Length of the dissertation and its sections

The length of dissertation should be an absolute maximum of 10,000 words excluding acknowledgements, lists of tables and appendices, glossaries, tables, references and appendices.


Only with the written approval of the supervisor, should the length exceed 10,000, and should not exceed 12,000 words. Qualitative work is generally "wordier" than quantitative and so bear in mind that you can put your data – words - in boxes and in appendices. 

A common question is "How many chapters should there be in my dissertation?" There is no easy answer.
The crucial element that links all sections of a good dissertation together is a clearly defined aim and set of explicit objectives. These create the framework for the write-up. If these were not "right" from the outset, you may now find it difficult as you come to structure the sections of your text.

The precise structure and lengths of chapters will therefore vary depending on the content of the dissertation and so you will need to think about the balance in the light of your own work. Make sure that you use text to link the chapters together to make the text coherent.

When you are thinking about the length and balance of different sections of your dissertation it is worth bearing in mind that examiners will tend to focus on the content and quality of the results and discussion over other parts of the dissertation.