Here’s how to write your acknowledgements

We know from experience that the acknowledgements are one of the most-read sections of a thesis. So it is important that it is well-written and deserves some extra attention. One thing does make it a little easier: acknowledgements can be written entirely in your own words.

Acknowledgements (once again) emphasise your gratitude to people who have been supportive and helpful to you during the process of writing your thesis. You can also incorporate your acknowledgements into your foreword, where you give additional information on your thesis content.

If you choose to write separate acknowledgements, this text is placed before the summary or after the title page.

After a brief introduction, express your gratitude in chronological order to those people that have supported you. For example, you could start with the people who have been invaluable, then mention those who have made a small contribution (but no less important to you).

This could include: internship and  study mentors, lecturers, PhD students or fellow students, your supervisor’s colleagues, respondents, institutions, friends and family. Make a list with names first to serve as a reminder, that way you avoid accidentally ‘forgetting’ to mention someone.

The Right Tone and Expressions

As mentioned, your acknowledgements can be entirely in your own words. However, it is important that you choose a consistent form for all people. Choose whether or not to use titles (professor, doctor, Ms. or Mr.), last names only or specifically first and last names.

An active, friendly writing style makes the acknowledgements pleasant to read. This could include expressions such as:

I would like to thank…
I am grateful for…
My research would have been impossible without help and support from…
… was invaluable for…

Make it Personal

To add a personal touch to your acknowledgements, address your ‘last but not least’ to your partner, family, friends and acquaintances. This way, you can show the readers of your thesis just that little more of yourself. What’s more, the unconditional support of your loved ones is without a doubt the foundation for your successful thesis.

To Thank or Not to Thank

During you research, you may have had a less than pleasant experience with someone who is involved in the completion of your thesis.

For example, a supervisor who waits until the end of your research to indicate that they think essential knowledge is missing. Even though you asked them to share specific knowledge throughout your research.

How do you deal with this in your acknowledgements? Not mentioning them is not an option, of course, but you do not have to thank them if this is not called for in your eyes.
Tip: In such cases, you can thank someone by saying that because of their contribution, you were able to lift your thesis to a higher level. This way, you’ve been kind – in general – and you haven’t ‘forgotten’ anyone.

We wish you the best of luck, and if you have any questions: Don’t hesitate to ask Magnificus via our website!