Thesis Word Limits

You should ensure that your thesis is within the maximum word limit for research theses in your College.
College of Arts, Humanities, and Law

In the College of Arts, Humanities, and Law, the length of the thesis – including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, any appendices, the bibliography, and table(s) of cases/legislation/treaties cited – must not exceed the following limits:

PhD

MPhil

80,000 words

50,000 words

College of Medicine, Biological Sciences, and Psychology

In the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences, and Psychology, the length of the thesis – including footnotes and any appendices, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:

PhD

MD

MPhil

50,000 words

30,000 words

30,000 words

Except for:

a. research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, or MPhil and whose thesis is based on qualitative or case study research, where the length of the thesis – including footnotes and any appendices, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:

PhD

MD

MPhil

80,000 words

50,000 words

50,000 words

b. research students registered for the degree of PsyD or DClinPsy where the length of the thesis – including footnotes and any appendices (except mandatory appendices), but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:

PsyD

DClinPsy

30,000 words

29,000 words

College of Science and Engineering

In the College of Science and Engineering, the length of the thesis – including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, any appendices, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:

PhD

EngD

MPhil

50,000 words

25,000 words

30,000 words

Except for research students in the Department of Geography registered for the degree of PhD or MPhil and whose thesis is based on social science research, where the length of the thesis must not exceed the limits specified for the College of Social Science.

College of Social Science

In the College of Social Science, the length of the thesis – including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, any appendices, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits:

PhD

EdD

DSocSci

MPhil

80,000 words

55,000 words

50,000 words

50,000 words

Word Limit Extensions

If you need to request a word limit extension you should arrange to discuss your with your supervisors. They will need to support your application and will need to sign your request form.

To apply for a word limit extension:

  1. Download the Word Request for a Thesis Word Limit Extension Form - complete the form, attach any required supporting documentary evidence, and have the request authorised by your first supervisor
  2. Return the completed request and any required supporting documentary evidence to the Doctoral College Office before the date on which you submit your thesis for examination

The Director is responsible for consideirng and approving extensions to the published word limits.  

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