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How Long is a Thesis or Dissertation: College, Grad or PhD
How long is a thesis
As a graduate student, you may have heard that you must complete a certain comprehensive project, either a thesis or a dissertation. In this guide, we will explore how long a thesis should be, the best length for a dissertation, and the optimal length for each part of the two.
If you read on to the end, we will also explore their differences to understand how it informs each length.
Both terms have distinct meanings, although they are sometimes used interchangeably and frequently confused.
Structure-wise, both papers have an introduction, a literature review, a body, a conclusion, a bibliography, and an appendix. That aside, both papers have some differences, as we shall see later on in this article.
How Long Should a Thesis be
Before discussing how long a thesis is, it’s critical to understand what it is. A thesis is a paper that marks the end of a study program.
Mostly, there is the undergraduate thesis, a project that marks the end of a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s thesis that marks the end of a master’s program.
A thesis should be around 50 pages long for a bachelor’s degree and 60-100 pages for a Master’s degree. However, the optimal length of a thesis project depends on the faculty’s instructions and the supervising professor’s expectations . The length also depends on the topic’s technicalities and the extent of research done.
A master’s thesis project is longer because it is a compilation of all your knowledge obtained in your master’s degree.
It basically allows you to demonstrate your abilities in your chosen field.
Often, graduate schools require students pursuing research-oriented degrees to write a thesis.
This is to demonstrate their practical skills before completing their degrees.
In contrast to undergraduate thesis, which are shorter in length and coverage area, usually less than 60 pages. A master’s theses are lengthy scholarly work allowing you to research a topic deeply.
Then you are required to write, expand the topic, and demonstrate what you have learned throughout the program. This is part of why you must write a thesis for some undergrad in some of the courses.
A Master’s thesis necessitates a large amount of research, which may include conducting interviews, surveys, and gathering information ( both primary and secondary) depending on the subject and field of study.
For this reason, the master’s thesis has between 60 and 100 pages, without including the bibliography. Mostly, the topic and research approach determine the length of the paper.
This means that there is no definite number of pages required. However, your thesis should be long enough to clearly and concisely present all important information.
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How long should a dissertation be.
A dissertation is a complex, in-depth research paper usually written by Ph.D. students. When writing the dissertation, Ph.D. Students are required to create their research, formulate a hypothesis, and conduct the study.
On average, a dissertation should be at least 90 pages at the minimum and 200 pages at the maximum , depending on the guidelines of the faculty and the professor. The optimal length for a dissertation also depends on the depth of the research done, the components of the file, and the level of study.
Most Ph.D. dissertations papers are between 120 to 200 pages on average.
However, as we said earlier, it all depends on factors like the field of study, and methods of data collection, among others.
Unlike a master’s thesis, which is about 100 pages, a dissertation is at least twice this length.
This is because you must develop a completely new concept, study it, research it, and defend it.
In your Ph.D. program, a dissertation allows you the opportunity to bring new knowledge, theories, or practices to your field of study.
The Lengths of Each Part of a Thesis and Dissertation
Factors determining the length of thesis or dissertation.
As we have seen, there is no definite length of a thesis and dissertation. Most of these two important academic documents average 100 to 400 pages. However, several factors determine their length.
Universities- we all know universities are independent bodies. Also, it’s important to know that each university is different from the other. As a result, the thesis and dissertation length varies depending on the set rules in a certain college or school.
Field of study- some fields of study have rich information, while others have limited information.
For example, you may have much to write about or discover when it comes to science compared to history.
As such, if you are to write a thesis or a dissertation in both fields, one will definitely be longer than the other. Check the time it takes to write a thesis or a dissertation to get more points.
Other factors that affect the length of a thesis or a dissertation include your writing style and the instructor’s specifications. These factors also come into play when it comes to the time taken to defend a thesis or your dissertation.
Tips for the Optimal Length for a Thesis or Dissertation
Instead of writing for length, write for brevity. The goal is to write the smallest feasible document with all of the material needed to describe the study and back up the interpretation. Ensure to avoid irrelevant tangents and excessive repetitions at all costs.
The only repetition required is the main theme. The working hypothesis seeks to be elaborated and proved in your paper.
The theme is developed in the introduction, expanded in the body, and mentioned in the abstract and conclusion.
Here are some tips for writing the right length of thesis and dissertation:
- Remove any interpretation portion which is only tangentially linked to your new findings.
- Use tables to keep track of information that is repeated.
- Include enough background information for the reader to understand the point of view.
- Make good use of figure captions.
- Let the table stand on its own. I.e., do not describe the contents of the figures and/or tables one by one in the text. Instead, highlight the most important patterns, objects, or trends in the figures and tables in the text.
- Leave out any observations or results in the text that you haven’t provided data.
- Do not include conclusions that aren’t backed up by your findings.
- Remove all inconclusive interpretation and discussion portions.
- Avoid unnecessary adjectives, prepositional phrases, and adverbs.
- Make your sentences shorter – avoid nesting clauses or phrases.
- Avoid idioms and instead use words whose meaning can be looked up in a dictionary.
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Difference between a Thesis and a Dissertation
The most basic distinction between a thesis and a dissertation is when they are written.
While a thesis is a project completed after a master’s program, a dissertation is completed at the end of doctorate studies.
In a thesis, you present the results of your research to demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of what you have studied during your master’s program.
On the other hand, a dissertation is your chance to add new knowledge, theories, or practices to your field while pursuing a doctorate. The goal here is to come up with a completely new concept, develop it, and defend it.
A master’s thesis is similar to the types of research papers you’re used to writing in your bachelor’s studies. It involves conducting research on a topic, analyzing it, and then commenting on your findings and how it applies to your research topic.
The thesis aims to demonstrate your capacity to think critically about and explain a topic in depth.
Furthermore, with a thesis, you typically use this time to elaborate on a topic that is most relevant to your professional area of specialization that you intend to pursue.
In a dissertation, on the other hand, you use other people’s research as an inspiration to help you come up with and prove your own hypothesis, idea, or concept. The majority of the data in a dissertation is credited to you.
Last but not least, these two major works differ greatly in length. The average length of a master’s thesis is at least 100 pages.
On the other hand, a doctoral dissertation should be substantially longer because it includes a lot of history and research information, as well as every element of your research, while explaining how you arrived at the information.
It is a complex piece of scholarly work, and it is likely to be twice or thrice the length of a thesis. To know the difference, check the best length for a thesis paper and see more about it.
Here is a Recap of the Differences
- While the thesis is completed at the end of your master’s degree program, a dissertation is written at the end of your doctoral degree program.
- Both documents also vary in length. A thesis should have at least 100 pages, while a doctoral dissertation is longer (over 200 pages)
- In the thesis, you conduct original research; in the dissertation, you use existing research to help you develop your discovery.
- For a thesis, you have to add analysis to the existing work, while a dissertation is part of the analysis of the existing work.
- In comparison to a thesis, a dissertation requires a more thorough study to expand your research in a certain topic.
- The statements in a thesis and a dissertation are distinct. While a thesis statement explains to readers how you will prove an argument in your research, a dissertation hypothesis defines and clarifies the outcomes you expect from your study. Here, you apply a theory to explore a certain topic.
- A dissertation allows you to contribute new knowledge to your field of study, while a thesis makes sure you understand what you have studied in your program and how it applies.
A thesis or a dissertation is a difficult document to compile. However, you should not be worried since your school assigns you a dissertation advisor who is a faculty member.
These advisors or supervisors help you find resources and ensure that your proposal is on the right track when you get stuck.
Check out my guide on the differences between a research paper, proposal, and thesis to understand more about these issues.
Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.
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Frequently asked questions
How long is a dissertation.
Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:
- An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
- A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
- A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words
However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.
Frequently asked questions: Dissertation
A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.
It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.
Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.
A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.
Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:
- Plan to attend graduate school soon
- Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
- Are considering a career in research
- Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience
The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:
- A restatement of your research question
- A summary of your key arguments and/or results
- A short discussion of the implications of your research
The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.
For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:
- Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
- Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
- Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)
Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.
While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.
All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.
A theoretical framework can sometimes be integrated into a literature review chapter , but it can also be included as its own chapter or section in your dissertation . As a rule of thumb, if your research involves dealing with a lot of complex theories, it’s a good idea to include a separate theoretical framework chapter.
