Category: Theses

New LaTeX templates for theses at University of Iceland / LaTeX sniðmát ritgerðar/lokaverkefna Háskóla Íslands

Helmut Neukirchen, 25. March 2022

Finally, the new (2021 and later) thesis title page examples are available at the HÍ Corporate Design web page and I just finished creating a LaTeX template based on it.

You should find the most recent templates at

But you can also download it: UniversityOfIcelandMScThesisV2.0.1. (I have submitted it to Overleaf as a template.)

The PhD thesis template has also been updated: If you started already your PhD thesis, it is in principle enough to

  1. replace the old ui-phdthesis.cls by the new one and
  2. replace the two files HIlogo.pdf and UIblueribbon.pdf by banner.png
  3. add \thesislicense{All rights reserved} to your .tex file (or update to the license you want to make your thesis available).
  4. Also check the comments at the start of file uiphd_template.tex for possible further additions (\numberwithin and \UrlBreaks).
  5. In contrast to Version 2.0.0. version 2.1.0 moved the bibliography management out of the cls file into the tex file where BibLaTeX is now used

While the old template used the school-specific colors (e.g. VoN had orange), the new color scheme suggests to use these school-specific colors only internally, but work targeting people outside the university (such as a thesis) use always blue independent from the school (this was by the way already always the case with PhD theses).

The PDF version is used by a print shop when printing and binding the thesis: the normal M.Sc. thesis pages are printed using A4, but the cover page (with the blue) will be printed in A3, with the front page on one side and the back page on the other and the spine (bókarkjölur) in the middle (so in fact, that page is even bigger than A3 to accommodate the extra space for the spine). All the A4 pages are then glued into this A3 sheet. The inner side of the A3 remains blank: to simulate this in the PDF, the second page is simply empty (BTW: that empty page is missing in the official Microsoft Word template) and it is then followed by a page that serves as some inner title page, i.e. it repeats all the information from the title page, just with a slightly different layout and without the blue graphical elements. After that follows a page with copyright information, and only after that, your real contents starts.

This means, when you go to a print shop, the title page generated by you gets anyway ignored (and therefore, the LaTeX template does not even bother about generating a back page -- the print shops use the back page to add their name there).

But as the thesis is also electronically archived using the PDF that you submit, your self-generated PDF with the title page matters for that version.

The fact the Word template (to be used by students) looks less professional than the PDF (to be used by print shops), hints at the PDF version is the serious one (and I can only recommend to use not that Word template. If you use it, try match the PDF generated from my LaTeX template).

See my older post for further information.

@students: looking for a Master's thesis project?

Helmut Neukirchen, 9. December 2020

Note: while this post has been created in 2020, it is regularly updated.

Are you looking for a Master's thesis project? If you want to do it in the field of software engineering and/or distributed systems, contact Helmut. See my research areas for topics where I can make suggestions concerning projects. If you are interested in other topics than my research area, we can discuss this as well.

Currently, I have funding for a Master's thesis project in aspect-orientation for software testing.

Some other possible topics are:

