What is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation?

If you’re about to finish the graduate school and have heard about the extensive paper required for such a purpose, then you would likely be curious of the difference between a thesis and a dissertation, especially in the long-term perspective. It’s worth noting that there are a couple of distinct features to both of them, so it’s good you’re planning ahead. In fact, it’s imperative to not confuse both of the writing pieces as they are strictly similar in their structure, containing an introduction, the literary review, the body paragraphs, conclusion, as well as bibliography, and appendix. Aside from the similarities in terms of structure, there are lots of definite distinctions that should be examined when looking up what is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation.

Solid dissimilarities of Dissertation and Thesis

One of the most fundamental differences that students tend to confuse is the fact that a thesis and a dissertation have a different time of completion: while thesis usually functions as a project that finishes the master’s program, a dissertation occurs during the doctoral study or so-called Ph.D. The purpose and the requirements towards writing are also quite different: while a thesis aims to prove that you are knowledgeable of everything you have learned throughout the program, a dissertation gives you an opportunity to discover a new knowledge or practice conducted in the field. Simply speaking, a dissertation could talk about some undiscovered phenomenon, while a thesis analyzes the existing ones. These facts should be considered when explaining the difference between a thesis and a dissertation.

Structural differences of a Dissertation and Thesis

What’s really interesting is that the master’s thesis reminds of all the papers that are faced when completing the undergraduate degree: you basically pick a topic out of anything offered, then analyze it upon gathering the information, thus making the proper conclusion in the very end of the paper. The fundamental goal of the thesis is to educate you how to critically think of the topic you are researching while forcing you to discuss and draw conclusions in a thorough way and in depth. With the thesis, you have a lot of academic freedom in regards to which topic to pick and which themes to underline in the final piece of writing. The dissertation, as you may have noticed, goes in a little bit different direction: for instance, you basically utilize and analyze all of the available research in the sphere and come up with the unique and testable hypothesis, theory, or a relatively new concept. All of the needed information in the dissertation is given to you on the silver plate, while in the thesis, you basically research everything unmentioned by the professor that goes in depth.

Finally, however, there is a major difference in the length of each piece of writing as stated by the information from multiple sources. In the master’s thesis, you should be prepared to write at least a hundred pages of information, as well as some info that goes well beyond of what is required. The doctoral dissertation is much longer as it involves quite a considerable amount of background information as well as methods of analysis, thus it is an extremely complex and thorough work. A lot of times, the dissertation is two or three times the length of a thesis factually speaking. Not to forget to mention the fact that the responsible professor reserves a right to question every step of the process to contribute to a good outcome when it comes to dissertation; same can’t be said about the thesis. When doing all the thesis work, you basically exercise the advice given to you by the experts of the industry, yet is somehow responsible for delivering the work with your own methodology.

Still, the fundamental difference between a thesis and a dissertation is quite clear and should be considered by everyone who undergoes such an academic work.