A literature review and a theoretical framework are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work, a literature review critically evaluates existing research relating to your topic. You’ll likely need both in your dissertation .
While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work based on existing research, a conceptual framework allows you to draw your own conclusions, mapping out the variables you may use in your study and the interplay between them.
A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.
Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:
- Your anticipated title
- Your abstract
- Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)
When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .
In most styles, the title page is used purely to provide information and doesn’t include any images. Ask your supervisor if you are allowed to include an image on the title page before doing so. If you do decide to include one, make sure to check whether you need permission from the creator of the image.
Include a note directly beneath the image acknowledging where it comes from, beginning with the word “ Note .” (italicized and followed by a period). Include a citation and copyright attribution . Don’t title, number, or label the image as a figure , since it doesn’t appear in your main text.
Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.
However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.
A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organized by page number.
The title page of your thesis or dissertation goes first, before all other content or lists that you may choose to include.
The title page of your thesis or dissertation should include your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date.
Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.
A glossary or “glossary of terms” is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.
A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.
An abbreviation is a shortened version of an existing word, such as Dr. for Doctor. In contrast, an acronym uses the first letter of each word to create a wholly new word, such as UNESCO (an acronym for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
As a rule of thumb, write the explanation in full the first time you use an acronym or abbreviation. You can then proceed with the shortened version. However, if the abbreviation is very common (like PC, USA, or DNA), then you can use the abbreviated version from the get-go.
Be sure to add each abbreviation in your list of abbreviations !
If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .
If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.
A list of abbreviations is a list of all the abbreviations that you used in your thesis or dissertation. It should appear at the beginning of your document, with items in alphabetical order, just after your table of contents .
Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.
Lists of figures and tables are often not required, and aren’t particularly common. They specifically aren’t required for APA-Style, though you should be careful to follow their other guidelines for figures and tables .
If you have many figures and tables in your thesis or dissertation, include one may help you stay organized. Your educational institution may require them, so be sure to check their guidelines.
A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found.
The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .
You may acknowledge God in your dissertation acknowledgements , but be sure to follow academic convention by also thanking the members of academia, as well as family, colleagues, and friends who helped you.
A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .
An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a paper .
In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.
The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.
In the discussion , you explore the meaning and relevance of your research results , explaining how they fit with existing research and theory. Discuss:
- Your interpretations : what do the results tell us?
- The implications : why do the results matter?
- The limitation s : what can’t the results tell us?
The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.
In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.
Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.
The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.
In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:
- The type of analysis used
- Relevant results in the form of descriptive and inferential statistics
- Whether or not the alternative hypothesis was supported
In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:
- Recurring patterns
- Significant or representative individual responses
- Relevant quotations from the data
Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.
To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Apply heading styles throughout the document.
- In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
- Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
- Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.
Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.
All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.
The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .
Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.
The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.
In a thesis or dissertation, the acknowledgements should usually be no longer than one page. There is no minimum length.
The acknowledgements are generally included at the very beginning of your thesis , directly after the title page and before the abstract .
Yes, it’s important to thank your supervisor(s) in the acknowledgements section of your thesis or dissertation .
Even if you feel your supervisor did not contribute greatly to the final product, you must acknowledge them, if only for a very brief thank you. If you do not include your supervisor, it may be seen as a snub.
In the acknowledgements of your thesis or dissertation, you should first thank those who helped you academically or professionally, such as your supervisor, funders, and other academics.
Then you can include personal thanks to friends, family members, or anyone else who supported you during the process.
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How Long Is a Dissertation?
Published by steve tippins on april 9, 2019 april 9, 2019.
Last Updated on: 30th August 2022, 04:40 am
How long is a dissertation? This is a question that almost every doctoral student asks at some point. It is not a new question–in fact, it’s been asked every time a paper of some sort is assigned in any class.
The simple answer (for any paper) is, “long enough to answer the question.” Not a really helpful answer, but satisfying from a professor’s perspective.
The truth is, there is no one answer to how long a dissertation is. I can’t say 146 pages is what’s needed, as you may write to page 146 and stop without fully exploring your topic. 90 pages could adequately address your research question, or you could write 200 pages and still not fully answer what you set out to. Every topic is unique, as is each person’s writing style.
Some websites even give specific answers that are simply inaccurate. In my experience, dissertations vary too much to be pinned down like that.
However, there are some practical suggestions I can make about how long your dissertation should be, how to adequately address the requirements of each section, as well as how to expand or reduce the length of specific chapters according to your needs. I’ll explore these below.
But first, let’s try and at least give the beginning of an answer to the question “how long is a dissertation?”
Marcus Beck Sets Out to Answer “How Long Is A Dissertation?”
Any discussion of dissertation length must include the work done by Marcus Beck . As a way to distract himself from his own dissertation writing, Beck calculated the average length of dissertations in the University of Minnesota database.
You can see from looking at his data that average length varies by discipline. So the first answer to how long a dissertation is, is that it depends upon what area you are writing your dissertation. It appears that a dissertation in History will be much longer, on average, than one in Chemistry. He also calculated the average across all disciplines.
Don’t be intimidated by how long the average dissertation is.
Many people look at the average length of a dissertation and get intimidated by the high page count. But, as Marcus Beck says in his blog post, “The actual written portion may only account for less than 50% of the page length.”
I’ve found this to be true. References, appendixes, tables and figures, page breaks, and white space all contribute to the high page count. The actual number of words you need to write is likely considerably less than the page count initially implies.
How Long Should My Dissertation Be?
Even though there’s no single answer about how long a dissertation should be, there probably is an ideal range which your dissertation falls into. This depends on your topic of research, but also on other factors. I’ll discuss some of these below.
I know of schools that have policies such as “Chapter 2 must be at least 40 pages long and no more than 60 pages.” Why this type of requirement? In my mind, there are two reasons.
First, they want to give some sort of guideline for students that is helpful but does not overburden faculty (a 230-page lit review is daunting to read).
Second, credibility is important. An 8-page lit review does not reflect well upon the student or the institution.
Most schools now have a dissertation template with the headings that are needed for most sections. If you take the time to completely fill in the headings with all of the relevant information, you should come up with an adequate number of pages. Remember, in academic writing, we don’t leave much to chance, we tell the reader everything.
It is likely that you will get a committee member who will give you priceless advice such as, “more is needed here.” When you get this type of comment it can be frustrating as specific feedback can be much more helpful.
Usually, what a committee member means by comments like this is that you haven’t really convinced the reader that you have fully explored the area or demonstrated a strong understanding of the material. So, expand what you are saying. Don’t imply anything, state it directly. This lets your committee know that you really do get it.
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Sometimes you will get committee members giving contradictory advice. One member may want more information and another may want less. My first piece of advice is to negotiate these types of requests through your Chairperson.
This is where your Chair’s experience and guidance can be very helpful. Second, if a member really wants material included but others do not think it is very helpful, then adding the material in an appendix may make everyone happy.
Practical Suggestions For Dissertation Length, Chapter-By-Chapter
If you adequately and succinctly address each required section, you should end up with the right length for each chapter (and therefore, a dissertation of the right length). I’ll also give some rough guidelines on average page length where appropriate.
This is the introduction to your study. It is important to lay out the agenda for your research. Be sure that your problem statement, title, and research questions are in alignment (all referring to the same idea).
Chapter 1 tends to average in the 15-25 page range. If you get beyond 25 pages, you are usually including material that is better presented elsewhere in the dissertation.
Chapter 2 should thoroughly explore the existing research on your topic. However, it shouldn’t go on and on.
- If you are looking to beef up Chapter 2, it is always helpful to add research that supports the methodology that you are planning to use.
- If the chapter is too long, try to reduce the references you cite to those that are the most relevant and recent.
Make sure that you tell the reader what you did and how you did it. What type of analysis did you use and why? How many respondents were involved and how did you find them? The idea is to make sure that readers understand what you did and could replicate it if they want to.
As this is a plan for your research, it seems to naturally fall in the 15 to 20 page range.
The results of your study are presented here. Include all material that will help the reader understand what you found. There is a tendency to inundate the reader with tables, charts, and graphs. If they don’t directly relate to what you found or are redundant they can be included in an appendix. You don’t want to lose your reader in an avalanche of tables and numbers.
In most dissertations, it is Chapter 5 where you get to explain what the results of your research mean and the implications. This is the only chapter where you have some freedom to really express your opinions. Go ahead and do so.
