The faculty in which I write my thesis demands students to write 60 pages (+/- 10%).

This, however, is contrary to all the guidelines about academic writing online (see e.g. Writing tips for PhD students by John H. Cochrane). This guide (and many others) give recommendations typically along the line of (be brief, be concise, come to the point, nobody cares about xyz, only review literature which is directly related to your topic).

I can't really see how I would ever reach 60 pages while being concise. The topic my thesis is centered on is still, from a research point, in its infancy. There are three studies at max that are directly related to what I am trying to replicate.

If I want to write more pages I really would have to expand and also look at studies which fall under the same subject but do something completely different in terms of their methodology.

Has anyone faced similar issues in the past? I feel like I am making my thesis much worse by balooning all these irrelevant stuff into it but if I don't do it, I write 30 pages at max. (2 p. introduction, 2 p. literature, 2 p. discussion and results, 24 pages on methodology)

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    The tags seem to indicate that you are writing a Master's thesis, but in the second paragraph you are referring to a guideline about PhD theses. Could you clarify which kind of thesis you are writing? Apart from this, which field are you in? And what does your advisor say regarding this matter? Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 11:32
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    Can you also clarify what field you're in, as that may make a difference to expectations. I can't imagine how even a masters project could present all its results and discussion in two pages unless something had gone very wrong somewhere! Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 12:35
  • @JochenGlueck it is a masters thesis. The writing guidelines above were handed out by my faculty. Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 13:12
  • @Stephen McMahon - I'm writing in finance/economics. I'm expanding on a paper that has been recently published and is one of the very few papers who quantifies a recent phenomena. Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 13:12
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    The quoted guidelines are not about a dissertation, but about writing journal article. A master's dissertation is not a journal article. Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


Be as concise as you can but don't sacrifice understandability to it.

Here are some strategies that you can use to write more pages without being unnecessarily verbose:

  • Put yourself into the shoes of someone who hasn't worked on the topic for months. Have you really included all the necessary background? Do your conclusions directly follow from your results without implicit context and assumptions?

  • Include illustrations where they help understanding. This breaks up the wall of text, making it easier to read. They can convey some information far more efficiently than text, although you will often still need text to go into the details (e.g. overview over a measurement setup).

  • Give your thesis more structure (e.g. your 24 pages of methodology shouldn't be one giant section). This helps to guide the readers, helps them understand where they are and lets them skip back and forth more easily. You can start each major section with a brief overview of what will be covered there.

  • Two pages for discussion and results seems very short. Include enough data here that the readers can judge the results for themselves and do not have to rely on your interpretations. You are likely going to need result tables or plots here. Maybe you even need different representations, e.g. results grouped by different factors.

  • Give your thesis draft to one of your fellow students or someone else from your field. Ask them to note down things they had to look up, passages that are unclear, questions left open, conclusions that were hard to understand at first, ... Expand on those parts.

If you still end up with a version that is too short, talk to your supervisor. They may have requests on what to expand, or they may agree that the length is appropriate and make an exception.

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