Dissertation Word Count Breakdown – The Perfect Weightage to Balance Your Paper

Dissertation writing is similar to sculpting a masterpiece with your own hands. Students often get stressed looking at such a huge task whether they are attempting it in their undergraduates, master’s or doing this to get a PhD degree. They mostly look at the mountain of words and need help understanding what their dissertation word count breakdown should be. 

Don’t know where to take a start? Worry not! This guide is a helpful tool to assist you in climbing this mountain. In addition to this, students struggling to maintain the right weight often seek help with papers from experts. They assist students by offering custom dissertation services and turning their projects into masterpieces! So, it’s time to say goodbye to the dissertation word count worries and get assistance from the professionals and our guide as well.

Here, we will divide this whole process into the chapters of right word weightage for all the undergraduate, master’s, and PhD levels. You just have to follow these proper word limit instructions to maintain a balance between each part. 

Undergraduate Dissertation Word Count Breakdown

According to the University of Westminster, your undergraduate dissertation should have a word count of 5000 to 8000 in total. As you all know, it is a journey similar to a mountain climber’s; the finish line gives you an undergraduate degree. 

But between the reading, thinking, and late-night coffee runs, there’s one issue that keeps coming up: how many words do I really need to write? Well, while writing a dissertation for an undergraduate level, you should keep your word count between 5,000 and 8,000 words. Keep in mind that these are just recommendations; always confirm the exact criteria of your institution.

Chapter by Chapter Dissertation Word Count Breakdown

Let’s break down your undergraduate dissertation of 8000 words in total into different chapters here. The following is the perfect weightage for your dissertation given by the University of Bath:

  1. Introduction (8%): Grab the reader’s attention! Setting the scene, your subject, research questions, and significance are all covered in this chapter. Aim for 640 words to grab their attention without being too wordy.
  2. Review of Literature (30%): Display your complete research by summarising or explaining the main points! This is where you explore previous research on your subject. A decent word count is 2,400 words, which may vary depending on how technical your area is. You should examine, contrast, and compare many viewpoints to see how you might add something special.
  3. Methodology (15%): This is the 3rd chapter of a dissertation that explains the research methodology you used. Was it an investigation, experiment, or review of the past? You should be able to describe your procedures, data collecting, and analytic tools in 1200 words or less. Be open and provide reasons for your decisions.
  4. Results/Findings (20%): It is just like opening the treasure’s lid! Here, you succinctly and clearly convey your facts and analysis. Aim for a 1,600 dissertation word count here, stating the most important discoveries. You should also see some figures, graphs, and tables here.
  5. Discussion (20%): So, now is the right time to interpret! In this chapter, you will interpret your results, make connections with the literature, and discuss any limits. You have 1600 words to address consequences, respond to your research topic, and demonstrate your capacity for critical thought.
  6. Conclusion (7%): Make a spectacular finish! Provide a brief synopsis of your primary ideas, reiterate your contribution, and suggest possible lines of inquiry for further study. Your reader should be left with a lasting impression after reading the last 560 words.

Master Dissertation Word Count Breakdown

For many students, the master’s dissertation is a milestone that comes after many late-night study sessions, coffee-fuelled writing sprints, and endless bowls of instant noodles. To avoid being overwhelmed by this challenging task, let’s divide the intimidating word count into digestible chunks and turn your work into an academically outstanding masterpiece.

According to the University of Edinburgh, if you are going to write your master’s or MSc dissertation, keep its word count between 10,000 and 12,000 words. Suppose each chapter of your dissertation serves as a crucial floor that adds more value to the overall structure. Keep in mind that effectively and compellingly presenting your findings is equally as important as word quantity. This is our strategy for allocating word counts to each chapter of a total of 10,000 words dissertations:

1. Introduction (7%) – (800 words)

It is the beginning of your project where the dissertation word count breakdown starts. Here, you should:

  • Introduce your subject in brief, making sure to grab the reader’s interest in an understandable and efficient way.
  • Emphasise the importance of your findings and explain why they are significant for the whole field.
  • Formulate a precise research topic that will function as the focal point of your dissertation.

