Acknowledgements in Thesis


Hi everyone

Although I am months away from submitting my thesis, there are times when I contemplate what to write in my acknowledgements.
I have read really boring ones where people have just named and thanked all the sups/co-workers who somehow contributed to the PhD project/thesis, without making it special or any personal touch. But then there are some which are full of insider jokes, making it weird to read for anyone not understanding the hints/references/jokes.

I would like to have a bit of all: the formal thanks to sups and colleagues, to friends/partner for general support and maybe adding a funny/thoughtful(?) quote on science/life/universe.. Or is trying to put one's emotion in one A4 page a bit over-engineering something that should be just plain and focussed on acknowledging other people's input to the PhD work?

What do you think? What are you planning to write in your acknowledgements or what did you write (for those who have already submitted)?
What do you like/not like about other people's acknowledgements?



I wrote mine recently. They're pretty standard. I thanked my supervisors, and my funding council. Then I thanked all the archivists who'd helped me, highlighting two who had been particularly helpful. And I thanked my parents, and my inspirational school teacher. And finally - and most importantly of all - my hubby.

I don't read other people's acknowledgements. Also I like acknowledgements that are short and sweet. Mine's actually twice as long as the acknowledgements in my husband's thesis a decade ago. But mine still fits in 1 page, double-spaced :p


I thanked my main supervisor, my co-workers on a larger project I was part of, people in the department that helped (lab support, director of research), a general dept thanks (as didn't thank my 2nd supervisor directly as he had no input in 3 years), my family (as a formality not out of wanting to), and a couple of friends who had truly helped me thru my PhD.


I thanked the usual suspects - supervisors, collaborators, parents, family, friends - including some I made here on PGF :D


Any thoughts on thanking God? A sure way to wind up an atheist examiner?


I'm also going to thank my dog, who will have kept me company for thousands of hours, sleeping next to me every day as I work. Probably silly, but she's important to me and has helped me a lot - more than some others at uni who should've been helping!


======= Date Modified 10 Dec 2009 21:54:16 =======

Quote From fifi_fole:

my family (as a formality not out of wanting to)

yeah I am going to do this too, only because, really, it would look weird if they weren't mention and might reflect poorly on me in the minds of readers


Quote From Sue2604:

I'm also going to thank my dog, who will have kept me company for thousands of hours, sleeping next to me every day as I work. Probably silly, but she's important to me and has helped me a lot - more than some others at uni who should've been helping!

:) that's great (robin)


I do not like over emotion or feelings that border on insincerity, or overt religiosity:

I found this online, eww, (sorry if this is your acknowledgment page dear reader, but, y'know...)

"Last but not least, thanks be to God for my life through all tests in the past five years. You have made my life more bountiful. May your name be exalted, honored, and glorified."



Oooh I love writing pretend acknowledgements (honest!) when I have those 'ANd the Oscar goes to...." moments lol :-)

Ok, so mine's all decided. It's going to be in this order that imp people will appear

1. Supervisor (*the* most important person shaping my career, providing opportunities, putting up with my batty modes etc, and my mentor and worst critic! Will prolly be thanked as mentor instead of sup, lets see)

2. Parents - this really depends on my mood. I do wish to thank them for their intellectual contributions to my academic nature, but I'm mad at them for other stuff, so depends on what I'm thinking; and well, will thank family and some selct school and college teachers.

3. Department (includes schols, jobs, projects, fellow phds, other people)

4. Dedication - really want to dedicate to my 86 yr old gran who may many not see this day, but the other gran might feel left out, so not sure...

See? One page of my thesis is written and ready and bears the brunt of my moods as I go through this PhD. When stuff goes well/or not this page gets heavily edited!


I thanked my supervisors, friends, family, the colleagues in the office with me for creating a good environment to study. Also the departmental staff for their help throughout the studies (ie technicians fixing computers, refilling ink cartridges, secretaries for helping organise the viva etc etc.) It doesnt have to be too formal, eg "I would also like to thank X for demonstrating their great coffee making skills, which has proved invaluable."

It's all a matter of personal taste but I don't like acknowledgements that are too formal, I like it to show a bit of character.


I've also kept mine pretty simple. I think if you start quoting verses of greek/latin poetry or quirky quotes it can easily look 'over-engineered', arrogant or gushing. I kept my examiners in mind - it's the first thing they'll read, and I don't want to get off on a bad footing. When I publish I may make my acknowledgement a little more colourful.


Agree with Misspacey, my acknowledgements are pretty short, dry, and professional. If it passes, I'll feel more at liberty to play around with it.


I've not even considered my acknowledgements... I guess the people I have to acknowledge will be (in no particular order):

- My sup (for entertaining my ideas)
- My poor partner (he deserves a nobel prize for putting up with me)
- My family (for misunderstanding all my ideas, but nodding and smiling all the same)
- My friends (for getting me drunk and taking my mind off the PhD)
- The 2 students who helped me transcribe (I may be locked away in a white padded room if it weren't for them)
- The schools, teachers and SENCO's who I worked with
- The children who formed my sample (without them there would be no research)
- My department and other colleagues (because it would be rude to not thank them)
and finally...
- Dr Seuss (for being a literary genius)

Wow... I didn't realise I had so many people to thank


======= Date Modified 11 Dec 2009 09:47:46 =======
Thanks guys for your responses. Definitely has given me some ideas what to write or what to rather leave out.. (up)