I am always surprised when someone has spent 15 months of their life working on a research topic and they submit a Chapter 5 that is 8 pages long. Spread your wings and really explore what your results mean.
How Long is a Dissertation? Summary
The is no doubt about it, a dissertation is a long document. It is, however, not written in one sitting. You work on it for many months, crafting paragraphs and coming to conclusions. Many people find that because the document can be written in pieces that when it’s all put together, it is longer than expected. Keep writing and adding your thoughts and you will make it.
Many students find it helps to have a supportive guide who’s both been through the dissertation writing process before and is experienced in helping students. If that would be useful to you, feel free to reach out to me about my dissertation coaching or dissertation editing services.
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Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins
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How Long Is a Dissertation? Here’s the Average Length
How long is a dissertation? This is a question that you’re likely to ask if you’ve just enrolled for a doctoral program. But, this question is not new because other students have asked it too. Perhaps, the simplest answer to this question is that a dissertation should be sufficiently long to answer the stated question satisfactorily.
How Long Is a Dissertation?
There is no single answer to the question of a doctoral dissertation length. But most dissertations are on average 100-200 pages long. Somebody can say it should be 146 pages while somebody else can say 90 pages. Another person can say it should be 200 pages. Essentially, the length of this important academic document should depend on the topic, writing style, and goals of the writer.
Universities require students to write dissertations when pursuing masters and PhD degree programs. This paper forms an invaluable part of these academic programs in reputable learning institutions. As such, most undergraduate students are worried about the length of this document because it forms an important aspect of their academic life.
There are generally practical suggestions about how long should a dissertation be. For instance, the areas that your dissertation project focuses on should influence its length. For instance, a dissertation on a history topic will most likely be longer than an average dissertation on a chemistry topic. That means your academic discipline will influence the length of your dissertation.
How Long Is a PhD Dissertation?
Most academicians say that a PhD dissertation length should not exceed 80, 000 words . Thus, your text should be near this length. This word count includes the appendices while excluding references, footnotes, and bibliography. The footnotes of a dissertation shouldn’t exceed 20% of the text.
Students are discouraged from including discursive footnotes. What’s more, they should not use footnotes to include materials that should be in their main text. Doing so would circumvent the average length of the dissertation.
The statistical tables of a dissertation are counted as around 150 words each . But, the Degree Committee can allow learners to exceed the limits after application and under exceptional situations. Therefore, students should apply for this exception early before the date they propose to submit their thesis. The Graduate Committee evaluates the application and decides whether to allow the student to alter the average dissertation length.
The committee considers the dissertation proposal, as well as, a signed statement attesting to their proposed dissertation length. If they don’t and their dissertation exceeds the average length, it will be referred back for revision before it is forwarded to the institution’s examiners.
Average Dissertation Length
Many factors should generally be considered when answering the question of how long is a PhD dissertation. However, students should limit their writing between 80,000 and 100,000 words . On average, this document should have around 204 pages. But, the average length of a PhD thesis also depends on the university and the specific subject.
Essentially, a university can set the requirements of a dissertation, including the length. Nevertheless, most institutions opt for around 100,000 words. Research has shown that STEM dissertations have a medium length of 159 pages. Non-STEM dissertations, on the other hand, have a medium length of about 223 pages. Thus, there is a significant difference in length between STEM and non-STEM dissertations.
How Long Is a Dissertation Chapter?
Another question that might be lingering in your mind is how long is a dissertation chapter? Well, this varies because each chapter is a separate section that should address something specific. If you include the right information succinctly and adequately, your final write-up should have the right length. So, how long is a doctoral dissertation in every section? Here is a rough estimate.
This section of a dissertation should tell readers why the topic is important. It should also mention relevant facts about the topic. Essentially, the introduction should tell readers why you have chosen the topic or issue and what makes it relevant. On average, the introduction should be between 10 and 15 pages . This is a perfect size because it allows you to mention everything concisely. Focus on intriguing the audience without disclosing or revealing anything in detail. Thus, your dissertation introduction should be more of a teaser.
This is the section where you analyze relevant sources that you have chosen for your paper. It should include only sources that can be used to write the dissertation. In this section, you analyze and point out the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen sources. The literature review should be between 20 and 25 pages long.
The length of this part of a dissertation ranges from 10 to 15 pages . It focuses on the methods used to conduct the research. Here, you discuss the specific method and data-selection processes used. This section also includes ways of contacting the sample population, as well as, the gathered data. What’s more, the encountered challenges can be included.
This section of a dissertation should not exceed 10 pages . It features the list and clarification of the obtained findings. Research findings are mentioned alongside the hypotheses explicitly. For instance, you should state whether they were refuted or confirmed. This section should also include a conclusion for everything done as far as your investigation is concerned.
This is also called the discussion section. Its length should range between 15 and 20 pages . This is the section where you explain the implications of your research. Provide a current and bigger perspective regarding your research. What’s more, diversify the current evidence base regarding the topic. Also, provide recommendations while acknowledging limitations in this section.
So, how long is a dissertation chapter? Well, it boils down to factors of the topic, learning institution, and goals of the study. Each section varies in length based on the nature of the research conducted and gathered data.
But, exactly how long does a dissertation have to be? There is no clear answer to this question. However, psychology, history, communication, nursing, and management dissertation can be up to 300 pages long. Education, Environmental Health, and Political Science dissertations can be around 100 pages. Overall, this length is influenced by the nature of the conducted research and the data that must be included in the document.
How Long Should a Dissertation Proposal Be?
You’re no longer asking how long is a dissertation word count because this question has been answered. But, you probably want to know the length of its proposal. Well, there is no specific length for this document. However, it should be considered as a long, formal treatise.
Well, most faculties recommend between 15 and 20 pages . However, the length of a proposal should depend on factors like the problem to be pursued, reasons to address the problem, where the answers will come from, and why you will go for certain sources.
This document proposes the work to be done. The focus of this text should be on convincing the thesis committee of your faculty that you have a research question that’s worth pursuing. Thus, you must present a convincing document for your faculty to allow you to proceed with the dissertation writing project. So, how long should it be?
How Long Should a Dissertation Abstract Be?
Lastly, you may want to know how long the abstract section of your dissertation should be. This is a separate page of the entire document. It is a summary of the dissertation. It reports the outcomes and aims of the research. Essentially, readers should know what your document is all about by reading the abstract. As such, this section should be written at the end. It should state the research objectives, problem, methods, key results, and the conclusion.
The dissertation abstract length ranges between 150 and 300 words . But just like with the main sections of a dissertation, there is a strict limit on the number of words that can be included. Therefore, check with the journal or university for which you are writing the dissertation.
Dissertation Length Consulting: Expert Guidance
When it comes to the length of your dissertation, our dissertation consulting service is here to provide expert guidance. Wondering about the ideal length for your dissertation? Look no further! Our experienced team offers personalized assistance to help you navigate this aspect of your research. With our dissertation consulting services, you can ensure that your dissertation meets the required length while maintaining its academic rigor. Contact us today for valuable insights and support throughout your dissertation journey.
The Bottom Line
There is no specific number of words or pages that determine the length of any dissertation. Therefore, check with your university, faculty, or journal to know the specific requirements for your dissertation in terms of length.
after completing the dissertation. However, you should have a rough draft or use the proposal’s introduction as a template because it has most of the elements that you need.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
How long is a dissertation should be.
The dissertation length, on average, is between 100 to 200 pages long. Nevertheless, a dissertation can be 146 pages or 96 pages long. The length depends on the goals of the writer, topic, and writing style.
What is the average length of the dissertation?
The length of the dissertations is from 100 to 200 pages. On average the dissertation should be at least 80 000 words . However, this depends on the scope, expertise, and knowledge in the field of study. Longer dissertation papers have more words with a relatively higher number of pages.
How long does it take to write a dissertation?
Writing a dissertation will depend on several considerations. The subject of study, such as chemistry, may take longer because of the logistics involved. On the other hand, a simple sociology dissertation may take one month.
How long is a Ph.D. dissertation have to be?
Ph.D. dissertation length does not exceed more than 80 000 words . Therefore, your paper should be within these limits. Note that these words do not include references, footnotes, and bibliography.
Richard Ginger is a dissertation writer and freelance columnist with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the writing industry. He handles every project he works on with precision while keeping attention to details and ensuring that every work he does is unique.
