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Where Can I Get Help Writing My Thesis Online?
You’ve spent years preparing for your master’s degree or PhD. You’ve read, studied and spent hours of time and energy writing papers. Now you’ve arrived at the culmination of all this effort: writing your thesis. There are plenty of compelling stories about the time and energy that students have spent drafting their dissertations and theses.
The good news is that you’re not alone. While you certainly don’t want to hire someone to write your thesis for you, which goes against most institution policies and puts your academic integrity at risk, you can get plenty of help with certain aspects of your thesis online. Whether you’re looking for a little guidance or extensive assistance, various services can make writing or editing your thesis go smoothly.
One of the greatest challenges of writing your thesis can be juggling your family or job responsibilities with your studies. The time that writing takes can add another layer of obligation to your already-packed schedule. Dissertation Editor is a company whose founder is a PhD-educated writer and professor, and it promises to help you complete your thesis or dissertation on time and in compliance with your university’s rules and regulations.
Dissertation Editor’s primary function is to guide you along in the writing process and provide a helping hand in understanding everything you need to take care of. It places you with a writer who specializes in your area of study, and this individual can help you organize and analyze your research while making sure that your thesis fits your writing style and personality. This company also specializes in helping with any statistical analysis that you use in your thesis.
If you’re concerned about using a service to help you write your thesis because you think it’ll be obvious that you hired help, don’t worry. Thesis Helpers puts its team of experienced writers to work for you to help you craft a thesis that finishes your degree on a high note. No matter what level of help you need, from narrowing down a topic to advanced editing and proofreading, they’re available to help.
The writers have advanced degrees in their areas of expertise, and one of the best things about Thesis Helpers is that it gives you ultimate say in the final product of your thesis. This company can help you with revisions and additional research, and you can rest assured that your thesis will meet anti-plagiarism standards.
Sometimes when you’re writing a thesis or dissertation, you can get stuck on one section or chapter. You may not need assistance writing the whole thing, but getting some help with the exact portion you’re struggling with can come in handy. That’s one of the strengths of using Best Dissertation . You don’t have to rely on it for help with your entire thesis if it’s not what you need.
Like most of the top thesis-assistance services, Best Dissertation employs writers with advanced degrees who specialize in various fields of study. What truly sets this company apart is the live support that it offers any time of the day or night. It claims to take the stress and strain out of writing your dissertation or thesis.
While some companies place a premium on helping you get your thesis written, others emphasize the editing and proofreading process. If you don’t need help with writing but need a hand with proofreading and editing, Scribbr is a good option for you. Its editors can help you get a grasp on the grammar and tone that are appropriate for academic writing.
Scribbr doesn’t just provide boilerplate feedback that you can find anywhere. It offers personalized feedback aimed at helping you become a better writer in the long run. You can even see examples of how its editors work by looking at the company’s website.
My Assignment Help
Writing a thesis has its own challenges that other academic writing simply doesn’t, which is why the team at My Assignment Help offers its particular brand of expertise. If you need assistance with a dissertation or thesis at the PhD or master’s level, its writers have the level of education and experience to help you write an expertly crafted and edited thesis.
My Assignment Help prides itself on hiring subject matter experts, meaning you can pair up with a helper who already has an advanced degree in your field. They understand the nuances of academic writing that are specific to your area of study, and they can provide advice on everything from making your abstract more unique to crafting a thought-provoking conclusion.
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Thesis Vs. Dissertation — Know the difference and similarities!
The academic world is filled with many different types of writing assignments, each with its own unique set of requirements and expectations. One common source of confusion for students is the distinction between a thesis and a dissertation. Both are long-form academic works, but there are several key differences between the two that are important to understand.
In Shakespeare’s day, a candidate for a master’s degree would write a thesis, an original paper in which he maintained a certain proposition. Whereas, completion of a doctoral program required submission and defense of a dissertation. He would read his thesis to his committee, after which he sat in silence while two faculty members gave point-by-point refutations of everything the candidate said.
The focus here was on the student’s ideas and his ability to arrange and express them clearly. If a student wished to advance further in academia he could pursue a dissertation. This was more of a literature review . He would read widely in a particular area and write up his findings, discussing the various authorities and their opinions. The point was to demonstrate that he was well-versed in the literature of the field. While the confusion between the two terms is understandable, we shall tackle the dissertation vs. thesis topic in this article and provide unambiguous insights on it.
Table of Contents
What Is a Thesis?
A thesis is a critically written scholarly piece of research work. Typically, it is submitted by students graduating from a master’s program. The purpose of a thesis is to allow students to showcase their knowledge and expertise within the subject matter they have been studying as part of the program.
What Is a Dissertation?
A dissertation is a comparatively lengthier piece of scholarly writing that accounts for your research work throughout the doctoral program. A researcher earns the Ph.D. after submitting and defending his/her dissertation. It includes all information about the original research or expanded research on a new or existing topic conducted by the Ph.D. candidate.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: Differences
- The primary difference between a thesis and a dissertation is the time when they are completed. As mentioned earlier, a thesis is presented at the culmination of a master’s program, whereas, a dissertation is presented to earn a Ph.D.
- A thesis is a compilation of research ensuring that the researcher is well-informed and has knowledge about the research topic learned in the study program. On the other hand, a dissertation provides an opportunity for the researcher to contribute new theories and information to the existing literature in the research field.
