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How much time do I need to finish a dissertation?

How long is a piece of string? The amount of time you will need to finish your dissertation will depend on a great many things each of which can vary from student to student. Here are factors you will need to consider.

It goes without saying that if you are passionate about the topic of your dissertation then your ability to be enthusiastic about the task will be far greater than if you're tackling a subject you don't like or which you regard with lukewarm feelings. So if you're keen on that topic, better still if you have a prior background in studying it, then you should work faster and more efficiently.

It is vitally important that you deal with a supervisor who is fully in support of the choice of topic you have made. You want somebody who believes in what you believe in and is prepared to give you their total support. But therein lies a potential problem. If your supervisor is a very busy person, and most academics are, then finding a time which is mutually satisfactory could be a problem. Let's say for argument's sake that you run across a particular issue which is tricky and which is holding you back. One of the best ways to overcome that problem is to discuss it in detail with your supervisor. But if that person is not available or difficult to get a hold of because of their busy work schedule, then it could be a problem for you in delaying the finishing of your dissertation. Find a supervisor who is accessible. It’s also comforting knowing your supervisor is able to be reached fairly easily.

How good are you at writing?

This is a major influence on the length of time it takes to complete your task. You've chosen the topic and carried out the research material and produced an abundance of notes. Now comes the tricky part. You have to write the actual dissertation. Some people are naturally quick writers while others struggle.

You should explore the various possibilities of this task. For instance some people don't write their thesis they record it. That is to say they have their notes in front of them and a plan and from those notes and the plan they speak their thesis into a recording device. Then they can either type up the dictation themselves or get a professional to do it for them. But either way this will expedite the creation of your academic masterpiece.

Whichever method you use to notate your work, you will certainly need to edit it. In fact some people argue that writing is important but re-writing is more so. You can get a professional to give advice on this and certainly working closely with your supervisor will be of benefit as well. This is an essential task and it's really important that you must understand the expertise and skills required to edit well.