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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 ProudThemes 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! Link

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).

Features Link

  • 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+).

Screenshots Link

Academica navigation
Drop-down navigation menu. See live demo.

Content Blocks
Content blocks in the sidebar, defined with a custom widget. See live demo.

News Archive
News archive page. See live demo

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

Behind the design process Link

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 Zealand. 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.

Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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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

    Demo Link is inaccessible. Please fix. Looks a great theme otherwise.

  2. 2

    Hi, the website,, is down. If you have contact info for them you might want to let them know if they are not already aware.

  3. 3

    There`s an 403 error on the demo page.


  4. 4

    live demo->dont have permission to access the index.php… i only want to view he he
    but seems to be a good theme.

    wordpressIII themes to be always good, because of the new menue feature-> makes nearly everything perfect

  5. 5
  6. 6

    Great Template

    thank you thank you thank you

  7. 7

    Christopher Marshall

    August 29, 2010 12:15 pm

    preview dosen’t work damn it

  8. 9

    Theme and logo files download fine, 403 on the Proud Themes index : (
    Thanks for the heads up, hope the problems get sorted soon.

  9. 10
  10. 12

    Love the theme, will definitely use it for upcoming projects. Thanks for sharing :-)

  11. 13

    Oh, this one looks really nice. i like the white space and the integration of timthumb is very clever, so that contributors don’t have to worry about including pictures in the right size.

  12. 14

    Awesome! thanks :)

  13. 15

    I’m going to use it to set up an online state university — Psychotic State! ;)

    Basically you pick a major and print out a diploma.

    – Dr. Speider

  14. 17

    It is a piece of CRAP!!!!

  15. 18

    Good copy lol :p

  16. 19

    Pretty foy my school,thanks!

  17. 20

    Looks gorgeous simple and clean.

  18. 21

    The theme looks very clean. Would be nice to see some integration with some of the wordpress 3 capabilities (menu descriptions) and what not. Nice theme, thanks to the author for the post and to ProudThemes for creating it.


  19. 22

    Great theme. Nice color scheme. Really fits the School/Uni look.
    @Vitaly I think SM popularity killed their server.

  20. 24

    Uh, great theme, thanks a lot!

  21. 25

    I’am not too much experienced with wordpress solutions, and i have to ask, where and how to apply the “News archive Page” shown in this article? I can’t find any functionality similar to it.

    • 26

      me too have the same problem and there are no perfectly useful plugins to over ride this problem too..

  22. 27

    Hmm there is a error on the page!

  23. 28

    Great themes, thank you for sharing this :)

  24. 29

    Sweet of you to share it! I love it!

  25. 30

    nice theme, thanks for it

  26. 31

    This looks scarily familiar to my own University home page:

    Check it out:

  27. 32

    Awesome theme… Thanks SMG… You guys rock…

  28. 33

    Thanks for this theme, which helped me save few dollars.

  29. 34

    Thanks for sharing designs for higher education. HE is an interesting market with several different needs to fill and appease (Gen Y students, Gen X staff, administrators, patrons, parents, community…) it is hard to find inspiration and resources that fit the bill.


  30. 35

    Exactly what I was looking for. Cheers!


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