- A thesis is a presentation of learned and existing information, while the purpose of a dissertation is to develop a unique concept and defend it based on theoretical and practical results.
- A master’s thesis is approximately 100 pages in length. However, a Ph.D. dissertation should be much longer than a thesis and must include background and research information. A dissertation must include your research proposal, grant proposal, literature review , ideation of research topic, and every other minute detail about your research. Ideally, a dissertation inclusive of all details mentioned above should be three times the length of a master’s thesis.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: Similarities
- Both a thesis and a dissertation are considered final projects and are required to graduate from respective programs.
- The thesis and dissertation both require a deep and accurate understanding of the research problem.
- Both forms of scholarly written pieces must address specific research questions.
- Academic writing skills are imperative for a thesis as well as a dissertation.
- Ethical practices must be followed while collating and documenting research data.
- Plagiarism is not accepted in either.
- Both require analytical skills to support the findings.
- It is essential that both undergo intense dissertation/ thesis editing and critical proofreading before final submission.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: Europe
In Europe, the original distinction between a thesis and a dissertation has been largely retained. A doctoral thesis is a focused piece of original research that is performed to obtain a Ph.D. A dissertation is part of a broader post-graduate research project.
However, the thesis has evolved since original research nowadays requires plenty of background research . So, a thesis will contain extensive citations and references to earlier work, although the focus remains on the original work that comes out of it.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: USA
In the United States, the definition of a thesis is almost the opposite of that in Europe. Because a thesis is shorter than a dissertation it gradually came to mean a preliminary degree on the way to a doctorate. A thesis is now performed to earn a Master’s degree. In scientific fields, a master’s candidate takes advanced coursework and gains hands-on experience in a research project but does not direct the project to the same extent that he would in a doctoral program. In a master’s project, the student’s ideas are welcomed and expected but the focus is on obtaining technical expertise, not doing original research. Engineering students commonly obtain Master’s degrees and seldom go on to get PhDs. In other fields such as Chemistry, the opposite is true, with a Master’s degree no longer being required as the first step for a doctorate. Almost everyone I know who received a Master’s degree in Chemistry got one because they dropped out of graduate school and wrote their truncated research as a Master’s project.
In a Nutshell
Needless to say, the dissertation vs. thesis facts are real. Therefore, using one term instead of another is not acceptable as an academic. One must remember the purpose of each and use them accordingly. However, one is not undermined by the other. Whether you are writing a thesis or a dissertation, both must be done with the same seriousness. Both require critical technical and soft skills. Improving your time management and academic writing skills plays a major role in acing both forms of scholarly writing.
How do you decipher dissertation vs. thesis? Should the interchanged usage of these terms be acceptable? How is your approach to writing a thesis different from that of a dissertation? What are the other differences associated with the thesis and dissertation? Let us know in the comments section below!
Frequently Asked Questions
"Dissertation" and "thesis" are used interchangeably but differ in: Academic Level: Thesis for master's, dissertation for doctoral degrees (US). Scope and Depth: Thesis shorter, demonstrates mastery; dissertation extensive, original research. Originality: Thesis may involve original analysis; dissertation presents significant new insights. Time and Effort: Dissertations require more resources and time than theses.
The length of a dissertation varies depending on factors like academic discipline, research topic, institution, and country. Generally, dissertations are longer than theses, ranging from 10,000 to over 100,000 words. However, word count alone does not reflect the quality or depth of the research. Guidelines from the academic institution should be consulted for specific requirements.
The length of a thesis varies depending on factors like academic discipline, research topic, institution, and country. Generally, the word count ranges from around 10,000 to 50,000 words. Specific guidelines from the academic institution should be consulted for precise requirements.
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Masters Thesis vs. PhD Dissertation: Key Differences
Whether you are a graduate student just starting out in academia or a professor advising a student, making the distinction between a dissertation and a thesis is critically important to writing a strong dissertation and becoming a stronger writer. Unfortunately, the difference remains unclear since the terms are used interchangeably by graduate students, doctoral researchers, academic publishers & universities.
If you’re not sure whether you’re writing a thesis or a dissertation, this article will help you understand the differences between the two whether you’re a PhD or master’s degree student.
Main Differences Between a Dissertation and a Thesis
While theses and dissertations share many similarities (they are both advanced graduate research papers), they actually refer to two different types of academic writing, and their differences include important concepts such as scope, purpose, length, and research requirements.
Most importantly, the difference between a thesis and a dissertation depends on the level of education. Far beyond being a simple essay, a thesis is for graduate students pursuing a master’s degree while a dissertation is written by doctoral students, also referred to as PhD candidates.
There are a few key differences between a thesis versus a dissertation.
The biggest difference between a thesis and a dissertation is that a thesis makes arguments based on existing research. Meanwhile, a dissertation often requires the PhD candidate to conduct research and then perform an analysis.
More specifically, a thesis often takes the form of a literature review , which is a compilation of research knowledge in a particular field of study that proves one is competent in that subject. On the other hand, a dissertation is a more specific type of research paper written by those working toward a specific doctorate degree that contributes knowledge, theory, or methods to a field of study.
What is a master’s thesis?
A master’s thesis is an academic research paper that requires a greater degree of research than an undergraduate thesis or term paper. It is marked by a higher standard of writing, and students are expected to demonstrate competence, literacy, and mastery of a subject. It usually takes two or three years to complete. Finally, a master’s degree thesis is usually written in order to obtain a research degree and is not intended to be published separately.
