Thesis vs Dissertation – Difference & Similarities

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Most people are not aware of the differences between a doctoral thesis and a dissertation. To others, the two disciplines are one and the same thing. This is because a dissertation or a thesis is a document that is submitted to support a candidate for a professional qualification or an academic degree in relation to an individual`s research findings. In often cases, a dissertation is used to denote a treatise without obtaining an academic award such as a degree. University and college students in most cases have great ideas about their social life as well as the subjects that they will pursue. However, their dreams are sometimes accompanied by a vague and unclear notion of how their curriculum will look like. Whereas some students are not interested in how they will finish their education, there is another group of scholars who would like to be familiar with what awaits them as they strive to climb the academic ladder. Although it is difficult to know from the start which student will write what, one thing that is crystal clear is that both a dissertation and thesis paper are final research in a student`s major.

If you are contemplating enrolling into a graduate school, you may have heard that you are required to write a comprehensive paper before you can graduate. As a result, you may find yourself confused about what are the differences between a dissertation and a doctoral thesis. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they have significant differences. The main difference between a thesis and a dissertation is seen after they are completed. Whereas a thesis marks the completion of a master’s program, a dissertation, on the other hand, ensues during a doctoral study. The two also differ in purpose in that a thesis demonstrates an individual`s proficiency on the information they have learned all through a graduate program. A dissertation, on the other hand, provides an individual with an opportunity of contributing new practices, theories, or concepts into the field of their interest.

The roots of contrast between a dissertation and a thesis

In this article, we shall begin our discussion on the differences between a dissertation and thesis by defining the two terms. A dissertation can be defined as an official long essay that focuses on a particular subject, which is written for a diploma or a university degree. A thesis, on the other hand, is a long essay that involves personal research written by a student. It is easy for a student to get confused between the two terms and not be able to tell the difference. Students should be careful not to confuse the definition of a thesis or a dissertation with that of an essay. That is why it is important to have a good understanding of something by looking beyond shallow meanings in the dictionaries. One clear thing is, with a thesis or dissertation; an individual should demonstrate their competences in their field of study. As a result, the paper should be complex and have a more detailed explanation than the essays, which you wrote in high school. To be more professional, the vision of your writing should be based on a strong foundation that is created by other scholars or authors who contributed to your field of study.

The basis of the dissertation and a thesis paper

A master’s thesis can be likened to the sort of research papers where a student is familiar with since undergraduate. You have to dig the roots of education from the surface if you want to go deep and get a substantial understanding of a particular topic. That is what is referred to as research. You can research to either get more information or a new understanding of a certain topic or use the new information acquired to understanding a concept that was hidden from other people`s awareness. The distinction on why individuals perform research is based on what brings out the differences between a thesis and a dissertation. The debate on the differences between the two disciplines is a bit intricate. This is because; the name of the final project in most cases fails to indicate whether the individual is a doctoral candidate, prospective masters, or an undergraduate. Instead, the characteristics of the academic paper regardless of the name is what defines a student`s academic degree. For that reason, when a bachelor-to-be writes a dissertation, it is considered smaller than a master`s degree theses. The vice versa is also true since when student pursuing a bachelor`s degree writes a thesis, it will be considered less significant than a master`s dissertation.

What it takes to pass a thesis and dissertation

Writing a dissertation or a thesis presents an individual with the opportunity of developing an idea of their interests; an opportunity which they have never had in their earlier studies. The good thing is that there is always a way of evading the torture that comes with writing a dissertation or a thesis. Students should realize that writing a dissertation or a thesis entails a complicated process and hence, it is important to settle on a topic that interests you regardless of how your colleagues will perceive you. Knowing how you will justify and thereafter develop your dissertation or thesis will make it possible for you to have a smooth process as you to finish your project. After all the years that you have studied, you should not encounter so many difficulties in writing a thesis or a dissertation. The following are some important things to consider before you can start writing your dissertation or thesis. Students should begin writing their papers as soon as possible since writing either of the two involves a lengthy process. You should not be frustrated in the event that your instructor returns your drafts full of corrections. Instead, you should take the feedback positively. Also, ensure that all the sources you use are correctly cited to evade from incidents of plagiarism. When doing a dissertation, as compared to a thesis, an individual is supposed to perform extensive work to develop their research.

