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Dedication, acknowledgements, & preface

Dedication, Acknowledgements, and Preface sections are all optional pages. But, what is the difference between these three?

Dedication — A personal tribute to someone or a group of people. Example: "To my parents."

Acknowledgements — A professional tribute to a person or people who helped you with the thesis. Example: "I wish to thank my thesis advisor for the hours of help in the lab making sure the experiments were set up properly and guiding me through the thesis process."

Preface ( sometimes confused with Foreward or Prologue ) — A very rarely included section that details why you are qualified to write about your topic of your thesis or why you became interested in the topic (for example, an anecdote about a childhood incident that led you to become interested in the topic). Do not confuse this with the literature review; this is more of a personal story.

The video below gives more examples of what can be included in these sections. Note: If your dedication is short (like "To my parents"), you may choose not to include the "Dedication" heading at the top of the page. A demonstration of how to format the dedication page this way is shown below.

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Examples of Dedications


Written by  Scribendi

You've written a book, dissertation, or thesis; you've passed out from joy and woken up! Now, you need to write a dedication to that person (or those people) who made it all possible. 

You want the thesis or book dedication to be meaningful, but how can you make it work? You have lots of options, from simple to complex and from informal to formal.

Read on to discover how you can write the perfect dedication, whether it is a dedication to a friend, parent, child, or someone else.

Tips for Writing a Dedication Page

A dedication is usually a single sentence at the beginning of a book, thesis, or dissertation that offers the work to someone who inspired you or helped you with it. It's a short statement but one that can be very personal.

Here’s an example of a dedication for a thesis: 

Dedication Example

Before diving into the dedication examples below, you should keep a few things in mind: 

There's no right or wrong way to write a dedication sentence. Who you thank and how you thank them can and should be personal.

If the list of people you need to thank is long, you can use your Acknowledgments section to pay tribute to as many people as you'd like.

Everyone who reads your book, thesis, or dissertation will see your dedication page. Be aware of the impact that your dedication will have. 

Be brief. Dedication sentences should be short and to the point. 

Check out How to Write a Dedication for more writing help.

Formal and Informal Dedication Examples

Informal and simple dedication.

This one goes to you, Mom.

Formal and simple dedication

This is for my mother.

Informal and complex dedication

This is for my dad. Thanks for teaching me how to make casserole and for all those laughs.

Formal and complex dedication

I dedicate this to my sister, who was always there for me, even on the tough days.

Informal dedication with an anecdote

To Rebecca. Thank you for getting us lost in Mexico and eventually getting us found. Keep leading the way. 

Formal dedication with an anecdote

I dedicate this to Kimberly Marsh, for her outpouring of support when Charlie was hospitalized. Her steadfast commitment, love, and dedication will not be forgotten. 

Informal dedication in memoriam

In memory of Chuck Thomas. It was a joy to serve you coffee every Thursday. I'll never forget you.

Formal dedication in memoriam

I dedicate this book to Don Reynolds, who influenced countless people in his too-short time here on earth. I miss you more than words can say. Thank you for believing in my dream. I look forward to the day we meet again. 

Dedication Examples to Different Parties

Book dedication to a child examples.

I dedicate this little book to my children. This one is for you, from me, your loving mother. 

To all my children. I almost named you after the characters in this book. If you can guess which name was almost yours, no complaining. 

To Nate and Jenny. I have nothing but gratitude to you, my children, for reminding me that walking to the beach is just as fun as being there. 

Book dedication examples to a friend

This book is dedicated to Tim. Thanks for encouraging me to write it. 

I dedicate this book to my friend and confidante, Jack Millhouse. He was the first person to encourage me to try. 

To Melissa R., for being a dedicated reader through all those rounds of revision. This one is for you. 

Book dedication to parents examples

To my parents. Thanks for keeping the interest rates low on everything I owe you. 

I dedicate this to my parents, for your constant love and support. 

This one is for my parents. Thanks for trying. 

Whether you are dedicating a thesis or a book to a friend or a family member, our examples can help you draft a dedication that both you and your dedicatee are proud of. 

If you're struggling to find the right words, our editors can make sure you're on the right track.

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  • Thesis & Dissertation Acknowledgements | Tips & Examples

Thesis & Dissertation Acknowledgements | Tips & Examples

Published on May 3, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.


The acknowledgements section is your opportunity to thank those who have helped and supported you personally and professionally during your thesis or dissertation process.

Thesis or dissertation acknowledgements appear between your title page and abstract  and should be no longer than one page.