What is a PhD dissertation?
A PhD dissertation is a substantial piece of independent research that is required of all students who are pursuing a doctorate degree. It is a piece of original work that has not been published elsewhere and, most importantly, makes a new contribution to the field. This contribution may be a new way of thinking about an existing topic or even a novel theory. The research performed for a dissertation is usually conducted over a period of several years to half a decade.
Features of a Master’s Thesis vs PhD Dissertation
Content and structural differences.
So how is dissertation writing different from thesis writing?
Now that you know the definitions of a dissertation and thesis, let’s dive into some clear ways in which they differ in structure and other main characteristics.
How long is a thesis vs dissertation?
Length is the most obvious factor in differentiating between writing a thesis or dissertation.
Generally, a doctoral dissertation has greater breadth, depth, and intention than a master’s thesis since it is based on original research. While the standard length of a master’s thesis is around 100 pages , a doctoral dissertation can be upwards of 400-500 pages.
While most students can finish their PhD dissertation or thesis in as little as 1-2 years, it can take as long as 7 years depending on the school, program, and dissertation topic. As doctoral programs have their own formatting requirements, check with your school or university to find out what you need for your own dissertation or thesis. Most dissertations are organized into chapters, but the number of chapters varies as well.
Differences in research methods
A thesis and dissertation are both graduate-level research reports. This means they require students to investigate and report on a specific topic. But what is the difference in the scale of research between a master’s versus doctoral degree? The answer comes down to how much and what type of data you collect .
Data sources for a thesis vs dissertation
A master’s thesis is limited to secondary or reported knowledge . This knowledge has already been published, analyzed, and scrutinized in the literature. A thesis does not typically offer anything new in that regard. Your purpose is usually to write a comprehensive literature review on a novel or underreported topic using already-reported data.
On the other hand, a doctoral dissertation reports on novel data and is published so it can be scrutinized by others. It culminates in your dissertation defense.
The above lists clearly show that a PhD researcher and dissertation writer must have specific hands-on experience about not only the result of others’ research but also how the researchers obtained the data. A dissertation must venture into criticism of how other studies performed their experiments, whereas a master’s student will only report on and evaluate the results.
Differences in research scope
As mentioned above, a thesis is more of a literature review written to demonstrate competence and mastery of a field of study. In short, you are a reliable “reporter” of information related to that subject. A thesis shows that you know the technical jargon, understand the subject, are familiar with industry tools, and can translate that information to a general audience. This is why a master’s degree is sufficient and often preferred for industry jobs.
In contrast, a doctoral dissertation goes beyond simply using the building blocks of your subject and actually creates new tools, knowledge, and theories to advance the subject as a whole. If a master’s degree holder is like a seasoned Rolling Stone journalist, then a doctorate is the band/musician who actually makes the music.
So should you pursue a thesis or a dissertation?
The benefits of earning a graduate degree are huge. According to the US Census Bureau , those with an advanced degree earn 3.7 times as much as a high school dropout, and 13.1% hold a master’s, professional, or doctorate degree. If you’re a curious undergraduate student thinking of applying to graduate school, which is the right choice?
In short, a dissertation is more focused and in-depth than a thesis. While a doctoral dissertation is based on original research, a thesis is often an extension or review of others’ research in order to demonstrate literacy. Further, a dissertation can be used as the basis or subject of a thesis, but not vice versa.
Editing a Dissertation vs Thesis
So far, we’ve focused a lot on differences such as research and purpose, but in the end, a thesis or dissertation is a written document that requires skill, focus, discipline, subject knowledge, organization, and scheduling.
For non-native English speakers, the challenge is especially difficult since English is the lingua franca of academia and research.
How does an editing service improve your dissertation or thesis ?
From body spacing and pagination, to font size and citation formatting, the dissertation guidelines are exhaustive. Even worse, they vary by school. So besides the actual English writing and grammar, graduate students must worry about consistency, formatting, nomenclature, and terminology. That’s quite the burden!
This is why it’s very common for graduate students, especially ESL and foreign ones, to seek out dissertation editing services that specifically cater to the academic needs of researchers and students.
Here are just a few reasons why dissertation proofreading is so helpful and what these editors do:
- Correct grammar, punctuation, syntax, and structural errors
- Offer suggestions to rewrite, remove, and revise writing
- Ensure formatting and nomenclature are consistent
- Knowledgeable academic editors with master’s and PhD degrees
- Free up your time to focus on research, revisions, and content instead of looking for mistakes
- Provide a language editing certificate , which may be necessary for non-native English-speaking students
Lastly, most PhD advisors recommend that students seek out professional editing services , specifically thesis editing or dissertation editing , since professors prefer to assess the actual research content of a dissertation, not mundane writing errors. Any graduate student reading this knows professors don’t like their time to be wasted!
Be sure to check out other academic resources on how to improve your academic manuscript and the benefits of proofreading and editing.
And try the Wordvice FREE Citation Generator, which provides citations for four academic formatting styles: APA Citation Generator , MLA Citation Generator , Chicago Citation Generator , and Vancouver Citation Generator .
Know the difference: PhD dissertation vs. thesis
One of the biggest turning points of any PhD student’s journey is the submission of a research writing project in the form of either a PhD thesis or a PhD dissertation. From an academic perspective, the thesis/dissertation is in many ways a major indicator of the abilities and expertise that you have gained as a doctoral candidate.