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The length of introductions vary depending on your disciplinary area and the nature of your project so before writing one, it may be wise to discuss length and expectations of content with your supervisor. It is also worth taking a look at a range of past theses in your area to see what is expected in your field.
The introduction to the whole thesis can make up roughly 10 per cent of the total word count. So if you are doing a PhD of 80,000 - 100,000 words, you may have a 8,000 - 10,000 word introduction. And if you are writing a Masters thesis of 15,000 - 20,000 words, your introduction could be 1,500 - 2,000 words long. Exegeses tend to be anywhere between seven to 12 pages in length (1.5 cm spacing) and include images and/or diagrams.
Theses that generally have longer introductions do so because they incorporate more substantial background information and/or an extended literature review section.
Theses that have shorter introductions, say eight to ten pages (1.5 spacing) or about 4000 words for a PhD, do so in order to give a broad overview of the research project which is typically followed by a longer background or literature review chapter.
Regardless of the type of project you are doing or thesis you are writing, the introduction to the thesis or exegesis should give a broad overview of the project, as discussed in the page on introductions.
Individual chapters should also have introductions. An introduction to a chapter that is 10,000 words long could be about two to three pages long, whereas in shorter theses the chapter introductions may only be a page or two, or even just a paragraph or two. The length varies depending on how much you need to establish for your reader to understand how the chapter contributes to your research and argument.
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Word limits and requirements of your Degree Committee
Candidates should write as concisely as is possible, with clear and adequate exposition. Each Degree Committee has prescribed the limits of length and stylistic requirements as given below. On submission of the thesis you must include a statement of length confirming that it does not exceed the word limit for your Degree Committee.
These limits and requirements are strictly observed by the Postgraduate Committee and the Degree Committees and, unless approval to exceed the prescribed limit has been obtained beforehand (see: Extending the Word Limit below), a thesis that exceeds the limit may not be examined until its length complies with the prescribed limit.
Extending the Word Limit
Thesis word limits are set by Degree Committees. If candidates need to increase their word limits they will need to apply for permission.
Information on how to apply (via self-service account) is available on the ‘ Applying for a change in your student status’ page. If following your viva, you are required to make corrections to your thesis which will mean you need to increase your word-limit, you need to apply for permission in the same way.
Requirements of the Degree Committees
Archaeology and anthropology, architecture and history of art, asian and middle eastern studies, business and management, clinical medicine and clinical veterinary medicine, computer laboratory, earth sciences and geography, scott polar institute, engineering, history and philosophy of science, land economy, mathematics, modern and medieval languages and linguistics, physics and chemistry, politics and international studies, archaeology and social anthropology.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words (approx. 350 pages) for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MSc or MLitt degree. These limits include all text, figures, tables and photographs, but exclude the bibliography, cited references and appendices. More detailed specifications should be obtained from the Division concerned. Permission to exceed these limits will be granted only after a special application to the Degree Committee. The application must explain in detail the reasons why an extension is being sought and the nature of the additional material, and must be supported by a reasoned case from the supervisor containing a recommendation that a candidate should be allowed to exceed the word limit by a specified number of words. Such permission will be granted only under exceptional circumstances. If candidates need to apply for permission to exceed the word limit, they should do so in good time before the date on which a candidate proposes to submit the thesis, by application made to the Graduate Committee.
Students may choose between two alternative thesis formats for their work:
either in the form of a thesis of not more than 80,000 words in length for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MSc or MLitt degree. The limits include all text, in-text citations, figures, tables, captions and footnotes but exclude bibliography and appendices; or
in the form of a collection of at least three research articles for the PhD degree and two research articles for the MSc or MLitt degree, formatted as an integrated piece of research, with a table of contents, one or more chapters that outline the scope and provide an in-depth review of the subject of study, a concluding chapter discussing the findings and contribution to the field, and a consolidated bibliography. The articles may be in preparation, submitted for publication or already published, and the combined work should not exceed 80,000 words in length for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MSc or MLitt degree. The word limits include all text, in-text citations, figures, tables, captions, and footnotes but exclude bibliography and appendices containing supplementary information associated with the articles. More information on the inclusion of material published, in press or in preparation in a PhD thesis may be found in the Department’s PhD submission guidelines.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words for the PhD and 60,000 words for the MSc or MLitt degree. Footnotes, references and text within tables are to be counted within the word-limit, but captions, appendices and bibliographies are excluded. Appendices should be confined to such items as catalogues, original texts, translations of texts, transcriptions of interview, or tables.
History of Art:
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words for the PhD and 60,000 words for the MLitt degree. To include: footnotes, table of contents and list of illustrations, but excluding acknowledgements and the bibliography. Appendices (of no determined word length) may be permitted subject to the approval of the candidate's Supervisor (in consultation with the Degree Committee); for example, where a catalogue of works or the transcription of extensive primary source material is germane to the work. Permission to include such appendices must be requested from the candidate's Supervisor well in advance of the submission of the final thesis. NB: Permission for extensions to the word limit for most other purposes is likely to be refused.
The thesis is for the PhD degree not to exceed 80,000 words exclusive of footnotes, appendices and bibliography but subject to an overall word limit of 100,000 words exclusive of bibliography. For the MLitt degree not to exceed 60,000 words inclusive of footnotes but exclusive of bibliography and appendices.
The thesis for the PhD is not to exceed 60,000 words in length (80,000 by special permission), exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices. Double-spaced or one-and-a-half spaced. Single or double-sided printing.
The thesis for the MPhil in Biological Science is not to exceed 20,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices. Double-spaced or one-and-a-half spaced. Single or double-sided printing.
For the PhD Degree the thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words, EXCLUDING bibliography, but including tables, tables of contents, footnotes and appendices. It is normally expected to exceed 40,000 words unless prior permission is obtained from the Degree Committee. Each page of statistical tables, charts or diagrams shall be regarded as equivalent to a page of text of the same size. The Degree Committee do not consider applications to extend this word limit.
For the Doctor of Business (BusD) the thesis will be approximately 200 pages (a maximum length of 80,000 words, EXCLUDING bibliography, but including tables, tables of contents, footnotes and appendices).
For the MSc Degree the thesis is not to exceed 40,000 words, EXCLUDING bibliography, but including tables, tables of contents, footnotes and appendices.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words including footnotes, references, and appendices but excluding bibliography; a page of statistics shall be regarded as the equivalent of 150 words. Only under exceptional circumstances will permission be granted to exceed this limit. Candidates must submit with the thesis a signed statement giving the length of the thesis.
For the PhD degree, not to exceed 60,000 words (or 80,000 by special permission of the Degree Committee), and for the MSc degree, not to exceed 40,000 words. These limits exclude figures, photographs, tables, appendices and bibliography. Lines to be double or one-and-a-half spaced; pages to be double or single sided.
The thesis is not to exceed, without the prior permission of the Degree Committee, 60,000 words including tables, footnotes and equations, but excluding appendices, bibliography, photographs and diagrams. Any thesis which without prior permission of the Degree Committee exceeds the permitted limit will be referred back to the candidate before being forwarded to the examiners.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words for the PhD degree and the MLitt degree, including footnotes, references and appendices but excluding bibliography. Candidates must submit with the thesis a signed statement giving the length of the thesis. Only under exceptional circumstances will permission be granted to exceed this limit for the inclusion of an appendix of a substantial quantity of text which is necessary for the understanding of the thesis (e.g. texts in translation, transcription of extensive primary source material). Permission must be sought at least three months before submission of the thesis and be supported by a letter from the supervisor certifying that such exemption from the prescribed limit of length is absolutely necessary.
The thesis is not to exceed, without the prior permission of the Degree Committee, 80,000 words for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MSc or MLitt degree, including the summary/abstract. The table of contents, photographs, diagrams, figure captions, appendices, bibliography and acknowledgements to not count towards the word limit. Footnotes are not included in the word limit where they are a necessary part of the referencing system used.
The thesis is not to exceed, without the prior permission of the Degree Committee, 275 numbered pages of which not more than 225 pages are text, appendices, illustrations and bibliography. A page of text is A4 one-and-a-half-spaced normal size type. The additional 50 pages may comprise tables of data and/or computer programmes reduced in size.
