Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation

Before selection for any student who is planning to pursue a graduation course, there are some comprehensive papers that they actually require to submit. Which brings us to the topic at hand, the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. This is one of the most easily confused things and not just the aspiring graduate students, but a lot of other people get confused as well. If you are a student too who are looking for answers, then it is a great initiative that you have taken up. It is important that you understand the difference between a thesis and a dissertation.

Chances are, that you will be required to write either one of these. And unless you know the exact difference between them, you will not be able to fulfil the job. The two terms are very different from each other, even though they frequently mix with each other and even interchange. Both thesis and dissertation are quite similar in their manner of the structure. This means that they both contain an introduction, a literary review, a body, a conclusion, a bibliography and lastly an appendix. However, this is where all the similarities end! That is all a thesis and a dissertation have in common. Let us delve further into the topic and discover the actual difference between both of them.

The Basic Difference

You can tell the real difference between a thesis and a dissertation only after they have been completed. The thesis is associated with the master’s program. Students are told to write a thesis by the end of their master’s program. Whereas, a dissertation is written during a doctoral study. Not only the completion, but the purpose of the two comprehensive papers is also very different. Let us take a look at the difference between them.

A thesis is nothing but a compilation. If you have finished writing a thesis, it shows a lot of things. It proves that you have grasped all the knowledge and information taught to you throughout your graduate program. A dissertation, however, is slightly on a higher level. A dissertation is an opportunity for you to contribute new knowledge, theories or practices to your chosen field. The very basis and reason behind writing a dissertation are to develop new ideas and concepts, and more importantly, defend its worth.

Not only that, there are lots of structural differences as well. Let us take a look at them.

Structural Differences

A thesis is one kind of comprehensive writing with which you are familiar from your days of the undergraduate program. At first, you get a research topic. You have to study the topic thoroughly and find substantial information. Not only that, but you will also have to build a relation. You have to describe as to how it relates to the particular subject matter at hand. The main agenda behind writing a thesis is to show your tutors and examiners your ability to think critically about any given topic. It is also a measure of how knowledgeable can you discuss the information in-depth.

Another thing, while writing a thesis, you must use this opportunity very wisely and throw light on a subject that is most relevant to your topic. You can also use this to highlight a speciality area you wish to pursue professionally. Whereas, while writing a dissertation, you put to use the research others have done as a source of information and guidance while building or coming up with and proving your own unique hypothesis, theory or concept. You can use the bulks of information which you have gathered and put it to good use. Use all of that as a reference to build your own argument in your dissertation.


Another thing you must keep in mind is the length. The length of your master’s thesis should be at least 100 pages. It can even go beyond that. However, it is a common notion that the length of your doctoral dissertation should be comparatively longer because they involve a great deal of background and research information.

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