How Long Is a Dissertation: Average Length Explained

Ranging from topic selection to research methods, and ethical considerations to the data analysis techniques, many considerations could complicate your essay writing experience. Length should thus rank the least among various considerations in writing a dissertation.

Unfortunately, the desired length of a thesis is not always clearly stated in the guidelines offered by your tutor. This often confuses many students compromising their topic selection and also limiting their capacity to meet the expectations for a quality dissertation.

Here, we’ll discuss the average dissertation length and tackle a guide on how to divide the word count among various chapters within your paper.

How long is a PhD dissertation?

The PhD dissertation ranks the longest essay writing assignments for students. unlike the master’s thesis and regular essay papers, PhD dissertations may span between eighty thousand to a hundred thousand words depending on the research topic you are addressing.

However, different faculties may fall slightly below or exceed the average dissertation length. It is thus ideal to consult your faculty guidelines and previously written dissertations to gauge the acceptable range for your dissertation length. 

It is also worth noting that exceeding or falling below the range stipulated by your faculty could have consequences that reflect negatively on your performance. Alternatively, consult your tutor for a green light when you intend to exceed the word count for a better analysis of your research topic.

How many pages is a thesis?

The page count of a thesis may be determined by the font size, line spacing, and word count of your paper. A double-spaced dissertation styled using a standard font, size twelve should range between two hundred to three hundred pages. 

It is worth noting that the references, appendices, and title page do not tally in your page totals. Therefore, consider the pages from essential chapters when you are tallying the total page count of your paper. 

We also recommend that you focus on writing a quality paper instead of investing your efforts to meet a particular word count. 

Dissertation format

Now that we’ve addressed the question: how many words are in a dissertation? Let’s discuss the sharing of the word count among various parts of a dissertation. 

Some of the key chapters to consider when you are writing the dissertation include:

  1. The abstract

The abstract is the first section of your paper and aims to highlight the research objectives, the background of the topic, the methodology, and the key findings of the research. This part should however be a concise summary of the topic taking a maximum of 5% of the word count to offer the reader a gist of the research topic. 

It is crucial to tackle the key phrases in this section for ranking and easy identification of your paper on various search engines. 

  1. Introduction

Like the abstract, the introduction is meant to focus a reader’s attention on the research objectives by highlighting the research gaps within a given field. The introduction should also highlight your goals, methodology, and the scope of your paper, giving the reader an idea of the approach taken to analyse a given topic. 

The average length of a dissertation introduction is 15% of the total word count. This allows you to touch on all the vital sections, hooking the reader into reading your paper. 

  1. Literature review

The literature review section is aimed at showcasing the extent of information on a topic to highlight the knowledge gaps warranting your research. This contextualizes your research, helping your reader to reflect on various arguments as you develop your discussion.  

This chapter is slightly larger than the introduction and carries up to 25% of the total word count

  1. Methodology

The methodology highlights the beginning of your research by highlighting and justifying your approach to gathering relevant data for analysing your hypothesis. Like the introduction, the methodology carries 15% of the total word count and offers a concise summary of the reliability of your selected methods and steps for replicating your research.  

  1. Results

The results chapter makes up 15% of your total word count and is meant to explain the findings of your research. Your results should be presented in a coherent manner that addresses your research questions and the implications of your findings. 

  1. Discussion

The discussion section also makes up the bulk of your paper, taking up to 20% of the total word count. Here, highlight the findings of your discussion and relate them to your hypothesis, showing whether the findings support or oppose your hypothesis. 

  1. Conclusion

This is the final section of your paper and makes up roughly 10% of your paper’s total word count. Here, turn your reader’s attention to the research objectives to better highlight how you have addressed the research and the findings from your investigation. 

Your conclusion could also highlight the recommendations for future studies, and suggestions to improve studies in your field.