I want to make a little practical joke in the dedication of my master thesis. It's nothing extraordinary, and it's harmless, but it is all but formal.

I searched around and found this answer that states, as I already thought, that the acknowledgements section is not so formal and I can write it the way I want, but in terms of the dedication, it doesn't state anything.

Will the academia receive it well if I make this little practical joke in the dedication page, or should I write something a little more formal?

  • 3
    This is a question for your advisor. The answer can differ greatly in time and place. In some places it might be seen as very rude, in others, no problem. Ask.
    – Buffy
    Sep 28, 2018 at 16:20
  • I see. I will ask my advisor what is her opinion in this matter. Thank you very much!
    – undisp
    Sep 28, 2018 at 16:33
  • I second @Buffy. I'd like to add that some restrictions may appear not obvious to the candidate himself, but pretty transparent or familiar to the advisor. For example, I was once strongly discouraged to use a certain (more "modern") LaTeX template in my PhD thesis. Don't ask me why, I've changed universities since and I am pretty sure it'd be Ok in my new place. Sep 28, 2018 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


You could wander to your department library and check the dedication page of several master's theses to see what other students have done.

In my case the department keeps a copy of every MSc and PhD thesis ever produced by students in the department, and they are available in the department library. I looked at a couple dozen. Most of them had some happy little thing like a line of poetry or something. A student who finished during my course work put the following on his dedication page.

One and One make Three

That's because he and his wife had a child during his grad work. On my PhD thesis dedication page I first gave a gushy thanks to my supervisor. Then I included a quote from Yoda, and a quote from a song by the music group Queen.

I think as long as it's generally not nasty it will be OK.

You can also get some general ideas about format, writing style, citations, etc. Maybe the people who did the binding will have left little notes in the cover so you can find out where to get that done.

And, hey, the content might even be interesting.

  • This is probably fine in some places, like most places in the US, but others are very formal. If you find lighthearted stuff then you are likely ok. But if you don't...? So, don't make assumptions. Ask for guidance. Even in a permissive place, an individual advisor might object.
    – Buffy
    Sep 28, 2018 at 18:24
  • (Unfortunately) I think @Buffy is right on this one. I would like to think that every jury is as permissive as one can be and wouldn't mind about a little practical joke on a personal section like the dedication page, but it isn't always that way. Even though I don't think that there will be any problem with what I want to do, I will ask the opinion of my advisor, just to make sure.
    – undisp
    Sep 28, 2018 at 19:07
  • 1
    Upvote for looking at predecessors. I did exactly that in my MSc thesis and have even nailed some things that appeared natural to me then, but were quite field-dependent in the hindsight. Sep 28, 2018 at 20:34
  • Wow, Buffy and undisp. I'm sorry you understood "look at previous work" to be "do what I did and don't pay the least attention to what you find in your department's library." Good thing I didn't tell the story about "if you get this far I owe you a beer."
    – user94256
    Sep 28, 2018 at 20:42

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