How to Create a Timeline for Writing Your Dissertation or Thesis

Dissertation Planning

Writing a dissertation, thesis, or capstone project is a major undertaking for graduate students around the world. When it’s time to write about all of your research, it can be overwhelming to say the least. You should create a timeline and a plan for how you are going to tackle the work on time so you don’t compromise quality or rush through it. Use these tips to create a solid timeline to complete your project you can rely on.

Start Your Dissertation ASAP

As soon as you can, start your dissertation. If you still have to conduct an experiment, it’s okay to write the other chapters that the experiment won’t change, such as your introduction and methodology chapters. You don’t want to put off this important academic document until last minute and potentially fail graduate school.  It is much better to start and finish early than to put it off.

Write These Chapters First

Most dissertations and theses have the same chapters, more or less:

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Literature Review
  4. Methodology
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Future Research/Conclusion

Fortunately, the Methodology and Literature review chapters are the easiest, so start writing them first to get them out of the way. The Methodology chapter is more or less the same across all dissertations, as you’ll need to know your research design, variables, and data sources. Do a quick search for other people’s dissertations to understand what is expected or speak with your university’s writing center.

Plan on Writing One Page an Hour

When you schedule in your calendar when you plan to write, you should plan on one page (or 250 words) taking you one hour to write. Use this as a guide to push yourself a little during writing sessions with accountability so you won’t slack off. It’s also a realistic number of words per hour that you can do. The writing of most dissertations should take somewhere between 40 and 80 hours to complete. Schedule this time after you’ve had time to gather research and conduct an experiment.

When you plan on how you’ll finish writing your dissertation, it takes away a lot of stress. Once you’ve written your dissertation, it may be time to look at professional dissertation editing services. This is especially true if you’re planning to publish it.