How Long Does a Dissertation Take to Write?

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Business

It depends is the most accurate (and least helpful) response.

We’ll use the rest of the article to address the realities of how long it takes to write a dissertation, since that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for. 

The information and advice provided is aimed at both a UK and a North American audience, and was compiled after interviews with: 

A private dissertation tutor Anissa, a Dr in International Relations (LSE) and an experienced academic, teacher, researcher, and editor with a journalism background.Yannis, a PhD in International Relations and an experienced tutor in International Relations, Political Science, and International Political Economy, is a private dissertation tutor. He also teaches Academic Writing and Qualitative Research Methods.

Dr. Steve – Institute of Education, University College London; Postgraduate in Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London; MA in Design, UAL Central Saint Martins; Doctorate – in Education/Social Sciences (UCL); Professional Researcher

A doctoral education programme culminates in the completion of a dissertation. It’s a demanding task that necessitates dedication and perseverance, especially when time is limited due to work or family obligations. Gaining a clear understanding of how long it takes to write an education dissertation and meticulously planning your dissertation process—from carving out time in your busy daily schedule to setting achievement milestones to maintain a steady pace—are critical steps toward earning a doctorate degree.

A first draught of a dissertation takes most PhD students more than a year to complete. Before tackling a dissertation draught, students typically spend one to two years conducting research and reviewing literature while completing doctoral courses. Beyond that, the writing process usually takes a year or two. PhD students who get stuck in research phases, experience writer’s block, or have a high level of distractions or time constraints may take five or more years to complete. According to U.S. News & World Report, it takes an average of nearly six years for students to complete all requirements for a doctorate in the United States.

The Dissertation Timeline 


How long will it take you to complete your dissertation? The length of a dissertation can be influenced by a number of factors, including:

Job status: “Doctoral students working full- or part-time must be conscientious about devoting time to their dissertation work.”

Academic support: PhD students who have strong support from faculty members, mentors, and peers are more likely to complete their dissertation on time.

The success of an initial dissertation topic can help keep a schedule on track. When doctoral students change the focus of their dissertation in the middle of the process, they usually have to spend more time doing research. Management of time:

Dissertation writing necessitates meticulous planning and scheduling. Students are more likely to finish their dissertations sooner if they stick to their schedules and work efficiently.

How Long Does a Dissertation Take to Write?

Writing your dissertation, in my experience, should take between 13 and 20 months. These are average figures based on the results of doctoral students with whom I have worked over the years, and they are generally accurate.I’ve seen people take less and more time, but I believe the 13-20 month timeframe is reasonable with focused effort.”
Writing your dissertation, in my opinion, should take between 13 and 20 months.”

University Requirements


Once you’ve reached the dissertation stage, some schools require that you complete a certain number of hours in the dissertation area before graduating. To graduate from many schools, you’ll need the equivalent of a year’s worth of dissertation credits.

So, even if you finish your dissertation in three months, you’ll need to pay for nine more months of dissertation credits to graduate. I wouldn’t worry about having to pay extra tuition unless research and writing are your superpowers.
However, this requirement provides some insight into the length of time it takes to complete a dissertation. Based on this requirement, you can expect your dissertation to take at least a year to complete. This is in line with my personal experience.

How to Write a Dissertation

Doctoral students must complete all of their doctorate-level coursework and pass their comprehensive exams before submitting a dissertation proposal. They are now considered doctoral candidates. However, just because a student hasn’t yet earned candidate status doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t begin working on their dissertation. Students, on the other hand, are expected to choose a dissertation topic and begin preparing a proposal while still enrolled in graduate school.
The steps in the dissertation process are as follows:

Draft a Proposal

The first few chapters of the dissertation may be included in the dissertation proposal. Students must be prepared to defend their proposal in front of the dissertation committee, which will assess the topic and either approve, deny, or request revisions. Leadership strategies, literacy, and future learning trends are all common topics for education dissertations.

Conduct Research

Conducting surveys and interviews on the chosen educational topic can be part of this stage. Along the way, students gather evidence to support their hypotheses, take notes, and conduct interviews.

Conduct a Literature Review

Students must collect a diverse set of articles and books relevant to their dissertation topic. A bibliography lists all of the sources used in the dissertation.

Create an Outline


Students can stay focused and organised during the dissertation writing stages by structuring research and data in an outline.

Write the Dissertation

Abstract, introduction, background, hypothesis, literature review, methodology, conclusion, and bibliography sections can all be found in a dissertation paper. Universities frequently provide templates and style guides to assist students in properly formatting their dissertations.


This timeline, however, is based on a number of assumptions. To begin, I’m assuming you’re constantly working on finishing your dissertation. This means that no family emergencies, financial difficulties, or work issues will prevent you from finishing. Second, your dissertation committee has not changed significantly. Third, you’ll have access to the information you require.

Assuming that these assumptions are correct, this article should provide you with an estimate of how long it will take you to complete your dissertation.

How Long Does a Dissertation Take to Write? Stage-By-Stage

Let’s look at how long each stage of the dissertation writing process takes.
The prospectus is the most difficult to evaluate because it is here that you lay the groundwork for the rest of your dissertation and gain committee members’ buy-in. This normally takes 3-6 months. However, not all of this time is spent writing; much of it is spent refining your topic and approach.

Why is it taking so long to get to this point? It can take a long time for many people to learn to speak in an academic tone. This can cause delays in the review process because your committee members may request writing-related revisions before evaluating the content. 

Don’t worry; once you’ve mastered the academic language, things will become much easier.
One common blunder made by students is a lack of specificity in their writing in general and in their topic focus in particular.

Proposition (Chapters 1-3)

Your Prospectus is frequently expanded in Chapter 1. Don’t underestimate how long this chapter will take because you’ll be expected to expand on your ideas and be more specific about things like your research question and methodology.

