Average Dissertation Length: Beginner’s Formatting Guide

A dissertation is one of the longest essay projects students have to undertake at some point in their academic lives. It follows a set structure with different sections highlighting different concepts to make the dissertation paper complete. Being among the largest academic projects, the main question is, how long is a dissertation?

In this guide, we highlight useful insights into the average dissertation length and any other crucial information you need to know regarding the length of dissertation, especially since a dissertation is made up of different chapters, with each chapter representing crucial information on the subject matter. Keep reading for a better understanding.

How long is a dissertation paper?

The question of dissertation length varies based on the nature of the topic. Therefore, a PhD dissertation length can be more or less based on the subject matter of your whole project. However, an ideal dissertation will fall between 25,000 – 40,000 words. This leads us to another question; how many pages is a dissertation?

Again, based on the nature of your subject matter or research topic, the number of pages for a dissertation paper may range between 75 – 125 pages. The goal is to focus on the dissertation chapters, ensuring each section meets the set guidelines.  

The different parts of a dissertation

Having answered the question of how long is a PhD dissertation, let’s do an analysis of parts of a dissertation that make the word count and the number of pages.

  1. Title page

This is the very first section of a dissertation with the following details:

  • Title of the research
  • Writer’s name
  • Institute’s name

The details should be arranged according to the formatting guidelines in the requirements.

  1. Abstract

This is a research summary, briefing the reader about the objectives of the research in a short and precise manner.

  1. Acknowledgment

This part includes details of the people who helped with the research in one way or the other. It can be a spouse, parents, tutors, or children, among others.

  1. Table of content

The tables show the sub-sections of a dissertation in a simplified manner. It makes it easy for the reader to click on the specific details they want to review.

  1. Figures and tables

If you use figures and tables in your dissertation, you include them just after the T.O.C. to enable the reader to click and access the details instantly.

  1. Abbreviations list

Next, you include all the abbreviations you’ve used in your research paper with their meaning. The abbreviations are usually arranged in alphabetical order.

  1. Introduction

The dissertation introduction sets the base of your paper by giving the reader the direction of your paper.

  1. Literature review

This section is simply a review of past work on the same topic. Therefore, the writer must do an analysis of similar works before writing a literature review.

  1. Methodology

This section explains the methods or approaches used to carry out the research.

  1. Findings

Describe the results of the methods used. Sometimes, this section is usually merged with the discussion section.

  1. Conclusion

This is a simplified summary of all the details highlighted in the dissertation.

  1. Reference list

This section includes all the sources used during the research process.

  1. Appendices

This is the last section of a dissertation paper, and it may include transcripts, surveys, or even questionnaires. 


Knowing the exact details for writing a compelling dissertation is a must to succeed in the project. The secrete is knowing the average dissertation length, selecting a perfect topic, the forming a plan on how to structure each section of a dissertation to ensure you meet the word limit.