The main differences between dissertation and theses

There are significant distinctions between a dissertation and thesis and as a result, each one of them requires a different kind of approach. There are also significant differences between the depth and the size of the papers. The following are some of the main differences between a thesis and a dissertation;

  1. The volume

As a student pursuing a bachelor`s or a master`s, your thesis should take approximately 40-60 pages for a bachelor`s program and 50-100 pages for a master`s program. A dissertation, on the other hand, is usually longer than a thesis and it comprises of approximately 10,000 to 50,000 words. In often cases, the board in charge of evaluating the dissertation are usually notified beforehand when the dissertation exceeds 100,000 words. The length of the paper for either a thesis or a dissertation is also determined by the discipline of study. For instance, science discipline studies different aspects of the world in an empirical way and hence, it has comparatively less number of words since there is significant use of graphs and formulas. Disciplines such as history and psychology, on the other hand, require more number of words that aim to provide a more detailed explanation on a certain topic. In essence, although a thesis is shorter than a dissertation in relation to the word count and the overall number of pages, it is also important to note that the lengths of the papers are determined by the discipline in which the topic is based.

  1. Content

There are no significant differences when it comes to the structure of the paper of a thesis and a dissertation. The content of the paper is mainly determined by the discipline or the career field an individual is pursuing. A dissertation and thesis at any academic level entail research reports that are used to assess an individual`s level of proficiency in a certain topic. However, there is a difference in the level of complexity between a thesis and a dissertation, which increases at every level. On bachelors and masters levels, a thesis in most cases is likened to a report, where the student is expected to provide a detailed explanation on what they have learnt about a certain subject. Also, the researcher is required to combine the information acquired from written literature with their understanding as well as a critical analysis of the subject matter. At Masters and doctoral level, the student`s final research should provide a combination of new knowledge in the discipline, which they are pursuing. Their work must explore something that has never been investigated before, or performed deeper research. Whereas providing new information on your research is not a requirement in every discipline, generally, it is. Generally, one thing that is clear when it comes to the difference between a dissertation and a thesis is that on a PhD level, an individual needs to make a new contribution and an academic paper cannot be regarded as a dissertation without a new set of information.

  1. Structure

There is no specified structure for writing a thesis or a dissertation. However, it is important to note that the structure may vary from one country to another as well as from one institution to another. Apparently, even professors from the same department and institution may require the students to write their thesis or dissertation using a different format. Before you can start writing your thesis or dissertation, you should first ensure that you comply with the rules and regulations of the institution. In situations where there is no information in relation to the guidelines of the college or university, an individual may visit the institution’s library and go through the thesis or dissertation submitted by other graduates. Generally, a thesis contains three parts, which consists of the preliminary part, the text part, and finally, the reference. Other parts include; acknowledgement, dedication, tables of content, the abstract among many other elements. The text part entails the main element of a dissertation or a thesis. In the beginning, there is an introductory chapter, which provides a description of how the researcher is going to perform the research. It is also in the introduction where an individual describes the significance of the research. Essentially, the structure of a thesis and a dissertation are more or less the same.

Contrast between a dissertation and a thesis

In Europe, the difference between a dissertation and a thesis is significantly retained. Whereas a thesis focuses on a specific piece of research, which is performed to obtain a PhD, a dissertation, on the other hand, is a major part of the post-graduate research project. When it comes to the United States, a thesis is perceived differently from that of Europe. A dissertation is much longer than a thesis and hence, a thesis is regarded as a preliminary degree towards earning a doctorate. For an individual to earn a masters`, they have to first complete a thesis. A student writes a dissertation when they want to earn a doctorate. One common thing between dissertations a thesis is that you have to get a passing grade, which consists of a B or above, for you to be allowed to graduate.

Concluding remarks

There are many differences and similarities between a thesis and a dissertation. They are both required for an individual to proceed from one academic level to another. In other words, the two means closing a long and tiring chapter of an individual`s academic chapter. In this article, we have provided a detailed comparison between a thesis and dissertation in relation to the volume, structure, and content. As you enrol for either your masters or PhD, you should have it in mind that writing a thesis or dissertation could be the hardest thing that you will ever do. However, developing a positive mindset will aid you to overcome most of the challenges. It is also important to remember that you can always seek dissertation or thesis writing help from the most trustworthy company, Peachy Essay, whenever you feel like the writing process is too difficult for you. You can click here to see the services that are offered by this world-class writing service provider.