Oxford Thesis Template   80 comments

titlepageAs anyone who has written a thesis will tell you: Like it or not, at some point in the writing process, you will spend far too much time tweaking a minor formatting issue. Thankfully, typesetting tools like LaTeX can minimize this headache by providing consistent, structured formatting.

LaTeX and similar tools follow a “what you see is what you mean” model, unlike Microsoft Word, which is “what you see is what you get”. When you’re starting a new section in a LaTeX document, you don’t click bold and increase the font size. Instead, you type \section, and the engine automatically assigns a section number and format, updates the table of contents, and even adds within-document links. This all sounds complicated, but if you’ve written HTML, you know the idea. (Word power-users will reply that Word has similar tricks up its sleeve. This is true, but LaTeX explicitly separates text from layout, preventing a lot of the “gremlins” that creep into Word documents.)

Of course, this paradigm creates a significant disconnect between the text you type and the beautiful PDF document that results. This is where a good template comes in. It defines everything from how the title page is laid out to what the page header looks like in the bibliography. For a LaTeX user (and anyone writing a document as long as a thesis should be), a good template is everything. I was lucky enough to find a template that Sam Evans adapted for social sciences use based on the original maths template by Keith Gillow. I wound up making my own modifications, and re-packaged the template for posterity.

Download the Oxford thesis template here.

If you prefer, you can also view on GitHub.

Some of the features of this template are:

Fantastic chapter pages. The template retains Sam Evans’s use of the quotchap and minitoc packages to (optionally) include an epigraph and brief table of contents at the beginning of each chapter. I found this a great way to inject a bit of personality into the thesis (via the epigraph) and ensure that my reader wasn’t getting lost (table of contents). My modifications cleaned up some of the spacing, ensuring single-spaced tables and slightly more compact chapter headings.

Table of Contents refinements. Careful attention was paid to spacing and page headings in the table of contents as well as other heading sections. This can get tricky in documents using lots of packages. This template also inserts an “Appendices” page (and ToC entry) between chapters and appendices.

Table of abbreviations. Many science and engineering theses use lots of abbreviations. Humanities and social sciences theses often need glossaries. While there are some dedicated LaTeX classes that meet these needs in complex cases, I decided to create a simple list environment to handle the routine cases.

Highlighted corrections. Most Oxford theses go through a round of corrections, as time-honored a tradition as the viva itself. Minor corrections generally just involve sending a PDF of your revised thesis to your internal examiner. (Major corrections often require a more exacting process.) This class allows you to designate text (or figures, etc) as a correction. You can then toggle between generating a document in which these corrections are highlighted in blue (ideal for sending to your examiner for a quick read-through) and just printing them without any adornment (for generating your final copy).

Page layout, draft, and spacing options. In a few keystrokes, you can switch between a double-spaced, single-sided, binding-margin document (ideal for submission), a 1.5-spaced, double-sided document (for your parents’ copy), or a version with equal left and right margins (for submitting as a PDF). An optional draft notice (with date) can be included in the footer — just remember to turn it off before submitting!

Master’s thesis title page. Some masters’ degrees require title pages with a candidate number and word count rather than a name and college, to ensure anonymity for the examinees. They also require a statement of authenticity / originality on the title page. This template has a quick option to switch to this master’s submission format. And, just as importantly, it can be turned off when you want to print a version for yourself.

Posted 12 Jul 2015 by John McManigle in Technical

80 responses to Oxford Thesis Template

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  1. Laura Lamont

    Thanks very much to you and Sam Evans for developing this! I’m hoping to use it (or a slightly modified version) for my MSc thesis this year.

  2. Thanks very much for this. it’s amazing. I am trying to change the titles of the chapters though to align left rather than right..how do I do that? I have been trying all day!

    • John McManigle

      Hi Anne, So unfortunately left-aligning chapter titles isn’t an option that the quotchap package (which my class uses to format chapter titles) contains by default. Which doesn’t mean what you’re asking for is impossible, just that it’s a little clumsy.

      Probably the easiest way is to insert the following block of code in Oxford_Thesis.tex just above the line that says %%%%% THE ACTUAL DOCUMENT STARTS HERE (ie on line 97).

      This should redefine the chapter-heading command to move both the grey number and the chapter title to the left side of the page. Hope it helps!

  3. Hi John,

    Thanks very much for this. With a bit of a clumsier tweak from me the script did exactly what I wanted as I also needed the “Chapter” word before the number.

