About a year ago, I finished my Master's thesis, which was supervised by one professor from my university, and two people from a different university. One of the two is a professor, but he was not involved much in the daily supervision. When finishing up my thesis and presentation, times were quite hectic, and only now I realised I may have never thanked the professor from the other university as he was not present at my presentation. I did approach him for a reference letter later, and thanked him for that when letting him know I got the job.

Now I feel quite rude, but I am not sure if I should do anything. Mostly, I am afraid of it being awkward if I bring this up after a year. Am I overreacting? What would you recommend?


Emilie's options are good, but I don't think the principle of excluded middle is quite given here. If you can contrive it:

  1. Find a reason to thank the professor again for their supervision. Rather than drawing attention to a possible slight that the prof might not have noticed in the first place, use a different occasion, such as updating the prof on your current progress: "Hi Prof X, after completing my master's last year I moved on to ABC where I am now working on XYZ, where your advice to ... has really helped me with ... . I wanted to thank you again for your wonderful supervision!"

The best thank you letters are always the ones that are specific about what concrete aspects you really appreciate.

  • You're right, there's an interesting in-between option here! – Emilie Jun 21 '18 at 17:05

There are only two possible options here.

  1. Do nothing. Most probably, the professor never realized that you did not thank him for his supervision. He provided what was probably a good reference letter and you already thanked him after getting a job, so I suspect he does not have a bad opinion of you.

  2. Clear up your mind by sending a polite email stating that you just realized you might not have thanked him for his participation in your master project. I do not think this would be awkward. I think any supervisor would be happy to receive such a message.

Both options are good.

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