Academica: Free WordPress 3.0+ Theme For Educational Websites


In this post we release a yet another freebie: Academica WordPress Theme, a free WordPress theme designed specifically for educational websites such as universities, schools etc. It’s a flexible and versatile free theme that can be easily customized and branded for any university, academy or non-profit organization. The theme is designed by ProudThemes1 and released for Smashing Magazine and its readers. As usual, the theme is free to use in private and commerical projects.


Download the theme for free!

The theme is released under GPL. You can use it for all your projects for free and without any restrictions. Please link to this article if you want to spread the word. You may modify the theme as you wish.


If you want to be informed when an update to Academica theme will be released, consider signing up with ProudThemes (free)9.


  • The theme was developed for WordPress 3.0 (compatible with 3.0.1)
  • Modern, three-column clean design
  • Setting up Academica Theme is easy and takes just a few seconds. The theme can be uploaded directly from the Dashboard > Appearance > Themes page. No need to edit any files — everything can be done from the Theme Options page.
  • 5 built-in icons to share and link to your profiles on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube
  • The theme allows enabling/disabling of a jQuery-based content slider on the homepage for showing your photos
  • Academica Theme uses a jQuery-based drop-down menu with a fade-in effect
  • 9 sidebars (widget areas) and 3 custom widgets developed for this theme
  • 3 custom page templates and 2 custom post templates
  • Dynamic image resizing (TimThumb script)
  • Support for Custom Menus (WordPress 3.0+).


Academica navigation10
Drop-down navigation menu. See live demo17151311.

Content Blocks12
Content blocks in the sidebar, defined with a custom widget. See live demo17151311.

News Archive14
News archive page. See live demo17151311

Comments area16
Comments area with threaded comments (“reply”-functionality). See live demo17151311.

Behind the design process

As always, here are some insights from the designers:

“Most theme developers create a lot of magazine and portfolio themes for WordPress, however the education niche is mostly ignored. We decided to do something about it, and create a flexible and versatile free theme that can be easily customized and branded for any university/academy or non-profit organization. Of course, the theme can be used in other niches as well, no restrictions or whatsoever. After reviewing a ton of web-sites of educational institutions, our eyes fell on the web-site of Massey University of New Zealand18. With a rather general layout and color palette, we decided to make the navigation and all styling pure-CSS, without any gradients, so that the theme can be customized much faster and easier.”

Thank you for your great work, guys. We appreciate your work, your time and your contributions to the design community.


  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18

↑ Back to top Tweet itShare on Facebook

The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    the academica themes slide show is not working please help my site address is please preview the demo and my site and help the slideshow is a great asscet to my site
    thanks in advance

  2. 52

    I like this this
    It is remarkable, rather valuable message


  3. 103

    i’ve been trying to activate the academica theme on wordpress but it keeps on saying that it’s missing a style sheet…Can anyone help me please, i really like this theme for my project.
    thanks in advance

  4. 154

    Slideshow images must be 960 x 300 to display, this is what is causing your “white block” issue.

    • 205

      My images are set to 960×300 and I still get the white box. Any ideas?

    • 256

      I found my issue. I am using WP Multi-site so using the absolute path was causing issues. I just had to remove the first part of the path so that only “files/2011/09/mainImage-01.jpg” was being used for the input.

    • 307

      Me too!

  5. 358

    Nica - The Virtual Assistant

    September 30, 2011 12:27 am

    I am trying to use the theme for my tutorial center. But I am having problems with the top most menu. can someone tell me what’s wrong?

  6. 409

    I want to remove the left sidebar from home page, and increase the width of content area, so that no empty space is left at the left side after removing bar. Can anyone please advise, how to do it?

  7. 511

    hey you guys. great theme!
    so we have a project in school and wanna use this theme. is it possible to disable the right sidebar and use it for the content from the middle?

  8. 562

    when i upload the gallery with 7 images, only one is shown….idk what im doing wrong….please help

  9. 613

    Really excited to work with this theme. Unfortunately, I can not get any of the Homepage Options to work the slideshow or the static page selected. I tried WP 3.0 then upgraded to the current version. Nothing works. Any troubleshooting suggestions?

    • 664

      I initiallly used Simple Scripts in the cPanel to install WP. Well, I deleted the install then installed WP and the Academia theme MANUALLY!!!…and now everything works fine… I have a great project underway, I’ll be back to show you later!

  10. 715

    I have a problem with this theme.

    my website is The slide show in my homepage (top of the homepage) works properly, but when I’m clicking the “home” from the top menu, It disappears.

    any idea?

  11. 766

    I found the solution
    First I added a new page (name : test) and set it as homepage (ProudThemes>Homepage Setting). then activated the slide show and fed it with my pictures. Then in menu setting I just added a “custom link” to with label name “Home”. So when somebody clicking the “Home: in my menu, it goes to

    Simple !

  12. 817

    Hy, please tell me, how to put the blog page as homepage, in Academica theme? Thanks!

  13. 868

    Does anyone know the trick to setting up the “news” page? Do the theme creators expect you to insert your own loops for posts? I don’t see anywhere in the theme options where you can designate certain pages to be blog pages. Nor is there a page template for that purpose. You’d think that since it’s in the demo that it would be available out of the box in the theme!

    Maybe it’s just their way of trying to get you to fork over cash.

  14. 919

    Has anyone been able to successfully remove the search boxes?

  15. 970

    Nice theme for educational website.

  16. 1021

    Great information !! Education is the most important in human life.


↑ Back to top