Purdue University - Department of Computer Science - Thesis Format

Thesis Format

If you are preparing an MS thesis or a PhD dissertation (both called "thesis" here), please read the graduate school templates information at: http://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/research/thesis/templates.html and choose the LaTeX Template, which will take you to https://engineering.purdue.edu/~mark/puthesis/

For the departmental review of the format, send the URL of your document to Dr. Gorman (wjg@purdue.edu) and ask the Graduate Secretary to arrange a one-hour appointment. This should be done at least three weeks before the deadline for depositing. If you delay, you risk not being able to complete the revisions required and obtain format approval from the Graduate School by the deadline.


The abstract should be as terse as possible, and no longer than 350 words. It should present the principal results of the thesis and nothing more. Background information and references to other research should be included only if necessary to give meaning to the results. The words in the abstract "are counted, not literally, but statistically. They use an average of five letters with a space on either end for each word counted." I interpret this as a limit of 350 * 6 = 2100 characters. The comma after the month seems now to be optional.


From Mark Senn: To: ecn_puthesis-list@ecn.purdue.edu From: Mark Senn <mark@purdue.edu> Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 09:47:56 -0400 Subject: [ecn_puthesis-list] new \appendices command The puthesis home page is www.engineering.purdue.edu/~mark/puthesis [Revised 2007.05.25] If you are not using the "\appendix" command or your thesis has less that two appendices this message is not applicable for you. An "\appendices" command has been added to puthesis.cls. It works exactly like "\appendix" but will print "Appendices" instead of "Appendix" on the cover page for that section, if you are using cover pages.


These must be avoided. In the template file puthesis.cls, be sure that \setboolean{@@chapterblankpages}{false} is included. \setboolean{@@chapterblankpages}{true} causes chapters to begin on odd-numbered pages, which might be nice for double-sided printing but is not acceptable in the copy that you deposit.


The captions of figures must be below the figures. The captions of tables must be above the tables. The space between captions and figures/tables should be consistent. Figures/tables with their captions should appear as units relative to adjacent text and the space between the units and any adjacent text should be consistent. See next two sections. A package named "float" may cause problems with captions.


If you use the algorithm package, you may find that captions of figures and tables are not centered. Here is a simple fix by Maxim Naumov. [Added 2009.09.10] Let me know if it causes me problems in the minipage environment (as an earlier fix did). Here is a quick fix for centralizing captions when someone decides to use the algorithms latex package with Purdue thesis latex template. % use algorithm package with "ruled" option \usepackage[ruled]{algorithm} \usepackage{algorithmic} % use caption package with "center" option \usepackage[center]{caption}


From Mark Senn: To: ecn_puthesis-list@ecn.purdue.edu Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 15:35:45 -0500 From: Mark Senn <mark@ecn.purdue.edu> Subject: [ecn_puthesis-list] new puthesis software First, if you know of anyone using the LaTeX puthesis documentclass who is not on the mailing list please have them go to https://engineering.purdue.edu/ECN/mailman/listinfo/ecn_puthesis-list to sign up for the mailing list.

I've improved puthesis software for people using numbered bibliographies where citations are numbered in the order they appear. Before, if you have bibliographic citation in the table of contents, list of figures, or list of tables they would be numbered beginning with one so that the first citation in your text would begin with the next number. Now the first citation number in the text of the thesis is one and the other numbers in the front matter of your thesis match what they are cited as in the main part of your thesis. To get the new software:

  1. Save your current puthesis.cls with a different name.
  2. Go to http://resolute.engineering.purdue.edu/~mark/puthesis/#Mailing [Revised 2007.05.25]
  3. Get the new puthesis.cls file there.
  4. Get the notoccite.sty file there. Below are some comments about captions and etc.

If you'd rather not have any citation numbers in the figure entry in the table of contents you can change, for example, \caption{Predicted energy output vs.~mass input per Einstein \cite{Einstein:1905}} to \caption[Predicted energy output vs.~mass input]{Predicted energy output vs.~mass input per Einstein \cite{Einstein:1905}} The stuff in square brackets [] is put in the list of figures. The stuff in curly braces {} is put in the figure itself. The "~" is a tie. It makes sure "vs." and "mass" are on the same line and puts only one space between them. In "vs. mass" LaTeX will think that the period ends a sentence and will put more space after it.