  4. Pingback: Structure your thesis – thesismathblog

  5. It is the most beautiful template which I have referred. But I would like to use “Chapter 1” instead of only number. HOW can I do, please? I am the beginner in Latex

    • John McManigle

      Hi Le, Probably the easiest way is to insert the following block of code in Oxford_Thesis.tex just above the line that says %%%%% THE ACTUAL DOCUMENT STARTS HERE (ie on line 97).

  6. Hi John, great code! I’m having difficulty changing the position of the page numbers. I would like for the number to always be at the bottom centre of the page…
    Thanks in advance!

    • John McManigle

      Hi Sandra, So sorry for the delay in responding! Add the following lines to Oxford_Thesis.tex just before THE ACTUAL DOCUMENT STARTS HERE (ie line 97):

  7. Hi John, thanks a lot! Well, the only problem for me is that my computer doesn’t seem to be able to find the figures/beltcrest.pdf file, so it’s always an empty square where the logo is supposed to be inserted..

    • John McManigle

      Interesting… Is the figures/beltcrest.pdf file in the directory with the rest of your thesis? If you just download the thesis file, unzip it, and compile it, does the logo appear? I’m afraid this is one of those problems that’s probably specific to how the files are laid out on your computer, so you might be better off bribing a technically-minded friend to figure it out. I can’t debug it well without being at your computer…

  8. William Sereki

    Hi John, thank you for sharing this brilliant template, I’ll be using it for my MSc dissertation. I have removed the quote and want the Section header i.e ‘Chapter 1’ to start where the quote started instead of mid page, can you assist ?

    • John McManigle

      Hi William, Apologies for the late reply! There are no doubt more “correct” answers to this question in terms of modifying the chapter headings entirely, but the simplest answer to your question is to insert the following line:

      into Oxford_Thesis.tex just above the line that reads THE ACTUAL DOCUMENT STARTS HERE (ie on line 97 in the template version). You can adjust the “-80pt” to your heart’s content. For your reference, setting it to (+) 40pt will match how the template already is. Setting it to 0 will leave a generous top margin that you might find looks appropriate even without a quote. But do play with it!

  9. Hello John, thanks for the template.
    How do I add my bibtex database i.e the reference list to my document?

    • John McManigle

      I’m afraid there are so many different ways to configure BibTeX and other reference managers for LaTeX that I’m not able to provide help on any in particular. It also tends to involve pretty individual help depending on your setup. This template should work with whatever your preferred LaTeX referencing setup is, so I suggest getting in-person help from someone at your uni who has done it before.

  10. Hi John,

    I was wondering how I could decrease the upper margin of the title page so that there is more space for additional subtitles below. Thank you for the amazing template!

    • John McManigle

      Apologies for the late reply! Assuming you are writing a DPhil thesis, add a line to ociamthesis.cls after line 217 (\begin{center}) that adds a negative vertical space. Try: \vspace*{-3cm} That section of the file would then look like:

      If you are writing a master’s thesis, you should instead change line 201 (\vspace*{-3ex}) to have a larger space. Try -3cm.

      • Jan-Oliver D

        Thank you; and how do I then add a subtitle in a smaller font?

        • John McManigle

          There are “better” ways to do this in order to actually modify the template to expect a subtitle, but for quick results you can modify the line where the title goes (line 76 in Oxford_Thesis.tex) to instead be two lines:

  11. Hi, thanks so much for publishing this!

    I can’t figure some things out, though:
    1. I was wondering is there a way for the examples not to start from 1 with the beginning of every chapter? This seems to be happening because of the chapters being in their separate .tex files.
    2. There seems to be something weird happening with some of the formatting when I have a figure, a table or a big example. The text gets spread out. The LaTeX community online suggests adding \raggedbottom to the preamble but it does not seem to work. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!!

    • John McManigle

      1. I didn’t use Examples myself; can you show me what your command is to start an example? That will help me answer this question.

      2. Yes, raggedbottom will fix this, at the expense of not having the bottoms of your pages line up neatly. Instead of adding it to the preamble, change line 193 of Oxford_Thesis.tex (just before chapters are included) from \flushbottom to \raggedbottom

      • Dear John, thanks so much for your answer.

        It’s a linguistics thesis so I’m using \ex. and \exg.

  12. Hi, thanks for the template. I am using the original maths template.

    Can you please help me to figure out to add a Glossary and a List of Publications in the preamble before ending the Roman pages?

    Thanks,
    Rahman

    • John McManigle

      Hi Rahman, I’m afraid that providing individual help for someone working with a different template is something the hospital keeps me too busy to do. I would suggest that looking at the relevant code in my template (specifically the text/abbreviations.tex file and lines 354 to 368 of ociamthesis.cls), which will hopefully set you on the right track!

