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Dissertation VS Thesis

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After you have enrolled through a graduate program, you might be wondering about the difference between a dissertation vs. thesis.

The two are somewhat similar, but some differences distinguish them apart. 

If you are reading this, it’s evident that you are contemplating graduate studies.

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For you to graduate in the program, you require a comprehensive research paper.

However, most graduate students fail to understand the remarkable difference between a thesis and a dissertation.

Most of the time, people use these two words, identically, which confuse most students.

Nonetheless, there are differences that mark dissertations from the thesis.

Below, you will have full information on the dissertation vs. thesis. 

Dissertation Vs Thesis; General Differences

You can only note the difference between a thesis and a dissertation upon completion.

A dissertation is written during doctoral studies, while a thesis culminates a master’s degree program.

A thesis helps you consolidate scholarly available research and information, proving how knowledgeable you are on a given subject through your graduate studies.

On the other hand,

A dissertation helps create a platform for you to investigate a given topic and avail new knowledge, practices, solutions to a problem, or theories in your field.

Therefore, a dissertation is all about defining, developing, and defending new concepts. 

The Structural Differences In A Thesis And Dissertation

Even though different graduate schools have differing guidelines on how to write a thesis or a dissertation, two fundamental differences commonly apply to all institutions. 

The Use Of Other Scholarly Available Materials

Undergraduate students are required to write multiple research papers. A thesis is no different from the research papers from the undergraduate programs.

Therefore, you need to research a specific topic, compile relevant information, analyze the data, and comment based on the gleaned information.

Thus, a thesis helps present your critical-thinking abilities.

Through a thesis, you can capitalize on an area that affects your future career establishments. 

When it comes to a dissertation, you redefine your concept, theory, and hypothesis uniquely.

However, it would be best to use other scholarships but for little guidance to prove your concepts, theories, and hypothesis.

The more significant part of a dissertation is purely available to new knowledge from you. 


The length of a dissertation differs from one of the thesis. Generally, a thesis should have at least 100 pages.

Nonetheless, a dissertation is way lengthier as you need to present background information on your study, a detailed journey of your proposal, and your methodologies.

Therefore, a dissertation is overly complicated as compared to a thesis. In reality, a dissertation is twice a thesis or, in other instances, thrice. 

You should get a dissertation advisor to avail guidance throughout the project.

The adviser helps point you into the right trajectory, and probably suggest resources needed for the project.

The main idea of having a dissertation adviser is to make sure that your dissertation proposal is on the right path. 


According to scholars, a dissertation is a large-scale research paper written with an expansive angle.

PhD students purely do dissertations as their final project. The article is purposed to test how a PhD student synchronizes their research and analytical capabilities and skills.

Writing a dissertation is the lengthiest task available and the most difficult in the scholarly world. 

The dissertation is similar to a thesis from the process perspective;

A dissertation needs a proposal and eventually defending their findings in front of a PhD jury committee. 

Different Types Of Dissertation

Dissertations are either written in the first or third person. The dissertation must showcase the following sections. 

  • Statement of the problem
  • Research questions
  • Research methodology
  • Scholarship (Literature review)
  • Findings
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusion

The type of dissertation that you settle for is subject to the doctorate program you are pursuing. There are mainly two types of dissertations. 

  • Empirical Study
  • Non-empirical study

Empirical Study

The empirical study involves the scraping and collecting of data from primary sources.

Therefore, you need to identify a sample population that you will serve with questionnaires, interviews, and survey forms.

In most cases, life and natural science graduate students conduct empirical studies. 

Non-Empirical Study 

The non-empirical study involves amassing data from the library sources.

Therefore, as a student, you will have to identify already published research papers and publications on your subject matter.

The non-empirical study is also known as secondary data or desk studies. 

The Structure Of A Dissertation 

A dissertation is closely similar to a thesis as far as the structure is concerned.

Nonetheless, the page and word count tends to differ.

Five chapters constitute a dissertation. 

  • Introduction: incorporates the background information, statement of the problem, and research questions. 
  • Methodology
  • Literature review
  • Data analysis
  • Conclusion and recommendations 

Almost every graduate institution in the world follows this dissertation format. Nonetheless, the subheadings might differ slightly. Some institutions follow a strict subheading format, while others allow students to avail changes to the subtitles as they deem fit. 


A thesis is an average length research paper submitted by a student addressing a specific problem concerning their graduate program.

Academically, graduate students must present their thesis in front of a jury. An institute sets its perimeters for the thesis qualifications. 

A thesis paper is a fulfillment of the master’s degree program.

Through the thesis, a student has an opportunity to practice their analytical skills and justify their training.

In all cases, thesis students are required to choose between qualitative and quantitative methodologies. 

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement helps explain to the reader the full intentions of the research.

Therefore, ensure that you showcase what you believe in a maximum of two sentences.

Your thesis statement must always appear in the 2nd chapter. The majority of the supervisors reject a thesis due to a poorly crafted thesis statement. 

You need to define your thesis questions by brainstorming through your answers.  

Your thesis statement is different from your statement of the problem and must follow your SOP.

Your thesis statement must state the research problem and the aspects relating to the problem.

You need to conclude the statement by availing a detailed solution. 

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When it comes to dissertation vs. thesis, many students fail to master the difference.

Knowing the similarities will help you get started, but learning the differences enables you to ace your research paper.

Therefore, ensure that you understand whether you are writing a dissertation or a thesis. 

What is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation?

 The biggest difference between a thesis and a dissertation is the intended purpose. A thesis, commonly required to obtain a master’s degree, is supposed to test a student’s understanding of his or her field of study. A dissertation is usually done by a doctorate student and focuses on original research

What exactly is a dissertation?

This is a document written to summarize research when doing a Ph.D. program.

How long is a dissertation?

Most dissertations have a minimum of 21 pages which the maximum number of pages ever recorded is 2002

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