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What Is the Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation?

What Is the Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation?

Individuals celebrate their graduation from undergraduate school as a significant milestone in their lives. It undeniably plays a key role in their qualification to work in certain companies and organizations. There is however a growing demand in the job market for individuals who have completed their master’s degree or Ph.D. One of the hurdles individuals that may choose to pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D must surmount is writing a thesis or dissertation.  provides a distinction between a thesis and a dissertation.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is an academic writing that presents an individual’s findings on a selected topic in fulfillment of a doctorate program. The research is largely independent with a lot of time spent accessing information from local and online sources. The gathered information enables you to explain your findings elaborately while contributing to a particular area of specialization.

PhD thesis v. Dissertation

In Europe, a PhD thesis (also known as a doctoral thesis) is a prerequisite to obtaining a PhD while the dissertation constitutes a broader research project for the post-graduate level. It can be asserted that the use of words does not change the nature of academic writing nor interfere with its ability to improve your analytical, research, and problem-solving skills.

What is a master’s thesis?

The master’s thesis is an academic research project on a chosen topic written under the supervision of a faculty advisor and in fulfillment of a master’s program. The length of a master’s thesis varies depending on the analysis method used in addressing the topic. Individuals are expected to work with an advisor who approves the draft thesis before its defense.

Dissertation v. Thesis

Graduate school may require students to complete a research project and complete the task before graduation. It is an integral part of the academic world that addresses specific research problems. A dissertation and thesis have a common ground in terms of the analytical and academic writing skills needed to present your findings. When presenting your findings, it is unacceptable to plagiarise the works of other scholars. You must be original and adhere to ethical practices, even in the collation of research data.

You will need to spend a significant portion of your time researching to develop your analysis. It is for this reason that students are advised to start preparations early in their academic path. Notwithstanding, dissertation and thesis are distinct elements in the context of graduate studies. The difference between thesis and dissertation is rooted in your graduate program level. You need to understand these differences before choosing or program or even working on them.

Program type

Doctorate students are expected to write a dissertation while master’s students write a thesis. There are however master programs that do not require students to write a thesis. Consequently, students can elect when completing their applications whether to choose a thesis path or a non-thesis path depending on their course. However, PhD students must write a dissertation in fulfillment of their doctorate program.


The thesis in a master’s program is a strategy to evaluate the student’s understanding of the study area. It is written based on the works of other persons within the field as against an independent view. The student analyses the work to present a particular point of view or area of contention. However, dissertations are original works of doctorate students who are contributors to the field of study. Doctorate students must base their research on unexplored areas within their field of study and build an analysis around their hypothesis. There is a high possibility that a doctorate student’s dissertation may be referenced by a master’s student when developing a master’s thesis. On the other hand, a doctoral student cannot use a master’s thesis as the bedrock of his research since his work must be novel.


A dissertation is more time-consuming because of the length of time and volume of pages that students must reproduce as opposed to a master’s thesis. However, these academic works are significant milestones in the life of graduate students across the world because of the opportunities it offers to them.

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