If a candidate's work falls within the social sciences, candidates are expected to observe the limit described in the Department of Geography above; if, however, a candidate's work falls within the natural sciences, a candidate should observe the limit described in the Department of Earth Sciences.
Applications for the limit of length of the thesis to be exceeded must be early — certainly no later than the time when the application for the appointment of examiners and the approval of the title of the thesis is made. Any thesis which, without the prior permission of the Degree Committee, exceeds the permitted limit of length will be referred back to the candidate before being forwarded to the examiners.
The thesis is not to exceed, without the prior permission of the Degree Committee, 60,000 words including tables, footnotes, bibliography and appendices. The Degree Committee points out that some of the best thesis extend to only half this length. Each page of statistical tables, charts or diagrams shall be regarded as equivalent to a page of text of the same size.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words for the PhD and EdD degrees and 60,000 words for the MSc and MLitt degrees, in all cases excluding appendices, footnotes, reference list or bibliography. Only in the most exceptional circumstances will permission be given to exceed the stated limits. In such cases, you must make an application to the Degree Committee as early as possible -and no later than three months before it is proposed to submit the thesis, having regard to the dates of the Degree Committee meetings. Your application should (a) explain in detail the reasons why you are seeking the extension and (b) be accompanied by a full supporting statement from your supervisor showing that the extension is absolutely necessary in the interests of the total presentation of the subject.
For the PhD degree, not to exceed, without prior permission of the Degree Committee, 65,000 words, including appendices, footnotes, tables and equations not to contain more than 150 figures, but excluding the bibliography. A candidate must submit with their thesis a statement signed by the candidate themself giving the length of the thesis and the number of figures. Any thesis which, without the prior permission of the Degree Committee, exceeds the permitted limit will be referred back to the candidate before being forwarded to the examiners.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words or go below 60,000 words for the PhD degree and not to exceed 60,000 words or go below 45,000 words for the MLitt degree, both including all notes and appendices but excluding the bibliography. A candidate must add to the preface of the thesis the following signed statement: 'The thesis does not exceed the regulation length, including footnotes, references and appendices but excluding the bibliography.'
In exceptional cases (when, for example, a candidate's thesis largely consists of an edition of a text) the Degree Committee may grant permission to exceed these limits but in such instances (a) a candidate must apply to exceed the length at least three months before the date on which a candidate proposes to submit their thesis and (b) the application must be supported by a letter from a candidate's supervisor certifying that such exemption from the prescribed limit of length is absolutely necessary.
It is a requirement of the Degree Committee for the Faculty of English that thesis must conform to either the MHRA Style Book or the MLA Handbook for the Writers of Research papers, available from major bookshops. There is one proviso, however, to the use of these manuals: the Faculty does not normally recommend that students use the author/date form of citation and recommends that footnotes rather than endnotes be used. Bibliographies and references in thesis presented by candidates in ASNaC should conform with either of the above or to the practice specified in Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England.
Thesis presented by candidates in the Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics must follow as closely as possible the printed style of the journal Applied Linguistics and referencing and spelling conventions should be consistent.
A signed declaration of the style-sheet used (and the edition, if relevant) must be made in the preliminary pages of the thesis.
PhD theses MUST NOT exceed 80,000 words, and will normally be near that length.
A minimum word length exists for PhD theses: 70,000 words (50,000 for MLitt theses)
The word limit includes appendices and the contents page but excludes the abstract, acknowledgments, footnotes, references, notes on transliteration, bibliography, abbreviations and glossary. The Contents Page should be included in the word limit. Statistical tables should be counted as 150 words per table. Maps, illustrations and other pictorial images count as 0 words. Graphs, if they are the only representation of the data being presented, are to be counted as 150 words. However, if graphs are used as an illustration of statistical data that is also presented elsewhere within the thesis (as a table for instance), then the graphs count as 0 words.
Only under exceptional circumstances will permission be granted to exceed this limit. Applications for permission are made via CamSIS self-service pages. Applications must be made at least four months before the thesis is bound. Exceptions are granted when a compelling intellectual case is made.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MLitt degree, in all cases including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography. Permission to submit a thesis falling outside these limits, or to submit an appendix which does not count towards the word limit, must be obtained in advance from the Degree Committee.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MSc or MLitt degree, both including footnotes, references and appendices but excluding bibliographies. One A4 page consisting largely of statistics, symbols or figures shall be regarded as the equivalent of 250 words. A candidate must add to the preface of their thesis the following signed statement: 'This thesis does not exceed the regulation length, including footnotes, references and appendices.'
For the PhD degree the thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words (exclusive of footnotes, appendices and bibliography) but subject to an overall word limit of 100,000 words (exclusive of bibliography, table of contents and any other preliminary matter). Figures, tables, images etc should be counted as the equivalent of 200 words for each A4 page, or part of an A4 page, that they occupy. For the MLitt degree the thesis is not to exceed 60,000 words inclusive of footnotes but exclusive of bibliography, appendices, table of contents and any other preliminary matter. Figures, tables, images etc should be counted as the equivalent of 200 words for each A4 page, or part of an A4 page, that they occupy.
For the PhD degree submission of a thesis between 55,000 and 80,000 words (exclusive of footnotes, appendices and bibliography) but subject to an overall word limit of 100,000 words (exclusive of bibliography, table of contents and any other preliminary matter). Figures, tables, images etc should be counted as the equivalent of 200 words for each A4 page, or part of an A4 page, that they occupy. For the MLitt degree the thesis is not to exceed 60,000 words inclusive of footnotes but exclusive of bibliography, appendices, table of contents and any other preliminary matter. Figures, tables, images etc should be counted as the equivalent of 200 words for each A4 page, or part of an A4 page, that they occupy.
There is no standard format for the thesis in Mathematics. Candidates should discuss the format appropriate to their topic with their supervisor.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MLitt degree, including footnotes and appendices but excluding the abstract, any acknowledgements, contents page(s), abbreviations, notes on transliteration, figures, tables and bibliography. Brief labels accompanying illustrations, figures and tables are also excluded from the word count. The Degree Committee point out that some very successful doctoral theses have been submitted which extend to no more than three-quarters of the maximum permitted length.
In linguistics, where examples are cited in a language other than Modern English, only the examples themselves will be taken into account for the purposes of the word limit. Any English translations and associated linguistic glosses will be excluded from the word count.
In theses written under the aegis of any of the language sections, all sources in the language(s) of the primary area(s) of research of the thesis will normally be in the original language. An English translation should be provided only where reading the original language is likely to fall outside the expertise of the examiners. Where such an English translation is given it will not be included in the word count. In fields where the normal practice is to quote in English in the main text, candidates should follow that practice. If the original text needs to be supplied, it should be placed in a footnote. These fields include, but are not limited to, general linguistics and film and screen studies.
Since appendices are included in the word limit, in some fields it may be necessary to apply to exceed the limit in order to include primary data or other materials which should be available to the examiners. Only under the most exceptional circumstances will permission be granted to exceed the limit in other cases. In all cases (a) a candidate must apply to exceed the prescribed maximum length at least three months before the date on which a candidate proposes to submit their thesis and (b) the application must be accompanied by a full supporting statement from the candidate's supervisor showing that such exemption from the prescribed limit of length is absolutely necessary.
It is a requirement within all language sections of MMLL, and also for Film, that dissertations must conform with the advice concerning abbreviations, quotations, footnotes, references etc published in the Style Book of the Modern Humanities Research Association (Notes for Authors and Editors). For linguistics, dissertations must conform with one of the widely accepted style formats in their field of research, for example the style format of the Journal of Linguistics (Linguistic Association of Great Britain), or of Language Linguistic Society of America) or the APA format (American Psychology Association). If in doubt, linguistics students should discuss this with their supervisor and the PhD Coordinator.
The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words for the PhD degree and 60,000 words for the MLitt degree, both excluding notes, appendices, and bibliographies, musical transcriptions and examples, unless a candidate make a special case for greater length to the satisfaction of the Degree Committee. Candidates whose work is practice-based may include as part of the doctoral submission either a portfolio of substantial musical compositions, or one or more recordings of their own musical performance(s).
PhD (MLitt) theses in Philosophy must not be more than 80,000 (60,000) words, including appendices and footnotes but excluding bibliography.
Institute of Astronomy, Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, Department of Physics:
The thesis is not to exceed, without prior permission of the Degree Committee, 60,000 words, including summary/abstract, tables, footnotes and appendices, but excluding table of contents, photographs, diagrams, figure captions, list of figures/diagrams, list of abbreviations/acronyms, bibliography and acknowledgements.
