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Home Blog A Guide to Write Thesis and Dissertation Dissertation vs Thesis - Major Differences and Similarities

Dissertation vs Thesis - Major Differences and Similarities

Dissertation vs Thesis - Major Differences and Similarities

What are the things that make dissertation different from thesis? If you are planning to attend graduate school at the doctoral or master's level. Then it is quite common for you to come across the terms of dissertation vs thesis on school websites that outline the requirements of a particular program.

In order to get these advanced degrees, it is compulsory for all the students to complete their coursework by doing the necessary readings, research and project work. 

Other than the compulsory courses, most graduate degree programs require completion of advance research work, either a dissertation or a thesis.

Dissertation or thesis since many years of studying in order to graduate. Most people use these two terms interchangeably, it means that one term could substitute the other without changing the actual meaning.

However, there are a number of differences and similarities between a thesis and dissertation. And this is what we are going to talk about in this article.

1. Thesis and Dissertation?

A dissertation and thesis are both academic papers that primarily focuses on the student's field of study. Both papers focus on research and explore a particular topic in depth. 

A thesis is an important academic research paper required for master’s degree programs. You will have to do a lot of research to complete a thesis paper.

Want to learn more about thesis? For your assistance, we have curated a step by step guide on how to write a thesis.

A dissertation is another important form of assessment required for doctoral program degrees.

The objective of both papers is to bring out the theories, concepts and their practical implications acquired during the time period of a graduate student. Apart from the fact that it is a doctoral or master’s degrees.

1.1 What is a Thesis?

A thesis is an important academic research paper required for master’s degree programs. You will have to do a lot of research to complete a thesis paper.

In thesis, you have to conduct your research which has to be original.

Want to learn more about thesis? For your assistance, we have curated a step by step guide on how to write a thesis.

1.2 What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is another important form of assessment required for doctoral program degrees.

In this paper type, you are required to synthesize your collected information. Other than that, you can also include your own thoughts.

The objective of both papers is to bring out the theories, concepts and their practical implications acquired during the time period of a graduate student. Apart from the fact that it is a doctoral or master’s degrees.

2. Differences Between Dissertation and Thesis

The words dissertation and thesis are used interchangeably, leading to confusion about what each word actually means.

Despite the interchangeable use of these two terms, a thesis and a dissertation differ is so many ways. 

Below you can find 5 major differences between Thesis and Dissertation.

2.1 Country differences

Different countries follow a different structure for their education system. The definitions for academic terms are also different. This specifically stands for thesis vs dissertation concepts. It is more specifically different in the US and in Europe. 

In Europe:

  • It is important for a doctorate program holder to submit a thesis. 
  • On the other hand, dissertation is a research project that is required for a Master’s degree program. 

In the United States:

  • The definitions of thesis and dissertation are completely opposite to each other. 
  • Thesis is a research project that is compulsory for the program of a master’s degree. On the other hand, dissertation is compulsory for a doctoral degree. 
  • So, thesis will have the arguments from the existing research. While in dissertation, student will choose a topic has not been explored yet.

2.2 Type of Degree 

The thesis vs dissertation is what in the terms they are specifically used for. The dissertation is required to get the highest degree in different field of area.

While thesis is required to complete the master’s degree program. So students will have the second cycle qualification after that bachelor’s degree program by submitting their thesis. 

There are also some cases where a thesis or dissertation both are not required. As it completely depends on the type of degree and the institution from where the students are completing their degree. 

2.3 Data Collection

Another important difference between dissertation and thesis is the data collection process in which the students go through. Apart from the differences, keep in mind that the purpose of both papers is the same.

Master thesis and doctoral dissertation need research conducted in extensive way in order to prove that the students have gathered enough information on their field of study. 

As dissertation is the original or genuine research required for students to graduate from a doctoral or Phd degree program. 

In most cases, it uses primary data.

  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Interviews
  • Any other form of data collection used by student

The thesis does not require primary data, it solely rely on secondary data.

  • Articles
  • Books
  • Survey reports
  • Official statistics
  • Existing studies

2.4 Purpose of Study

The purpose behind each paper is different and perhaps it is the biggest difference between dissertation and thesis.

A thesis is the usage of secondary sources to elaborate to your professors that you have gathered enough information in the field of your interest. 

It starts with the preposition and analyzes of student to make a case for a point of view. 

Dissertation is entirely different from thesis. It is conducted in order to contribute to advance your field by discovering new knowledge which is based on your research. 

2.5 Project length

Length of the project is another important factor in differentiating dissertation and thesis. 

As dissertation is based on original research. It can be up to 400 pages. So you can consider it a book on a topic of your interest. 

As discussed above that thesis rely on secondary sources and does not involve an in-depth research. So its length is up to 100 pages. It is not a complete book but a subject. You can explore our step by step guide on how to write a thesis. 

2.6 Thesis Sample

Below you can find a sample of thesis that you can check to clearly understand each and every thing about thesis writing. However, we don't recommend you to copy the work.

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Thesis Sample

3. Similarities Between Dissertation and Thesis

The word Thesis and dissertation are used interchangeably, pointing out the fact that there are some similarities between them. 

3.1 Completing Dissertation or Thesis

Both thesis and dissertation require guidance to complete. This is the main reason why advisors or instructors are assigned to provide help to students in the whole process. 

So, thesis and dissertation are compulsory for students to graduate. Students who undertake these projects get a passing grade which is usually b or above. Because of the mentorship and the efforts that students put to complete their thesis or dissertation, they eventually get good grades. 

Both dissertation and thesis follow the same structure.

  • Introduction
  • Literary Review
  • Main body of the paper
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

Though the names are same in thesis and dissertation but the content may differ. 

3.2 Dissertation or Thesis Defence

After completing their thesis or dissertation. It is important for students to present them. There are universities which require students to present their project in oral presentation. It is also known as dissertation defense or thesis defense. 

It clearly means that the students will have to present and defend their work in front of a panel of professors, mentors, experts. Faculty member or members ask different questions and that you have to answer in your final paper and project’s defence. In the end, the professors will evaluate the project and will grade them. 

3.3 Dissertation Sample

If you are working on your dissertation paper. We highly recommend you to check our step by step guide on how to write a dissertation. It will really help you get started your paper.

Below you can find a sample of dissertation that you also check to clearly understand each and every thing about writing a dissertation. However, we don't recommend you to copy the work.

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Dissertation Sample

4. Comparison Chart: Dissertation vs Thesis

Now you know the difference between dissertation and thesis.

Following is the comparison chart that you can delve further to understand the similarities and differences between them.

Comparison Based on

Thesis 

Dissertation 

What is it?

Research that demonstrate the knowledge of candidate in the field of study

Addition to existing knowledge 

Function

Claiming a hypotheses

Describing a hypotheses

Part of 

Graduate/Master’s Degree Program

Doctorate Degree Program

Objective 

To test the understanding and knowledge 

To test the ability of conducting an independent research 

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It will be useful for you look at a number of samples to clearly understand before getting started. You can find many examples on the internet that are written in the same way. But clearly you can find some differences between them. 

In addition to that, it is important to note that writing either a thesis or dissertation is quite a tough work. It needs skills, great ability in writing, patience and practice. 
Writing a thesis or dissertation requires a lot of hard work. So if it complicates you can order a great thesis or dissertation using our dissertation writing services. Don't forget to get help when you are selecting a graduate program. We will make sure that you find expert writers who know how to write a successful thesis or dissertation.

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