How Long Is a Dissertation: Guide to Formatting Your Paper

A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing that is required for obtaining a higher degree such as a Master’s or a PhD. It is a comprehensive document that showcases a student’s research and findings on a specific topic.

Very often students struggle to find the answer to the question “how many words is a dissertation?”

In this article, we will explore the average dissertation word count, the proper format for a dissertation, and the factors that influence the length of a dissertation.

Masters dissertation word count

The length of a dissertation can vary depending on the academic level and the subject of study. However, there is an average range that students are advised to follow.

How long is a thesis?

The average word count for a Master’s dissertation is between 15,000 and 40,000 words. This answers the question “how many words is a thesis”.

PhD dissertation length

The word count for dissertation is typically between 80,000 and 100,000 words. This range is determined by the requirements of the university or academic institution. Some universities may have a lower word count requirement, while others may require a higher word count. It is important for students to check the specific requirements for their institution before beginning their dissertation.

Length of dissertation: factors that influence the word count

There are several factors that can influence the length of a dissertation. These include:

  • The complexity of the topic being researched.
  • The level of detail required for the research methodology.
  • The number of results and findings being presented.
  • The length of the introduction and conclusion sections.
  • The format and style requirements of the institution or university.

How to format your dissertation properly

Formatting a dissertation correctly is crucial for ensuring that it is accepted by the university or academic institution. The following are some of the key elements of a properly formatted dissertation:

  1. Title page

This should include the title of the dissertation, the author’s name, and the date of submission.

  1. Abstract

This is a brief summary of the dissertation and should be no more than 250 words.

  1. Acknowledgements

This section allows the author to acknowledge the support and contributions of others during the research process.

  1. Table of contents

This should list all the chapters or sections of the dissertation, along with their page numbers.

  1. List of figures and tables

This should list all the figures and tables that are included in the dissertation, along with their page numbers.

  1. Introduction

This is where the author provides background information on the topic and explains the research question.

  1. Literature review

This is where the author reviews and summarizes relevant literature on the topic of the dissertation.

  1. Methodology

This is where the author explains the research methodology used in the study.

  1. Results

This is where the author presents the results of the research.

  1. Discussion

This is where the author interprets and discusses the results of the research.

  1. Conclusion

This is where the author summarizes the main findings of the research and provides recommendations for future research.

  1. References

This is a list of all the sources cited in the dissertation, formatted according to the specified style guide.


The average dissertation word count can vary. However, regardless of the word count, a well-formatted dissertation is crucial for acceptance by your university or academic institution. Ensure that when writing your dissertation, you follow the proper format and include all of the required elements. With careful attention to detail and a commitment to quality research and writing, you can produce a dissertation that meets the requirements and showcases your knowledge and expertise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2023