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How Long Is A Dissertation Outline

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A dissertation is necessary for any graduate studies or program. Therefore, you need to have a thorough understanding of the length and acceptable outline. This begs the question. How long is a dissertation outline?

The rules for writing dissertations are similar in all the universities around the world.
Nonetheless, most students don’t understand how long is a dissertation or how a dissertation outline should be like.

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This article will help you understand the ideal dissertation length and the commonly acceptable outline. 

What Is A Dissertation?

Graduate students need to write a lengthy research paper that helps present a new understanding of a given topic or subject.

The sole purpose of a dissertation is to showcase your prowess in crafting fresh ideas and solutions to a specific problem. 

In most cases, graduate students research what other students and scholars have conducted in the past.

Nonetheless, a dissertation gives students a platform to show their perspectives and present fresh approaches and ideas.

Therefore, as a graduate student, you are responsible for choosing a topic for your project. An original presentation attracts more audience. 

What Is The Ideal Dissertation Outline?

In most cases, students focus on the dissertation’s word count without understanding the acceptable format and content.

Universities have their word count requirements, and these requirements tend to differ.

Also, the length of a dissertation is subject to the area of study one is pursuing. So, the main question should be, what is the ideal dissertation outline and content?

A dissertation has five main chapters. However, other technical aspects are part and parcel of the dissertation paper. The aspects include;

  • Cover page
  • Table of content
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgment
  • Reference list
  • Definition of terms
  • Appendix

What content is available in the five chapters of the dissertation paper?


Chapter one focuses on introducing the paper to your audience. Therefore, ensure to present the paper’s significance and all relevant concepts and shreds of evidence it encompasses.

Therefore, ensure that you introduce the topic you are researching and the reasons why the study is justifiable.

You need to have a statement of the problem which must be relevant to the present age.

Therefore, inform your audience of how the problem affects and relates to life today. 

Who will benefit from this study? You need to understand and recognize your audience.

It is evident that you aren’t the first to conduct this study, and you need to showcase other general studies and scholarships on the subject matter.  

What are your objectives while conducting this study? Readers need to acknowledge the objectives and ways through which you shall achieve them.

Your introduction should not be too lengthy but should range between ten to fifteen pages.

Use the space wisely and detail everything in a concise but clear manner. 

Your introduction must never reveal everything about your research but should intrigue your audience to want more.

The introduction is a teaser that explains what the paper does, how it does it, and why it does it and nothing more. 

Literature Review

Your dissertation paper needs reliable sources. Therefore, ensure to choose your sources wisely.

Examine the credentials of the authors and the credibility of the published information.

Your research sources play a vital role in your dissertation. Ensure to concentrate on resources relevant to your paper.

By analyzing the resources’ information, you shall identify weak and strong points that are fundamental to your study. 

Through the literature review chapter, you will manage to showcase the significance and relationship of the scholarship publications and ideas to your study.

Your literature review should range from twenty to twenty-five pages. 


The methodology isn’t that long as it requires 10-15 pages. Through this chapter, the readers will understand the process that your study will follow. How will you conduct your research? 

Your audience needs to understand the data-selection process that you find deem fitting for the study.

Therefore, ensure to showcase how you shall realize the necessary data, who your sample population is, and how you will conduct the interview.

Every study has challenges. Consider pinpointing these challenges as they make future studies possible. 


The fourth chapter focuses on the results, and it must never exceed ten pages.

The chapter presents your study findings. Therefore, ensure to highlight and clarify the findings of your research.

Your dissertation hypotheses synchronize with your findings. Therefore, pinpoint whether your findings confirm or refute the hypotheses.

The result chapter helps conclude your investigation in the study. 


In other cases, the conclusion chapter is also known as the discussion chapter. The chapter should have at least 15 pages.

Through the chapter, you will manage to explain your study implications.

Therefore, consider elaborating on the meaning of these research implications with a broader angle.

It would be best if you availed of your recommendations and the limitations of your study. 

How Long Is A Dissertation?

The length of a dissertation differs from university to university. There are other factors like the region that determines the length of the paper.

The subject a student is focusing on also determines the length. For a master’s student, a dissertation should have 100 pages—nonetheless, Ph.D. Students should write a dissertation of 200-300 pages.

Technical subjects like Economics, Mechanical Engineering, and Mathematics have shorter dissertations of around 80 pages. 

You need to understand that around 100 pages will have sheer content, while other pages will have tables, appendices, graphs, interview transcripts, and questionnaires, tables of content, appendixes, and reference list. 

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Dissertation?

The majority of the students believe that writing a dissertation is all about the marathon.

You will have plenty of time to examine the problem and understand your area of study.

You will most likely be given one full year to concentrate on your dissertation for a master’s student and two to three years for a PhD student. It would be best if you avoided slacking or rushing your investigation. 

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With a thorough understanding of the outline and the length, you can write an ideal paper.

Nonetheless, you need to examine the requirements presented by your dissertation supervisor. There are instances when the length of the dissertation differs. The above are guidelines to mull over and embrace. 

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