  • Running large language AI models (LLM) locally: for privacy reasons, you do not want to sent your code to some LLM in the cloud or send your email where AI shall speed up answering to the cloud. However, there exist scaled down LLMs that run locally, even without a GPU, but just a CPI, e.g. Gemma. A thesis topic could be to create a Gemma-plugin for a mail client, such as Thunderbird, or for an IDE, such as Eclipse.
  • AI for creating test cases. Evaluate how good AI tools are for creating test cases, e.g. shows an evaluation./
  • Standard methods for designing test cases are surprisingly lacking tool support. A thesis could create support for black-box test design techniques, such as equivalence class partitioning and boundary value analysis, e.g. create all combinations of test input data, e.g. for JUnit test cases (either let a tool generate many test cases or develop a JUnit annotation where the equivalence classes are described and that then internally runs all possible combinations as tes cases). Also using cause-effect graphs and decision tables can be easily automated by tool support.
  • LoRa is a long-range, low-power (but also low-bandwidth) wireless communication suitable for IoT, such as transmitting sensor data. Various research in the field of distributed systems/wireless networking/IoT is possible using LoRa. This could include connecting to LoRa satellites, distributing GPS corrections data, e.g., for precise navigation of autonomous vessels, or the next topic shown below.
    In 2022, I am looking for students working in the project Communication with buoys using LoRa.
  • Delay-tolerant opportunistic networking in an Icelandic context: in areas without mobile phone coverage, mobile devices can still communicate via WiFi or bluetooth and since they are mobile they can carry-on and buffer received data until another mobile device is met, i.e. hop-by-hop communication involving mobility of nodes and buffering of data. Possible implementation targets would be ESP8266 and Android or iOS. Combining with LoRaWAN might also be considered, e.g. using The Things Network or adding own stations. Long term goal would be to have this integrated into the 112 Iceland app (together with Esa Hyytiä and Ingólfur Hjörleifsson)
  • Refactoring for LaTeX. While LaTeX is for text processing, it is at the same time almost like a programming language and therefore, refactorings are desirable (e.g. renaming an internal label and all references to it, pushing down sections into subsections / pulling up subsections into sections, adding columns to a table, replacing double quotes by typographic quotes, replacing spaces by non-breaking spaces in front of references, adjusting space following abbreviations where LaTeX thinks the dot is a fullstop, changing BibTeX entry types from one into another). These refactorings shall be implemented and added to some open-source LaTeX editing environment.
  • Machine learning and Software Engineering: either work on how to, e.g., test machine learning software or how to use machine learning in Software Engineering, e.g. use machine learning to support software testing
  • Developing concepts for testing High-Performance Computing (HPC) code (e.g. how to use the Google Test framework to test HPC C++ code)
  • Developing and implementing refactoring concepts for High-Performance Computing (HPC) C++ code and the Eclipse CDT C/C++ IDE
  • Enabling big data processing of scientific file formats: the HDF5 binary file format used in sciences cannot be processed out of the box by the text-based big data approaches: An Apache Spark RDD/Hadoop MapReduce input format for HDF5 files that takes locality of the HDFS distributed file-system into account
  • Performance modelling (together with Esa Hyytiä) of big data systems (=local storage) in comparison to high-performance computing systems (=central storage)
  • Migrating Eclipse IDE functionality to an Xtext-based model-based IDE.
  • Model-based (Eclipse modeling tools) generation of TTCN-3 test case skeletons from TPlan test purpose descriptions.
  • Model-based (Eclipse Xtext + possibly suitable model transformation ) refactoring of TTCN-3 source code.
  • Traceability between requirements and UML models (connecting Eclipse ProR and Eclipse Papyrus tools using OSLC technology)
  • Generation of Jata-based Java test cases from TTCN-3 source code (=TTCN-3 to Jata compiler).
  • Model-based (Eclipse modeling tools) refactoring of UML models and diagrams.
  • Aspect-oriented testing: develop an aspect-oriented language extension for the test language TTCN-3

LaTeX templates for theses at University of Iceland / LaTeX sniðmát ritgerðar/lokaverkefna Háskóla Íslands

Helmut Neukirchen, 27. November 2017

Update 28.3.2022: I just finished working on a new LaTeX template using the new HÍ corporate identity from 10/2021.

You should find the most recent templates at

But you can also download the new LaTeX template for (M.Sc.) theses UniversityOfIcelandMScThesisV2.0.1 and for PhD thesis:

I have submitted it to Overleaf as a template.

For more info on the new layout, see my newer post.

The PhD thesis template has also been updated: If you started already your PhD thesis, it is in principle enough to

  1. replace the old ui-phdthesis.cls by the new one and
  2. replace the two files HIlogo.pdf and UIblueribbon.pdf by banner.png
  3. add \thesislicense{All rights reserved} to your .tex file (or update to the license you want to make your thesis available).
  4. Also check the comments at the start of file uiphd_template.tex for possible further additions (\numberwithin and \UrlBreaks).
  5. In contrast to Version 2.0.0. version 2.1.0 moved the bibliography management out of the cls file into the tex file where BibLaTeX is now used

You find the templates also at

Official templates for PhD theses and MSc theses at the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences are available the School's new Intranet. I try to get my template added there.

If you need for some reason, the template using the old design: LaTeX template MSc: Version 1.1. from 15.10.2020.)

I have created some slides on pros and cons of using LaTeX (skip them, if you are familiar with LaTeX), as well as a brief introduction into LaTeX (starting from slide 13, the thesis template is covered -- but this refers to the old Vesion 1.x template), and a brief introduction into BibLatex for handling literature references.

For the PhD template, a different LaTeX template is available which includes a README.

