What is the difference between a dissertation and a thesis? Often, people use these words interchangeably, bringing about confusion among many students.
Like a bachelor’s dissertation, thesis and doctoral dissertation are crucial to the successful completion of your degree program. This article will analyze both of these academic papers, helping you differentiate when you are referring to the dissertation or thesis.
What is a thesis?
This is a scholarly piece of work written as part of your master`s program. The thesis is usually completed near the end of a student`s course of study and tests howe well you can apply the concepts you’ve learned to solve problems within your field.
To write this, a student is needed to select a narrow topic of interest in their field of study. The next step is conducting an in-depth review of the existing research and then formulating a solid academic argument to prove your assertion.
So, is a thesis required for a master’s degree? Yes. Besides testing your grasp of a topic, the thesis exposes you to various problems in your field, allowing you a chance to remedy some of the emerging issues within your field. This shows your critical thinking skills and also allows you to showcase your competence in research.
The thesis paper is mainly divided into:
- Title page
- Table of content
- Table of figures
What is a dissertation?
This is a lengthy piece of work that includes original research or expanded research on a new or existing topic. Its main goal is not only to prove the student`s knowledge but also to add more knowledge to their field.
To earn the Ph.D., you have to submit and defend your dissertation. The students also get a chance to disapprove of a theory that has been presented previously. The process of writing a dissertation is almost similar to that of a thesis since you have to select a topic then conduct a literature review and later work towards finding a new angle towards an existing theory.
A dissertation however needs a defense which can be quite intimidating at times but if you work closely with the appointed committee, then the chances of your dissertation being accepted are relatively high.
The doctoral dissertation comprises sections like:
- Title page
- Table of contents
- Theoretical framework and literature review
- Interpretation, analysis, and applications of findings
- Reference list
Thesis vs dissertation: What is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation?
The primary difference between a thesis and a dissertation is when they are done. A thesis is written by students to mark the end of a master`s degree program, whereas a dissertation is written by students as they undertake their doctoral degree program. The two are also quite different because a thesis is based on existing knowledge, while a dissertation is based on research and also requires thorough analysis.
A thesis presents learned and existing knowledge while in a dissertation one has to develop new and unique concepts and defend them both theoretically and practically. In a dissertation, extensive work is required to develop the research but, in a thesis, you don’t need to go through comprehensive and extensive research. For a thesis, the points are highlighted to readers whereas a dissertation requires a hypothesis.
Another distinctive difference is their length. A thesis is short and normally has 40-80 pages as opposed to a dissertation which is way longer having 100-300 pages. A thesis also doesn`t require an oral defense but for the dissertation, once completed and submitted, students are needed to schedule dates so that they can present their work orally.
It is now clear that a dissertation and a thesis are two very different pieces of work. Hence, one term cannot be used in place of the other. Their academic purposes are also different but that doesn’t undermine either of them. Both of them require a lot of effort and seriousness.
However, you need not be overwhelmed by the thought of writing and researching so much as your educational experience has adequately prepared you.