In your acknowledgements, it’s okay to use a more informal style than is usually permitted in academic writing , as well as first-person pronouns . Acknowledgements are not considered part of the academic work itself, but rather your chance to write something more personal.

To get started, download our step-by-step template in the format of your choice below. We’ve also included sample sentence starters to help you construct your acknowledgments section from scratch.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Table of contents

Who to thank in your acknowledgements, how to write acknowledgements, acknowledgements section example, acknowledgements dos and don’ts, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the acknowledgements section.

Generally, there are two main categories of acknowledgements: professional and personal .

A good first step is to check your university’s guidelines, as they may have rules or preferences about the order, phrasing, or layout of acknowledgements. Some institutions prefer that you keep your acknowledgements strictly professional.

Regardless, it’s usually a good idea to place professional acknowledgements first, followed by any personal ones. You can then proceed by ranking who you’d like to thank from most formal to least.

  • Chairs, supervisors, or defense committees
  • Funding bodies
  • Other academics (e.g., colleagues or cohort members)
  • Editors or proofreaders
  • Librarians, research/laboratory assistants, or study participants
  • Family, friends, or pets

Typically, it’s only necessary to mention people who directly supported you during your thesis or dissertation. However, if you feel that someone like a high school physics teacher was a great inspiration on the path to your current research, feel free to include them as well.

Professional acknowledgements

It is crucial to avoid overlooking anyone who helped you professionally as you completed your thesis or dissertation. As a rule of thumb, anyone who directly contributed to your research process, from figuring out your dissertation topic to your final proofread, should be mentioned.

A few things to keep in mind include:

  • Even if you feel your chair didn’t help you very much, you should still thank them first to avoid looking like you’re snubbing them.
  • Be sure to follow academic conventions, using full names with titles where appropriate.
  • If several members of a group or organization assisted you, mention the collective name only.
  • Remember the ethical considerations around anonymized data. If you wish to protect someone’s privacy, use only their first name or a generic identifier (such as “the interviewees”)/

Personal acknowledgements

There is no need to mention every member of your family or friend group. However, if someone was particularly inspiring or supportive, you may wish to mention them specifically. Many people choose to thank parents, partners, children, friends, and even pets, but you can mention anyone who offered moral support or encouragement, or helped you in a tangible or intangible way.

Some students may wish to dedicate their dissertation to a deceased influential person in their personal life. In this case, it’s okay to mention them first, before any professional acknowledgements.

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After you’ve compiled a list of who you’d like to thank, you can then sort your list into rank order. Separate everyone you listed into “major thanks,” “big thanks,” and “minor thanks” categories.

  • “Major thanks” are given to people who your project would be impossible without. These are often predominantly professional acknowledgements, such as your advisor, chair, and committee, as well as any funders.
  • “Big thanks” are an in-between, for those who helped you along the way or helped you grow intellectually, such as classmates, peers, or librarians.
  • “Minor thanks” can be a catch-all for everyone else, especially those who offered moral support or encouragement. This can include personal acknowledgements, such as parents, partners, children, friends, or even pets.

How to phrase your acknowledgements

To avoid acknowledgements that sound repetitive or dull, consider changing up your phrasing. Here are some examples of common sentence starters you can use for each category.

Note that you do not need to write any sort of conclusion or summary at the end. You can simply end the acknowledgements with your last thank you.

Here’s an example of how you can combine the different sentences to write your acknowledgements.

A simple construction consists of a sentence starter (in purple highlight ), followed by the person or entity mentioned (in green highlight ), followed by what you’re thanking them for (in yellow highlight .)


Words cannot express my gratitude to my professor and chair of my committee for her invaluable patience and feedback. I also could not have undertaken this journey without my defense committee, who generously provided knowledge and expertise. Additionally, this endeavor would not have been possible without the generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, who financed my research .

I am also grateful to my classmates and cohort members, especially my office mates, for their editing help, late-night feedback sessions, and moral support. Thanks should also go to the librarians, research assistants, and study participants from the university, who impacted and inspired me.

Lastly, I would be remiss in not mentioning my family, especially my parents, spouse, and children. Their belief in me has kept my spirits and motivation high during this process. I would also like to thank my cat for all the entertainment and emotional support.

  • Write in first-person, professional language
  • Thank your professional contacts first
  • Include full names, titles, and roles of professional acknowledgements
  • Include personal or intangible supporters, like friends, family, or even pets
  • Mention funding bodies and what they funded
  • Appropriately anonymize or group research participants or non-individual acknowledgments


  • Use informal language or slang
  • Go over one page in length
  • Mention people who had only a peripheral or minor impact on your work

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In the acknowledgements of your thesis or dissertation, you should first thank those who helped you academically or professionally, such as your supervisor, funders, and other academics.