The mere task of understanding the requirements and compiling a PhD dissertation/thesis is in itself huge. However, what may be confusing to understand, especially if you are just embarking upon your doctoral journey, is the difference between thesis and dissertation.
Table of Contents
Similarities in phd dissertation vs. thesis, 1. understanding differences in the meaning of the two terms, 2. difference between thesis and dissertation based upon geographical location, 3. understanding a difference in content for a phd thesis v/s phd dissertation.
These two terms are often used interchangeably when referring to doctoral studies as there are a number of similarities between them:
- The very first commonality between thesis and dissertation is that the submission of both is considered to be an official culmination of the doctoral work of the candidate.
- Both the thesis and the dissertation demonstrate the ability of a doctoral candidate to effectively communicate their process of resolving a problem statement.
- The thesis and dissertation both test a candidate’s ability toward analytical reasoning and critical thinking , while showcasing his/her expertise in a particular subject area.
- Both the thesis and the dissertation are evaluated by an official review committee consisting of internal as well as external examiners who are experts in the specific subject area being explored in the doctoral study.
- Based upon the reviews of the committee members, both of these documents are then subject to changes and re-submission as required .
- Lastly, both a thesis and a dissertation can be treated as official publications that may be available as resources in the university library .
Owing to the above-mentioned similarities, the confusion between the correct usage of dissertation vs. thesis is quite understandable. In order to ensure the proper usage of these two terms, it’s crucial to understand the differences in a PhD thesis v/s PhD dissertation. Here are some quick pointers that may be useful.
Differences between thesis and dissertation
Since most academic institutions will continue to use these terms interchangeably, it is imperative that you confirm the intricate details regarding the expected structure of a PhD thesis/dissertation with your respective institution. However, for now, we hope that the above article helps in clarifying some of the major doubts that you may have had regarding a PhD thesis v/s dissertation.
In order to better understand the meaning of thesis vs dissertation, let us go back to the origin of the terms. The term ‘thesis’ originates from the Greek word ‘tithenai’, which means ‘to place a proposition’, while the term ‘dissertation’ has a Latin origin, which essentially means ‘disserere’/’dissertare’, i.e., ‘to (continue to) examine and discuss’. 1 To simplify further, a thesis by itself may simply represent an argument that you put forth and describe in depth, while a dissertation may represent a written summary/discussion of a particular work. 2
In countries/institutions that follow the British education system, it is common to term the final doctoral research writing project as a PhD thesis, while the countries/institutions that follow the American education system prefer to call it a PhD dissertation. In case you are unsure which education system is followed by your institution, it may be a good idea to verify this with the respective personnel, so that you can plan your doctoral journey effectively.
While the above two points may be useful to understand the differences between thesis and dissertation on a surface level, as a PhD student it is crucial for you to understand the deeper differences in the content and the type of work that goes into each of them. Let us do this by revisiting the differences in the origin of the two terms: ‘dissertare’ or to discuss (dissertation) v/s ‘to place a proposition’ (thesis). In my experience, the content of a PhD dissertation often comprises peer-reviewed publications that are published by the doctoral candidate during their doctoral work, along with supplementary chapters.
On the other hand, while compiling a PhD thesis, a doctoral candidate may need to describe the doctoral work in detail with the help of distinct chapters comprising: abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion and bibliography/references. Thus, the main difference between thesis and dissertation, lies in the way the written document is being presented although the doctoral work done by the candidate will mostly remain the same .
1. What is the Difference Between a Dissertation and a Thesis? | Postgrad.com. https://www.postgrad.com/advice/exams/dissertation-and-theses/difference-between-a-dissertation-and-a-thesis/
2. The PhD Thesis | FindAPhD.com. www.FindAPhD.com https://www.findaphd.com/guides/phd-thesis.
The time it takes to write a PhD thesis vs. dissertation can vary depending on several factors, including the research topic, the scope of the project, the research methodology, and the specific requirements of the academic program. However, in general, a dissertation is typically longer and more comprehensive than a thesis, and therefore may take longer to complete.
A dissertation for doctoral programs is typically required after the completion of required coursework, passing comprehensive exams, and hitting any other specific milestones outlined by the program. This means PhD students usually devote years in developing their dissertation, which demonstrates your ability to conduct independent research and make original contributions to the field
A thesis statement is used in academic writing to provide a concise summary of the main argument or point being made in an essay or paper. It should be used at the introduction at the beginning of the paper to guide the reader and provide focus for the writing. A thesis statement can be used in academic essays, research papers, analytical papers and literature reviews and presents readers with a clear roadmap of the research being conducted.
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Dissertation vs Thesis: The Differences that Matter
As a graduate student, you will have many different types of challenging coursework and assignments. However, the biggest project that you’ll work on when earning your master’s or doctoral degree will be your thesis or dissertation . The differences between a dissertation vs thesis are plenty. That’s because each of these pieces of writing happen at different times in one’s educational journey.
Let’s break down what a dissertation and thesis are so that you have a strong handle on what’s expected. For both a thesis and a dissertation, there is an obvious fluency and understanding of the subject one studies.
Let’s take a look at their similarities and differences.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
What is a dissertation.
When you enter a doctoral program to earn a PhD, you will learn a lot about how to conduct your own research. At the culmination of your degree program, you’ll produce a dissertation.
A dissertation is a lengthy piece of written work that includes original research or expanded research on a new or existing topic. As the doctoral student, you get to choose what you want to explore and write about within your field of study.