Department of Chemistry:
The thesis is not to exceed, without prior permission of the Degree Committee, 60,000 words, including summary/abstract, tables, and footnotes, but excluding table of contents, photographs, diagrams, figure captions, list of figures/diagrams, list of abbreviations/acronyms, bibliography, appendices and acknowledgements. Appendices are relevant to the material contained within the thesis but do not form part of the connected argument. Specifically, they may include derivations, code and spectra, as well as experimental information (compound name, structure, method of formation and data) for non-key molecules made during the PhD studies.
Applicable to the PhDs in Politics & International Studies, Latin American Studies, Multi-disciplinary Studies and Development Studies for all submissions from candidates admitted prior to and including October 2017.
A PhD thesis must not exceed 80,000 words, and will normally be near that length. The word limit includes appendices but excludes footnotes, references and bibliography. Footnotes should not exceed 20% of the thesis. Discursive footnotes are generally discouraged, and under no circumstances should footnotes be used to include material that would normally be in the main text, and thus to circumvent the word limits. Statistical tables should be counted as 150 words per table. Only under exceptional circumstances, and after prior application, will the Degree Committee allow a student to exceed these limits. A candidate must submit, with the thesis, a statement signed by her or himself attesting to the length of the thesis. Any thesis that exceeds the limit will be referred back to candidate for revision before being forwarded to the examiners.
Applicable to the PhDs in Politics & International Studies, Latin American Studies, Multi-disciplinary Studies and Development Studies for all submissions from candidates admitted after October 2017.
A PhD thesis must not exceed 80,000 words, including footnotes. The word limit includes appendices but excludes the bibliography. Discursive footnotes are generally discouraged, and under no circumstances should footnotes be used to include material that would normally be in the main text. Statistical tables should be counted as 150 words per table. Only under exceptional circumstances, and after prior application, will the Degree Committee allow a student to exceed these limits. A candidate must submit, with the thesis, a statement signed by her or himself attesting to the length of the thesis. Any thesis that exceeds the limit will be referred back to candidate for revision before being forwarded to the examiners.
Only applicable to students registered for the degree prior to 1 August 2012; all other students should consult the guidance of the Faculty of Biological Sciences.
Applicable to the PhD in Psychology (former SDP students only) for all submissions made before 30 November 2013
A PhD thesis must not exceed 80,000 words, and will normally be near that length. The word limit includes appendices but excludes footnotes, references and bibliography. Footnotes should not exceed 20% of the thesis. Discursive footnotes are generally discouraged, and under no circumstances should footnotes be used to include material that would normally be in the main text, and thus to circumvent the word limits. Statistical tables should be counted as 150 words per table. Only under exceptional circumstances, and after prior application, will the Degree Committee allow a student to exceed these limits. A candidate must submit, with the thesis, a statement signed by her or himself attesting to the length of the thesis. Any thesis that exceeds the limit will be referred back to candidate for revision before being forwarded to the examiners.
Applicable to the PhD in Psychology (former SDP students only) for all submissions from 30 November 2013
A PhD thesis must not exceed 80,000 words, and will normally be near that length. The word limit includes appendices but excludes footnotes, references and bibliography. Footnotes should not exceed 20% of the thesis. Discursive footnotes are generally discouraged, and under no circumstances should footnotes be used to include material that would normally be in the main text, and thus to circumvent the word limits. Statistical tables should be counted as 150 words per table. Only under exceptional circumstances, and after prior application, will the Degree Committee allow a student to exceed these limits. Applications should be made in good time before the date on which a candidate proposes to submit the thesis, made to the Graduate Committee. A candidate must submit, with the thesis, a statement signed by her or himself attesting to the length of the thesis. Any thesis that exceeds the limit will be referred back to candidate for revision before being forwarded to the examiners.
A PhD thesis must not exceed 80,000 words, and will normally be over 60,000 words. This word limit includes footnotes and endnotes, but excludes appendices and reference list / bibliography. Figures, tables, images etc should be counted as the equivalent of 150 words for each page, or part of a page, that they occupy. Other media may form part of the thesis by prior arrangement with the Degree Committee. Students may apply to the Degree Committee for permission to exceed the word limit, but such applications are granted only rarely. Candidates must submit, with the thesis, a signed statement attesting to the length of the thesis.
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- DATA VISUALIZATION
- DATA STUDIO
The Average Length of Dissertations
Source: R Is My Friend
When it comes to writing their dissertations, graduate students have no reason to increase the size of the margins to hit their page length. If anything, the reputation of dissertations is of students inflating them to crazy lengths, although universities tend to have at most guidelines – rather than rules – about the proper length.
One PhD student at the University of Minnesota decided, however, that he wanted a data-driven answer to the question of the average length of a dissertation. (And a way to procrastinate from writing his dissertation.) The above chart, showing the median page length of dissertations by field, is the result.
To assemble the chart, he mined digital records of the University of Minnesota’s library that contain dissertations dating back to 2007. The chart gives a sense of the median length as well as variation by discipline.
The majors with longer lengths match up with what one would expect, with qualitative studies like history at the top and quantitative fields like mathematics at the bottom. Although every dissertation seems very long from this author’s outsider perspective, the creator of the visualization cautions that “most [people] don’t realize that dissertations are filled with lots of white space, e.g., pages are one-sided, lines are double-spaced, and the author can put any material they want in appendices. The actual written portion may only account for less than 50% of the page length.”
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How Long Should an Undergraduate Dissertation Be? Write a Perfect One
What is an undergraduate dissertation’s length? This is the common question asked by an undergraduate. The easiest response to this query is that a dissertation should be long enough to address the posed query adequately. A dissertation is a long, research-based piece of writing that aims to present a fresh perspective on a subject. It resembles a PhD thesis in some aspects, but it is a larger research project that is frequently started at the postgraduate level to get a higher degree. Its goal is to demonstrate your capacity for both planning and carrying out a study, as well as your accuracy and originality of thought. Students must finish a dissertation as part of the majority of undergraduate business courses and graduate MBA programs. This is a lengthy piece of writing that is why students get stuck when they have to write an undergraduate dissertation .
Students get stressed when they have to submit dissertations. They often ask the question: is there anyone from whom I can buy dissertation online ? Can I get dissertation writing services? Well! Many dissertation writing services assist students struggling with their academic career. In this blog, I have discussed how long an undergraduate dissertation should be and how to write a dissertation that gets appreciated by your professor.
What Is Meant by Undergraduate Dissertation?
In essence, an undergraduate dissertation, also known as a bachelor’s dissertation, is a lengthy essay that combines research and writing on a single topic. The topic is often chosen based on a student’s area of interest, typically finished in the final year of a degree program. Compared to a conventional module, it enables the learner to go deeper into a specific subject. Throughout the research project, the student collaborates with a single supervisor who is a departmental faculty member and offers direction and support.
How Long Should an Undergraduate Dissertation Be?
The question has no definitive answer. Several things influence the length of the undergraduate dissertation. Dissertations are a requirement at every university for students. The regulations are the same whether the institution is a well-known educational institution or a smaller, lesser-known one: a dissertation is an essential component of every program. It frequently causes anxiety in undergraduate students since, in many respects, it is the most significant task at this point of life, which inevitably leads to certain questions. What should the length of the undergraduate dissertation be? How much word count? Dissertation length is a topic of discussion because everyone wants to be ready for important academic endeavors in advance. This assignment may initially seem difficult, so it’s critical to understand more about dissertations and their size. No matter what level of writing one is at, knowledge aids in overcoming uncertainty and enabling the beginning of planning.
How long is the Average Undergraduate Dissertation Length?
There is no single answer to this question. But the majority of dissertations are between 100 and 200 pages in length. It can be suggested that it should be 146 pages long, while another person suggests 90. Someone else might argue that it has to be 200 pages. Basically, the length of this significant academic piece should be determined by the subject, writing style, and author’s objectives. Dissertations are required of students pursuing master’s and doctoral degree programs in universities. But most undergraduate students are concerned about the length because it plays a significant role in their academic careers.
There are typically helpful recommendations about how long an undergraduate dissertation should be. Your dissertation project’s length, for instance, should be influenced by the areas on which it concentrates. A history dissertation, for example, will probably be longer than the typical dissertation on chemistry. That implies that the length of your dissertation will depend on your academic discipline.