Then you can include personal thanks to friends, family members, or anyone else who supported you during the process.

Yes, it’s important to thank your supervisor(s) in the acknowledgements section of your thesis or dissertation .

Even if you feel your supervisor did not contribute greatly to the final product, you must acknowledge them, if only for a very brief thank you. If you do not include your supervisor, it may be seen as a snub.

The acknowledgements are generally included at the very beginning of your thesis , directly after the title page and before the abstract .

In a thesis or dissertation, the acknowledgements should usually be no longer than one page. There is no minimum length.

You may acknowledge God in your dissertation acknowledgements , but be sure to follow academic convention by also thanking the members of academia, as well as family, colleagues, and friends who helped you.

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Writing Your Dedication and Acknowledgements

When it comes to writing a thesis, the chapters get most of our attention – and so they should! They are the bulk of the thesis, and they contain the actual research. But there are other sections to think about as well, and two of them can be particularly fun to write.

The dedication and acknowledgements pages are where you can show your love and gratitude to the people who have helped you to achieve your goals. They tend to be less prescribed than other sections, so you have a little freedom to get creative in the way you express yourself!

dedication of thesis to family

While they might seem similar, there is a difference between the dedications and the acknowledgements. The dedication, as the name suggests, allows you to dedicate your thesis to someone (or multiple people). This is quite a personal matter, and dedications are often made to family members, spouses, friends, or community groups.

The acknowledgements page, by contrast, allows you to express thanks for specific contributions, and often features people that the author knows professionally as well as personally. If a person or group helped you by giving advice, funding, mentorship, editorial assistance, or practical support, it’s a good idea to give them a shout-out in the acknowledgements. This is more than just a courtesy – it’s an important part of maintaining your relationships by formally recognising the people and organisations who have made a contribution to your work.

As an example – I dedicated my PhD thesis to several members of my family, and wrote short personal notes about their contributions. In my acknowledgements section, I thanked my supervisor, a mentor, a friend who provided technical advice during my research, and my scholarship provider.

My dedication and acknowledgements sections were fairly conventional, but that doesn’t mean yours have to be! I’ve heard of writers dedicating their thesis to their pets, their computers, and even their local barista. There have even been rumours of one acknowledgements page which included a coupon for a free beer for anyone whose name was listed!

Other scholars have been known to thank:

  • Public transport providers “for making the task of writing in buses and trains such an enjoyable exercise” ( source )
  • The “spell-check function of Microsoft Word, without whom ‘institution’ would be misspelled differently 197 times” ( source )
  • “The U.S. Immigration Service under the Bush administration, whose visa background security check forced [the author] to spend two months (following an international conference) in a third country, free of routine obligations” ( source )

One enterprising paleontologist even proposed to his girlfriend via the acknowledgements section of his journal article. (She said yes, apparently.)

So if you haven’t already, have a go at drafting your dedication and acknowledgements pages. After all, it’s not often you can gush about your favourite people while still technically being productive!

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Thesis / dissertation formatting manual (2022).

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The Dedication Page is optional. If you choose to include a Dedication Page, please ensure that:

  • You are using the same font as in the rest of your manuscript.
  • No images are included.
  • Page number ii appears centered at the bottom of the page.

​Please note that the Dedication Page is different from the Acknowledgements Page.

Dedication Page Example

Here is an example of a dedication page from the template:

Screenshot of Dedication Page from Template

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Acknowledgement World

How to Write a Dedication for a Thesis or Dissertation?

Writing a dedication page for your thesis or dissertation is a great way to honor the people who have supported you throughout the journey of your research and writing. In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about writing a dedication page for your thesis or dissertation. From formatting it to what you can include, we’ll run through all of the details to help you write your dedication page with confidence and gratitude.

What is a dedication page?

In academic writing (as well as book writing), the dedication page is where you can honor the people who have inspired or emotionally support you throughout your research and writing in a personal manner.

The dedication page is an optional section in a thesis or dissertation when it comes to academic writing.

Why should I include a dedication page in my writing?

The dedication page is not mandatory in most academic writing.

However, by paying tributes to the individuals or even the higher power who meant the most to you, you attach meaning to your work beyond the academic level.

A song is merely a song with lyrics, and that’s that. But if the same song is dedicated to someone, it will certainly entail special meanings to those who are dedicated and the dedicator (yourself). In other words, dedication serves to connect your work with the people who mean the most to you.