Chapter 2 will take some time because you will be sifting through a lot of literature, but I believe it can be completed in 3-4 months. One word of caution: some people and committees prefer to begin with Chapter 2 so that you can immerse yourself in the literature before moving on to Chapters 1 and 3. 3-4 months is a good estimate, regardless of where you start.

In Chapter 3, you must provide a detailed explanation of your methodology. To avoid multiple submissions and revisions, I recommend working closely with your Chair on this one. Before you start writing, make sure you and your chair are on the same page about your methodology, and if possible, check in with your chair throughout the process.

Approval by the IRB

While this step can be lengthy and require multiple iterations, it appears that two months is sufficient. Most schools require the submission of an IRB form. While your committee is reviewing your proposal, you can usually start filling out the form to save time.
Data Collection This step varies greatly. If you’re working with easily accessible secondary data, This can take a week, but if you’re interviewing difficult-to-find people or having trouble finding a large enough sample size, it could take up to four months. I believe that a period of 1-4 months is appropriate.

4th and 5th chapters

These two chapters are the simplest to write because Chapter 4 reports your findings and Chapter 5 explains what the findings mean. These two chapters, I believe, can be completed in two months.

Defense and Completion


You must defend your dissertation and then complete all of the university requirements in order to complete your dissertation. I’d give this a two-month time frame.

Factors Affecting the Time It Takes to Write a Dissertation

When students say things like “I’m going to finish my dissertation in three months,” they’re probably not considering all of the factors other than the actual writing. Even if you’re a quick writer, you’ll have to wait for feedback from your committee.

Problems with Timing

Many schools have response times for committee members. When determining how long it takes to complete a dissertation, this is critical. If you have two committee members, each of whom has up to two weeks to review a document, it could take up to a month to get a document reviewed each time you submit it. So, when calculating how long it will take, factor in these periods of time.

Addressing Comments


The length of time it takes you to write your dissertation is also determined by your ability to thoroughly address the comments of your committee. Even if their comments were adequately addressed, it’s not uncommon for a committee member to send a draught back several times because they notice new issues each time they read it. You’ll save a lot of time if you fully respond to their comments, as this will prevent you from having to wait for the same feedback again.


In the dissertation model, this is the most significant variable. What level of commitment do you have to the process? How much time do you actually have? How many extracurricular activities/requirements do you have? Are you prone to being easily distracted? Is it necessary for your workspace to be spotless? (This may seem like an odd topic to discuss, but many people require a clean environment to work in, and they can become very interested in cleaning if they have to write.) Are you enrolled in a full-time or part-time programme? Do you have a steady job? Do you have any kids?
All of these factors will influence how much time you have to devote to writing–or, more accurately, how disciplined you must be in scheduling time to write.

Committee (and dissertations tutor)


Your committee is one factor that can influence how long it takes you to complete your dissertation. Make an informed decision about your tutor. If you believe that the only good dissertation is one that has been completed, you’ll want a tutor who will be supportive rather than trying to prove themselves on your back. When you find a tutor you like, inquire about which of their colleagues they get along with (it’s also worthwhile to inquire about who they don’t get along with).

How to Write a Dissertation

Your dissertation strategy should consider your individual strengths and weaknesses. If you know you’re most productive in the morning, for example, plan your research and writing time for that time. To navigate the dissertation process successfully, you should “Plan Ahead.”

Before you start writing your dissertation, familiarise yourself with the process. To get a firm grasp on formatting and style, look at dissertation samples and guideline documents, and set milestone deadlines to keep yourself on track.

Write Frequently

Don’t put off writing for another day. It’s easy to make excuses for not writing, such as a hectic schedule or the belief that your argument isn’t complete. However, writing for at least two hours (with at least one break) every day can help you find your voice and establish your structure through trial and error.

Don’t Give Up

Dissertation writing can be a trial-and-error process. Many of the independent learning stages, such as finding quality research sources and conducting your own studies, will require you to be self-sufficient. When you hit a roadblock, don’t give in to self-doubt, and don’t overstress about your progress at the expense of your health and well-being.

Find a Dissertations Tutor

When students require assistance, advice, or encouragement, they should feel free to contact a tutor, supervisor, or committee member. It can make a big difference in the dissertation process if you have an engaged and enthusiastic tutor.
Connecting with a group of peers who are also writing dissertations can provide you with valuable feedback. Dissertation work is frequently supported by university libraries through research and writing labs.

How Long Does a Dissertation Take to Write? Our Conclusion


Barring unforeseen circumstances, the average time to complete a dissertation appears to be 13-19 months, or one to one and a half years. You can usually be at the shorter end of the time range if you are proactive and efficient.

That means taking advantage of downtime to complete tasks such as changing the tense of your approved Proposal from future to past tense and finishing sections such as the Abstract and Acknowledgement before final approval.
I’m hoping you’ll be able to complete this task quickly and efficiently. “The only good dissertation is a finished dissertation,” as the saying goes.

How to Disseminate Your Research Findings

Consider how actively you’ll pursue publication after you’ve determined how long it will take you to write your education dissertation. Students frequently wish to share their work with a larger audience in order for others to benefit from their knowledge.
Students are usually required to publish their dissertations in an electronic database by their university. Students must submit dissertations to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) database and the American University Digital Research Archive, for example (AUDRA).

A publication on an academic CV is also a plus. Some students rewrite their dissertation as an article (or series of articles) for publication in a professional journal, or even as a book. Others give talks at educational conferences about their findings. Sharing a dissertation with a larger audience is a rewarding capstone achievement in any field.

Are you able to finish your thesis in a month?


Is it possible to complete your dissertation in 30 days?


What is the best way to write a dissertation in a month?

It cannot be done