  13. Francesca Reed

    Hello there,
    Just wanted to know what the font style was called for your thesis?

    Thanks!

  14. GRACIAS TIBI VALDE

  15. Salah Eddine Saidi

    Hi John,

    Thank you for the great template. I guess the font size that is used is 12. How can I change it? I tried to pass the parameter to \documentclass as follows: \documentclass[a4paper,twoside,12pt]{ociamthesis} but it does not seem to be working.

    Salah

  16. Johannes Böttcher

    I am a bit confused as google returned to me another file with the same name first. https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/members/it/faqs/latex/thesis-class

    Why is the same material distributed at different places, with different versions and a clear copyright and license note? As there is no copyright and license, people in most jurisdictions are not allowed to make any changes to ociamthesis.cls.

    • John McManigle

      Hi Johannes,

      You are of course absolutely right; without a clear license it is very difficult to confidently make and distribute changes. I have had personal communication with Keith Gillow (author of the original maths template) who said “From my perspective you are very welcome to use and adjust this as the others have done before you, and also feel free to put it on github etc.” and Sam Evans (who modified it for social sciences use) who said “I’m also totally fine for this code to be as open as possible and live freely on the net.”

      With that permission, Diego Vitali has adapted the same to suit the Roehampton University standard, which he published under a GNU license. Danny Price has developed a LyX version which is on Github with a statement stating “use responsibly” without specifying a license.

      Given Keith Gillow and Sam Evans’ statements, I feel comfortable releasing this under an MIT license, and will update the files accordingly. Will also take this opportunity to upload to Github so that people can suggest updates and pull requests more easily.

      John

  17. Running BibTex, i consistently get an error:
    “I found no \bibstyle command—while reading Oxford_Thesis.aux”

    Any advice?

  18. Pablo Reynoso

    Hello, I have an issue, I am not able to find how to display the bibliography in this oxford template, how can I display it?
    Besides, I have citation but it is just like “nih_ct_2017” how can I add the [].

  19. Hi John! Thank you very much for opening up this template for others but I seem to have an error from it when trying to compile the bibtex as it is from the download, that says

    – no \citation commands
    – no \bibdata commands
    – no \bibstyle commands

    These usually come up if end \end{document} was too early, but I can see that is not the case. I just wondered if this problem had come up for anyone else and whether you might know what has gone wrong / what I am doing wrong? I am running it from texmaker.

  20. Further to my last message, I discovered that it’s a problem with the preset compile commands I was using in TexMaker. Thanks!

  21. Henry Powell-Davies

    Hi, this is a great template! My only question is how do I adjust the font to Times New Roman and the line spacing of all text to 1.5x line spacing? Also, is there a way to include the Supervisor Name on the Title Page?

    Thank you in advance,

    Henry

  22. Hi,

    I have stumbled across this having already written my masters dissertation. I would like to make my title page the same as the one in yours, but I have not managed to figure out how to do so. Any help would be appreciated! :)

  23. Hi John,

    Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this template with the wider community. I’ve used a modified version of yours and I’ll be submitting my thesis next week.

    I hope this message isn’t considered as spam.

    Really! Thanks a lot! Much appreciated. Keep up the good work.

    Cheers,
    Deyan

  24. Hi John, thank you so much for this brilliant template which is making my PhD life much easier! I’m stuck with trying to compile individual chapters (e.g. for submitting a chapter to a supervisor etc). I’m trying \includeonly{chaptername} after the documentclass but for some reason that is giving me only the bibliography! I’ve also tried commenting out the \include commands for individual chapters but that would typeset, e.g., chapter 5 as chapter 1. Can you assist?

  25. Hi John, I managed to solve the problem in my last post – please ignore! I was wondering, however, how one could add in a `part’ structure above the chapter structure (i.e. Part 1 / chapter 1, 2, 3, Part 2 / chapter 4 5 6 or similar) – assistance would be greatly appreciated!

  26. Hi,
    Thank you so much for this template.
    May I ask how to change the option of double space and 1.5 space please?
    Thanks

  27. Hi John,
    Many thanks for this! I’m having trouble with the Bibtex as John Ylang had written previously. However, I’ve checked my preset compilers and all seems to be correct, yet I’m still getting error messages with bibtex:
    – no \citation commands
    – no \bibdata commands
    – no \bibstyle commands

    Help? :(

    Amy

  28. Hi there,

    Many, many thanks for this template, it is so helpful. I am submitting my thesis in the form of journal articles for the different chapters. I was wondering if you could advise how I can create a small reference list per chapter (including only those references cited in that chapter)? Is it possible to also change the sub-section numbering within different chapters?

