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I am currently doing my MS thesis and I have to include an appendix to describe a mathematical subject. However, I added extra details in that appendix and it is now too long.

My Prof. suggests I better not include it "at all", or if necessary just make it shorter (though he admits that it is very well written and referenced).

Is it unusual to include a very long appendix in a thesis?

  • My thesis is now 150 Pages; 20 pages are for that appendix.
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    This is probably not unusual, but extrapolating from my own behavior: the longer it is the less likely i read it (it is an appendix after all ..) – CrepusculeWithNellie Mar 1 '16 at 21:24
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    The only part of your situation that seems odd to me is an advisor recommending you remove 20 pages of well written math. That I cannot understand. – Cliff AB Mar 1 '16 at 23:49
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    Just wait 'til you see a literature paper that includes a transcription ;-) If the source text is long enough, the appendix can be several times longer than the thesis/dissertation itself. But the big question is how necessary is it for people in the field to understand your work. He might think it's not necessary. If you really think it important, argue for it to go in the body (and maybe he'll settle for an appendix). – user0721090601 Mar 2 '16 at 0:38
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    20 pages appendix on a 150 page thesis is not long at all. 150 page appendix on a 20 page thesis, now that would be long. That's the ratio I've seen for some scientific proposals, where the format of the core proposal is so rigid that essentially all scientific information is in the appendices. – gerrit Mar 2 '16 at 11:03
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This does not sound unusual to me. Just ask yourself, is there a possibility that the reader would need this?

I have seen theses and dissertations with no appendices and some with over 50 pages of appendices. In my field, these are often filled with user study materials, source code, or raw data which can easily eat up many pages.

I don't see any harm done with being conservative and including everything. In this case, I have seen people list two versions of their thesis online, one with and one without the appendices.

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  • Agreed: 20 pages on a 150 page thesis is quite a reasonable size. – jakebeal Mar 1 '16 at 19:59
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From my knowledge, it is unusual, but you are missing the most important question: is everything you put there absolutely needed for any other person to understand the value of your work?And does removing any part of it decrease the value of your thesis? Try to see your thesis as an impartial, but knowledgeable person. If you answer these two questions, you will know what do do!

Edit: The number of pages of your appendix compared to your thesis is not much important. But I would like to let you know that my MSc thesis has 200 pages of which 50-60 are from several appendix

I hope I have helped you! Thanks, KingBaboon

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