This PhD template needs fixes as well, e.g.:

  • Table of contents page numbers are sometimes not right-justified due to using "\ " instead of "~": Change {\ \titlerule*[.5pc]{.}\ \thecontentspage to {\ \titlerule*[.5pc]{.}~\thecontentspage
  • IIRC, the same comment as above for \markboth applies.
  • IIRC, there was also something concerning \renewcommand{\leftmark}{\normalfont\footnotesize\sffamily\nouppercase{List of Publications}} % HN commented out vs. %\renewcommand{\rightmark}{\normalfont\footnotesize\sffamily\nouppercase{List of Publications}}
  • When including papers, run them first through PDFcrop and if the pages have different size, e.g. last page of a two column paper uses only one column, take care to use the same cropping for all pages. The PDFcrop is needed because typically the original PDF (e.g. your camera-ready version of your paper) contains, e.g. an A5 sized paper on A4 paper format and since the thesis is printed in A5, the paper gets scaled down so that the original A5-sized paper becomes a tiny A6 which is too tiny!
  • There were more issue (note to self: do a diff on some of the students templates and the one in the zip).

For your slides, Katrín Halldórsdóttir created a LaTeX Beamer template (the tex file is GPL, however the logos are property of the University).

Note for those using Overleaf: there is now Writefull for grammar checking of English language that integrates with Overleaf as a plugin for the Firefox an Chrome browser.

Independent from that, there is the free and open-source standalone TeXtidote grammar checker that can be run from command-line or, e.g. Emacs.

About Defending a Master's thesis

Helmut Neukirchen, 19. June 2016

Note from 2023: the text below is partly outdated. On Ugla, SENS has pretty good info on the timelines and the webforms to be filled out, i.e. ignore the timelines and webforms mentioned below.

The official regulations are in articles 7. and 8. of Regulation no. 994-2017 / Reglur um meistaranám við Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið Háskóla Íslands, nr. 994/2017 (and article 69, items 9-15 of Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569-2009 / Reglur fyrir Háskóla Íslands Nr. 569/2009. The text below should be in accordance -- if not, it needs to be updated... In charge of MSc. theses at VoN student service is Donna, reachable via the HÍ email user alias sensgraduate.

If you want to graduate, take care that latest in parallel to your Master's project, you finish all your coursework, e.g. Software Engineering students have three mandatory HBV courses. If you are a student coming from non-Computer Science/non-Software Engineering Bachelor, you typically have to take extra courses as part of there admission to the Master's program!

A Master's thesis needs:

  • A supervisor (i. leiðbeinandi): Supervises the student during the whole thesis project.
  • An M.Sc. committee (i. meistaraprófsnefnd) consisting of the supervisor and at least one other person who needs to have an MSc. degree -- typically another university teacher -- (unofficially called "secondary supervisor" (i. meðleiðbeinandi)): Often just gets into the game once the student is almost finished (internally, 10% of the overall supervision efforts assumed, but may be up to 25% and 50%), i.e. has a more or less final draft of the thesis available. Gives comments to improve your draft. So this person should be somewhat familiar with the topic.
  • An external thesis examiner (i. prófdómari): If possible, should be from outside HÍ (in the old days, that person was from the faculty and thus often the old English term "faculty representative" is used. Use in your English thesis the official translation External examiner). That person needs a final draft (release candidate status) before the defense, but must not otherwise be involved in the supervision.

Two web forms needs to be filled out latest 1 week before the defense by the supervisor to book a defense: one for advertising the defense, one for appointing the external examiner (the web forms can be reached via VoN intranet page in UGLA).
There, all the information that are needed (name, title, abstract (for writing an abstract, see also item 4 from Kent Beck), day, supervisors, a photo of the student that will be used for advertising -- but more recently, it seems that the photo is anyway not used, etc.) have to be provided.

To make it for the next graduation ceremony (i. brautskráning) which is in February and June each year (there is till some deadline in October, but no ceremony), there is a deadline (latest 3 weeks before the graduation ceremony for which obviously all the grades need to be handed in). A few days before that deadline, there is typically an event called meistaradagurinn where the idea is that all the students of the faculty defend their thesis. Someone organises this and needs to be contacted to participate. But of course, it is also possible to defend a thesis on another day than on meistaradagurinn.

The schedule of the defense is as follows (meistaradagurinn: typically 45 minutes for talk and discussion, but there is 60 minutes time between defenses to allow time for setting up the presentation):

  • A few introducing words by the supervisor (including an explanation of the procedure).
  • 20-30 minutes presentation of the thesis by the student. No need to be nervous: you know best about your topic and thesis (also, your supervisor would not allow you to defend if you would likely fail)! Learn the introducing words (to get your presentation started fluently) and the concluding words (to avoid an abrupt termination of your talk) by heart.
  • Max. 15 minutes questions from the audience (Note: in practise, 5 minutes for the audience and 10 minutes for internal discussion is best)
  • The audience leaves the room, only the student and the three teachers remain. Now some more private discussion (what was good/bad) and further questions are possible.
  • Finally, the student leaves the room and the teachers discuss the grade (e.g. using a grading scheme) for the thesis and after this, the student is called in again and is told the grade.