I've seen lots of very long captions in the table of contents, list of figures and list of tables. Using the [shorter stuff for caption] can save your reader same pain. For example, \caption[X-ray laser lab setup]{A really long description may go here that takes up a lot of space and provides more detail than the reader wants at the front of your thesis. A good rule of thumb is to try and keep lines in the table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables one line long, and certainly not more than two.} -mark Mark Senn, puthesis author, Engineering Computer Network


Italics and boldface should be used sparingly for emphasis: for italics, at most a whole sentence; for boldface, at most a word or short phrase.


The format for headings should follow that provided by "puthesis". If a heading is set in boldface, the headings at all levels above it must be in boldface as well. I recommend NOT using boldface for headings below the chapter level.


Left 1.5i, top and right 1i, bottom 1.25i. LateX occasionally produces violations of the right margin. Problems usually involve figure, equations, and unbreakable strings.


In the References, different sorts of citations (books, papers, URLs, ...) may be formatted differently, but the format for each sort must be consistent. Use up-style, down-style, and italics consistently in each kind of citation (book, journal, URL, ...). Inconsistencies in capitalization within titles of publications are common. Do not assume that the format is correct just because you got the citation from a respectable outside source. Titles are usually spelled out, but if you choose to abbreviate (e.g. "Proc." for "Proceedings", "J." for "Journal") do it in all titles. The next letter after a colon or a dash in a (down-style) title must be capitalized. Check that acronyms are properly uppercased. Do not use hyphens instead of dashes. Hyphens are normally used only within words or to break words at the end of a line. If a citation cannot be completed on one page, move it entirely to the next page. (LaTeX is good about this.)


Of inconsistent is probably the result of "ragged bottom" (or something like that) being turned off. LaTeX then tries to "justify" vertically to put the last lines all at the bottom margin, sometimes producing huge, ugly spaces between paragraphs.


URLs may be cited in theses; but when a less ephemeral source is available, it should be cited as well. The problem with citations of URLs is incorporating them aesthetically. Keeping the URL as an unbreakable string tends to cause the preceding line to have unacceptably large spaces between words. Turning off right adjustment for that line produces a better but not entirely satisfactory result. There is a LaTeX package that avoids these problems by splitting URLs without inserting a hyphen.


A widow is an isolated line at the top of a page. An orphan is an isolated line at the bottom of a page. LaTeX is good about avoiding them. If you have to fix any of these, do it as late as possible, working from front to back, because any change that causes a change in the last line of a page can create new widows and orphans or cause existing ones to disappear on subsequent pages, up to the end of the chapter. The only effect beyond the end of the chapter might be in the page numbers. You may exceed the bottom margin by one line to avoid a widow at the top of the next page.


Format of title page: title in all caps; counted, but not numbered i; even line-spacing within the four groups; centerline 4.5i from left edge of page; no sub- or superscripts; no punctuation except within the title; date of award of degree Consistency of typeface Size of type: 10 point minimum, 12 point usual Spacing: uniformity, 4 lines/inch maximum and usual, 3 lpi acceptable Major division headings: all caps, 2i from top, followed by 3 blank lines Pagination: 0.5i from top, text begins with page 1 Abstract: first paragraph in special format with 6 lpi. subsequent paragraphs at most 350 words total Continuity of pagination Order of sections: Title page Dedication (optional) Acknowledgements (optional but usual) Preface (optional and unusual) Table of Contents List of Tables List of Figures List of Symbols, etc. (if appropriate; 6 lpi within entries) Abstract Text Bibliography* Appendices* Vita (optional for M.S.)* * Preceded by a cover page that is not counted in the pagination.


As department thesis format advisor, I have to sign the Thesis Acceptance Form (Form 9)i, which with the Research Integrity and Copyright Disclaimer Form (Form 20) must be submitted with the thesis. If the examining committee wants the title of the thesis to be changed, try to get a Form 9 with the new title before the committee members sign the form. Any other Graduate School thesis-related forms that you need e.g. ETD Form 9) you should get directly from http://www.gradschool.purdue.edu/thesis3.cfm so you have the latest version. When you prepare such forms, please check carefully that everything is complete and correct. ELECTRONIC DEPOSIT The Graduate School requires electronic submission. Neither the Graduate School nor the department requires a printed copy of the thesis.


If you come up with anything that would be helpful to add, send it to me (wjg@purdue.edu).

WJG (wjg@purdue.edu) last revised 2015.04.28, MMS 2016.06.02

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2017 9:18 AM

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