Was it ever possible for anyone to finish writing a master thesis in 10 days? I've been struggling for a long time now to focus on my writing due to several personal problems and I'm running close to my deadline so I'm starting to freak out. I welcome any suggestions at this point.

  • 1
    Can you push your deadline to next semester? – HEITZ Nov 30 '16 at 22:43
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    I think that really depends on your field, how comprehensive the exact subject of your thesis is, how knowledgeable you are and how well skilled you are in academic writing. I wrote mine in a little over 25 hours in total, but this excludes reading literature and the time required for doing experiments. – pbond Nov 30 '16 at 23:41
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    What @pbond said with the additional question of what the requirements of the actual thesis are. – Dave Kanter Dec 1 '16 at 0:44
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    I hope you are holed up somewhere working hard on your draft, instead of reading this comment. But if you are reading this comment, go get started! Promise yourself a little reward after a good day's work. After a few days, when you are really on a roll, THEN you may contact someone official to ask for an extension. – aparente001 Dec 1 '16 at 2:18

If by "writing" you mean to do the research/experiments/studying and then write the thesis then no.

If by "writing" you mean transforming your well organized notes into one document, then yes, maybe if you have great discipline.

If by "writing" you mean to start to write-up from not-so well organized notes, then most probably not.

If you want to try to make it, stop hanging around on the internet and start working.

  • 2
    This made me laugh, which was much needed. – NZKshatriya Dec 1 '16 at 1:28
  • Concise yet precise. – Ébe Isaac Dec 1 '16 at 4:05
  • Great last sentence. – Pere Dec 22 '16 at 19:51

It can be done, but I would be dubious of the quality. That said, I can't recall a Master's thesis that set the world on fire, so I suppose quality is a poor metric.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Make sure you've got all the material you need to write because that's what you need to do -- write. Find a nest and keep all the distractions out.
  2. Set minimum targets for your writing. Then, meet and exceed it. I suggest setting targets that allow you to finish writing in eight days, not 10. This gives you some padding in case life gets in the way. To be clear, there are 192 hours in eight days. Allowing for a 12-hour work day, then you need to write 15,000 words in 96 hours or about 156 words an hour. Set a target of 400 words an hour.
  3. Make sure you have time to edit your work.

Good luck to you.


Yes. You can write it in 10 days though the result won't be good. Make sure you write 1000 to 1500 words a day. So, rather than starting to freak out, you can start writing now


If it's an MFA thesis (average length: 2-3 pages) yes. If it's a science one where you're reporting on results and my impression is that the length isn't too terribly long, maybe. If it's a humanities one that's in the 100-150 page range, it's unlikely (I've written 10-15 pages in a day before, but I doubt I can keep that pace up for ten pages).

You should look into extending into next semester, even if it's just shooting off a quick email while continuing to work. If you have had a large number of personal problems that have negatively affected your ability to complete your school work (and are in the US, not sure how it would apply elsewhere), you should (a) speak with the counseling center on campus and (b) consider a withdrawal under extenuating circumstances (typically called a medical withdrawal, but at least at my school they are allowed for other reasons). If there's no penalty at all for extending into next semester, (b) might not even be necessary — it's super common for both master's and PhD students to miss their expected graduation date by a semester or two because of the thesis/dissertation.

But if you're running up against a hard time limit, the withdrawal would gain you an extra semester. If withdrawal isn't an option, at many schools you can also (c) petition the university to waive the time limit given your circumstances. I don't think I've ever really heard of those petitions being denied if the reason is even halfway reasonable.

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