1. Mo says

    I could agree with you if the three months scheme where about writing a chapter. PhD candidates subject are different, for instance I am writing about middle east history and it is not possible to write the whole thesis in three months even if I spend 2 years in reading and collecting evidences from different archives! because each chapter has it different sources, books and documents!


  2. Ross says

    I am not ingenious or consider myself an extraordinary individual but I was given around 3 months time to complete my Thesis. Me along with 3 of my friends were from the same program, however 2 months we have spent on few clicks here and there finding some relevant ideas and info about our topic but originally when the deadline came very close we realized that it ain’t going to work the day we thought, and it took me around 24 days to complete it.

    According to my personal opinion, I do not believe the number of hours or months really matters to most students since either they are busy enjoying or engaged with jobs. Usually even if you start from the beginning but with relevant findings and devoting himself/herself can really come to great effort and should not take more than 3 weeks.

  3. Amna says

    Hi… i Have very short time ..research is difficult when we do not have time … i hope i ll complete in sha Allah .. by following

  4. Liz says

    I think 3 months for just the write-up might be reasonable, if you were able to dedicate at least 7 hours per day to it, but only for research in the sciences. In the humanities, which is my field, you need to start writing up very early and it is a process that continues throughout the whole research degree. This is because it is often through writing that you discover your own insights and ideas, and often in the humanities there is no ‘data’ and ‘field work’ or ‘lab work’ per se. What advice to you have to offer to humanities PhD students?
    What about part-time students? Do you think 6 months is appropriate? Or does the distraction of doing other things interfere with the brain’s processing abilities, meaning it would therefore take longer than simply 2 x 3 months?
    Great blog with great insights, though :-)

  5. Regina says

    I’ve got about four months to go to finish my PhD. I started many moons ago but two babies in the middle will surely slow one down. Your site provides me with a lot of motivation for the final push through to the end. Thanks for taking the time to help others during this (potentially) challenging time.

    • Ranjana Sinha says

      dear James,
      It’s really a excellent guidelines…!!!! Thanks a lot…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Sailee says


    great post!
    is this 3 months to write a thesis for how long a duration?
    I mean I had 3 months for my Masters dissertation, and now I have 15 days left to do the write up, however I have researched and done some of the work. Any tips for this situation? I need a minimum of 15000 words done.
    Also the 500 words per day grid pdf file link you have for download does not work! :( Could you correct this?

  7. tatiana vastilovia says

    thanks a ton james…this is indeed helpful *sigh* i got a thesis which i gt to submit in 4 mnths n havent strt it yet :/ really tensed..i hate d criteria of our uni…anyway keeping this on mind…yes it shall work :D thanks again

  8. Sarisha says

    I’ve been working on my MSc thesis since 2010, I was supposed to be done by last year but due my brilliant procrastination and disorganization skills I’m still writing it and now working full time. All the data has been collected and *almost* processed, I just need to finish the analysis and write it all up. It’s on my mind constantly and I feel like failure because I haven’t finished and I’ve received so much support from my thesis adviser…how do I get unstuck?

  9. Jo says

    Thanks for putting this up here. It’s good to know I’m not alone!
    I’m currently writing my MSc, and had to ditch the research I’d done from Sept-May as a panel of supervisors decided it was too ambitious. I’ve had to basically start from scratch, and I aim for 500 words a day as a minimum also. I get really panicky some days, and I work afternoons so I don’t have the luxury of time. I’ve got 15000 words to write by the end of September. Not impossible, but still a fair whack – not to mention editing the full 30000 words by then too. Good luck to anyone else in the same situation!

  10. Julie says

    Thank you for great tips James. I was wondering if these 3 months cover just the writing phase or the research itself as well. Do you think if you have a good planning of what to do and know all the steps for your research, can a PhD thesis be done in a year with published papers. Yes, I am stuck!:( Need help…

    • jameshayton says

      3 months to write, having finished research. 1 year might be physically possible, but would be extremely rare… 2 years is definitely possible but exceptional.

  11. Zaiha says

    I’m doing my thesis right now and I also have tree months.
    Chrome Nanny has helped me a lot. So you can block websites
    that are distracting you like Facebook. And use internet
    only for writing purposes ;)

    • jameshayton says

      or use Freedom to block the web entirely. It’s not free (ironically), but very useful…

  12. shila says

    hi James, very good tips.

    James, I have only four months and 15 days to finish up everything.

    My problems are, I suffer chronic multilevel slipdisc (I have to rest many times, I am experiencing pain during sitting when studying. and another one I am not masters yet in statistics. My thesis is quantitative.

    What are your advice.

    Thanks very much.


  13. tulis says

    I think i’m in those procrastination kind of student .I have every single bad attitudes that u mentioned in your videos and I need to submit my phd thesis july 2012. This 3 monththesis tips really help me. Thanks James.

    • jameshayton says

      I’ve never tried it… writing services might get you through undergraduate reports, but for a PhD or masters degree where you have to defend your writing it doesn’t seem like a good idea.

  14. Anonymous says

    What is this bullshit? I need to write thesis in 3 days not in 3 months. And you actually believe what you have written here? Wow.