The same goes for your work. Do you agree?

Where does the dedication page appear in a paper?

The dedication page should appear before the main body of a thesis or dissertation. But every institution has its own requirements. You should always check the formatting guidelines provided by your school, faculty or department.

For this matter, we took a quick tour of the formatting guidelines for the top three universities in the US. And we’ve already found 3 variations.

How long is a dedication page?

A dedication page can be as short as one sentence, if not in a few short paragraphs.

Who should I include on the dedication page?

In academic writings, the dedication page is where you can show your gratitude to the individuals (and even the higher power) who have inspired you or emotionally support you on a personal level throughout your work. 

They may or may not involve in your research work. You may include:

  • God or the higher power

What is the formatting of a dedication page?

Always check the formatting guidelines provided by your school, faculty, or department.

As a general rule, the title, as well as the text, should be aligned in the center of the page like this:

dedication of thesis to family

What is the tone and style of a dedication page?

The tone of the dedication page can be formal or informal. It can be personal, sometimes even emotional and spiritual.

Formal phases to begin a dedication:

*Work: thesis/dissertation/report/research

This [work] is dedicated to…

Example: This project is dedicated to Mr. Smith, our teacher who helped and guided us to successfully complete this work.

I dedicate this [work] to…

Example: I dedicate this thesis to my father and my mother, who with love and effort have accompanied me in this process, without hesitating at any moment of seeing my dreams come true, which are also their dreams

I am dedicating this [work] to…

Example: I am dedicating this thesis to my late grandfather who taught me all about perseverance. His memories continue to keep me going in every single day of my life

Informal phases to begin a dedication:

Example: For my Almighty God, the reason for my existence.

Example: To Bruno, who has been my support in the difficulties.

Example: To my dearest wife Jenny, to my lovely little girl Jin, to my parents, to my brothers William, John and Paul, and to all those who made this thesis possible.

The dedication page vs the acknowledgement page, what’s the difference?

While both the dedication page and acknowledgement page let you show appreciation for the help and support in your research and writing, there are some major similarities and differences between the two.

Dedication in academic writing

On a dedication page, you honor a particular group of people or an individual for inspiring or motivating you for completing the project or paper. It can be personal, emotional, or even spiritual and does not necessarily have anything to do with the academic aspects.

You dedicate your research work to the people who mean the most to you, such as the higher power, your core family members, a particular individual, friends, or someone who has a special role in your life.

Acknowledgment in academic writing

In acknowledgments, you recognize resources (e.g. grants or funding), institutions as well as individuals that are involved or have support in the course of your research and writing. These parties directly play a role in your academic career. Here, you disclose as much academic-related information as possible.

The Similarities

These sections, usually optional, should be no longer than one page.

Depending on the requirements of school or academic department, they can appear before or after the table of contents in your paper.

The Differences

The key difference between acknowledgement and dedication is that the former is more formal and the latter is more personal.

Acknowledgement usually recognizes the contributions of those who were directly involved in the research, whereas dedications are a way for the writer to pay tribute to individuals who have had a significant personal or emotional impact on their life or work.

It is common for people to dedicate their writing to God or another higher power who they believe provided them with spiritual support during the writing process.”

Here’s a brief comparison table showing the main differences between the two:

If you want to check out examples of dedication for projects, reports, theses, dissertations, and books, also read: Examples of Well-Written Dedication Section

Acknowledgement Examples for School/College Projects

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For work or business Acknowledgement Receipt of Payment [4 Examples] Acknowledging Receipt of Documents: A Quick Guide with Examples Acknowledgement for Presentation [9 Examples] Acknowledgement for Job Offer [3 Examples] Acknowledgement for Business Plan [4 Examples] Acknowledgement for Work Immersion [5 Examples] Acknowledgement of Receipt of Appraisal [3 Examples] Acknowledegment of Debt [5 Examples] Resignation Acknowledgement for Employers [5 Examples]

Academic Acknowledgement for Research Paper [5 Examples] Acknowledgement for Internship Report [5 Examples] Acknowledgement for Thesis and Dissertation [15 Examples] Acknowledgement for Portfolio [5 Examples] Acknowledgement for Case Study [4 Examples] Acknowledgement for Academic Research Paper [5 Examples] Acknowledgement for College/School Assignment [5 Examples] Acknowledgemet to God in Reports [5 Examples]

Others Acknowledgement to Funeral Attendees [5 Examples] Funeral Acknowledgement Templates (for Newspapers and Websites) Common Website Disclaimers to Protect Your Online Business Notary Acknowledgement [5 Examples]