What is a Thesis?
A thesis is also a scholarly piece of writing, but it is for those who are graduating from a master’s program. A thesis allows students to showcase their knowledge and expertise within the subject matter they have been studying.
Main Differences Between a Thesis vs. Dissertation
The biggest difference between a thesis and a dissertation is that a thesis is based on existing research.
On the other hand, a dissertation will more than likely require the doctoral student to conduct their own research and then perform analysis. The other big difference is that a thesis is for master’s students and the dissertation is for PhD students.
Structural Differences Between a Thesis and a Dissertation
Structurally, the two pieces of written analysis have many differences.
- A thesis is at least 100 pages in length
- A dissertation is 2-3x that in length
- A thesis expands upon and analyzes existing research
- A dissertation’s content is mostly attributed to the student as the author
Research Content and Oral Presentation
Once completed, some programs require students to orally present their thesis and dissertation to a panel of faculty members.
Typically, a dissertation oral presentation can take several hours. On the other hand, a thesis only takes about an hour to present and answer questions.
Let’s look at how the two scholarly works are similar and different:
- Each is considered a final project and required to graduate
- Both require immense understanding of the material
- Written skills are key to complete both
- Neither can be plagiarized
- Both are used to defend an argument
- Both require analytical skills
- You will have to draft, rewrite, and edit both pieces of writing
- For both, it is useful to have another person look over before submission
- Both papers are given deadlines
- A dissertation is longer than a thesis
- A dissertation requires new research
- A dissertation requires a hypothesis that is then proven
- A thesis chooses a stance on an existing idea and defends it with analysis
- A dissertation has a longer oral presentation component
The Differences in Context: Location Matters
The united states.
In the US, everything that was previously listed is how schools differentiate between a thesis and a dissertation. A thesis is performed by master’s students, and a dissertation is written by PhD candidates.
In Europe, the distinction between a thesis and dissertation becomes a little more cloudy. That’s because PhD programs may require a doctoral thesis to graduate. Then, as a part of a broader post-graduate research project, students may complete a dissertation.
Photo by Russ Ward on Unsplash
The purpose behind written research.
Each piece of writing is an opportunity for a student to demonstrate his or her ability to think critically, express their opinions in writing, and present their findings in front of their department.
Graduate degrees take a lot of time, energy, and hard work to complete. When it comes to writing such lengthy and informative pieces, there is a lot of time management that is involved. The purpose of both a thesis and a dissertation are written proof that you understand and have mastered the subject matter of your degree.
A doctoral degree, or PhD, is the highest degree that one can earn. In most cases, students follow the following path to achieve this level of education: Earn a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s, and then a PhD. While not every job title requires this deep educational knowledge, the salaries that come along with each level of higher education increase accordingly.
Earning Your Degree
Whether you are currently a prospective student considering earning your higher education degree or a student enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program, you know the benefits of education.
However, for some, earning a traditional degree on-campus doesn’t make sense. This could be because of the financial challenges, familial obligations, accessibility, or any other number of reasons.
For students who are seeking their higher education degrees but need a flexible, affordable, and quality alternative to traditional college, take a look at the programs that the University of the People has to offer.
University of the People is an entirely online, US accredited and tuition-free institution dedicated to higher education. You can earn your Master’s in Business Administration or your Master’s in Education . Not to mention, there are a handful of associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs to choose from as well.
If you want to learn more, get in touch with us !
The Bottom Line
Regardless of where and when you earn your master’s or doctoral degree, you will likely have to complete a thesis or dissertation. The main difference between a thesis and dissertation is the level at which you complete them. A thesis is for a master’s degree, and a dissertation is for a doctoral degree.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect of having to research and write so much. Your educational journey has prepared you with the right time management skills and writing skills to make this feat achievable!
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Difference between Dissertation and Thesis
Chances are that you and other early career researchers (ECRs) have been using ‘dissertation’ and ‘thesis’ interchangeably. Dissertations and theses are sometimes collectively referred to as theses. Further, you might even hear the hybrid term ‘thesis dissertation’! This article looks at the difference between the two terms, if indeed there is a difference.
Historical definitions and usage of the terms
According to historical usage dating back to the 17th century, in both the UK and the US, the written work submitted at the end of a master’s degree was called a ‘dissertation’, while the scholarly work submitted as the primary requirement for a PhD was called a ‘thesis’. In the second half of the 20th century — for no known reason — the terms in the US ended up being reversed. If you examine the etymology and dictionary meanings, there do not seem to be clear distinguishing features either.
Different terms, common implications
As a scholar, where does that leave you? Rather than worrying about the distinction between these terms, it is crucial to focus on the requirements for the scholarly work you have at hand.
Both mean an extensive treatise that is assigned to a student studying for a degree at a university or other institution. Both provide the opportunity to demonstrate a scholar’s ability to think critically and analyse and present your findings .
That said, let’s see what they mean according to various categorisations.
Academic degree type
The purpose of a master’s degree is to test a student’s understanding of the background of the field of study. A dissertation or thesis that is associated with a master’s degree is largely the student’s analysis of the existing literature on the topic , together with some original contribution.
Work by a doctorate student – for a PhD degree – focuses on original research. The student comes up with a topic in their field that hasn’t been researched. The student then formulates a hypothesis and performs original research to prove or disprove the hypothesis. A doctoral thesis must contain a substantial contribution of new knowledge to the field of study. The resulting work may be called a dissertation or thesis.