2. A Literature Review (30%) – (3000 words)

Here’s where you become a resident expert and demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of the most recent research on your subject. Your whole research work will be shown here, so it has some more weightage in the dissertation word count breakdown. 

So, add relevant theories and significant discoveries to add more value to your dissertation. You should also point out any gaps in the body of knowledge and describe how your study intends to close them.

3. Methodology (15%) – (15,000 words)

Chapter 3 of your dissertation should cover the following:

  • You should describe the instruments, strategies, and processes you used to build your study.
  • Make sure your reader comprehends the reasoning and precision behind the strategy you have selected by being precise and succinct.
  • Describe your strategy for data analysis, including how you intend to draw important conclusions from your study.

4. Results (20%) – (2000 words)

This is the real shining moment for your study and has the highest dissertation word count! Here, you should deliver your data analysis skillfully showcasing your conclusions using concise words and graphics. Also, analyse the data instead of merely reporting it! Using pertinent ideas and concepts as a point of reference, you should explain the importance and meaning of your results.

5. Discussion (20%) – (2000 words)

At this point, put everything together to create a stunning mixture of related concepts. Furthermore, you should discuss all the consequences of your results while connecting them to your research topic and the body of current literature. Also, add some opposing viewpoints and any possible flaws in your study.

6. Conclusion & Recommendations (7%) – (700 words)

In this last step, you should provide a summary of your main conclusions to highlight the significant contributions you’ve made. Also, add some compelling suggestions for future studies to open the door for further investigation in your area. But do not add any new information here. Rather, you should finalise everything, showing it is the end of your research work.

PhD Dissertation Word Count Breakdown

According to the Times Higher Education, a PhD thesis or dissertation should be in the range of 60,000 to 120,000 words. Indeed, it is your magnificent creature that has developed from the research ashes and flowered into the domain of scholarly knowledge. 

60,000–120,000 words is a big amount, but keep in mind that it’s adaptable. For exact limits, you should follow the guidelines of your institution and get professional guidance from your committee. With great care and attention to detail, each chapter forms an astonishing reach. Let’s consider the total word count of a PhD dissertation is 80,000. This guide will assist you in breaking down the whole word count into each chapter.

PhD Dissertation Word Count for Chapters

1. Introduction (7%)

It works as an appetiser that sets the stage for your whole dissertation and consists of 6400 words. You may imagine it as a movie teaser that draws viewers into the centre of your study report. Give a succinct overview of your study questions, subject, and overall significance. Keep it brief, to the point, and free of spoilers. Make them curious, but don’t give away the conclusion just yet!

2. Literature Review (30%)

Consider this as your research treasure map, highlighting the body of information already available on your subject. Examine and summarise pertinent research critically, pointing out any gaps and laying the groundwork for your own research journey. Keep in mind that your dissertation word count for this chapter should be 24,000 words.

3. Methodology (15%)

This serves as your reliable compass, pointing readers in the direction of the many turns your research techniques take. Here, you have 12,000 words to describe your research methodology and experiments. Describe your methods for gathering data (think microscopes and telescopes!), your analytical strategies, and the rationale behind your decisions. Remember that clarity is essential for successful communication, so be comprehensive without getting bogged down in technical jargon!

4. Results (20%)

Here, your dissertation word count breakdown contains a weightage of 16,000 words, where you proudly show your discoveries. To present your findings, utilise text, figures, and clear tables. Think of it as a museum curator carefully organising priceless objects. Recall that interpretation comes later; in the meanwhile, let the facts do the talking!

5. Discussion (20%)

In this 5th chapter, you need to discuss everything you have discovered throughout your dissertation. You should relate all the research work to the already existing literature. Also, explore the restrictions like your in-favour arguments and counterarguments. 

