How Long is a Ph.D. Thesis?

One of the most challenging parts of a doctoral degree is writing a dissertation and what should be its length. Many students are often confused about the length of the dissertation and they won't find any satisfactory answers to it. The answer to this question is not answerable.

There are Ph.D. all around the world and the average word count of their dissertation may range between 10,000 to 50,000 words and in some cases, it may increase. In the case of pages, the average dissertation is about 300 pages. The word count and pages may increase depending upon the research topic.

The length requirement for a dissertation is set by the university and department, which varies for every Ph.D. student. Let dive into the detail of Ph.D. it. 

Comparing with master's thesis

A Ph.D. dissertation is different as compared to a master's thesis. It is more in detail and consists of the analysis of the topic. You have to address the questions, problems, and hypotheses related to it. Moreover, you have to write academic papers from it. This is why it is extensive and contains more pages and word count. In the case of a master's thesis, the length is somehow shorter than the dissertation which is usually around 20,000 words.

Length requirement

As described, the length requirement varies from one dissertation to another. These requirements are set by schools and you have to be aware of writing policy before starting a dissertation. Different universities have a word count starting from 10,000 and end at not less than 100,000 words. Also, it depends on which is your department of study.

The study is not only on the history of the topic but you also need to read about the literature review and its methodology. You need to add a large amount of material in the review section, also you have to analyze it critically and add your opinions about it. In the section on methodology, you only have to explain the method and data you used for conducting research.

So then according to the sections of a dissertation, the word count still be more than 10,000. In this count, the references words are not included, so it is only for the chapter other than references, title, and acknowledgment.

Expert opinion: Social media platforms are means of communication all around the world. A poll of dissertation word count was conducted on Twitter on which most of the professors and other academic teachers suggest writing it between 80,000-120,000 words. This poll suggested also share average page numbers range between 200.

If word count increases, then what to do?

Writing a dissertation can be a tough job, as it contains several sections in which you have to deliver information and material according to it. As studying and writing extensively, what will happen if you add more words than required? Well, there is nothing to worry about just make sure you add relevant data and arguments into it. But still, it is better to stick to university policies.

If you want more data then provide solid reasons and evidence of it and describe reasons for adding it. Also, you need the support of your supervisor in this matter.


Dissertation writing is a complicated process. It is base on another level of understanding it. This will not only enhance your writing and analytical skills but also allows you to share your work with other researchers, professor, and scholar. This will shape your future and open a path of success and a job for you. Good Luck!

Helpful Sources

Missing the deadline will in most cases have consequences such as not getting the grade you are supposed to get. Also understand that when you have personal trouble in your life then the professor might be able to grant you an extension on your project deadline, but that is only in some cases and it all depends on how charitable your professor feels on any given day.