ETSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Graduate Program: LaTeX Resources

Graduate Students in Mathematics are required to complete their thesis in LaTeX. This is the "industry standard" for typesetting mathematics - it is used by textbook publishers, research journals, and mathematicians/scientists/engineers worldwide. Though a bit different from other typesetting software (such as Word and WordPerfect), it is much less frustrating and much more efficient to use in typesetting mathematical symbols and formulae; and in setting up document structures such as theorems, references, and a table of contents. 

Thesis in LaTeX FAQ's:

  • How do I get LaTeX Software? LaTeX requires a text editor, a typesetter, and a previewer.  The Math department provides PCTeX accessible from any internet-connected computer at PCTeX is a commercial product that combines all 3 into a single software package. Freeware, open source LaTeX tends to be based on MiKTex ( go to the MiKTex Project Page for details). A MiKTex based freeware equivalent of PCTeX is TeXNiCenter.  
  • Are there online LaTeX Editing Platforms Yes, sites like Verbosus and ScribTex are equivalent to a full LaTeX system, and several more such systems are soon to come.
  • How do I learn to typeset in LaTeX? There are a number of LaTeX resources on the web. Here are the two we recommend starting out with:
    1. LaTeX Wikibook
    2. LaTeX: Math into LaTeX Short Course.
  • How do I create a Thesis in LaTeX?
    A sample LaTeX thesis file is available for download (complements of Jason Lachniet, ETSU Math masters graduate, 2007).
    1. Download the zip file which includes the file thesis-template2007.tex and the etsu_thesis.cls file. YOU WILL NEED BOTH IN THE SAME DIRECTORY
    2. Unzip the contents into the same folder
    3. Read commented instructions as you use the file.
    The thesis file, sample articles, presentation files, exam templates, and documentation are also available in the zip file (4mb)
  • What do I do with the ETSU Math thesis template?
    Once you have learned LaTeX syntax and typed your chapters, your thesis becomes a "fill in the blank" task! Just paste your chapters in the sample file, insert committee member names and a few other details, and LaTeX will do the rest!
  • If I use LaTeX, can I easily conform to the Graduate School's required thesis format?
    Absolutely! The LaTeX thesis template was designed in association with the ETSU School of Graduate Studies to meet all the guidelines that such a template can meet.
  • So once my thesis is in LaTeX and is approved by my committee, am I finished?
    No! Your thesis must be converted into PDF format and submitted to the Graduate School. They will proofread thoroughly!!! (for spelling, grammar, format, word usage, consistency, etc.) Your thesis is not finished until the Graduate School is completely satisfied. A checklist of steps to Graduate School approval is available here.
  • How do I convert my thesis into PDF?  If your thesis is in LaTeX form, then it is easily converted to PDF form. Most LaTeX software packages do so by default.  See Dr. Bob Gardner (e-mail, Dr. Jeff Knisley (e-mail, or Dr. Bob Price (e-mail for help on this task.
  • Are there faculty that can help me out?
    All Math Department faculty are familiar with the software, and so help is not far away. If you have particular technical questions, you might check with these "high traffic" users of LaTeX: Dr. Bob Gardner (e-mail, Dr. Bob Price (e-mail, and Dr. Don Luttermoser (of the ETSU Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geology - he has declared himself "Dr. LaTeX," so you can take your most difficult LaTeX problems to him! - e-mail


East Tennessee State University
Box 70267
Johnson City, TN 37614-0267
Tel.: 423-439-1000
Department of Mathematics
312 Gilbreath Hall | PO Box 70663
Johnson City, TN 37614-0663
Phone: 423-439-4349
Fax: 423-439-8361