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Writing, Checking, and Depositing Ph.D Thesis in ECE, UIUC
Preliminary Tasks   |   Write Thesis   |   Format Check   |   Deposit Thesis   |  

There has always been a lot of questions related with writing, format-checking, and later depositing a Ph.D thesis here in the ECE department, UIUC. That's why I have decided, after I experienced it myself, to write this short tutorial to help people go through it as painless as possible.

First, a disclaimer. Procedures and requirements for Ph.D thesis will certainly change in the future, so don't rely on this tutorial solely. I am just trying to point out a few important things.

Before you even start writing a thesis, first get a copy of the Instructions for Preparations of Theses (available in your neighboring grocery store everywhere). Make sure you read it before you start!

Next, determine which software you want to use. If you plan on using anything other than LaTeX, then I am afraid that I can't be of too much help. If you choose LaTeX, then I highly recommend that you get your hands on a Windows PC where you have the permission to install software. Although you can run LaTeX on a UNIX workstation, using Emacs as the editor. The windows MikTeX+ WinEDT combination can boost your productivity by two-fold due to their ability to perform forward search and inverse search. Forward search means when you double-click on a line in your LaTeX source file inside your editor, it automatically brings you to the corresponding line and page in your DVI file inside your DVI previewer; Inverse search means when you double-click a line in your DVI file inside your DVI previewer, it brings you to the corresponding line in your LaTeX source file inside your editor. It doesn't require much imagination to know that these two features can be immensely useful when you modify the thesis.

Currently no UNIX editor-previewer combination can do this. There have been a few attempts with Emacs and XDVIK, which sort of work, after a lot of tweaking. I don't think anybody has time for that if he is trying to write his thesis.

Now, if you are ready, sitting in front of your computer with your LaTeX editor, let's proceed to the next section: writing your thesis with LaTeX.