Note that the grade is filled into some form that needs to be signed by those involved in grading when using the above web form, this gets prepared by the administration based on the above web form (typically, a PDF of the form is sent to the main supervisor via e-mail by Sigríður Sif Magnúsdóttir a few days before the defense).

Based on the comments that are given during defense, some minor changes to thesis might be required.
Students need to submit an electronic copy of their thesis latest three weeks before (so that you can send the confirmation of submitting before the deadline) the next graduation ceremony (i. brautskráning) to (printed version not required anymore, nor is an ISBN number required: remove that line if it is part of your thesis template). Student should also simultaneously need to fill out an declaration of access. The declaration of access template is accessible in English and Icelandic. For commercial settings, access to the thesis can be closed (but not for longer than 4 years); if the thesis is closed, please send the final PDF as well to your supervisors, because they can otherwise neither access it.

If the thesis is accepted, the student will receive an e-mail confirming this. The student must send the confirmation from skemman to sensgraduate at or to Sigríður Sif Magnúsdóttir by email (before the deadline where all grades for brautskráning need to be available). There is also an UGLA page on brautskráning that hopefully is still available when you read this...

To allow the supervisors to read and comment on the thesis, a first draft needs to be finished in time:

  • First draft for the supervisor: latest 1 month before the defense. Preferably, use an agile approach of delivering early drafts as soon as a new chapter is finished. (Do not start with the Introduction -- that is often the last chapter written.)
  • Release candidate draft for the co-supervisor and "prófdómari" latest 1 week before the defense, better much earlier. This deadline applies also for filling out the above mentioned web form.
  • Poster needs to be printed latest 1 day before defense on Meistaradagurinn (e.g., Háskólaprent does this within 15-30 minutes).

If you finish your thesis in August/September/October you may not need to pay tuition fees for the new academic year.

There is an UGLA page with the various deadlines of the graduation process.

Templates for thesis, presentation, and poster

Note: Since 10/2021, HÍ has a new corporate identity that is covered here:

  • A MS Word template, but I really recommend using the LaTeX templates for writing the thesis. As "Advisors", list first your supervisor and in the next line the secondary/co-supervisors. Note that while the template may contain an ISBN number, you have to remove that line as nowadays, everything is electronic only. Have a look at some older MSc. theses to get an idea of the typical contents.
  • For the defense, a PPT slide template is available on the HÍ corporate design web page -> Hönnunarstaðall (at top right corner) -> Rafrænar einingar ->PowerPoint (and then the download is at the bottom). If you want to rather use LateX for your presentation, Katrín Halldórsdóttir created a LaTeX Beamer template that however is using the old 2010 corporate design (the tex file is GPL, however the logos are property of the University). Any volunteers to update it to the new design?
  • Furthermore, a poster is displayed on Meistaradagurinn (if defense is on a different day, you are still supposed to prepare a poster to be displayed later on Meistaradagurinn). You find templates with the new 2021 look on the HÍ corporate design web page -> Hönnunarstaðall (at top right corner) -> Prentmiðlar -> Veggspjöld (and then the download is at the bottom). However, that template contained in the ppt download is not very helpful -- you rather would need the provided Adobe InDesign template. As most will not have a license for Adobe InDesign, I provide here a PPT template that has been converted from the Adobe InDesign template. Note that you need to download all fonts of the the Google fonttype family "Jost" and install them (if you have it not installed, PowerPoint will use another font, but the printshop that probably has the Jost font and then, the layout does not match anymore).
    I suggest to use a smaller fontsize than in the template: compare with the fontsize used in the PPT template using the old look (but note that the old template uses A0 page size, while the new one uses A4 pages size -- which will then be scaled up when printed in, e.g., A0. Hence, display both side by side for comparison.)
    You should also refer to that old template to get an idea of the typical contents, such as adding the names of the supervisors, etc. As a backup, I provide here a copy of that old template.
    Háskolaprent can print the poster (typically in A0 size).

Note that our School of Engineering and Natural Sciences offers a Course on thesis skills such as writing (and you even get ECTS credit points for it). In addition, you will find on the web other general information on thesis writing.