How Many Chapters In A Dissertation?

The graduate dissertation is considered to be one of the most difficult and time-consuming projects a student will ever encounter. It’s a requirement for earning a master’s or Ph.D. degree in most areas of study. A graduate student may take as much as a year to complete one but the reward that awaits him is well worth the effort he has to put into researching and writing.

A dissertation can be anywhere between 100 to 200 pages but this is often a sliding count that varies according to the precedent set by one’s discipline study. Here is a breakdown of what needs to be included or is expected in a project of this length and scope.

Major and Minor Sections of a Dissertation

Most dissertations, regardless of the discipline, require these five major sections: the introduction, the literature review, the methodology, the results, the discussion, and the conclusion. Additionally, minor sections that should be included to frame the document include the abstract, the acknowledgments and the bibliography among others. Taking all of this into consideration:

  1. Introduction

    The intro should let the readers know exactly what is being discussed. It’s basically a summary of the entire work and gives the reason for studying that topic as well as what the main object is in conducting the study.

  2. Literature Review

    This is a brief summary of all of the relevant literature connected to the topic. It gives readers the opportunity to review other content and lends itself to why the research study is necessary to contribute.

  3. Methodology

    This section of the document should explain how a student plans on gathering information and provide the reason why a particular method is the best possible option. It can also provide the problems one will address in addition to the major research question.

  4. Results

    This is the main part of the document and provides the final results of the study. This should be written factually and in a straight forward fashion. No interpretation should be put in.

  5. Discussion

    Here is where interpretation comes into place. The student should discuss what the study and the results have led him to decide if predictions and theories were accurate.

  6. Conclusion

    The last section is the summary and synthesis of the entire work. It should remind a reader all that has been considered in answering the research question and tell them if any further work needs to be done.

Additional Sections

  • Title Page

    The title page is pretty simple. It requires the student’s name, the document’s title, publication date, and location. Additionally, it should include the supervisor’s name, the sponsoring department, and the university.

  • Acknowledgments

    This section is a place where a student can give thanks to anyone that helped in the researching and writing process. Acknowledgments can be made to someone personal or professional.

  • Abstract

    This is an essential summary of what the entire dissertation is about. It should include a sentence or two for each of the major sections listed above. The average length of an abstract should be between 250 to 300 words.

  • List of Figures and Tables

    All of the figures and tables put into the dissertation should be indexed in a list before the main document. These are essential for communicating additional facts that a reader can reference when reading your main points or arguments.

  • Bibliography List

    This is a complete list of all the sources you used or referenced in your document. It should be arranged alphabetically and list all publication information. This is the most direct section where there is absolutely no extra information or notes other than what is required for citation purposes.

This guideline should help a student correctly format this graduate project, but more help may be necessary. If this is the case, then a student should consider hiring a professional writing or editing academic service to provide him with a template or outline to use. A trusted service can also review, edit, and proofread his work to ensure it is of the highest possible quality.