does anyone have a 20,000 word long chapter in their thesis?


am currently writing a chapter which was supposed to be 10,000 words long. am only halfway and its already 15,000 words long. does anyone have a 20,000 + chapter in their thesis?


Hi Jojo,

I'm going to have two chapters that are (approx) 20, 000 words each, but they are my 'analysis' chapters. Each 'lit review' chapter didn't exceed 10, 000 words.

What chapter are you working on (lit review or analysis)? If it's a lit review, and you are only half way through and already hitting 15, 000 words, you might want to consider being more concise. BUT ... keep writing because you can always edit later (and I'm sure you'll be able to use bits elsewhere ... OR ... you could eventually end up splitting the chapter into two.

My advice ... keep writing if you are happy with what you've got. Your supervisor will advice you what they think is best (... they should have a clearer idea than you about how your overall project is going to 'shape up'!).


its my literature review chapter. i get the feeling that my supervisor may ask me to split it into two, because it deals with two broad issues, but i will keep writing and see what happens. May have to make it more concise. we'll see what my sup thinks.


Hi Jojo,

I am not sure but maybe it is also a skill to keep things compact and to be able to stick to the essentials?

Just wondering whether 20000 words would be over the top for a chapter


Hi, also had a 30k chapter but just split them up and made three out of it. Maybe you could do that?

For example (in the Humanities):

Introduction: 10k
Literature Review: 30k in total (three sub-chapters)
Methodology: 10k
Data Analysis: 30k (three chapters)
Conclusions: 5-10k

Total: 85-90k, 10 chapters


sorry, the three lit rev chapters may count as one, so a total of 7 chapters.


thanks guys. i think i will adopt Otto's structure coz really i think this lit review is going to be a good 20000+ words, probably 30,000 coz am just past halfway.

thanks again.


all my chapters are 20k words or more at the moment

Currently up to 140,000 words and still got 2 chapters to go

but i am consoling myself by thinking that once i have a first draft I'll not have any more writing to do only deleting


what is the max words allowed for you? This is how it is at my University:

The length of the thesis should normally be less than the following (excluding tabulated data and diagrams):
-in Science and Engineering and Art and Design for PhD: 40,000 words
-in Arts, Social Sciences and Education for PhD: 80,000 words


Is there any way of chopping it in half and making two chapters (I've done that successfully in my plan)


When planning my thesis structure I noticed that one of my chapters would be extremely extremely long representing probably 1/2 of the total thesis length. So I re-structured it into an introduction + 3 chapters which form Part I of my thesis, with the other chapters grouped in Part II.

I've been talking today to my supervisor and he said chapters should be about 12,000 words in average (for my discipline), if you go up to 15,000 it shouldn't also be that bad. But I guess that as long as you can keep your chapter coherent and with certain unity, that matters more than the actual lenght.


as I understand, our thesis must be between 75'000 and 100'000 words. Don't know how flexible this is though.


shani,it is good that they specified minimum number of words as well. That's more useful. I think my institute is a bit rubbish when it comes to these things. Most guides and specifications are badly designed/created.


It can be as long as you like.

Mine is about 42,000


no it can't be.. You have to follow your institution's regulations.