You can choose from one of the following four methods to install:

After installing, check out the guide to personalizing your site.

Install with web browser

Install Academic with Netlify

  • One-click install of Academic creates an academic-kickstart repository in your GitHub or GitLab account
  • Netlify will provide you with a customizable URL to access your new site, or get your own domain
  • Shortly after editing content in your repository, your site will automatically update
  • To write blog posts in a rich online editor in your web browser,
    • Login to Netlify, find the site you deployed with Netlify, and add yourself as an editor under the Identity section by clicking Invite Users and entering your email address
    • Head over to to view your content management panel and begin publishing content
  • To edit your site in a Markdown editor on your computer,

Once you have followed the link above to automatically install Academic, head on over to your new academic-kickstart repository in your GitHub (or GitLab) account and personalize your site by editing the files in config/_default/. Shortly after saving (i.e. committing a file), your site will automatically update.

View the Homepage Builder and Content guides to learn how to add widgets and content. For inspiration, refer to the Markdown content which powers the Demo

Install with Git



  1. Fork the Academic Kickstart repository to create a new website

    • If you already created your site with Netlify, then skip this step
  2. Clone your fork to your computer with Git, replacing sourcethemes in the command below with your GitHub username:

     git clone My_Website
  3. Initialize the theme:

     cd My_Website
     git submodule update --init --recursive

Now you’re ready to personalize and view your site.

Install with ZIP



  1. Download and extract Academic Kickstart
  2. Download and extract the Academic theme files from the hugo-academic-master folder to the themes/academic/ folder in Academic Kickstart

Now you’re ready to personalize and view your site.

Install with RStudio

  1. Follow the Install with Git instructions above if you are confident with Git, or otherwise Install with ZIP.

    • Skip the Install Hugo step as we’ll use RStudio to install Hugo
  2. Open RStudio, installing the Blogdown and Hugo dependencies:

     blogdown::install_hugo(version = "0.63.1", force = TRUE)
  3. Open academic.Rproj from the Academic Kickstart folder in Step 1

  4. Workaround a Blogdown bug by moving config/_default/config.toml to config.toml at your project root

  5. In the RStudio menu bar, choose Addins > Serve Site (clicking this button will call blogdown:::serve_site())

    • Paste the local URL which RStudio provides (e.g. into your web browser to preview your new site
    • Avoid using the integrated RStudio web browser as it is very outdated and buggy

Now you’re ready to personalize your site.

Note that R content should be saved with the .Rmarkdown file extension rather than .Rmd.

Demo content

For inspiration, refer to the Markdown content which powers the Demo.

If you wish to initialise your site with the demo content, copy the contents of the themes/academic/exampleSite/ folder to your website root folder, overwriting existing files if necessary. The exampleSite folder contains an example config file and content to help you get started. The following command can be used to accomplish this:

cp -av themes/academic/exampleSite/* .

Next steps

Follow the step by step guide to setup your new site.