In countries where the academic system is based on the British system of university education, ‘dissertation’ refers to the body of work at the end of an undergraduate or master’s degree, while ‘thesis’ refers to the body of work produced at the end of a PhD. In countries and institutions following the American system of education, the terms tend to be used in reverse.
Incidentally, institutions and even different departments in the same university can use the words differently! A university may follow certain terminologies and guidelines for the scholarly treatise resulting from work done at the masters or PhD level. Within a university, each department will have their own guidelines for using the word ‘dissertation’ or ‘thesis’. The bottom line is to follow the terms used by the university and department you are working at.
End note: The difference doesn’t matter
The piece of scholarly writing that you end up with should demonstrate your ability to conduct research, critically analyse the literature , interpret the findings and communicate your work in a broad sense. Importantly, the body of work must be presented and formatted in line with the guidelines of your department and/or academic institution.
All the best for writing your dissertation/thesis !
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What is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation?
If you're contemplating graduate school, you may have heard that a comprehensive paper is required to graduate, and you likely wonder what exactly is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. It's good that you're thinking ahead. There are definite differences between the two terms, though they are sometimes used interchangeably and often confused. Both papers are similar in their structure, as they contain an introduction, literary review, body, conclusion, bibliography and appendix. Beyond that, the similarities basically end. Let's delve further into the definition of each and the differences between them.
Basic Thesis and Dissertation Differences
The main difference between a thesis and a dissertation is when they are completed. The thesis is a project that marks the end of a master's program, while the dissertation occurs during doctoral study. The two are actually quite 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 opportunity during a doctorate program to contribute new knowledge, theories or practices to your field. The point is to come up with an entirely new concept, develop it and defend its worth.
Structural Differences Between a Thesis and a Dissertation
A master's thesis is kind of like the sorts of research papers you are familiar with from undergrad. You research a topic, then analyze and comment upon the information you gleaned and how it relates to the particular subject matter at hand. The point of the thesis is to show your ability to think critically about a topic and to knowledgeably discuss the information in-depth. Also, with a thesis, you usually take this opportunity to expand upon a subject that is most 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. The bulk of the information in a dissertation is attributed to you.
Finally, there is a difference in length between these two major works. A master's thesis should be at least 100 pages in length, likely a bit beyond that. However, a doctoral dissertation should be much longer, because they involve a great deal of background and research information, along with every detail of your proposal and how you arrived at the information, according to Purdue University . A dissertation is an extremely complex work. It will likely be two, possibly even 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 be there to point you in the right direction if you are stuck, can assist in locating resources and ensure that your proposal is on the right track.
Related Resource: Capstone Project
Each school and program has its own guidelines for what a thesis and dissertation should contain, as well as its structure. However, you now have an overview of the difference between a thesis and a dissertation.
Thesis vs. Dissertation: What’s the difference?
Thesis and dissertation are extensive research papers that differ in terms of their requirements, length, and purpose, with the former being associated with a master's degree and the latter with a doctoral degree, but are often used interchangeably.
Updated on September 15, 2023
A thesis and a dissertation are both extensive research papers, and both require literature searches and novel findings, but the two differ in various ways. Their definitions also differ across regions. Typically, in North America, a thesis is required for the completion of a master’s degree, while a dissertation is required for the completion of a doctoral degree. The former is long, while the latter is longer and more intensive.
Despite these differences, the two terms are often used interchangeably, especially among those who haven’t completed one or the other. Here, we’ll compare the components, length, and purpose of these two academic documents to clearly understand the differences between these important papers in the life of a graduate student.
What’s a thesis?
The term “thesis” explained here is generally consistent with how the word is used in North America to describe this substantive research paper.
A thesis is an extended argument (PDF). It is a research-based document that displays the student’s/author’s knowledge and understanding of a specific subject within their field of study. It generally presents findings on a particular topic.
See this and this (PDFs) for examples. These superb master’s theses from Canada will give you an idea of the size and format of these papers.
Who would write a thesis?
You generally write a thesis if you’re undertaking a research-oriented master's degree program (as opposed to a practical program, which may require a capstone, internship, exam, etc.).
The thesis is the essential part of a program’s research component, demonstrating the student's ability to critically analyze the literature and complete independent research. The process of writing a thesis involves exploring a specific research question, conducting a comprehensive literature review, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting findings in a structured and cohesive way.
A thesis' specific requirements and expectations differ depending on the academic institution, department, and program.
Components of a thesis
A thesis is typically presented in chapters. How many chapters will vary, but a common structure is:
- Introduction: Presents the research topic, purpose, and objectives, setting the context for the work.
- Literature review: Comprehensive survey of existing scholarly material related to the research topic, highlighting key theories and findings.
- Methodology: Describes the methods, procedures, and tools used in doing the research.
- Research: The actual performing of the study, collecting, and analyzing data relevant to the research question.
- Findings and conclusions: Gives the results obtained and explains their significance in relation to the research question.
- Limitations and future research: Outlines the study’s shortcomings and suggests potential areas for future investigation.
Within that structure, and in addition to those parts, a thesis may also include:
- Cover page: Contains the thesis title, author's name, institution, department, date, and other relevant information
- Abstract : A brief summary of the thesis, highlighting the research objectives, methods, key findings, and conclusions.
