Foreword thesis

Explanations, tips and examples

The substantive chapters of your thesis are always preceded by a foreword. In this chapter, you address the reader personally. Here, you can thank people who helped you with your thesis, perhaps share something about the choice of your thesis topic or talk about your experience writing your thesis. Are you curious about what a preface should contain and what a good preface for your thesis looks like? Then keep reading!

What does the preface of your thesis say?

The preface of your thesis is intended to prepare the reader for the content of the thesis. The preface usually contains the following information:

  • An introduction of the thesis topic in a few sentences;

  • Information about your personal background (your studies, interests, any internship and any personal experiences that have sparked your interest in this subject);

  • Your experiences while writing the thesis;

  • Thank the people or organisations that helped you write your thesis (e.g. your thesis supervisor, a fellow student or a family member who gave you the necessary mental support).

What else should you look out for?

For your thesis, you have to use an academic writing style. This includes impersonal writing. In the thesis itself, you do not use 'I' or 'we,' and you do not address the reader directly. In your foreword, however, you can. This chapter is more personal (of course, it is still written using a professional writing style). Therefore, it is appropriate to write 'I' and address the reader with words like 'you' or 'us'. 

The preface is always at most one A4. Assume about four to five paragraphs, each a few lines long. 

At the end of the foreword, put your first and last name, the place name and the date you wrote this foreword. By the way, it is customary to write the foreword of your thesis only at the very end of the process. This is when you will be able to best articulate your experience with the entire writing process. 

Foreword vs. thanks

Usually, the thanks is part of the preface in your thesis. A separate thank-you note is then not necessary. In dissertations, however, you often see a separate thank-you note. This has to do with the fact that you work longer on a thesis, that there are more people involved, and that you therefore often have more people to thank.

Example of a preface?

Are you curious to know how other students tackled their preface? Then, download some thesis examples from your academic field. These will give you a better idea of what the foreword in a thesis like yours might look like.