How many words for a thesis?

posted
28-Jan-09, 14:34
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for DoingPhD
posted about 10 years ago
Right I know this might be a "how long is a piece ofstring" question, however, I just wanted to get some thoughts on this. Itmust vary between subjects, perhaps being shorter for sciences. I have ahandbook that says 80,000 max, but what about below that? I have always run onthe quality not quantity theme, however when I suggested that I expect mine tobe between 50,000 and 60,000, other 3rd year PhD students thought this was abit short?

Just wanted to get some thoughts on this, not looking for a definitive answer.



Cheers

W
posted
28-Jan-09, 14:35
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for DoingPhD
posted about 10 years ago
Apologies for the linked words, that must be a computer glitch!
posted
28-Jan-09, 14:40
Avatar for sleepyhead
posted about 10 years ago
My dept say 100,000 but frankly they'll be damned lucky to get 80,000 out of me!!! My dissertations at BA and MA levels were both very short and they both got top marks - I'd rather write something short I'm happy with than bong in an extra 10000 for the sake of it.
posted
28-Jan-09, 14:42
Avatar for missspacey
posted about 10 years ago
For a social science or humanities thesis, I would say 50-60k is too short. For a thesis with a max of 100,000, I've been told to aim for at least 85k. You have to be careful it doesn't end up looking like an MPhil - even though the quality and content is good.



posted
28-Jan-09, 14:52
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 10 years ago
It really does vary by subject, and also university. I'm humanities too and must aim for between 80,000 and 100,000. Which is hard.

What is your subject area DoingPhD?
posted
28-Jan-09, 15:02
Avatar for Smilodon
posted about 10 years ago
My max is 80,000 and I expect to be 50-55,000. It is on the short side but it's quite math-heavy (I'm inter-disciplinary - the twilight zone) and supervisor thinks that will be OK. Get your supervisor's opinion - they know your thesis better than other students.
posted
28-Jan-09, 15:05
Avatar for DoingPhD
posted about 10 years ago
It Psychology, so despite what some might say it is a science, rather than social science (we are in faculty of Science and Engineering). Perhaps a little shorter then??

There is no panic, I have done a fair bit of writing already and I have until September to submit, just feeling it out!

W
posted
28-Jan-09, 15:09
edited about 18 seconds later
Avatar for missspacey
posted about 10 years ago
======= Date Modified 28 Jan 2009 15:10:08 =======
I imagine just about every discipline has its own particular trends in wordcount, so why not look at some recent successful theses that have come out your department? You may find they are all 80k, or equally, all 50k.

As far as I'm aware, the more one moves towards a science-based subject, the shorter the thesis tends to be.
posted
28-Jan-09, 15:49
edited about 27 seconds later
by Ju-ju
Avatar for Ju-ju
posted about 10 years ago
I think mine was about 40,000 (biological sciences) - this is normal, esp if you have chapters published, cos they tend to be shorter than your average thesis waffly chapter-type stuff...
posted
28-Jan-09, 16:48
by jinio
Avatar for jinio
posted about 10 years ago
My dept (social sciences) say between 80-120k. But think my tutor would prefer the lower end. I think I will need the upper end!
posted
28-Jan-09, 17:27
by pablo
Avatar for pablo
posted about 10 years ago
My supervisor told me to aim for 60k - I'm in Humanities.
posted
29-Jan-09, 16:33
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for fifi_fole
posted about 10 years ago
I am sure I have said this before, but anyway! My max is 80,000 and I am in a Geography department, my supervisor said to aim for around what your suggesting that way if you write more its not a problem. Her PhD, granted probably 30 years ago now, was 27k and one junior lecturer who is a biographer/ecologist was 21k a few years back. The postdoc in my office, did her here and hers is 55k. I was told my director of research to remember its only a PhD not a definitive works!

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