- Certificates of own work
- Certificate of readiness to be included in the library
- Certificate that the research has not been presented to another university
- Table of contents: List of the main sections, subsections, and corresponding page numbers.
- Index of figures and tables
- References: A comprehensive list of all the sources cited in the thesis, following a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).
- Appendices (optional): Additional materials include:
- Abbreviations and/or acronyms used
- Questionnaire or interview schedule/s (if used)
- Data acquired in the form of transcripts or numeric tables
- Research protocol
- Ethics protocol
What’s a dissertation?
This is also viewed from a North American perspective, where a dissertation is usually the main research work toward completing a research-based doctoral program.
A dissertation is a comprehensive and in-depth research project completed as part of the requirements for a doctoral degree. It’s a substantial piece of original work that contributes new knowledge to a specific field of study. Naturally, when it’s completed as the major requirement for earning a PhD, it’s longer, more detailed, and the expectations are higher.
Dissertations themselves can add to the literature in the field. For this reason, some students choose to publish them and have them indexed. The research and the data acquired while working on a dissertation can potentially lead to more publications and help define the researcher’s growing area of expertise.
See this and this (PDFs) top-ranking dissertation on ProQuest for good examples.
Who would write a dissertation?
Completion and defense of a dissertation is a standard requirement for doctoral students to earn a PhD or another doctorate such as an EdD or DM. But some specialized degrees, such as a PsyD (Doctor of Psychology), JD (Juris Doctor) or DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) may have practice-based requirements in place of a research project, as these courses of study are geared more toward practical application.
Components of a dissertation
A dissertation’s components are generally the same as those of a thesis. You can look at the list above for a thesis to see what typically goes into a dissertation. But, if compared with a master’s thesis, most aspects are longer and more rigorous.
The word count requirements for theses can vary significantly, but doctoral dissertations often range 40,000–80,000 words or, per Harvard , 100–300 pages.
Differences between a thesis and a dissertation
As already touched on, the key differences are in where the two documents are used, length, and rigor. There are also regional differences.
A thesis typically demonstrates a master’s degree program student's grasp and presentation of a specific subject in their field of study. It normally involves a literature review, data analysis, and original research, but it is usually shorter and less comprehensive than a dissertation. The standards for rigor and novelty may also be lower.
A dissertation requires more extensive research, original contributions to the field, and a deeper exploration of the research topic. A dissertation is typically the output associated with a doctoral degree program.
The main differences in structure between a thesis and a dissertation are in the scope and complexity.
The word count requirement for theses and dissertations can vary depending on the institution and program.
A thesis is usually 20,000–40,000 words. However, there have been cases of mathematics dissertations that were only a few pages long!
Doctoral dissertations may range 60,000 to upward of 100,000 words, and exceed 100 pages. Many universities, however, seek around 80,000 words.
Oversight and process
A thesis may simply be submitted to the student's instructor, though rigorous thesis programs require a committee and defense. A dissertation will nearly always require the student to choose a chair, a committee, and then go through a more rigorous defense and revision (if necessary).
- Committee: Master's thesis committees usually have fewer members (typically 2–3) than doctoral dissertation committees (often 4–5, or even more).
- Guidance: Master's students often receive more detailed direction from advisers than doctoral students, who are expected to work more independently.
- Review: Dissertation reviews are typically more rigorous, often involving external reviewers, while thesis reviews are usually internal.
- Defense: A dissertation defense is generally more intense and formal, as it often involves a presentation to the wider academic community, while a thesis defense might be more confined and informal.
- Revision: The revision process for a doctoral dissertation is typically more extensive, given the larger scope of the project and higher stakes involved, compared with those for a master's thesis.
The terms' use varies among (and even within) countries. Here are some general regional differences:
In the United Kingdom, a thesis is commonly associated with both master's and doctoral degree programs. For example, the University College London refers to a thesis for EngD, MPhil, MD(Res), and PhD degrees. At the University of Nottingham , a dissertation is written for a research master’s degree.
In Australia and New Zealand , “thesis” is generally used to refer to a substantial research project completed for a higher degree, though not limited to a master’s (you’ll find ample references to a “PhD thesis”).
In Latin American countries, the thesis is commonly used to refer to both master's and doctoral research projects.
Both theses and dissertations are necessary documents for students in graduate programs. Despite the differences in expectations, and even in definitions of these papers, the student-author must do a diligent and rigorous job to earn their degree.
Here are a few helpful resources if you want to get into greater detail:
- Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation: A Step-By-Step Guide
- 100 PhD rules of the game to successfully complete a doctoral dissertation (PDF)
- Theses and Dissertations: A Guide to Writing in Social and Physical Sciences
Perfect the English on your thesis or dissertation
Whether you’re submitting a thesis or a dissertation, if it’s in English, it should:
- Have no grammatical or spelling mistakes
- Use field-appropriate language
- Concisely and clearly communicate your research.
That’s what AJE expert editors will do for you. Within days, you can receive an expert English edit of your work. The editor will be familiar with your field of study and will comprehensively improve both the language quality and the delivery of your message. Look into AJE English Editing .
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What is the Difference Between a Dissertation and a Thesis?
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And to make it even more confusing, some institutions or departments will even use the terms differently!
But what are we all really talking about when we refer to a dissertation or a thesis? And does the term you use actually impact on what you actually end up writing?
This article covers the main differences between a dissertation and thesis, and how the terms may differ depending on the course, university and location.
