Difference between a thesis and dissertation paper

By Priya Chetty on November 30, 2011

For many, a thesis and dissertation paper would be one and the same. That is because a thesis and a dissertation paper is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author’s research and findings. The term dissertation can at times be used to describe a treatise without relation to obtaining an academic degree. The term thesis is also used to refer to the central claim of an essay or similar work. In fact, the terms “thesis” and “dissertation” are interchangeable.

Purpose of writing a thesis or a dissertation paper

A thesis, as well as a dissertation, is a written discourse on a given subject. Although, there are 2 essential differences between a thesis and a dissertation. A thesis means that you have to conduct original research. A dissertation implies that you have to synthesize the information collected and perhaps, include your thoughts on it. The second difference lies in the degree you obtain after completing these papers. A thesis allows for getting a higher degree; a dissertation is more likely to be the smaller part of the first degree. It is not exactly on the extremes but very near.

Before you start writing a paper

When writing a thesis and dissertation, you will have to take into account the first difference we have presented. If you have to write a thesis, you should be aware of the fact that you are to put forward a hypothesis that is absolutely new, your thesis implies that original research is involved. Writing a dissertation requires your knowledge of recent discoveries. It is also known as a statement made thru facts and research on the specific subject line. You have to draw absolutely new conclusions on the basis of what you have read and analyzed. In different institutions and countries, there is a different criteria to assign and examine a thesis and dissertation. Similarly, thesis and dissertation are called with sometimes interchangeable names.

Similarities between thesis and dissertation writing

Thus, a thesis and dissertation are similar kinds of written papers, though differing a bit from each other. Dissertations and theses provide the opportunity to get certain grades. Theses or dissertations have to present knowledge of a certain subject area; both dissertations and theses have to provide innovations in certain areas of investigation. In some countries/universities, the word “thesis” or a cognate is used as part of a bachelor’s or master’s course, while “dissertation” is normally applied to a doctorate, while in others, the reverse is true. The length of the thesis and dissertation paper is set by the individual departments and faculties based on the subject therefore the length of thesis and dissertation varies. The length of the thesis is around 100+ pages for the dissertation is around 300+ pages.

To sum it all up, we can say that a thesis is usually completed in a year since it is written in less number of pages than a dissertation. On the other hand, a dissertation requires much more time than a thesis since it has a greater number of pages and it requires original research.


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