Preface of a thesis

Preface of a thesis

In the preface we inform the reader about the experiences concerning the writing of the three-year or master’s thesis. You can also use the preface to prepare the reader and thank the people who helped you write your paper.

The preface is one of those parts of the thesis to be written only once the work is finished. This section has a strong personal connotation and is written mainly first person (singular or plural).

Parts of the preface

The following points can be included in a preface:

  • Your training (in short)
  • Your personal experiences or circumstances that prompted you to discuss the topic of the thesis (in short)
  • To whom your thesis is addressed
  • The division of labor (when the thesis was written by several people)
  • Thanks to people and institutions that helped you write and check your paper
  • The preface ends with your name, place and date of writing.

Difference between preface and thanks

Thanks are often included in the preface. Thank those who helped you and supported you in writing your three-year or master’s thesis. Write the thanks in separate sections in case you need extra space to thank all the people. This is particularly useful in doctoral theses, since the drafting of the paper takes time and often more people are involved.

We recommend writing only a preface, rather than adding a section for thanks.

  • Preface checklist
  • The preface is four or five paragraphs long.
  • You should thank only the people who actually helped in writing the thesis.
  • Thanks go in order of importance. Those who have contributed the most must be mentioned first.
  • Both names and surnames are used.
  • The preface is personal but must be written in a professional manner.
  • The preface ends with its name, place and date of writing.