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A Step-by-step Manual on How to Write Dissertation Acknowledgements

Though it contains no technical or statistical data on your chosen topic, the dissertation acknowledgement page is one of the most important parts of your dissertation. Regardless of the topic and content of your paper, it is vital to acknowledge and thank each major contributor to the successful completion of your research. This can seem a somewhat daunting task since leaving out any one person can be deemed as a snub or insult; so here provided is a step-by-step manual on completing your acknowledgement page.

Generally, the acknowledgement page can be divided into three sections that will provide a thorough review of all those who contributed to the finished product that is your dissertation. The three sections are as follows:

  • Reflection
  • Thanks
  • Dedication


Most doctoral students are given approximately a six month period to complete their research, data analysis and dissertation. In that time period, it is most probable that many challenges were encountered. For most students, writing a dissertation is unlike anything they have ever written before, vastly unlike essay writing. Therefore, the reflection section of your acknowledgement page is the perfect place to explain the challenges that were faced. You will want to include the answers to these questions:

  • What challenges did you face?
  • How did you overcome them?
  • What did you learn during the process?

This section can be used to explain your difficulties gaining access to perform your research, how you learned a new skill or how to use a new software and any financial difficulties you may have overcome. Then, you can explore what you have learned during the process from overcoming your challenges.


Now that you have explained your challenges, you provide a platform to acknowledge and thank those who helped you overcome them. An easy way to organize this section is to:

  • Create a list of people and
  • organizations who helped
  • Explain how they helped
  • Decide what order to thank them
  • Decide how to express thanks

As a rule, you should thank your professor or supervisor that will be grading your dissertation. Then you should thank by full name and title each person and organization that acted as a major contributor. Be sure to include how each person was of help, and leave no one out.


Lastly, if there is anyone you would like to dedicate your dissertation to, this is the paragraph to do it. It is also possible to have a dedication page and leave this paragraph out.

The major contributors to your work will be grateful for your acknowledgement of their help. It is a good rule of thumb to always thank those who have helped you in a sincere fashion.

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