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A Doctoral Dissertations is Difficult to Write!

Did you know that the majority of doctoral students do not finish their doctoral programs?  Furthermore, a large number of those who finish take a very long time, sometimes up to ten years.  Many doctoral students simply walk away instead of writing the dissertation.  And what is the reason? Yes— a doctoral dissertation is difficult to write 

The doctoral dissertation is one of the most unique and challenging projects in all of academia.  Here are the facts on the attrition and completion rates for the doctorate.

  • For almost all doctoral students worldwide, the biggest obstacle to earning the doctorate is writing the dissertation.
  • About 50% of the individuals worldwide who start a doctoral program never finish.
  • Dissertation writing is one of the most challenging processes any individual may ever face in his or her lifetime.
  • Even the most talented doctoral students find that they are often under-prepared for the rigorous demands required to complete their dissertations.
  • For most doctoral students, completing the academic course work is usually not the problem. Their biggest challenge is the dissertation writing process.
  • Although they have the academic ability to succeed, less than 25% of doctoral students finish the doctorate in 5 years; 45% finish in 7.
  • Overall, attrition in U.S. doctoral degree programs is about 45%.; while in Canada, about 70% finish in 7 years.
  • In the US, attrition is highest in the humanities, only 12% complete within five years.
  • Within 10 years, the completion rate for engineering is 64%, life sciences (63%), social sciences (56%), math and physical sciences (55%) and humanities, (49%).