When it came to number of chapters, 604 theses had six, seven, or eight chapters; the seven-chapter thesis was the most common (n=229).
There were 131 theses with five or fewer chapters (two chapters was the simplest thesis structure found) and 138 with ten or more chapters (20 chapters was the most complex).
We created our own protocol to ensure consistency of coding.
Pages were counted from the first Arabic numeral to the final substantive chapter page and before the bibliography/reference list and any appendices.
Over our 10-year period the basic requirements for a Ph D or named doctorate have remained the same.
For Ph Ds, the maximum word length (including the front matter, bibliography/references and any appendices) is 100,000 words (60,000 words if it includes creative practice).
Although a few new doctoral theses are embargoed, there are usually six or seven new ones to scan through each week.
Just over three years ago I started keeping an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of how many pages there were in each thesis and the number of chapters.
As a postgraduate learning adviser one of my regular weekly routines has been to check our digital repository to see which new doctoral theses have been uploaded.
This reconnaissance is a nice way to see who has finished, who has been thanked in the acknowledgements, whether or not the thesis includes publications, and if I’m able to understand the abstract.