Standard Requirements and Assessment of Masters Dissertations
Word Length – Most Masters Dissertations are 15,000 – 50,000 words in length, although as stated above this can vary significantly depending on the subject area. Do remember that the word count typically does not include front matter, foot notes, bibliography or appendices!
Duration of Study – Most UK Masters programmes are one year in length, with the Dissertation submitted at the end of that year. This can vary for longer degree programmes, or in cases where students are allowed an extra ‘writing up’ year.
Submission Deadlines – Submission deadlines will vary among universities so it’s best to check with your specific institution for details. Masters Dissertations are assessed by examiners and the results must be certified by University Exam Boards, which are held twice yearly (normally in July and September). This means that the deadline for submitting dissertations is usually late June or late August, to allow time for marking prior to the Exam Boards. If necessary, students can request an extension to these deadlines if they can demonstrate genuine extenuating circumstances that will delay their submission. Always check with your university for specific regulations regarding submission and extensions.
Grades – The marking system for Masters dissertations is usually on the same numeric scale that is used for other UK assessments. Students must generally achieve a minimum mark of 40 to pass, but most will aspire to higher marks than this. Marks of 60-69 earn a classification of 2.1, or B; Marks over 70 earn a First classification, or A.
Writing a good dissertation requires honest dedication from students and an ability to motivate themselves over a long period of time. You can start off on a successful path by understanding the typical Masters Dissertation requirements, and developing your plan of study accordingly!
David Brigden and Graham Lamont, 2010. Planning Dissertations. Available: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/subjects/medev/Planning_dissertations. Last accessed 08 Apr 2013.
Kjell Erik Rudestam, 2007. Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process. 3rd Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc.
University of Worcester, 2010. Masters Dissertation Handbook. Available: http://www.worcester.ac.uk/registryservices/documents/Masters_Dissertation_Handbook_2010_2011.pdf. Last Accessed 02 May, 2013.
My last masters asked for 12k as a dissertation word count whereas my current one is asking for 16k give or take 10%.
The above is fine with me because I feel on track with my project and I'm looking forward to doing it but I just find it interesting that wordcounts vary so much from one course to the next. At undergraduate my dissertation wordcount requirement was 10k and my friends was 6k.
I've also seen PhD courses that range from an end goal of wordcounts ranging from 40k to 100k.
All examples I'm referring to here don't seem to follow a subject specific pattern by the way.
What's your masters dissertation wordcount target for this year? How's your dissertation going? I'm trying to get some literature review written up already because I don't want to rush but on the other hand I can't justify procrastinating.
Mine is 15k. I have an outline and some of the research done, but otherwise I'm leaving it until after exams are done.
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Mine was 15,000 give or take 10% - but ended up as 49,000 including bibliography and appendices…….