How to Finish a Dissertation as Quickly as Humanly Possible

Feel free to read this entire article. In fact, please do. It has a lot of useful information about how long it typically takes to write a dissertation. If you’re here to just learn how to finish a dissertation as quickly as possible, here’s the short answer: hire a dissertation tutor ASAP! For real, read below to find out how hiring a dissertation tutor will help speed up the process for you, instantly.

Why You’re Here

So you’re probably either running out of time writing a dissertation, getting frustrated at how long it’s taking to finish, or you’re in the very beginning stages (maybe even thinking about writing a dissertation?) and wondering how to finish a dissertation as quickly as possible. For starters, don’t worry. Those feelings are completely normal. There’s no such thing as get rich quick scheme, and just like moms tell it, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” and that’s because writing a dissertation is typically time-consuming and not easy. If it was easy and quick, everyone would write a dissertation! There’s usually no quick, easy, and cheap way to finish a dissertation. Like the old saying goes, “You can’t have all three, but you certainly can pick two: quick, cheap, or easy”. We say “usually” because money can by anything, well almost anything. And when it comes to dissertation tutoring, coaching, writing services, etc. you can pay for help to speed along your dissertation process and to make it as painless as possible; with an emphasis on “as possible” because there will still be some pain/effort involved.

Writing a Dissertation By Yourself (Bad Idea)

If you’re planning on working on your dissertation all by yourself with no outside help, it will take a lot longer than if you utilize help from a coach, tutor, professor, or mentor. That seams pretty obvious, right? Well let’s look at the scenario in which someone attempts to finish their entire dissertation from start to complete with just the help of their professor. Your professor will help guide you along the way, but she or he is not going to spoon feed you ideas, especially in the beginning. And in most doctoral graduate’s opinions, the beginning is one of, if not the, most difficult part of writing a dissertation. Why? Because it feels as if you’re pulling ideas from thin air. There is definitely a strategy and roadmap that you can read or your professor can suggest, like reading other literature, but do you know how long that takes? Weeks and weeks, but more likely months and months or just reading scholarly articles every single day; constantly narrowing down the topics that you find most interesting, all while looking for research that has never been done before so that you can add a significant contribution to the library of literature out there. Since that’s the purpose of a dissertation and research, right?

Once you’ve gotten past the months and months of just reading other articles to come up with the actual topic that you want to study, now you have to narrow down the independent and dependent variables that you want to study and formulate your hypotheses. And when we say hypotheses, it’s because you’ll probably be required to write multiple hypotheses. It’s not uncommon for most dissertation to have between 5 and 10 different hypotheses. After all, wouldn’t it be such a shame to have spent months upon months (but more likely years) writing a 100-200 page dissertation and researching a new topic, only to have just one hypothesis that isn’t even conclusive or significantly significant? So while only having a single hypothesis seems easier, your professor will probably never allow for that and you probably don’t want to take that risk anyway. If you have 6 or 8 hypotheses, you’ll more than likely have a few that are actually statistically significant, making your dissertation committee more excited to let you pass your oral defense and achieve your doctorate degree.

Once your hypotheses are formulated, then it’s completing all the other sections of the dissertation. These can be done at your own pace, but for the sake of this conversation let’s focus on what a realistic timeframe for completing a dissertation if you were to work as quickly and as hard as possible. Expect the literature review to take several months. Sure, you can write it in a week. But your professor will just hand it back to you asking you for revisions. The same goes for all the other sections, except for the data collection, which often times (unless you are writing a meta analysis) requires you to wait on the response times of your subjects if you’re administering a survey. If you’re conducting a full blown experiment with live subjects in a room, then you may be able to collect that data more quickly, but the setup involved in acquiring those subjects is a pretty lengthy process and the process to get approval from your university to allow you to conduct the study will take quite some time. If you can get away with simply administering a survey you’ll save quite a bit of time.

No matter how you slice it, collecting the data will take at least several months. At this point you’re basically halfway through your dissertation and more than likely it has been about 3-6 months since you first started working on your dissertation paper. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel now, right? Not so fast! There’s still the data analysis (aka number crunching) and unless you were a whiz in your Statistics class(es) then this is the one section that most students ask for help, and we also highly recommend utilizing help for this section. If all of your data is properly organized in a nice program on the computer, the fastest we’ve seen anyone get through the analysis section is a few weeks, but don’t count on that. Also, that time only includes the actual computing of the data, not writing it down into APA or MLA format into your dissertation paper. That part will take another several weeks at the absolute fastest.

Once your data analysis is complete, you will need to describe your findings and talk about any conclusions (e.g., the Discussion section) and explain how future research can benefit from your findings and also opportunities for future research. This is the tail end of your dissertation and hopefully you can see the light at the end of the tunnel at this point. But wait! Are you a perfect speller? Well, hopefully with all the spell-checkers out there today that shouldn’t even be an issue. But do you know how horrible most programs like Microsoft Word are at catching incorrect grammar? Especially if it needs to be formatted in APA or MLA format for a dissertation.