    Thank you so very much,
    Isabel

  29. Hi John, is the template still working?
    I installed TexWorks today and most of the template works apart from the bibliography/references – this is when trying to compile leaving everything unchanged from when it was unzipped.

    The log shows:
    I found no \citation commands—while reading file Oxford_Thesis.aux
    I found no \bibdata command—while reading file Oxford_Thesis.aux
    I found no \bibstyle command—while reading file Oxford_Thesis.aux

    …and all the citations are undefined. Not sure what’s going on here.

  30. Update: I fixed the referencing problem using the following. You need to select Biber instead of Bibtex. From stackexchange:

    “I’m a TeXstudio user and whenever I receive this error message, it’s because I’ve changed the default bibliography tool from biber to bibtex.

    To change it back, I have to do Options > Configure TeXstudio > Build > Default Bibliography Tool and the process works again.

    Even if this answer never helps anyone else ever, it’ll at least be good for me to have this here as a aide memoire next times this happens!”

  31. Suzanne Scott

    Hi John,

    Thanks so much for making this available, I really like it! I’m new to latex and am trying to work out the best way of adding a list of equations. This seems like the kind of thing people would do all the time but I can’t seem to get anything to work. Any suggestions?

    Cheers,
    Suzanne

  32. Thank you for the template, great job! However, as many complained about it, the refences page is missing. Is there anyone who can display the references page? I have experience with Latex, I worked on it a lot but still no results.

  33. Hi and thank you very much for this template.

    I wonder how I could fit in a subheading below the title on the front page, in a slightly smaller fonts size?

    Thank you

  34. The template is great, but I can’t seem to change the font size to 14, where do I control this?

    Thanks

  35. Thanks for this amazing template!

    However what can I do to remove the empty page that occurs before each new chapter?

    Masters are page count constrained so everyone counts!

    • John McManigle

      I believe the “empty page that occurs before each new chapter” is added automatically to make sure each new chapter starts on the right-hand page in double-sided page layouts. So it will only be added if the new chapter would otherwise start on a left-facing page. In Oxford_Thesis.tex, look at lines 25-30. Specifically, you should probably add a percent sign at the beginning of line 26 and remove the one at the beginning of line 28 to change to one-sided binding, like so:

      If you do want two-sided binding, but with chapters allowed to start on either side, change line 26 to:

  36. Hi John,

    Again, thank you for your continued help.

    I am mostly using \parencite and \textcite for my citations. I am wondering when using multiple citations within the same parentheses, can I tell latex to order them? I would want them to be ordered, starting with the oldest publication.

    Thank you,
    JOD

    • John McManigle

      Hi, sorting of citations, and especially sorting them differently in the bibliography vs the in-text citations, is a big rabbit hole that you can dive down here if your resolve is firm.

      Probably / hopefully the easiest solution (if you are using biblatex/biber for your bibliography, which is currently the default in the template) is:

      1. look at whichever of line 55 or 59 in Oxford_Thesis.tex, beginning with \usepackage[style=, that does not have a % starting it
      2. find the list of arguments between square brackets
      3. you’ll notice either sorting=none or sorting=nyt or some other option controls how the bibliography is sorted. (‘nyt’ means first by author Name, then by Year, then by Title. ‘none’ means in order of appearance in your text.)
      4. add the option (with a comma between options) sortcites=false. This will continue sorting the bibliography as described above, but will order the in-text multiple citation groups in whatever order you type them in the latex file.

      The advantage of this solution is that it’s simple enough to type out here. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t really sort your in-text citations by year, it just doesn’t sort them, so whatever order you type is what you get.

  37. Hi John,

    first of all thanks a lot for this amazing template. I’m using it currently for my master thesis in physics.

    I have tinkered around and modified some things to my needs, but I am struggeling with one modification: I want a “List of Symbols” in my thesis. You already provided a list of abbrevations with two rows. For my List of Symbols I want an additional row, i.e. Symbol, Description, Unit. It should look like this:

    h . . . . . Hight of tower [m]

    Is there a way to modify the existing mclistof environment to achieve that, i.e. just add a row to the right?

    Best regards,
    Tom

    • John McManigle

      I make no promises, but try adding to ociamthesis.cls (I suggest around line 375, after the mclistof environment):

      Then, you should be able to make the kind of list you’re asking for with a block like this in one of your text files:

      Let me know how it goes!