What is a dissertation?
A dissertation is a piece of academic writing centred around original research. In their dissertations, students review existing research but also build on this with unique hypotheses and approaches.
A dissertation can be used to disprove a previous theory or take existing theories and research in a new direction. It is a large research project that is usually completed at the end of the academic year.
Usually, a dissertation starts with a dissertation proposal , which is approved by a study supervisor. The student then completes the research and writes up the methodology , findings, evaluations and conclusions from the research.
Dissertations can be undertaken by both undergraduate and postgraduate students. At undergraduate level the word count is around 5,000 to 8,000 and at postgraduate level it is usually 10,000 to 15,000.
What is a thesis?
A thesis is an academic paper covering an in-depth review of existing research in a particular discipline. It will involve an academic argument, although it doesn’t usually require original research from the student. The existing research is used to support and evaluate the proposed argument.
A thesis is not usually required at undergraduate level and is more common at postgraduate level.
This large piece of written-up research is usually completed at the end of a masters degree. Some masters courses require a thesis to graduate.
Differences between a dissertation vs thesis
The main purpose of a writing a dissertation is to add new findings to the existing literature in that field with original research. Whereas theses tend to evaluate existing findings, as their purpose is to demonstrate knowledge and skills within the course’s subject matter.
In terms of how long it takes to complete a thesis or dissertation project, a thesis is typically shorter than a dissertation since there are fewer original research aspects involved. This means that it will probably take less time. However, this can differ depending on the university and the course.
Dissertations sometimes require an oral presentation, known as a viva , where findings are showcased to academics who ask questions about the research. Theses usually do not require this.
The root of the words
The word ‘dissertation’ originates from the Latin word ‘dissertare’, meaning to continue to discuss and the Latin word ‘disserere’ which means to examine and discuss .
The word ‘thesis’ originally comes from the Greek word ‘tithenai’, which means to place or position. This later evolved into the Latin ‘thesis’, which had two meanings: an abstract question and to put something forward .
Similarities between a dissertation vs thesis
Although there are some key differences between a dissertation and a thesis, there are also similarities.
- Both are generally long pieces of academic writing, much longer than a typical essay.
- Both explore a topic in depth, whether you are conducting totally unique research or structuring an argument based on existing research.
- Both are considered a final project and usually required to graduate from a degree, masters or PhD. Students can graduate without a thesis or dissertation if they choose to complete a postgraduate diploma or postgraduate certificate instead.
- Excellent academic writing skills are highly important for both types of research project.
Is a dissertation harder than a thesis?
Though, the difficulty of a thesis or dissertation depends on your personal skill set. For instance, students that learn better by developing their own research ideas may find a dissertation easier than a thesis.
Difficulty can also depend on the level of the course. For instance, a thesis completed at doctorate level is likely to require more advanced knowledge than a thesis at undergraduate level.
The difficulty of either type of research project can also vary depending on the subject matter and the resources available to you.
Both dissertations and theses can be challenging, but don’t be put off by the thought of having to produce a larger body of work. Your supervisor will be there to support you.
Definitions depend on where you are
The terms ‘dissertation’ and ‘thesis’ are sometimes used interchangeably, and the meanings can differ depending on the country and university.
There are plenty of differences between the variant forms of English, such as British English and American English. Around the world, different English-speaking countries use the words ‘dissertation’ and ‘thesis’ differently.
Generally, nations with British-based academic systems of university education use dissertation to refer to the body of work at the end of an undergraduate or masters level degree . British-based institutions generally use thesis to refer to the body of work produced at the end of a PhD .
In countries and institutions that are based on the American system of education, the words tend to be used in reverse. However, institutions and even different departments in the same university can use the words differently.
If you're in doubt, then stick with the way the university and department you're currently attending use the terms.
Definitions can depend on the subject
In the UK, the terms ‘dissertation’ and ‘thesis’ are generally applied equally across institutions and subjects.
However, in the US the meanings can differ between different subject areas. The term ‘thesis’ can be used to describe a piece of original research in US academia, whereas original research is usually referred to as a dissertation in the UK.
If you’re studying in the US , you may complete a thesis at masters level in another subject area that involves wide-ranging reading and understanding rather than original research and still call it a thesis.
With so much interchangeability between the two terms, it’s understandable that there is often confusion in the debate between a dissertation vs thesis, as there is no clear answer.
Always read specific course details to understand exactly what’s involved in the research project that you are required to produce.
Examples from US and UK universities
Georgetown University in the US refers to a dissertation and a thesis as both adding to your 'field of knowledge' . The University of Edinburgh recommends that you refer to your individual course handbook for guides to dissertations, so each department will have their own guidelines to using the word dissertation and thesis. At University College London they refer to a thesis as the piece of work at the end of an EngD, MPhil, MD(Res) or PhD, which are all research degrees.
Ultimately, it doesn't really matter which word you use as both refer to a serious and lengthy piece of work where you can show what you have researched and understood as part of your postgraduate studies.
As long as you are referring to the piece of work that you are compiling in the same way as those in your department then you will avoid confusion.
It is important to check whether the research piece involves original research or expects you to build upon existing research.
Writing a dissertation or a thesis requires a substantial amount of planning and work and you don't want to let yourself down at the last hurdle with poor presentation of your work, so always keep an eye on your course or department guidelines.
Top Tips On Writing Your Postgraduate Dissertation Or Thesis
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