Just when we see most students doing a backflip in joy for almost being done with their dissertation, the dreaded grammar and spelling revisions start pouring in from their professor. This is another part of dissertation writing that we high, highly recommend getting outside help so that another set of eyes can check your work. It’s really easy to miss improper grammar when you’ve looked at it hundreds of times. Please, for your own sake, hire a proofreader for your dissertation at this stage. Your future self will be thanking you tremendously.

How Much Time Has Passed?

So how much time has passed at this point? Realistically, if you went through this entire process alone and worked on your dissertation everyday (which we don’t recommend because you’ll burn yourself out), it has probably been about 5-7 months at this point. Here are two major problems with the timing of finishing a dissertation as quickly as possible: (1) You can’t work on it everyday or you’ll burn yourself out and (2) summer/winter breaks means schools shut down during these times, so you can’t get any feedback from your professor or dissertation committee. We recommend using summer and winter to collect data, which means getting approved for data collection prior to summer/winter breaks. So even if you could theoretic complete all the aspects of a dissertation mentioned above in 5-7 months, there is no doctoral program we’ve heard of that offers availability to a professor that many months consecutively. Most schools have a summer and winter break and even if they offer summer classes, most professors don’t take on dissertation students during those breaks. This leads to the point that the summer/winter breaks will extend your dissertation into the next semester or trimester, which is totally normal.

The Average Time to Finish a Dissertation

The average time to finish a dissertation is 3 semesters, which equates to one and a half years. There is a large range, however, from the absolute fastest that we’ve seen anyone finish a dissertation is within 2 semesters (one year) to 5 years.

All of this is predicated on writing a dissertation all by yourself with no other help other than your professor. Once you add to the mix a source of external help like a dissertation tutor or coach or mentor, you can speed things up quite significantly. But we don’t want to be unrealistic, you can’t start and finish a dissertation overnight, even with help. And you probably won’t even complete it from start to finish in just one semester, even with help. That’s because there’s a lot of outside variable at play; particularly your dissertation chair/advisor who will constantly be reading your dissertation along the way, giving you feedback at his/her leisure. The amount of time it takes for your dissertation chair/advisor to return edits is out of your control, and this is why it’s almost impossible to finish in just one semester. There’s also the committee that approves your data collection (unless you’re doing a meta-analysis). Anytime you need permission, approval, or feedback from another person at your university, there’s a X-factor involved that you can’t control, but you can certainly account for in your expectations. Don’t let these periods of waiting frustrate you by curbing your expectations. Also don’t waste these waiting periods when there’s future parts of your dissertation that you can be planning for in advance.

Fun fact: If you want to be technical, Oprah Winfrey has an honorary Ph.D. from multiple Universities after giving a speech at those respective Universities, but she never actually wrote a dissertation!

Motivational Words of Wisdom

Don’t worry if you are in year 3 or 4 or beyond, there’s still hope to finish your dissertation before your school’s deadline (typically 10 years from when you first started). And also don’t have unrealistic expectations. Don’t expect to finish a dissertation in just one semester, it’s probably not going to happen. Focus on each little hurdle one at a time and enjoy and celebrate those little wins.

How to Write a Dissertation as Quickly As Possible

Just like the subject heading above states, let’s get back to the main point: how can you write a dissertation as quickly as possible? The short answer: hire a dissertation tutor ASAP! So what does hiring a dissertation coach actually do to help speed up the process if we said it’s virtually impossible to finish in less than one semester? Well, it’ll help speed up the process no matter what. There’s several factors into why a dissertation takes longer to finish than others. (1) Your topic, (2) How much available time you have, and (3) How quick and available your dissertation chair/advisor/committee is. We can’t control #3, so that leaves us with #1 and #2. Hiring a dissertation coach (aka Us!) can help you determine a dissertation topic that will allow you to finish more quickly than other topics. Some topics require more time for a multitude of factors such a difficulty to access subjects/participants, amount of existing research, etc. Let us help you find a topic that will speed up the process. The other factor is your time.

If it takes a dissertation student on average 360 hours to complete a literature review (30 hours/week x 12 weeks) then it’ll take you roughly 3 months to complete this section alone. If you only have 15 hours/week to devote to the literature review section, then this section will take 6 months. However, if you hire a dissertation coach/tutor to help you with this section, you can still finish it in 3 months even with 15 hours/week of your available time. How? We can do a lot of the literature searches for you. We can even offer summaries of previous research so you don’t have to spend time reading every single article word for word. Let us do that work for you. We can also filter out irrelevant articles instead of doing that work yourself. Essentially you can outsource some of the basic work to a dissertation tutor/coach and save yourself time and also speed up the process.

So what are you waiting for? Hire a dissertation tutor today and save!