I would of course use Prof. and Dr. in front of the names of committee members and other professors who I call by Prof. and Dr. in real life. But what about your “peers” who have doctorates?

For example, in the first paragraph I thank my advisor, Prof. John Smith.... then in the next paragraph I mention specific people who helped me including Dr. Wang (a mentor at a different school) and Johny McLovin (who now has a PhD but worked with me as a grad student in the same lab). Then in the next paragraph I thank my friends and most of them have doctorates also but I’d just put their first names only. It kind of makes sense to me but the inconsistency bothers me. Most importantly, would it be rude to do this? Because in the same sentence I am referring to someone as a doctor and the other as not when both have doctorates purely based on my personal relationship.

On the other hand, I have read an acknowledgment that included titles in front of every single name (including Mr. and Ms.) and it bothered me a lot.

And no, I cannot just leave out the titles altogether because it’s something not culturally acceptable at my institution.

I have seen similar questions here before but none of them were directly applicable to my situation.

  • If you wanted to be a little sillier, you could say "I thank my friends, the now-Drs. Leslie and Bob" Apr 29, 2021 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


I'd suggest that if a person has a doctorate that you should give the title, even if they are your friends. It honors their achievement.

Your dissertation will be read by others, possibly many others if it is published.

  • Use their professional titles if they helped you professionally during your dissertation.
  • Use first names of friends if they supported you along the way, but did not contribute to your academic achievement.
  • A helpful way to draw the division: If one of your friends was an accountant (or any other professional degree unrelated to your degree program), you would not write "CPA" after their name. For the same reason, there is no need to write a professional title for your friends (who may have titles in your field) if their role was helping you as a friend.
  • 2
    I feel like there's a bit of giddiness and excitement around the earning of a PhD; while there's no need for strict title assignment in an acknowledgement like this, I think it's both fun and respectful to include titles for those "fellow new doctors", even if they were "merely" supportive as friends, not out of any obligation but out of genuine pride and shared excitement.
    – Bryan Krause
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:41

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