-hand corner of a page).
  • Instead of typing latex to create a dvi file, type pdflatex (or xelatex) instead. If you have just run latex several times to create a dvi file, then you need to type pdflatex only once; otherwise you should run pdflatex and bibtex in the same sequence as you would run latex and bibtex, respectively, when creating a dvi file.
  • Check the thesis by running acroread or evince to view the resulting pdf file.
  • For actual submission, see the instructions provided by the Graduate Division: go to the web page and follow the link "Dissertation Filing Guide".

You will also need to file the Dissertation Release Form; that form is not covered by this web page.

If you have any LaTeX-related questions about this process, email Paul Vojta at