Dissertation Length: I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours

A grad school classmate of mine tweeted a link to this blog post:  “How long is the average dissertation?

Having written a dissertation, I was curious to see how mine stacked up.

Obviously some of this probably varies by school, but I figured this would be a ball park.

My dissertation.

My dissertation.

My dissertation is 106 pages, including the citations and appendices and all.  My degree is in Molecular Biology, so stacking that up against biochem/molbio/biophysics theses, it’s in the shortest 25th percentile (if I’m reading that box plot correctly).  Similar for Molecular, Cellular and Developmental biology.

Considering how painful it was to write, and that longer isn’t always better, I’m fine with being on the short end.

Now, I will return my dissertation to the shelf above my desk, where it shall remain (unless I have to look up a protocol or something specific) because I live in fear of finding a typo.

How long was yours?  What field?  How does it stack up in terms of length?

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5 Comments

Filed under Scientist

5 responses to “Dissertation Length: I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours

  1. Biochem. I wrote mine while 7 months pregnant and dictated revisions to the spouse while nursing a two-week old. So, with that noted (it wasn’t as.. good? as it could have been!)… it was 86 pages including references. Yep.

  2. (7 months pregnant, working full-time, and learning 3 programming languages, I should add.)

    • Haha! And I thought mine was bad. I was hospitalized with tonsillitis the week before my diss was due to the readers. In pain, on morphine, and unable to sleep for 48 hours, I spent the time working on my dissertation from a hospital bed. When I gave it to my advisor and mentioned how I had still managed to meet the deadline after being in the hospital she said, “This better not be incoherent ramblings from your drug-addled brain!” (She was so sympathetic.)

  3. Hmmm… with no actual dissertation to contribute I’ll fall back on my 140 page Masters Culminating Assessment Project in Education (aka MCAP aka MCrAP) or the 35 page conference paper on the Irish Brigade (honestly, I’m a hell of a lot prouder of the conference paper because it required actual research and incorporated original work. The MCrAP was an exercise in futility.) My limited ability to decode graphs tells me the MCrAP was low average. Which is OK by me since it took a below average amount of thought and an above average amount of effort.

  4. I think mine wound up being 160+…. page count is still relatively fresh in my brain since it was turned in less than a year ago (in August, no less!). Immunology.

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