You have to cover everything within 16,000 words for your PhD dissertation word count breakdown. Moreover, you should also highlight some relevant future study opportunities so that the reader can get something from your dissertation.

6. Conclusion (7%)

Consider this your victory flag, providing a concise summary of your main conclusions and restating the response to your research questions. Make a lasting impression on your readers by highlighting the significance of your study to the area. For this purpose, your word count for this last chapter should be 5600 words.

How Do You Divide Word Count in a Dissertation?

According to the University of Wolverhampton, if you are working on your original research project, then your dissertation word count may reside between 8000 to 10,000. However, this word limits breakdown should be something like this:

  • Introduction (about 800 to 1,000 words)
  • Review of existing research (around 1,200 to 2,000 words)
  • Explanation of how you did your research (roughly 1,500 to 2,000 words)
  • The research you conducted yourself (about 800 to 1,000 words)
  • Analysing the data you gathered (approximately 2,000 to 2,200 words)
  • Sharing what you found in your research (around 1,000 to 1,200 words)
  • Wrapping up your project (about 800 to 1,000 words)

What is Included in the Word Count for Dissertation?

According to Staffordshire University, generally, a dissertation word count includes all the text you write inside the dissertation body starting from the introduction to the conclusion. The title, headings and subheadings also count in the total words. 

Furthermore, all the terms that make up the listing titles of the tables, images, and boxes are all included; however, the actual figures, tables, or boxes are excluded. Quotes and in-text citations also become a part of your dissertation or thesis word count.

According to the University of Essex, your dissertation word count does not include initial pages like title, table of contents, list of figures and tables, abstract, acknowledgement and the bibliography and footnotes.

How Should a Dissertation be Structured?

Your dissertation consists of many chapters along with some decorating for the initial and ending pages. So, their proper arrangement and formatting are crucial and you should follow the guidelines of your institute. However, the following is the basic structure of your dissertation:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Introduction
  5. Literature Review
  6. Methodology
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusion
  10. References
  11. Appendices

How Do You Increase Word Count in a Dissertation?

There are many ways to increase your dissertation word count. But you should always use the right approach to do so. The following are the 5 best techniques to increase the length of your paper:

  • Doing more and more research and finding the most relevant data to your topic.
  • Find more related examples and add them to support your arguments.
  • Discussing your topic from different angles and also adding the counterarguments.
  • Get help from various writing tools to add more lines to your writing.
  • Working with professional dissertation writers, as they assist you throughout this writing journey and help you increase the total word count to its limit.

Do Subheadings Count in Word Count?

Yes, all the headings and subheadings that come under your dissertation text body are counted in its total word limit.

Does the Dissertation Word Count Include a Bibliography?

Not at all! In any academic writing, the references are always considered an extra part of the whole process. A reference list or bibliography is always added at the end of a research paper and is not a part of the dissertation word count.

Does a dissertation have to be 10000 words?

The word count requirement for a dissertation can vary depending on your academic institution and the specific guidelines of your program. While some dissertations may indeed need to be around 10,000 words or more, others might have different requirements. It’s essential to check with your advisor or department to determine the exact word count expectations for your dissertation.

How Many Words Should a Dissertation Title Be?

According to Walden University, although there is no specific word limit to create a title, it is said that it should be between 12 and 15 words. However, they always ask students to write their titles in a very concise and focused way so that they don’t lose the real essence. Your title should clarify your research question or the topic of study in a very clear way.


We all know how difficult and demanding it is to write a perfect dissertation. The major issue that students face is the dissertation word count weightage. By following this guidance while keeping a positive mindset, you will be all ready to face such challenges of word count and turn your dissertation into a masterpiece! It will give you confidence as well to do your quality research and communicate everything easily while staying within the limits. 

Keep in mind that your communication matters more than the number of words you write. So, students facing issues with such tasks often seek guidance from dissertation writing services. Their well-experienced and highly educated staffs help students to work according to their institute’s guidelines and ensures their success.

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