Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX at PSU

The PSU Graduate School provides a package for Word users to write their thesis in. A LaTeX class is also available from here. This class was developed in the early 90's and as far as I can see is not actively maintained. A useful site describing the use of LaTeX for PSU theses can be found here.

The class file sets most features required for a thesis to conform to the Graduate School guidelines. A few things do need to be changed. The signature page is now a seperate page not included in the thesis and is replaced by page listing committee members. I made a change to the actual class file that formats the committee page in the manner specified by the Graduate School. A seperate document can be used to generate the signature page that will contain the actual signatures and will be on file with the University. In addition my thesis contained a number of things that made for easier writing as well as conforming to Graduate School guidelines.

How To Get PDF Output

First, while writing you're probably going to be using dvips to preview your work. However, for distribution (or if you're going to be going the eTD route) you'll want to enable PDF output. There are two ways to get a PDF version of your LaTeX document: dvips+ps2pdf or pdflatex. The following code allows you to use either:
22 \ifx\pdfoutput\undefined
23 \usepackage[ps2pdf,bookmarks=true,bookmarksnumbered=true,breaklinks=true]{hyperref}
24 \usepackage[ps2pdf]{thumbpdf}
25 \DeclareGraphicsExtensions{.eps}
26 \else
27 \DeclareGraphicsExtensions{.png,.pdf}
28 \usepackage{epstopdf}
29 \usepackage[pdftex,bookmarks=true,bookmarksnumbered=true,breaklinks=true]{hyperref}
30 \pdfadjustspacing=1
31 \usepackage[pdftex]{thumbpdf}
32 \fi
Lines 23 to 24 will be processed if you plan to generate PDF output by the dvips+ps2pdf combination. The procedure is described in detail here. Line 23 indicates to the hyperref package that ps2pdf will be used, bookmarks should be numbered and lonk links should be split across lines. Line 24 includes the package required to generated and include thumbnails in the final PDF file. Finally line 25 indicates that the default graphics format will be EPS (though this ordinarily does not need to be specified).

Lines 27 to 31 are processed if pdflatex is used to generate PDF output. Most of it is analogous to the description above. Line 27 indicates that if a grpahics file is required the PNG version is to be used if it exists otherwise the PDF version will be used. For EPS graphics, pdflatex can call the epstopdf program, on the fly, to convert EPS graphics to PDF graphics. Line 28 instructs LaTeX to include the package that allows this. Line 30 indicates that pdflatex should use LaTeX like spacing and not its own layout algorithm (which results in a different pagination). See here for more details regarding pdflatex.

If you want to use dvips+pdflatex to create the PDF then you'll need to do at the command line:

latex thesis
dvips -t letterSize -Ppdf -G0 thesis.dvi -o thesis.ps
ps2pdf -dPDFsettings=/prepress -dAutoFilterColorImages=false \ 
        -dColorImageFilter=/FlateEncode thesis.ps thesis.pdf
thumbpdf  --modes=dvips thesis.pdf
latex thesis
dvips -t letterSize -Ppdf -G0 thesis.dvi -o thesis.ps
ps2pdf -dPDFsettings=/prepress -dAutoFilterColorImages=false \ 
        -dColorImageFilter=/FlateEncode thesis.ps thesis.pdf
thumbpdf  --modes=dvips thesis.pdf
You'll probably want to place this in a shell script or Makefile! In case you use pdflatex then life is simpler:
pdflatex --shell-escape thesis.tex

The Title For The Bibliography

By default the bibliography is named Bibliography and does not show up in the table of contents (ToC). If you need to change the title to something else and include it in the ToC, the code below is what you need

Some Shortcuts

The following macros redefine some commands and define some new commands to make life easier while typing (beats having to select font style from a menu!)
A useful macro to include margin notes to yourself or maybe a colleague if they proofread the thesis is

Font Size Issues

if you cite references using superscripts, the default size for superscripted references seems too large. So we redefine OverciteFont to \tiny by doing
This is described in detail in comp.text.tex. Also, the default class file seems to set some sizes wierdly. The following snippet sets them to something that looks normal