Math Report, Thesis, or Dissertation Template for Latex | Math | SIU

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Math Report, Thesis, or Dissertation Template for Latex

Caution: Requirements of the Graduate School may have changed since this was written. Check their formatting page here for Dissertations and Theses.

In Mathematics most papers are written in a type setting markup language called LaTeX - which evolved from TeX. It is much better at handling equations than Word type programs. It will also automatically number theorems, lemmas, definitions and bibliographic entries. The various LaTeX processing programs can be found at CTAN. They are free. The download time is about an hour. For Windows most people would download proTeX while Mac users would need MacTeX. Extra packages can be included to handle specialized needs such as graphics, commutative diagrams, chemistry notation and even chess moves.


LaTeX is a computer programming language. When you run the program it creates your document as output. It is not like Word where you see the final result as you type. As with most programs there is some header material, then the program begins, then it ends. In LaTeX the header starts with

\documentclass[*]{format}

where * is 10pt or 12pt and sets the default font size and format may be "article", "report", "amsart", "book" or various other options. For your report, thesis or dissertation use "siugrad51" as the format. In the header various packages are included such as

\usepackage{graphicx}

which loads a graphics package. There are also commands for setting formatting options for theorems and such. None of this in the output. Then a

\begin{document}

indicates the beginning of the executable program. The final line is

\end{document}

In between will be the commands and text that generate your title page, table of contents, the body of your paper, and the bibliography.

There are many books and web-pages, in addition to CTAN, on how to use LaTeX. Here are two sites.

A "template" LaTeX document has been created by Linda Gibson that is formatted for SIUC Master's Theses, Reports or Dissertations. You can download this zip file to your computer. Create a directory and store the files in it.

The main file is Thesis.tex. It is the file to run in whatever LaTeX program you are using. It is used for reports and dissertations in addition to theses. Thesis.tex needs various other files however. The first of these is siugrad51.cls. Never edit this file.

The other files you will edit with your information. For example, your abstract will be in the file Abstract.tex. Edit this file to replace the sample abstract with your own.

The sample has three chapters. You will likely have more. You can create files ch4.tex, ch5.tex and so on. You will need to edit the Thesis.tex file so that it knows to include these.

The *.ps files have figures in them. Ignore them if you do not need figures in your paper.

Here is a list of the major files:

  • Thesis.tex
  • siugrad51.cls
  • Title.tex
  • Copyright.tex
  • Abstract.tex
  • Approval.tex (Your committee approves your work.)
  • Acknow.tex (For any acknowledgments: "My advisor helped soooo much ...")
  • Dedication.tex ("I dedicate this to my parents.")
  • Preface.tex (Why my work is so important! Not needed for reports.)
  • Intro.tex
  • ch1.tex
  • ch2.tex
  • ch3.tex
  • Biblio.tex (For the bibliography.)
  • Vita.tex (Hire me! Hire me!!)

Learning LaTeX takes some practice. Here are a couple of simpler sample documents.