Thesis vs. Dissertation – A Definitive Guide

thesis vs. dissertation:

If you are considering graduate studies, you likely wonder what exactly the difference is between a thesis vs. dissertation. There is nothing wrong with thinking ahead. There are fundamental differences between the two terms. However, they are sometimes used interchangeably in some countries and often confused. Both papers are structurally similar, as they contain an introduction, literature review, results, discussion, conclusion, bibliography and sometimes appendix. Let’s further analyze the definition of each and the differences between the two.

thesis vs dissertationBasic differences; thesis vs. dissertation

The main difference between a thesis and a dissertation comes from the time of completion. A thesis marks the end of a master’s program, while a dissertation is written during PhD program. Both are somehow different in their purpose, as well. A thesis is a compilation of research that proves you are knowledgeable about the information learn throughout your graduate program. A dissertation is your contribution during a PhD program to new knowledge, theories or practices to your field. The purpose of a dissertation is to come up with an entirely new concept, develop it and defend its values and outcomes.

thesis vs dissertationStructural differences; thesis vs. dissertation

A master’s thesis is kind of similar to research papers you may have read during your undergrad. A topic is investigated, analyzed and discussed. The purpose of the thesis is to demonstrate your ability to think critically about a topic and to knowledgeably discuss the most recent information in-depth. In addition, a thesis opens up a venue to expand a subject relevant to a specialty area you wish to pursue professionally. In a dissertation, you utilize others’ research merely as guidance in coming up with and proving your own unique hypothesis, theory or concept.

When you are writing a thesis, you have to make sure that you include the hypothesis, which must be a new one, and your thesis should discuss the research that you have conducted. In case you are writing a dissertation, you have to ensure that you have a deep knowledge of the latest discoveries. Basically, you have to infer new conclusions on what you have read and evaluated.

Another major difference in the length of the two works. A master’s thesis should be at least 100 pages in length, likely a bit beyond that. However, a doctoral dissertation is normally much longer, because they involve a great deal of background, literature review, and research information, along with every detail of your proposal. A dissertation is very complex work. A dissertation will likely be two or three times the length of a thesis. You will receive guidance from a faculty member who will serve as your dissertation adviser. This adviser will point you in the right direction, can assist in finding resources and ensure that your research proposal is on the right track.

In short:

1. A thesis is submitted at the end of a master’s degree while a dissertation is submitted at the end of a PhD program.

2. For a thesis, you need to conduct original research, while for a dissertation you need to synthesize already existing literature.

3. Thesis analysis is added to the already existing literature, while dissertation is an analysis of the existing literature.

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By Bizhan Romani

Dr. Bizhan Romani has a PhD in medical virology. When it comes to writing an article about science and research, he is one of our best writers. He is also an expert in blogging about writing styles, proofreading methods, and literature.

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