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How to write dissertation acknowledgments

Updated April 17, 2017

Finally completed, the approved dissertation awaits submission to the graduate school for cataloguing and publishing, but it still needs an Acknowledgement page that appears, in most cases, after the title page and the Dedication. The author uses the Acknowledgement page to thank those who have helped produce the thesis. Although the dissertation lists one individual as author, writing remains a communal enterprise and many need thanking to produce one dissertation.

Compose a sentence or two of thanks to your dissertation adviser and committee. Without their guidance throughout the research and writing, no dissertation would exist.

Thank all teachers who helped provide the skills for you to produce a dissertation. Undoubtedly you had specific instructors all along the way who recognised and encouraged your talents.

Acknowledge scholars and artists whose works influenced your research interests or who gave you the intellectual tools to thrive in academia. Who authored the book that sparked a lifelong interest?

Acknowledge financial support in terms of scholarships, research grants, fellowships or other patrons, without which the dissertation would not exist. Also note any employer who may have given release time or paid for course work.

Thank helpful classmates and other friends who encouraged when you hit dead ends or considered dropping out of school. Think carefully about whether or how to acknowledge boyfriends and girlfriends in a dissertation that will not change once published although the girlfriend or boyfriend has long departed.

Write a couple of sentences to family members to whom you owe everything, citing those who gave you the courage to achieve. Focus on the role models in your family, regardless of their profession.

Tip

Your school's library holds dissertations from former graduates. Browse the Acknowledgement pages of other graduates' dissertations.

Warning

The graduate school has a style guide for dissertations to follow precisely. The graduate school will reject any dissertation for publication that violates their requirements in form and content. Any suggestions about an Acknowledgement page from any source other than the graduate school ranks secondary to their directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Style guide for dissertations from your graduate school
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About the Author

Patricia Hunt first found her voice as a fiction and nonfiction writer in 1974. An English teacher for over 27 years, Hunt's works have appeared in "The Alaska Quarterly Review," "The New Southern Literary Messenger" and "San Jose Studies." She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from American University and a doctorate in studies of America from the University of Maryland.