How-to Guides on Academic Writing and Others

Most popular How to Write an Acknowledgement: The Complete Guide for Students How to Write an Acknowledgement for College Project? How to Write a Dedication Page for a Thesis or Dissertation? More on acknowledgements How to Write Acknowledgment for a Dissertation or a Thesis? Is Acknowledgement and Dedication the Same? Thesis or Dissertation How to Write a Master’s Thesis: The Ultimate Guide How to Write a Thesis Proposal? How to Write an Abstract for a Thesis? How to Write a Preface for a Thesis? Others How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper? 7 Real Research Paper Examples to Get You Started How to Write Cover Letter for an Internship Program? How to Write an Internship Acceptance Letter? How to Write a Leave Application? For Schools and the Workplace How to Write a Resignation Letter?

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How to Write a Dedication for a Dissertation | Structure Examples

dedication of thesis to family

The dedication is a personal and optional part of your dissertation or thesis. In this section, you have the opportunity to express your gratitude to the people who have supported you during your graduate studies. You may choose to dedicate your work to your family, friends, mentors, or other individuals who have helped you throughout your academic career. Keep in mind that the dedication is a personal expression of thanks, so you can be as creative as you like in this section. However, if you do choose to include a dedication, be sure to keep it short and sweet. A few well-chosen words can go a long way in expressing your appreciation.

What is the dedication section in a dissertation?

The dedication section in a dissertation is where you honor and thank the people who have helped you during your project. This might include your advisor, committee members, fellow students, family, and friends. You can also dedicate your work to someone who has inspired you or passed away. The dedication should be short (a few sentences at most) and to the point. It’s a nice way to express your gratitude and show that you understand how important their support was to your success.

How to write a dedication section

The dedication section of a dissertation is not just a simple list of names. It is an opportunity to give thanks and express appreciation to those who have supported you during your journey. Here are the steps in writing an effective thesis dedication:

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1. Choose a person

The first step to writing a dedication section is to choose a person. This can be anyone from your family, friends, or someone you look up to. When choosing a person, it is important to think about why you are dedicating your work to them. Are they your biggest supporter? Do they inspire you? Once you have chosen a person, the next step is to write a short paragraph about why you are dedicating your work to them. Be sure to include how they have impacted your life and why you are grateful for their support.

2. Naming the person

The second step in writing a dedication section is to name the person or persons you are dedicating the work to. This may seem like a simple task, but it is important to take some time to consider who you want to honor with your words. It is also important to be sure that you have the permission of the person or people you are naming before you include them in your dedication. Once you have chosen the perfect person or people to dedicate your work to, the next step is to write a few sentences about why you are making this gesture. In doing so, you will be able to create a beautiful and personal dedication that will be cherished for years to come.

3. Purpose of the dedication

The third step in writing a dedication section is determining why you are dedicating the work to that person. This is important as it will help to set the tone and language. It will also be a key factor in how readers react to your work. Are you honoring someone’s memory? Are you thanking someone for their support? Once you know why you are dedicating the work, you can begin to craft your words carefully. Doing so will ensure that your dedication is effective and meaningful.

4. Addressing the dedication

The fourth step in writing a dedication section is to address the dedication. This can be done in a number of ways, but the most important thing is to be clear and concise. The best way to do this is to use language that is respectful and affectionate. For example, you might say “To my parents, who have always supported me,” or “To my husband, who has been my rock during these difficult times.” Whatever you choose to say, make sure that it comes from the heart. With a little thought and effort, you can easily create a dedication that will be cherished for years to come.

Tips in writing a good dedication section in a dissertation or thesis

When you write a dedication, you want to make sure that it is sincere, personal, and specific. Here are tips to help you write a good dedication:

  • First, think about why you are writing the dedication . Who do you want to honor, and why?
  • Keep it short and sweet . A dedication does not need to be long or flowery.
  • Be specific . Do not just say “to my parents.” Instead, try something like “to my parents, who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.”
  • Make it personal . You can share a story or anecdote about the person you are honoring.
  • Avoid clichéd phrases . Instead of saying “thank you for everything,” try to be more original.

In conclusion, a dedication is a great way to show your appreciation for someone who has made a difference in your life. By following the tips above, you can easily write a dedication that is both personal and meaningful.


Author: tutlance

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dedication of thesis to family

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DEDICATION. I dedicate my dissertation work to my family and many friends. A special

  • Blaze Harris
  • 7 years ago

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