How to Write a Great Acknowledgment Section for Your Dissertation

You’ve completed your dissertation.

Your advisor has asked you to write a dissertation acknowledgement, put it in the dissertation, and submit the final copy.

Writing dissertation acknowledgements come with much more freedom than the other sections. You are at liberty to write in a dynamic and more informal tone. However, not many people are experts in crafting a good acknowledgement section.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of this section, what it is, how to compose it, and some great tips to help you write the best acknowledgement for your dissertation.

Writing Order of Dissertation Acknowledgment

Not sure about the writing order of dissertation acknowledgement?

When writing your acknowledgement section, arrange it in the order of importance. For example, put your professional acknowledgements first and then move on to personal comments. Look for dissertation acknowledgement examples online before you start crafting this section.

There are two categories of acknowledgements: personal and professional and academic acknowledgements.

Professional and Academic Acknowledgements

Who you thank within these categories will ultimately be your decision. However, you must pay special attention to who you put in the professional category of the acknowledgement. Not mentioning someone who has played an integral part in your dissertation will be unfair. They may regard it as a dismissal of their help and efforts, whether intentional or unintentional. And this may also jeopardise your chances of future collaborations with these professional individuals or organisations.

Here are some important professional and academic acknowledgements you must consider when writing your dissertation:

  • Professors
  • Supervisors
  • Sponsors and any funding bodies
  • Lab assistants
  • Research group
  • Colleagues
  • Research participants
  • Editors and proof-readers

Personal Acknowledgments

Personal acknowledgements should include people from your friends and family or anyone you want to thank for their support during your dissertation. Here are some individuals you should consider mentioning in your dissertation:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Partner
  • Anyone who directly influenced or inspired your academics
  • Anyone who has offered you personal support

Keep in mind that certain institutions have clear policies regarding this section. For example, you may only be required to mention people such as your professors and supervisors who have directly helped you in your work. Therefore, go through your university guidelines before writing the undergraduate dissertation acknowledgements section.

Dissertation Acknowledgement Sample

Here is a dissertation acknowledgement sample you can get help from:

“I would like to acknowledge my supervisor, Dr Susan Brown, for her assistance and guidance throughout my dissertation writing journey. I would also like to mention my wife, Amanda, for putting up with my long office hours and being a great listener and support during this challenging time.”

Dissertation Acknowledgement with Examples

Looking for dissertation acknowledgement with examples? Here is a great example:

“I must extend my utmost gratitude to the following people. I wouldn’t have been able to complete my research and make it through my PhD if it wasn’t for these people!

The Sociology department at the University of Wales, especially my supervisor, Dr Kumar Gupta, helped me steer this challenging research with his knowledge and insight. I would also like to mention Linda from the labs, who helped and supported me in this journey and helped me go the extra mile! 

The residents of Wales were so accommodating and welcoming. They took the time to fill out surveys and welcomed me into their homes for follow-up sessions. I wouldn’t have any research content for my dissertation if they did not help. 

My PhD colleagues helped me throughout the journey and had to put up with my constant stress.

And lastly, I would like to extend my gratitude to my family for their constant support throughout this research. The past three years have been tough for me, and I wouldn’t have made it through if it wasn’t for the love of my family. My wife Jennifer and my beautiful daughter, Emma, thank you for always being there for me.”

How to Write a Dissertation Acknowledgment?

You can use a more informal writing style in the acknowledgement section than in the rest of the dissertation. For example, you can use more emotive language and write in the first person. While you are free to write this section in any way you want (while following your institution’s guidelines), it is still advised to keep this section professional. The acknowledgement section is the first thing your dissertation assessors and readers will read. It sets the tone for the entire work.

When writing your acknowledgement section, arrange it in the order of importance. For example, put your professional acknowledgements first and then move on to personal acknowledgements. Look for dissertation acknowledgement examples online before you start crafting this section.

Ensure you include the full name and designation of the professionals you mention in the section. This will help any third person identify who you are talking about. In addition, including full names and designations enhances your dissertation’s clarity and credibility. You can also list the names of professionals in alphabetical order. However, you can put the names of the people who have contributed to your work at the top of the list. We hope this helps you understand how to write acknowledgement for dissertation.

Where Should the Acknowledgment Section Go?

The acknowledgement section is usually put before the abstract and after the table of content of your dissertation. So, it comes right at the beginning of the document and hence is one of the first sections anyone will read.

However, it is imperative to check your institution’s guidelines before finalising your dissertation’s formatting. Some institutions have specific formatting guidelines you need to follow.

Tips for Writing Acknowledgement for Dissertation

Check out this helpful advice on how to write the best acknowledgement for your dissertation:

Dissertation Acknowledgement Examples 

When writing an acknowledgements dissertation, your writing and tone should be friendly but formal. Here are some examples to help you start the section:

  • I am highly grateful to…
  • I would like to thank…
  • My sincere thanks to…
  • I am deeply grateful to…
  • Please accept my most heartfelt appreciation for…

And you can end these sentences with phrases such as:

  • For their contribution.
  • For their insightful suggestions.
  • For their helpful comments.
  • For their unwavering support for me.
  • For believing in me.

Include the Most Important Individuals

Don’t forget to include anyone and everyone who helped you write the dissertation. As mentioned before, it is impolite not to add the names of important people when writing acknowledgements dissertation as they are expecting to find their names in this section. So, think of all your colleagues, supervisors, advisors, professors, respondents and other PhDs who have assisted you on this academic journey.

Include Important Organisations

In addition to mentioning individuals in the acknowledgement section, don’t forget to acknowledge any authorities, parties, or organisations that helped you financially or in any other way in completing your dissertation. This includes a research group, any foundation or company that has funded your research, employer, etc.

Include All Other Parties

You can also thank people such as your administrative assistant, who was there to help you every time you needed. Finally, you can also thank people you took as an inspiration and who played a significant role in helping you complete your research work and dissertation.

End with a Special Thanks to People Close to You

Once you are done with all these formal acknowledgements, it is time to mention some special people who have always been there for you. Think about your family members, partner, friends, colleagues or any other acquaintances who extended a helping hand during the tough times of your PhD.

Be the Bigger Person

Don’t just miss someone’s name from the PhD acknowledgements section because you were not happy with how they contributed to the whole PhD journey.

Naming everyone in the acknowledgement is an art. However, you can only thank someone where the gratitude is due. So this is your word of thanks, and you have the right to draft it the way you want.

For example, you had a professor who did not share enough knowledge when you needed it. Or, there is a co-advisor who still thinks your expertise on the subject is lacking. It may be very annoying but don’t just leave them out of the acknowledgements. Instead, be the bigger person and think about how they made you work hard and helped you improve your work. As a result, they made you take your work up a notch even when you thought it was good enough. With this positive approach, you will be able to write a great PhD acknowledgements section for your dissertation.

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