      • Thanks a lot for your quick response. The proposed code works just as I wanted it to work. Thanks a lot for your help.

  38. Hi John,

    I am currently trying to cut words in my thesis; is it possible to change the references to

    example: (Weber, 2010:5) ?

    That would save me two words for each citation.

    Thank you and best regards.

    • Also, currently my compiler (Overleaf) recognises this

      urldate = {2019-05-01}

      as citing it as (visited on 05/01/2019), while I want it to be

      (visited on 01/05/2019)

      Can I change that?

    • John McManigle

      Hi JD,

      Yes, that is possible, but I don’t have any special knowledge on it. Assuming you are using biblatex (the default bibliography formatter used in the template), there are examples of many pre-defined styles here.

      Basic ideas about customizing styles in more detail (which can get pretty complicated) are here, with one example here. If you decide to go this route, this cheatsheet might help.

      Good luck!
      John

  39. Hello,
    Thanks so much for the amazing template. I’m currently struggling with recurrent Overfull \hbox errors in my section and subsection headers. If I insert a hypen or line break then this looks odd in my mini-toc. Is there a away to get round this? Perhaps by reducing the size of the section and subsection font?

    Many thanks!
    Cat

    • John McManigle

      Hi Cat,

      So I can get an idea of what kind of errors you’re seeing, would you give an example or two of section or subsection headers you are using? (I’m trying to figure out if they are just long phrases, or very long single words, or what?)

      John

  40. Rosemary Hall

    Hi John, thank you so much for the template! Just prepping for hard copy bod submission and wondering how to remove page numbers from the blank pages between chapters? Thanks in advance!

    • John McManigle

      The blank pages between chapters are there to make sure that chapters open on right-hand facing pages when printing a two-sided thesis. If you want to remove them entirely, you can change “openright” on line 19 of ociamthesis.cls to “openany” (best if you are doing two-sided printing but want to be able to start a chapter on either side of the book), or switch to one of the one-sided binding options around line 25-30 of Oxford_Thesis.tex.

      If you want the blank pages to be there, but want them to be truly blank, insert the following code to Oxford_Thesis.tex. I suggest adding it right after \begin{document} (around line 106):

      For more details, look here and here.

  41. Hi John – thank you for the template! I have an issue with some very long captions which run off the bottom boundary of the page. I would like to split them onto the next page (ideally on the page facing the figure, but overleaf would be fine too). I have tried putting the caption in a separate float but this doesn’t always appear immediately after the figure and it disrupts the figure numbering. Any suggestions would be great – thanks in advance!

    • John McManigle

      Hi Max,

      There are a few different types of solution to this problem; I assume you’ve done a bit of googling already. The two I would suggest trying are:

      Option 1, adapted from here, is to forego the float environment entirely and just do everything inline. The caption package (which Oxford_Thesis already includes) provides the \captionof command to facilitate this. The disadvantage is that without a float environment, you’ll have to put the figure exactly where you want it in text, so if you change the text around the figure, or change page layout or line spacing, you may have to move the picture manually to put it in the correct place on the page. Code to insert a figure would look like this:

      Option 2, adapted from here, is to split the image/caption across two floats like you’ve been trying to do. I think that by using the [h], [t], and/or [b] options to the float environment judiciously you would be able to get good luck at where things appear. Try this to place your image:

      If you want to be super fancy, you can throw this into Oxford_Thesis.tex, ideally just before \begin{document}:

      • Hi John – this is great. Thank you very much! Option 2 worked for me with some careful placement parameters. I really appreciate it :)

  42. Quincy van den Berg

    Is there any experience using the glossaries or acronym package together with this template?

    Adding to oriamthesis.cls:

    \usepackage[acronym,]{glossaries}

    and to Oxford_Thesis.tex:

    \makeglossaries
    \loadglsentries{text/frontmatter/glossary}

    , then implementing glossary items in the chapters seems to break the PDFLateX compilation process. It gives a ” File ended while scanning use of \field.” error.

    • John McManigle

      I don’t personally have any experience using these packages, but usually that error means that either you are missing a closing brace } somewhere, or that you have a percent sign % in your text, possibly hiding in a bibliography file. Remember that in LaTeX, a percent sign begins a comment, so if you have a line like:

      \newglossaryentry{spec}{name={specificity},description={a measure of false positive rate, expressed in %}}

      The % sign will prevent LaTeX from seeing the closing braces (as they will be a comment). You need to “escape” the percent sign by using \% instead.

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