How long does it take to complete a dissertation? How long is this process? Why is the dissertation process so long?

Common questions asked of most colleges and universities, while many want to believe there is a standard or specific timeline that a dissertation can be completed. There are many variables that go into completing a dissertation. Consider life in terms of work, children, family, and the hiccups that come with life, this does not even count the time waiting for approvals or feedback. Most students would love to rush the process and believe everything can be done in a year, is that possible? Yes, anything is possible with time, hard work and accepting feedback.

Recently, in discussing dissertation progress with friends, many are frustrated with the long process. The waiting, the feedback, the challenges and have become frustrating to them. The reason for some frustration is unrealistic deadlines in terms of how long the dissertation process would be. A good rule of thumb is 12 months or more, everything depends upon the school, your time invested, dedication, quality of feedback, speed of feedback, progress and more. For some candidates everything goes great, the challenge comes in obtaining enough participants for the study. There are many variables that can increase the time it takes to complete a dissertation.

In previous blogs, there has been written about accepting feedback and this is a challenge for many students. It can get very tiring for individuals to have to rewrite the same paper over, and over again. In my own situation, I spent six months working on the same six pages. How many revisions did I make? Lost count, personally my goal was not about how many, just creating a solid dissertation topic that would get approved allowing me to continue my dissertation journey.

For this month’s blog, my recommendation and suggestion to anyone in a doctoral program or intending on going for their doctorate degree, be sure you are patient. Completing a dissertation is a destination that begins a new journey. Getting a dissertation done requires patience, listening to your dissertation chair, your committee, and the review board. The journey will be worth it in the long run, having patience is important and a message I attempt to convey to anyone considering entering a doctoral program. As for setting goals and timelines, me? I set no timelines to finish the journey. Why? Realistic expectations and goals are important, life does happen and that can delay the time to work on a dissertation.

How long will it take to complete a dissertation? There are general rules colleges give, just do not set expectations unrealistically, be realistic. Remember a doctorate degree is the highest education one can receive, there are high expectations for a dissertation, patience is important.

In the end, the journey will be worth it. Don’t give up….stay focused….the timeline will take care of itself. Happy studying!!