average dissertation length

Average dissertation length

I’ve posted about data mining in the past and this post follows up on those ideas using a topic that is relevant to anyone that has ever considered getting, or has successfully completed, their phd.

Think a major deterrent that keeps people away from graduate school is the requirement to write a dissertation or thesis.

However, most don’t realize that dissertations are filled with lots of white space, e.

A single chapter may be 30-40 pages in length, whereas the same chapter published in the primary literature may only be 10 or so pages long in a journal.

Regardless, students (myself included) tend to fixate on the ‘appropriate’ page length for a dissertation, as if it’s some sort of measure of how much work you’ve done to get your degree.

Any professor will tell you that page length is not a good indicator of the quality of your work.

Phd dissertation length

Regardless, i feel that some general page length goal should be established prior to writing. This length could be a minimum to ensure you put forth enough effort, or an upper limit to ensure you aren’t too excessive on extraneous ’s debatable as to what, if anything, page length indicates about the quality of one’s work. My advisor once told me about a student in chemistry that produced a dissertation that was less than five pages, and included nothing more than a molecular equation that illustrated the primary findings of the research. However, i guarantee that almost every graduate student has thought about an appropriate page length on at least one occasion during their university of minnesota library system has been maintaining electronic dissertations since 2007 in their digital conservancy website. I’ve developed a data scraper that gathers information on student dissertations, such as page length, year and month of graduation, major, and primary advisor. The code first imports the html, finds the permanent url for each author, reads the html for each permanent url, finds the relevant data for each dissertation, then continues with the next page of 21 authors.

This chunk of text is then saved to the output object for additional the online data were obtained, the following code was used to identify page length, major, month of completion, year of completion, and advisor for each character string for each student.


Now the data are analyzed using the data contained 2,536 records for students that completed their dissertations since 2007.

The range was incredibly variable (minimum of 21 pages, maximum of 2002), but most dissertations were around 100 to 200 stingly, a lot of students graduated in august just prior to the fall semester.

As expected, spikes in defense dates were also observed in december and may at the ends of the fall and spring top four majors with the most dissertations on record were (in descending order) educational policy and administration, electrical engineering, educational psychology, and psychology.

Ve selected the top fifty majors with the highest number of dissertations and created boxplots to show relative distributions.

Higher education

Economics, mathematics, and biostatistics had the lowest median page lengths, whereas anthropology, history, and political science had the highest median page lengths.

The maximum number of students that completed their dissertations for a single advisor since 2007 was eight.


Anyhow, i’ve satiated my curiosity on this topic so it’s probably best that i actually work on my own dissertation rather than continue blogging.

Hard to say for the page length vs web page comparison since data storage is not comparable to text length.

I’d say you’re on the high end at 235 pages though, depending on your -week linkage » duck of we’re reading: coevolving diversity, gut microbiota and gas, and killing the phrase “next-generation sequencing” | the molecular long is an average phd thesis?

Advice for students

To write a thesis: an applied sociology perspective | sociology at e dissertation and thesis length, take two – r is my , you have posted such precious and informative article on dissertation writing services uk.

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So, in the humanities and social sciences a word length of 80-100k (for phd) is quite usual (which ends up being somewhere in the region of 300+ pages – appendices are for data, perhaps interviews, raw stats, etc.

I haven’t studied whether this is the norm, but anecdotally it seems to be common across most sting and i have never heard of any limits on page lengths in the us.

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