How Long Does It Take to Write A Dissertation?
Well! This question is asked by many people: how long does it take to write a dissertation? The simple answer to this question is that it depends on the nature of the subject matter, the area in which you are writing and the dissertation length. Actually, the time required to write a dissertation varies depending on these factors:
- How much time each week you can commit to the project, taking into account your other commitments and obligations. During this process, you can also have part-time work, obligations to your family, and other duties. For your dissertation work, you must create a schedule that specifies certain periods for your work.
- It is fairly uncommon for research implementation to take up to a year (or even more). However, you may undoubtedly work on your literature review and at least a portion of your methodology chapter while completing your research.
- Your adviser and committee will offer comments and recommendations during the dissertation process. Your timeline will be impacted by how responsive and promptly they respond.
How to Write an Undergraduate Dissertation?
It’s not easy to write a dissertation. To get to the finish line, you need a lot of time, effort, and energy. Your research journey will be much easier if you comprehend the overall procedure of writing an undergraduate dissertation. In this blog, we will outline the overall procedure of writing a dissertation.
Topic Selection: The topic for the dissertation must be chosen by the students at the end of their academic year. Your dissertation offers you the chance to present your ideas, delve further into a subject, and solidify prior learning. In order to obtain inspiration for your dissertation topic and uncover current topics relevant to your field, you can conduct research in course materials, scholarly journals, newspapers, and other media. As it is difficult and risky to change your topic after your study period has started, you should be sure to select a topic that is likely to maintain your interest for a lengthy amount of time.
Research outline: You will be required to write a dissertation outline of about 2-3 pages in length once the undergraduate dissertation module starts. A complete bibliography and a chapter summary ought to be included. By this point, you ought to have selected a more focused part of your topic, which you should shape into a study title with the assistance of your supervisor.
Research & Writing: At this point, your research will be considerably more focused on achieving the goals of your suggested dissertation agenda. Also, you should start writing as soon as you can. By the end of the first term, most departments require students to turn in a lengthy writing assignment. (Keep in mind that to give yourself enough time to make the necessary adjustments, you should hand in at least one draft to your supervisor before this deadline.
Final Dissertation: You should have around three to four chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion when you are finished writing. Everything must be formatted in accordance with the university’s requirements, and you must be sure to credit all of your sources correctly.
Editing & Proofreading:
To ensure that you generate a piece of work that is well-structured, cohesive, and polished, you must engage in a thorough editing process. Give yourself enough time to connect with your work on various levels, from reevaluating the overall piece’s logic to editing and ensuring that you have paid attention to details like the proper reference structure.
Binding & Submission: The undergraduate dissertation must be professionally bound before submission, in contrast to undergraduate essays. Although this is typically done on campus, you must allow adequate time for the process before the deadline for submission.
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Writing a dissertation is a complicated task. Especially for undergraduate students. Dissertation writing requires time, energy, and research skills. Many students get stressed when they have to submit dissertations at the end of their final semester. Your overall grades depend on the submission of your dissertation. Well-thought and well-written dissertations are necessary if you want to score high in your academic career. But, students, due to many reasons, find it hard to compose and submit their dissertations. If you are going through a similar situation, getting writing help from professional academic writing services is ideal. Many online dissertations writing websites provide writing help to students in their academia and get them to score well. Online professional writers and researchers with knowledge in the industry will draft your dissertation. With extensive knowledge in the writing industry, online academic writers consider each aspect and guideline mentioned by your university professors. So, now you can buy a dissertation online by hiring experts.
Few Final Thoughts
This blog is aimed to provide information about the undergraduate dissertation. Many students get stressed when they have to complete their dissertations. Students ask how long an undergraduate dissertation should be. How long does it take the write a dissertation? Writing a dissertation is tricky, and students get stressed when they have to submit their dissertation. Earlier in this blog, I discussed the writing tips for an undergraduate dissertation. You can seek writing help online from professionals to get high scores.
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- How Long Is a PhD Thesis?
- Doing a PhD
It’s no secret that one of the most challenging aspects of a PhD degree is the volume of work that goes into writing your thesis . So this raises the question, exactly how long is a thesis?
Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all answer to this question. However, from the analysis of over 100 PhD theses, the average thesis length is between 80,000 and 100,000 words. A further analysis of 1000 PhD thesis shows the average number of pages to be 204 . In reality, the actual word count for each PhD thesis will depend on the specific subject and the university it is being hosted by. This is because universities set their own word length requirements, with most found to be opting for around 100,000.
To find out more about how these word limits differ between universities, how the average word count from STEM thesis differ from non-STEM thesis and a more detailed breakdown from the analysis of over 1000 PhDs, carry on reading the below.
Word Count Differences Between Universities
For any PhD student writing a thesis, they will find that their document will be subject to a word limit set by their university. In nearly all cases, the limit only concerns the maximum number of words and doesn’t place any restrictions on the minimum word limit. The reason for this is that the student will be expected to write their thesis with the aim of clearly explaining their research, and so it is up to the student to determine what he deems appropriate.
Saying this, it is well accepted amongst PhD students and supervisors that the absence of a lower limit doesn’t suggest that a thesis can be ‘light’. Your thesis will focus on several years worth of original research and explore new ideas, theories or concepts. Besides this, your thesis will need to cover a wide range of topics such as your literature review, research methodology, results and conclusion. Therefore, your examiners will expect the length of your thesis to be proportional to convey all this information to a sufficient level.
Selecting a handful of universities at random, they state the following thesis word limits on their website:
- University of Edinburgh: 100,000
- University of Exeter: 100,000
- University of Leister: 80,000
- University of Bath: 80,000
- University of Warwick: 70,000
The above universities set upper word limits that apply across the board, however, some universities, such as the University of Birmingham and the University of Sheffield, set different word limits for different departments. For example, the University of Sheffield adopts these limits:
- Arts & Humanities: 75,000
- Medicine, Dentistry & Health: 75,000
- Science: 80,000
- Social Sciences: 75,000-100,000
Although there’s a range of limit, it’s safe to say that the majority fall within the 80,000 to 100,000 bracket.
Word Count Based on Data from past Theses
A poll of 149 postdocs.
In mid-2019, Dr Eva Lantsoght, a published author, academic blogger and Structural Engineering Professor, conducted a poll which asked postgraduate doctoral students to share the length of their final thesis. 149 PostDoc students responded to the survey, with the majority reporting a length falling within the ‘80,000 – 120,000 words’ bracket as seen below.
Analysis of 1000 PhD Theses
Over a three-year time period, Dr Ian Brailsford, a then Postgraduate Learning Adviser at the University of Auckland, analysed 1000 doctoral thesis submitted to his university’s library. The PhD theses which formed the basis of his analysis were produced between 2008 to 2017 and showed:
- Average number of pages = 204
- Median number of pages = 198
- Average number of chapters = 7.6
We should note that the above metrics only cover the content falling within the main body of the thesis. This includes the introduction, literature review, methods section, results chapter, discussions and conclusions. All other sections, such as the title page, abstract, table of contents, acknowledgements, bibliography and appendices were omitted from the count.
Although it’s impossible to draw the exact word count from the number of pages alone, by using the universities recommended format of 12pt Times New Roman and 1.5 lines spacing, and assuming 10% of the main body are figures and footnotes, this equates to an average main body of 52,000 words.
STEM vs Non-STEM
As part of Dr Ian Brailsford’s analysis, he also compared the length of STEM doctorate theses to non-STEM theses. He found that STEM theses tended to be shorter. In fact, he found STEM theses to have a medium page length of 159 whilst non-STEM theses had a medium of around 223 pages. This is a 40% increase in average length!
Can You Exceed the Word Count?
Whilst most universities will allow you to go over the word count if you need to, it comes with the caveat that you must have a very strong reason for needing to do so. Besides this, your supervisor will also need to support your request. This is to acknowledge that they have reviewed your situation and agree that exceeding the word limit will be absolutely necessary to avoid detriment unnecessary detriment to your work.
This means that whilst it is possible to submit a thesis over 100,000 words or more, it’s unlikely that your research project will need to.
How Does This Compare to a Masters Dissertation?
The average Masters dissertation length is approximately 20,000 words whilst a thesis is 4 to 5 times this length at approximately 80,000 – 100,000.
