National Dissertation Day is observed on April 26 every year and serves as an annual reminder for students to get back on track and complete their dissertation. Each year in the U.S., only 50% of students who enroll in doctoral programs actually earn their doctoral degrees. That means 50,000 students are dropping out of doctoral programs because they are unable to finish their dissertations. On the flip side, individuals having doctoral degrees earn at least $20,000 more per year than those with their master’s degrees. A good return on investment!
History of National Dissertation Day
Dr. Russell Strickland, founder and CEO of Dissertation Done, initiated the idea of National Dissertation Day in 2018 to highlight the importance of completing your dissertation on time. Dr. Strickland identified the mercenary approach to completing one’s dissertation by highlighting the fact that, each year, the dissertation process costs students $40,000 or more, and that delaying it for two, three, or more years is irrational.
There are multiple research-based doctoral degrees awarded in different disciplines but what all of these degree programs have in common is the doctoral dissertation.
Dissertations, or alternatively, theses, have been an integral part of the doctoral program since ancient times. The term ‘thesis’ comes from Greek, meaning ‘something put forth.’ ‘Dissertation’ comes from the Latin ‘dissertātiō,’ meaning ‘discussion.’ Aristotle was the first one to define the term thesis as a supposition or a statement that may or may not be true depending on the evidence or proof.
National Dissertation Day timeline
The first doctoral degree is awarded in Paris in the mid-12th century.
The doctorate of philosophy is developed in Germany in the 17th century.
The modern research degree is first awarded in the U.S. at Yale University.
The first U.K. Ph.D. is issued by the University of Oxford.
National Dissertation Day FAQs
What is a dissertation vs a thesis?
The biggest difference between a thesis and a dissertation is the purpose. A thesis is usually required to obtain a master’s degree and it tests a student’s understanding of the field of study. A dissertation is usually done by a doctorate student and focuses on original research.
How much time does it take to write a dissertation?
It usually takes a typical doctoral student at least two to three years to complete their dissertation. However, it varies greatly.
How many pages is a dissertation?
An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words. A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words. A Ph.D. thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words.
How to Observe National Dissertation Day
Take the pledge
If you are a doctoral student then National Dissertation Day is a perfect opportunity to eliminate the bad habit of procrastinating and maintain your focus. On this day, take the pledge to finally get your dissertation done! You get support and motivation from the online community.
Help a doctoral student
If you know a struggling doctoral student, give them the motivation and push they need to develop a mindful attitude toward their dissertation so that they can graduate and make an impact on the world as soon as possible.
Spread the word
Take to social media and spread the word. Use the hashtag #NationalDissertationDay to share motivation and break the stigma around horror stories about dissertations. You never know how this small gesture may impact a struggling student to put them back on track.
5 Surprising Facts About Ph.D. Degrees
Less than 1% of population
Because of the commitment and dedication, less than 1% of the population attains a Ph.D.
Doctor of philosophy
The term ‘philosophy’ in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), means ‘love of wisdom’ from the original Greek word ‘philosphia.’
Approximately 50% of those who earn a traditional Ph.D. obtain faculty positions.
Not all fields offer a Ph.D.
Not all subject fields have a Ph.D. degree program.
Honorary doctorate degrees
Honorary doctorate degrees are granted to individuals by some universities to formally recognize and honor them for their contributions to their field.
Why National Dissertation Day is Important
It builds an online community
National Dissertation Day has fostered an online community of like-minded people that acts as a support group for struggling students and stands with them so that they know they're not alone.
It motivates students
The day acts as a reminder and motivates students to complete the pinnacle of their education by outlining the downfalls of delaying their graduation for two, three, or more years.
It breaks the stigma around dissertation horror stories
National Dissertation Day aims to separate fact from fiction regarding rumors about dissertation horror stories. It brings truth to the gossip through research-based and data-backed authentic dissertation experiences
National Dissertation Day dates