Time to Write a Thesis or Dissertation: Tips to finish Fast

time to write a thesis

time to write a thesis

For many students, writing a thesis may be a challenging task. This is because it requires a lot of research to complete. It is good to know how much time it will take you to complete your thesis or a dissertation if you work on standard timelines.

Though the time taken by individual students to write a thesis may differ due to various factors, this article tries to determine the time it would take for students and other research persons to complete a thesis. 

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How long does it take to Write a Thesis?

As noted, various factors can determine the time taken to write a thesis. However, for the sake of determining how long it would take to write a thesis, the determinant factors will be assumed and shall be discussed later in this article.

Writing a thesis takes between 9 months and 15 months in total if you follow the standard steps and following all the academic writing standards. However, this period depends on the time you dedicate to the project every day if you are working on it full-time or part-time and the extent of the research done.

To determine or understand how long it would take to write a thesis, it is important to break the process stage-by-stage so that we can know how long it takes to complete each stage.

1. The Prospectus or Proposal Stage

The prospectus stage of the thesis cannot be easily determined because it is the stage where the foundation of the thesis is laid. It is also the stage where you consult with the committee members.

This stage can take between 3 and 6 months. The time is not taken by writing but mostly refining the approach and topic of your thesis.

This stage takes a lot of time because you will be required to express yourself academically because the reviewing committee may ask for various revisions so that you can refine your approaches and topic

2. The Proposal Stage

The stage of coming up with your thesis proposal can also take a lot of time. During this stage, you will be required to further develop and refine your ideas. You will also come up with the methodology of your research and the research questions that will guide the study. 

At the same time, you will dig deeper into the literature you will be using for your study. This can come before coming up with the research questions and methodology to avoid further revisions that may make you spend even more time.

What should be noted is that revisions and multiple submissions of your proposal may take a lot of time. Therefore, be very careful during this stage to avoid such issues. This stage can take between 3 and 4 months. 

The approval stage of approval after you have presented your thesis proposal may take about a month. 

3. Data Collection

The next stage of data collection is also time-consuming depending on the scope of your thesis. If your secondary resources are readily available, this stage can take only a week.

However, if you are conducting primary research such as conducting interviews on individuals who are difficult to find or you have not located the right or sufficient sample size for your research, this stage may take up to 4 months to complete. As such, this stage should take between 1 and 4 months. 

4. The Writing Stage

The writing stage takes the least time. This is because you will be reporting the research that you have conducted and the results of your study. Though the writing stage will depend on the time, dedication, and typing speed of the writer, this stage will probably take you about 2 months. 

Therefore, writing a thesis will take about 15 months to complete. Note that the time taken to defend your thesis has not been considered because it is not part of creating the thesis.

However, the process of defending the thesis may take about 2 months, meaning that the total time taken for the whole process will be about 17 months. 

How long does it take to write a dissertation?

The time to write a dissertation ranges from 12 months to 20 months and even more than that depending on the type of the project, the research to be done and the data to be collected. A dissertation is long and may require waiting for months and years to collect the data needed for the analysis and conclusion.

Writing a dissertation

It should be noted that writing a dissertation will require you to adhere to the aforementioned stages when writing a thesis.

However, the reason why a dissertation will take longer than a thesis is that it provides new information that requires primary research.

Conducting primary research may take a very long time to complete.

For example, if your dissertation is about the effects of global warming on the whale population within the arctic region, the study of the whales and global warming effects on their population may take over 10 years to compile. This is because it is a gradual phenomenon that cannot be hastened.

However, some studies may take a shorter time. What differentiates the time taken to write a dissertation is the topic and the scope of the study. 

The Difference between a Thesis and a Dissertation

Before exploring how long it would take to write a dissertation, it is important to understand the difference between a thesis and a dissertation.

When it comes to a thesis, it can be regarded as a compilation of research submitted at the end of a master’s program to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable in your discipline.

However, a dissertation is part of doctoral studies that allows doctoral students to contribute new theories, knowledge, or practices in your discipline. 

Now that we have understood their differences, let us explore the factors that affect the time it takes to write a dissertation. Also, sometimes, it takes a longer time to present a thesis than it takes to present a dissertation.

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Factors determining the Time to write a Thesis

Various factors are determining the time taken to write a thesis. The first factor is the timing issues. The course you are taking is the major determinant. This also dictates whether you will write a thesis or not for different universities.

Factors affecting thesis writing

From one perspective, the committee members may take more or lesser time when responding to your proposals and other things.

Therefore, if they take a lesser time, you will complete your thesis using a shorter amount of time.

If they take more time, you will take longer to complete the thesis.

From another perspective, your commitment to writing the thesis will determine the time it will take you to complete it.

For example, some students may be working while doing their thesis. As such, they are likely to take more time while writing the thesis because they will have other commitments. 

The capacity of the student to complete the thesis is also a determining factor. Some students are intellectually more capable of completing the various stages of the thesis without receiving any revisions.

However, some will face challenges during the various stages, meaning that they will take more time to complete them. Long projects take longer too. Read more about how long a thesis should be to understand more about these dynamics.

Finally, the topic or scope of your study will determine the time it would take to complete the thesis. Some topics will require the use of secondary research that may be readily available. This will significantly reduce the time it would take to complete the thesis.

However, if the topic or scope of study requires primary research, you will take more time to complete the thesis. 

Tips on how to fasten the time taken to write a thesis

The first tip is to adjust or alter your expectations. You do not have to break new ground to have a perfect thesis. The expectation from the committee is to either come up with new knowledge or advance on existing knowledge.

If you want to complete a thesis faster, you should consider advancing knowledge rather than creating new knowledge.

You will not be required to conduct time-consuming primary researches. Secondary research will be readily available. Also, avoid being a perfectionist because there is no perfect knowledge. It can always be disapproved by someone else.

Another tip is to select topics with a smaller scope of research. This is because topics with larger scopes will require more time to research and complete. 

Another helpful tip is to create tight deadlines to complete each stage. For example, if you are required to complete a certain stage after a month, you can cut that time down to 2 weeks. This is the 80/20. However, make sure that your deadlines are realistic.

Hope that this article has helped you understand the time it takes to write a thesis and dissertation. Good luck with your studies.

Josh Jasen
Josh Jasen
When not handling complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.