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Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation

thesisThesis vs Dissertation

In some universities, dissertation and thesis are seen as the same thing, however, there are a number of differences between the two. Usually a thesis is submitted at the end of one’s master’s degree, and dissertation is submitted at the end of a PhD.

In thesis, you have to conduct your own research, which has to be original; while for a dissertation, you have to synthesize any information that is collected. As well, in a dissertation you can post your own thoughts. Yet another difference between the two, lies in the fact that these two terms are for different degrees. If you have written a thesis, you will get a higher degree, while a dissertation may a part of the process required to obtain the degree.

So, when you are writing a thesis, you have to ensure that you include the hypothesis, which is quite new, and your thesis should be about the research that you have conducted. In case you are writing a dissertation, you have to ensure that you have a good knowledge of the recent discoveries. Basically, you have to infer new conclusions on what you have read and evaluated.

Thesis writing usually takes place when you have reached the last two years of your student life (while doing a PhD). You won’t need to write a thesis if you are doing a master’s degree. However, if your aim is to obtain a doctor’s degree, then you have to write dissertations. Although, in the USA, you write a dissertation if you are doing a PhD, while you write a thesis if you have are enrolled in a master’s program. On the other hand, in the UK, you have to write a thesis if you are doing a PhD, while you have to write a dissertation if you are enrolled in a master’s program.

When you are writing a thesis you usually get scholarships.

There is also a difference between the thesis/dissertation and dissertation statement. The thesis statement is more focused on your primary argument, and it presents the readers with what you are actually trying to prove. It tells your various states of point, and in the end, summarizes the argument.

In a master’s thesis or dissertation you have to conduct research on a specific topic to present your point. In a PhD thesis or dissertation you have to conduct original research, and add novel findings to the already existing literature.


1. A thesis is submitted at the end of one’s master’s degree, and a dissertation is submitted at the end of a PhD.

2. For a thesis, you have conduct original research, while for a dissertation you have to synthesize already existing literature.

3. Thesis analysis is added to the already existing literature, while dissertation is an analysis of the existing literature.

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  1. Thanks so much for your submission here. Looking at various definitions of different scholars and contributors on this subject matter ” Thesis vs Dissertation”, they all have the same definitions for each of these words. The problem is which of the Degrees should the definitions apply?.
    Everybody agrees that:
    1. A thesis is concise about 100+pgs, does not consume time and demands the students to conduct a hypothesis based on their secondary research.It is also meant to get scholarship.
    2. A dissertation is lengthy about 300+pgs, It is usually written in form of a book for academic purposes. It is comprised of arguments and theories based on original research.
    In view of these little differences I highlighted above, it can only appeal to common sense to know that “Dissertation” should apply to Ph.D degree looking at what these two words stand for in comparison with what it demands to get the degrees – Masters and Ph.D.
    I appreciate your scholarship on this issue and it is very in-dept.

  2. Difference between thesis and dissertation

    In summary the things are not correct that make confusion in front of reader. In my opinion this is more correct

    1. A thesis is submitted at the end of Ph.D degree , and a dissertation is submitted at the end of Masters degree.

    2. For a thesis, you have conduct original research with large sample size , while for a dissertation you have to synthesize already existing literature as well as do a original research with small sample size.

    3. Thesis analysis is added to the already existing literature as well as with the new data collection give the conclusion and possible solution, while dissertation is an analysis of the existing literature with positive views.

    • A clear and concise submission devoid of any controversy or ambiguity

    • Which one shud we follow…..the information given in this website contradicts to ur reply or comment to the author of this info….

      So may i know which one is correct

  3. An informative and beneficial website which helps a lot foriegn students which contains helping tips and informations for getting admissions in verious degree programs all over the world.

  4. Looks like the first paragraph may required some rewriting.

  5. hold that, Second para as well.

  6. The writer is very confused. A dissertation is the written document you write to defend your thesis (e.g., claim).

  7. In the US: When discussing work product in pursuit of a higher-level degree, I believe that the terms can be used somewhat interchangeably, in reference to scholarly work. The word thesis is used more often and seems to encompass both oral and written theoretical work.

    Generally speaking, however, at the culmination of the PhD degree, one produces a DISSERTATION. which is a lengthy WRITTEN documentation of the research contributions the student has made to his or her field, and how the student’s research fits into the larger picture of research already conducted by others. My daughter, who is at the end of her PhD study, just submitted a final draft of her dissertation to her PhD committee a week ago.

    A PhD student like my daughter can put forth and work on a number of THESES during his or her PhD study. Both in the Masters degree and the PhD, the student proposes and researches theses (theories, propositions, proposals). In her PhD defense two days ago, my daughter presented (and defended) to her committee 3 THESES out of her original research work. The first hour and a half was public, and we were allowed to attend. The second hour was behind closed doors, where her committee questioned her more closely about her research contributions to her field.

    Differences between Masters-level theses and PhD level theses: Masters-degree candidates often work on and eventually defend their work on one thesis (theory, proposition, proposal). The resulting thesis paper is about the size of a fully-documented research paper. The PhD candidacy lasts 2-3 times as long as the time needed to obtain a Masters degree. The PhD student learns much more than the Masters degree student about conducting original research in one’s field, and to that end, the PhD student often advances and works on multiple theses (theories, propositions, proposals) that support an original thesis that is larger or more novel in scope than many Masters-degree theses.

    Obtaining a Masters degree sometimes involves writing and presenting a thesis paper, which includes the outcomes of the student’s thesis work plus references to current and prior research in the field of study. To obtain a PhD, one must usually contribute something original and important to existing research, so the final paper (which is the length of a book) includes both references to existing prior research and, more importantly, a detailed discussion and analysis of the PhD candidate’s research contributions in her or his field.

    T0 sum, the written form of the research conducted in the Masters degree is usually called a thesis paper in the US. The written form of the research conducted in the PhD degree is usually called a dissertation in the US. In both situations, theses are the theories and propositions that drive the research work.

    By the way, my daughter was successful in her thesis defense. Her dissertation is in the final stages of editing and will be published soon.

  8. Hi D Best,
    Thanks for yor detailed elaboration of these two terms, really appreciate it.
    And congratulations to your daughter on completing her PhD!! 🙂
    You must be very proud of her!
    I wish your family great success in future as well.

  9. Very thanks for this clarification.
    In some contexts, the word “thesis” or a cognate is used for part of a bachelor’s or master’s course, while “dissertation” is normally applied to a doctorate, while in other contexts, the reverse is true.
    So I think the difference between thesis and dissertation is not so important.

  10. So in simple and plain terms, both terms may refer to either of the meanings depending on your lenses. Semantics!

  11. I wrote a book report in 5th grade.
    I be smart and stuff.

  12. Hi,

    I just wanted to let you know that this article is inaccurate. Many (if not most) PhD students do original research.


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