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I am pretty confident that I will be getting answers pointing out that this is something too specific and should/will be decided by my university and that a general answer does not exist. But anyway, I just want to have an idea.

I was aiming at 120 pages of my upcoming marketing master's thesis but I thought that I could reduce it to 100 (pure text speaking of course as I am pretty sure that with references and appendices, it will be +120 though). So what is the average length of a master's thesis? Business and marketing field. As for what I've found online, the general consensus seems to be between 60 and 120 pages.

As for its literature review length, again, the general consensus seems to be between 20% and 40% of the overall thesis length, any personal experience with that? I was aiming at 50% but after doing some research, I am decreasing it to somewhere between 20% and 30%. However my instructor demanded it to be between 30% and 40%.

Thoughts?

  • That seems like a lot to me. I'ld say max 15,000 words similar to an article published in a marketing journal..... – Tim Jun 22 '16 at 3:51
  • You mean the thesis' length or the literature review? 15,000 is around 30 pages so that makes it 30% if I am planning at 100 pages of the thesis. – R. AS. Jun 22 '16 at 9:23
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    Your school should have prior master's theses available either online or in the library. Take a look at them, especially ones with the same advisor. What's acceptable at my school isn't going to be what's acceptable at yours, and what's acceptable to my advisor isn't necessarily going to fly with yours. – Kathy Jun 22 '16 at 13:59
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I found 5 theses related to my master's thesis topic on the Open Access Theses and Dissertations website. All of them were 120 pgs - 150 pages, although this was for engineering. The literature review was (appx) 30% of each thesis. My suggestion is to check the OATD website, find theses in your field and closely related to your topic to get a pretty general idea of the length and breadth of literature review.

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  • Will definitely check. The ones you've checked, were references/appendices part of the 120 - 150 pages? – R. AS. Jun 22 '16 at 9:22
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I think you pretty much answered your question yourself (as you expected). You seem to have a good idea of what the length of related theses is and you know that your university has the last word. 100 to 120 pages seems reasonable for your area.

If you really want to know you have to ask you advisor or former students who already wrote their thesis in a related subject.

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