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On the assumption that even if a school allows you to submit a 70 page sample they are extremely unlikely to read it all, I would say the following: if there is a ~15-20 page chunk of the thesis that you could point to as the body of the work, which presents at least one main argument and supports it more-or-less independently of the rest of the paper (that is, a stand-alone part), submit the thesis and point out which part the adcom should concentrate on. Otherwise, submit another paper which is of a more reasonable length.

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If schools don't specify length requirements, then about how long do you think it should be? I have a 70 page thesis document, and I don't know if I should include part of it or just submit another research paper.

And you can also ask graduate coordinators to be sure. For example, I have a 24 pages long writing sample. On one school's website I read that a sample for this school must be 15-20 pages long. I decided to inquire if 24 pages would still be fine. They replied - yes! :)

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I asked one of the departments I applying to, and their advice was the comm can always stop reading where there is too much, but they can't make up what there isn't. So his advice was in favor of longer samples. 20+ pages. He wanted to see that applicants can sustain an argument.

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