The key reason for this difference is because of the level of knowledge they convey. A Master’s dissertation focuses on concluding from existing knowledge whilst a PhD thesis focuses on drawing a conclusion from new knowledge. As a result, the thesis is significantly longer as the new knowledge needs to be well documented so it can be verified, disseminated and used to shape future research.
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Unfortunately, the completion of your thesis doesn’t mark the end of your degree just yet. Once you submit your thesis, it’s time to start preparing for your viva – the all-to-fun thesis defence interview! To help you prepare for this, we’ve produced a helpful guide which you can read here: The Complete Guide to PhD Vivas.
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Length of the average dissertation
On R is My Friend, as a way to procrastinate on his own dissertation, beckmw took a look at dissertation length via the digital archives at the University of Minnesota.
I’ve selected the top fifty majors with the highest number of dissertations and created boxplots to show relative distributions. Not many differences are observed among the majors, although some exceptions are apparent. Economics, mathematics, and biostatistics had the lowest median page lengths, whereas anthropology, history, and political science had the highest median page lengths. This distinction makes sense given the nature of the disciplines.
I was on the long end of the statistics distribution, around 180 pages. Probably because I had a lot of pictures.
As I was working on my dissertation, people often asked me how many pages I had written and how many pages I had left to write. I never had a good answer, because there’s no page limit or required page count. It’s just whenever you (and your adviser) feel like there’s enough to get a point across. Sometimes that takes 50 pages. Other times it takes 200.
So for those who get that dreaded page-count question, you can wave your finger at this chart and tell people you’re somewhere in the distribution.
- Revisiting data science, the career
- Data comic shows an average American day
- Not so likely life of The Simpsons
As a student at Minnesota, I’m not sure our digital archive is representative, as it is optional, and and certain fields are more or less likely (either due to subject matter, or internal politics) to include their works within the archive. Other than that, this is neat!
what do the colors mean? at first glance I thought the colors had to do with subject area, but on closer examination that are same colored major that are very different (i.e. anthropology/aerospace engineering,
The colors look like they are reverse alphabetical.
Kyle, thanks – I figured I was missing something super simple – its been a long day. So the colors are meaningless then?
Yes, the colors are useless. They convey no information that is not already transparently conveyed.
For that matter, the box plot itself is thoroughly obsolete. Read Edward Tufte’s books, specifically chapter 6 of “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” for the description of the successor to the box plot.
As for the topic of the post, my math dissertation was 88 pages. My advisor’s was (not a typo) 23 pages, double-spaced, including front matter and references.
And Presburger’s was 19 pages or so. But his supervisor, Tarski, would not give him his PhD. He thought the thesis was too short. So there is a lower bound.
would be interesting to see if they have been getting longer over time and by how much by subject
The chart would be more useful if the majors were ordered by median or average dissertatin length. But it is interesting to note that the more mathematical and objective the mayor, the less pages needed. Llongest dissertations: sociology and anthropology. Shortest: biostatistics.
Out of curiosity, Nathan, what was your dissertation on? (Not that I’d understand it anyway!)
Then, there are the departments’ or universities’ format standards. Single spaced? Double spaced? That, of course doubles the plage length. Better, what was the word count in the dissertations?
So with the current trend of dissertation chapters being prepared/formatted as manuscript submissions for journals up front (which have limits to the manuscript length), I would expect to see overall dissertation lengths get shorter over time (to present). Mine started out much longer, but as I started conforming to target journal format standards, I would say the overall length was reduced by a third or so. Is this true outside of ecology as well?
Oh, dear, my dissertation wouldn’t even appear on this chart, but would be off the right edge. And yes, I’m in one of the ‘runs long’ disciplines. Then again, my opus would count as short for, say, a German Habilitation or a French These d’Etat in my field, so it all depends!
This is very interesting. One variable that isn’t accounted for, but varies greatly between institutions and individual authors, is the number of words per page – determined by spacing, margins, font size, and so on. A more helpful plot would count theses by words, instead of pages, as a measure of content.
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Dissertation Lengths: How Long It Should Be
Before you decide on the average length of a dissertation, there are several factors you should consider first. The length of dissertation can be determined by your field of study, discipline, the area you are researching, and the type of data analysis involved.
It might help if you consider the variables that are likely to influence the average length of dissertation. Every institution of higher learning might have its unique guidelines that guide students on the number of pages is a dissertation. Your role is to make sure you are familiar with the guidelines.
What Is The Purpose Of A Dissertation?
The process of writing your dissertation starts from the time you are assigned a topic to the time you submit a complete paper. Although you might not understand everything from the word go, it is okay to have several questions in your mind like how long does a dissertation have to be.
To help you answer the question of how long should a dissertation be, our experienced team of writers from our dissertation writing service has created this step-by-step instruction to guide you through the process so that you become successful.
Type Of Dissertation and It Length
Another question you might have is how long does it take to write a dissertation and for you to best answer it, you should understand the type of dissertation you are writing. This is a major factor that will determine the average length of PhD dissertation.
If you are considering how many chapters in a dissertation make a reasonable count, the narrative dissertation might have the least. It's not a common type but it narrates the processes in detail from the beginning to the end.
In terms of doctoral dissertation length, this paper might be the longest. It is based on a practical study where the researcher does experiments, surveys, investigations, etc. to get the most detailed findings.
This type has an average thesis length because it's based on another existing research. The average chapter length could be up to five chapters unless otherwise instructed by the teacher.
How Hard Is It To Write A Dissertation?
The definition of dissertation might make you feel like it's very hard to write one but you only need to understand the requirements. Understand the thesis length then research widely to get information. If need be, seek help from professional dissertation writers online.
What Is The Average Dissertation Length?
By most standards, the typical dissertation length ranges between 100 to 200 pages although some might be longer. It depends on the topic, course level, objectives, and instructions from tutors.
What Is The Average Phd Dissertation Length?
The average PhD length might go up to 80 thousand words although again it all depends on the topic or subject. This length includes indexes, references, commentaries, etc. A dissertation word count can sometimes exceed this limit if the instructor allows it. If he doesn't, the word count for dissertation must not exceed the standardized count.
What Is The Average Masters Thesis Length?
A master's thesis word count can range between 15 thousand to 20 thousand words. Compared to an undergraduate dissertation, it should be more detailed and stay within the subject the student is studying.
In terms of pages, a master's thesis length ranges between 40 to 80 pages. The number of paragraphs used might not directly affect a master thesis length because some people write short paragraphs while others write longer ones. Many other factors could affect a master's thesis length but each college guides its students well.
How Long Is A Doctoral Thesis Introduction?
The entire average length of PhD dissertation should help you determine the length of its introduction. The way you use words in a dissertation may also determine the length of the introduction. You should explain to the reader the reasons for choosing your topic. This could take between 10 to 15 pages.
What Is The Average Phd Dissertation Length Of Literature Review?
So, how long is a PhD thesis? A PhD thesis length of a literature review might range between 20 to 25 pages. At this point, you break down the main information you chose. You also take note of the shortcomings and qualities of these sources. All these details might determine your doctoral thesis length.
How Long Is A Doctoral Dissertation Methodology Report?
The PhD length of a methodology report should be between 10 and 15 pages. It reports on the methods used in collecting information and any difficulties experienced.
General Suggestions For Dissertation Lengths
A lot of things will come into play when considering how long are thesis papers. On a general point, each type of dissertation is different. Here are general questions and their suggested answers.
How long is a PhD dissertation: It ranges between 100 to 300 pages
How long is a college thesis: A bachelor's thesis will range between 40 to 60 pages
What is the best masters thesis length: It ranges between 40 to 80 pages
Can I purchase dissertation?
You are free to purchase a dissertation but you must make sure you are purchasing from the right website. Before you purchase, have details like the average length of a research paper and its type. The writer might know How long is a thesis paper, but they will still want to confirm from you.
Dissertation lengths differ with each type and course level. Apart from a general knowledge of how long is a dissertation, have specific knowledge of your type of paper. Give the dissertation page length for each heading and understand the dissertation editing rates offered by the writer.
The question about how long should a thesis be is can be answered in different ways. However, the process of writing might seem daunting especially if you have busy schedules or an active lifestyle. If you lack enough time to write your dissertation buy dissertation at our website to free up time for other tasks.
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