Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation

Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation

On this occasion, I will explore the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. Thesis and dissertation differ in the sense that a thesis analysis is added to the existing literature. Instead, the dissertation contributes to new knowledge from the existing literature.

Different countries define the words thesis and dissertation differently, i.e. in some countries they are used interchangeably, whereas in some countries thesis is related to a bachelor’s or master’s program and dissertation is used in the context of a doctoral degree, whereas in some countries it is the other way around.

So, the meaning of these two words varies from country to country. Generally, in a master’s program, all students have to submit their thesis which is nothing but a final project to get their degree, whereas one who needs to submit a dissertation is someone who wants to get a doctorate.

Definition of Thesis

The word ‘thesis’ comes from the Greek which means ” something proposed Thesis implies a research document in written or printed form, prepared after carrying out new research on a particular topic and submitted to a university, for an academic degree.

Basically, it’s meant to state ” what the candidate believes and what they want to proveThe thesis prepared by the student must be good enough to show the actual thinking behind the research, rather than just retelling the facts. And to do so, the student needs to gather some amount of information and read a lot of background, to have sufficient knowledge of the subject, to develop questions.

Students pursuing a master’s degree or professional degree programme, are required to complete a thesis in their final semester, under the guidance of an Assistant Professor.

When preparing a thesis, first of all, the candidate needs to research the topic, for which he formulates a proposition based on the research work previously carried out in the concerned field. The student analyzes this research work and gives his opinion on the information collected, and the way the information relates to the topic of study.

Attributes of the Ideal Thesis

  • It should not be in the first person and not contain any obscure language.
  • It must be debatable, i.e. put forward a questionable point, or be debatable where people often disagree.
  • It has to be provocative.
  • It states conclusions based on evidence and facts with certainty.
  • It assumes and refutes counter arguments.
  • It must be complete, specific and focused.

Definition of Dissertation

Dissertation is a Latin term that refers to ” discussion In general terms, a dissertation is a structured research work, in which Doctoral scholars have to present their findings with logical arguments, in answer to the proposition chosen by them.

The dissertation is prepared at the end of the programme, under a guide who teaches, instructs and guides the candidate on the selection of a topic that is not only interesting but unique, original and up for grabs.

It is a kind of assessment that examines students’ research skills and knowledge and their ability to defend the arguments that form the basis for their final grades. It includes abstract, introduction, methodology, literature review, findings, discussion, conclusions and recommendations.

The candidate uses the research of others as a guide for arriving at and proving/refuting a new hypothesis, theory, or concept. It takes years to complete research work, namely to gather information, to gather information in written form, to edit materials and to cite documents.

This dissertation is based on original research, in the sense that the candidates have to decide on a topic related to their field of study, for which no major research has been conducted, and arrive at a hypothesis, to conduct original research so as to prove or disprove the hypothesis.

Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation

The difference between thesis and dissertation is summarized as below:

  • Thesis refers to an outstanding piece of writing prepared after in-depth research on a topic as part of a university or degree program, in which a particular idea or concept is put forward as a statement for further discussion. On the other hand, this dissertation implies a document that composes the research, which is the main requirement for a doctoral program, to prove one’s findings.
  • With a thesis, students make additions to existing research, whereas with a dissertation students contribute to new discoveries in a particular field of study.
  • This thesis is about claiming a hypothesis, while the dissertation describes or explains, how the researcher proves or disproves the hypothesis.
  • While the thesis is submitted at the end of the postgraduate or Master’s program, as a final project, the dissertation is submitted at the end of the Doctoral program.
  • The aim of this thesis is to examine the candidate’s ability to critically think about a topic and to discuss information in depth. Instead, this dissertation aims to demonstrate the candidate’s capacity as a research scholar, i.e. the student’s ability to identify areas of interest, explore topics, structure research work, develop questions and defend.
  • When it comes to the length or size of a document, a dissertation is longer than a thesis, as the former is around 400 pages, while the latter extends to 100 pages.

Similarities Between Thesis and Dissertation

While pursuing an advanced degree program, students need to submit their research work, i.e. a thesis or dissertation. Both present the candidate’s research and findings on a specific topic. Furthermore, both are prepared under the guidance of an expert in the field in question.

Research Process

  • The research process begins with the preparation of a thesis or dissertation, which helps students to excel in various fields, if they follow the research process, in the right way.
  • Formulate a research proposal to explore a specific research question.
  • Ensure and access resources, necessary to carry out research work.
  • Observe, analyze, and review existing research work.
  • Choose a suitable research methodology.
  • Prepare project reports, indicating objectives, methods, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
  • Interpret findings and generalize results.


Two types of research work, usually ending with an oral defense in front of a panel of examiners, in which they ask students questions related to their study, findings and final paper. Its main objective is to check students’ ability to retain their research work.