Length of thesis/dissertation

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Michael, May 29, 2001.

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  1. Michael

    Michael New Member

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    I haven't done a research paper in quite a while, so I hope someone can refresh my memory: About how many pages (typed, double spaced) would a 40,000 word dissertation be? Also, about how many words would make up a 120-page dissertation/thesis?
     
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    The number of pages would vary widely, depending on things like tables, margins, etc. But I would estimate 40,000 words to be about 200 pages, more or less. Using that math, 120 pages would be about 24,000 words. Again, this varies greatly, but those are ballpark estimates.

    Rich Douglas
     
  3. jon porter

    jon porter New Member

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    Rich's estimate seemed odd to me, so I pulled up some text, and using straight text, no notes, 10 pt Courier New and 8.5" x 11" paper, 1" margins, I get 250 words/page. With single-spaced footnotes, I get 325.

    The rest is left as an exercise for the student.

    jon


    ------------------
    J. M. B. Porter, PhD
    Lecturer in World History
     
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    So, at 250 per page we get 160 pages from 40,000 words. My estimate was 200 pages, based upon a paper I'd written (20,000 words in about 100 pages). But I used 1 1/2" margins (anticipating binding), limiting it to about 200 words per page (sans footnotes, which appeared in a bibliography at the end). I, too, used a 10-pitch font, along with right-justification. Anyway, this much detail--mine and Jon's and whoever else's--should give you a basic idea based upon the formatting you chose.

    Rich Douglas
     
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    I meant to say I used a 10-pitch font (which was a 12-point font, as opposed to a 10-point font.
     
  6. jon porter

    jon porter New Member

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    Odd only because I'd always figured 3pp (of A4) to the thousand; I tell my students that 1000 words is roughly 3-5pp. (Sorry, Rich, if it seemed like I was attacking you.)

    And, to bring us back on topic: UK taught Masters theses are usually 15,000 words; a thesis-only MPhil usually is no more than 60,000; and a research PhD usually no more than 100,000. If memory serves, an undergrad diss. was to be 10,000 words. I have no idea what the US standard is for a PhD; looking at my (tiny) collection, I see 622pp and 378pp, counting bibliography etc.

    jon



    ------------------
    J. M. B. Porter, PhD
    Lecturer in World History
     
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    No attack sensed. It just goes to show how difficult it is to quantify this stuff.

    In the course of writing a dissertation proposal, I came across a bunch of dissertations from graduates of U.S. schools. While this is certainly not hard data, I got the impression that 150-300 pages (inclusive) was pretty normal. A few were less (I didn't see the dissertations themselves, so I don't know why), many were more. One may draw one's own conclusions by perusing the Dissertations section of www.contentville.com. The number of pages listed there is for everything included with the dissertation.

    Rich Douglas
     
  8. CLSeibel

    CLSeibel New Member

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    I'm beginning the process of working on my 20,000-word University of Wales MTh thesis in Applied Theology (which I know is similar to the type of discipline in which you'll be undertaking research). Based upon my prior work in the MTh, I estimate that, with footnotes, this thesis is likely to be somewhere between 66 and 75 pages in length. So, doubling this to 40,000 words, you'd be looking at approximately 130-150 pages, depending upon certain variables.
     
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I recently browsed the dissertation section at Duke University, several hundred were shelved. The Ph.D.'s ranged in length from 140-350 pages, most were around 200-250.

    I agree with Rich, that a good average for double spaced, size 12 font (which appears to be the norm), is around 200 words per page. Certainly this will fluctuate, but it is a good rule of thumb.

    Russell,
    Who has written one dissertation (D.Min.), and is in the process of writing another (Ph.D.).
     
  10. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

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    Occupation:
    Writer
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    I'd have to say the most interesting-looking dissertation I've ever run across at Contentville was a 511pp Harvard dissertation (bound in two volumes by the UMI, due to its length) that is in effect a catalogue of medieval and renaissance accounts of near-death experiences. I don't know where she (I'm almost certain the Ph.D.-holder is a she) found all this information, but if she ever puts this stuff in a book, I'll want a copy.

    The 250 word/page figure has been suggested to me by freelance copyeditors as a good rule of thumb to use when one charges by the page, so it's probably a fairly accurate figure, assuming double spacing, standard margins, and a 12-point font.


    Peace,

    ------------------
    Tom Head
    www.tomhead.net
     
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    I worked in a prison in Southeast Washington, D.C. for two years. "Medieval" and "near-death" are two terms that certainly come to mind! [​IMG]

    Rich Douglas, who is again among the living and working in Vienna, Virginia. (Town motto: "Kein Parken, Y'all")
     
  12. Michael Wilson

    Michael Wilson New Member

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    Occupation:
    Librarian
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    The grand-prize winner in the most humorous-lengthy dissertation contest:

    An 'evolutionary history' of the office systems furniture industry and the nature of strategic change. Evolution, entrepreneurship, and strategy as complex adaptive processes: A study in self-organizing systems
    by Hench, Thomas Jackson, PhD
    UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1997, 817 pages

    Cheers,

    ------------------
    Michael Wilson
     
  13. PaulC

    PaulC New Member

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    A quick search at contentville on a subject of interest to me revealed 8 dissertations that satisfied my keyword search.

    The length of dissertations ranged from a low of 85 pages for an EDD at the University of California at Lost Angeles (UCLA) and 102 pages for a PHD in Education at the University of Pittsburgh, to a high of 280 for a PHD in Education at the University of Minnesota.

    Obviously a significant range for acceptability at upper tier universities.
     
  14. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Could 700 pages of the dissertation have been pictures showing the evolution of office furniture? I remember one Ph.D. dissertation at Duke was over 400 pages, however, half of it was appendices.
     

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