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ajb

Length of thesis

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Well, it is that time for me. I have now written a draft of my thesis, which is in mathematics. It is at the moment 118 pages long, including all the stuff at the front.

 

I think I have enough and it seems to be well within the average of similar things I have seen.

 

My (quite general) question to you all is how long is yours? :eyebrow:

 

 

*******************

Sorry about the spelling mistake in the title, can a moderator correct that for me?

Edited by ajb
spelling mistake

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My MS thesis was only about 75 pages or so, but that school had the policy that you could substitute published papers for chapters, and since papers in my field tend to be fairly succinct, it wasn't too long. Most of the page length was due to it being double-spaced and with a separate sections for figures and tables (one per page).

 

If you stapled together the two actual articles in their published forms, it'd be ~20 pages.

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Sorry about the spelling mistake in the title, can a moderator correct that for me?

 

Must … resist … April 1 … urge … to write "Length of ***is"

 

 

91 pages. But they were thick with information, and what you can do with atomic physics makes it more satisfying.

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Didn't anyone tell you that it is not the length that counts? While I also substituted certain chapters with published papers, we had the rule that each paper has to be summarized and discussed within the context of the thesis (1-2 pages). In addition to the fact that omics papers tend to be a bit verbose I had something like 130-145 pages.

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Didn't anyone tell you that it is not the length that counts?

 

Length is not the most important thing, I agree. However, I was really asking what is "normal".

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I doubt there is a 'normal'. I think it depends on the topic. Experimental ones tend to be shorter than more theoretical ones as there's less argument. Mine is quite short at ~67,000 words (190 pages, excluding appendices, 41 pages). One of my cohort did a more theoretical one that came in at 120,000 words, but that was too long by most standards.

 

In any case, I think the University has reduced the word limit from 100,000 to 80,000 words since I graduated.

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I doubt there is a 'normal'. I think it depends on the topic. Experimental ones tend to be shorter than more theoretical ones as there's less argument. Mine is quite short at ~67,000 words (190 pages, excluding appendices, 41 pages). One of my cohort did a more theoretical one that came in at 120,000 words, but that was too long by most standards.

 

In any case, I think the University has reduced the word limit from 100,000 to 80,000 words since I graduated.

 

I would have thought that theoretical thesis tend to be shorter as there is no need for a detailed description of apparatus, pages of data and its analysis. In mathematics, from what I have seen statistics thesis seem to be longer.

 

For sure it will depend on the subject and how the project develops.

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Mine was in nanomaterials, and was 84 pages long, double spaced. My peers and examiners were concerned that it didnt seem long enough so i told them i thought it was just fine. In my viva they told me to write another chapter. I did... it was 1 paragraph long. It passed :D

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84 does sound short, but if the content is there...

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I would have thought that theoretical thesis tend to be shorter as there is no need for a detailed description of apparatus, pages of data and its analysis.
True, but the results count for so much. With the support of data, there usually needs to be a lot less argument.

 

In mathematics, from what I have seen statistics thesis seem to be longer.
I suspect in those cases, it's mainly about the statistics.

 

For sure it will depend on the subject and how the project develops.
True.

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84 does sound short, but if the content is there...

 

it was. I am a succint writer so my intro was short, and the results included the first unambiguous molecular rectifier... a communication which was the most accessed one on the RSC website for five months running, which had never been done before... They couldnt argue with that :0)

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I remember this clearly. My dissertation was exactly 100 pages (including references).

 

I thought it was pretty efficient. My graduate work resulted in three peer-reviewed publications so essentially, my dissertation was three papers linked together and bound.

Edited by badchad
more content.

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Due to the details of the experiments involved and the sheer breadth of material I had to include, 210 pages. I managed to get five peer-reviewed papers out of my material though so I'm not complaining.

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. I managed to get five peer-reviewed papers out of my material though so I'm not complaining.

 

That does sound a lot. I will be happy with one, maybe two.

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I did spend a lot of 14-16 hour days in the lab and knew all the security men by name and shifts including the 3 a.m. shift. I shut myself off from everything to complete my research. Was it worth it? I don't honestly know...

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Heh, sounds familiar. In my case basically one thing was worth it. I met my wife there. We were often the only ones still around after midnight. Health-wise we both still suffer from it.

 

That does sound a lot. I will be happy with one, maybe two.

And regarding publications, it depends a lot on your field. In biophysics for instance one generally can perform experiments faster than in most branches of molecular biology, for instance (these are the fields I am most familiar with).

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Charon's right - compare it to ecology, when experiments literally need years to run, or my field (functional morphology) where most papers seem to represent 1-2 years of solid effort on that topic alone.

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And regarding publications, it depends a lot on your field. In biophysics for instance one generally can perform experiments faster than in most branches of molecular biology, for instance (these are the fields I am most familiar with).

 

I know people who have been very lucky and produced publishable results in mathematics very quickly, i.e. in their first or second years. It is true that they have worked hard, but there is definitely an element of luck and good supervision goes a long way.

 

 

It has taken me most of three years to gather the background and understand it enough to begin to discover new things!

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ah, the nice thing about Psych: experiments don't take very long (perhaps a few months at most) - unless you're doing a longitudinal study... then, well, that'll take a few years, but you certainly wouldn't do that for you thesis.

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