Thesis versus Dissertation | Difference between Thesis & Dissertation | AHECounselling

Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation

As a graduate student, you'll face a variety of kinds of difficult tasks and coursework. The most significant task you'll be working on while earning your master's or doctoral degree is your dissertation or thesis. The distinctions between dissertation and thesis are numerous. This is because both pieces of writing occur at different times during one's academic journey.

Let's take a look at the elements of a dissertation and thesis are, so you can know exactly what you should expect. When it comes to both a thesis and dissertation, there's an evident fluency and comprehension of the area one examines.

Let's look at their differences and similarities.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is an academic writing that is based on the research of a new researcher. When writing their dissertations, students look over existing research and develop their own theories and methods.

A dissertation may be used to challenge a prior theory or to expand current theories and research in an entirely new direction. It is a huge research undertaking which is normally completed by the end semester.

The typical dissertation begins with a dissertation proposal which is then approved by the supervisor of the study. The student then conducts the research and then writes the research methodology, results as well as evaluations and conclusions derived of the study.

Dissertations are a possibility for students both in postgraduate and undergraduate courses. At the undergraduate level, the word count ranges from 10,000 to 8,000, while for postgraduate students it's generally 10,000-15,000.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is a piece of academic writing which provides an in-depth analysis of current research within a specific field. It is usually an argument from an academic perspective, but it's not always required any original research by the student. The research that is already in place is used to strengthen and analyze the argument.

A thesis isn't typically required for undergraduates but is more prevalent for postgraduate students.

This substantial piece of written research usually takes place at the conclusion of an advanced master's degree. Certain masters courses require a thesis before graduation.

Principal Differences Between A Thesis and. Dissertation

The main distinction between a thesis and dissertation is that the thesis is based upon prior research. In contrast the dissertation will most likely have the doctoral student carry out their own study, and later conduct an analysis. Another distinction in the thesis format is designed for master's degree students, while the dissertation is designed for PhD students.

  1. The main distinction between a thesis and a dissertation is when they're completed. As previously mentioned the thesis is presented as the end of a master's degree while a dissertations are submitted in order to earn the title of PhD.
  2. It is the collection of research that ensures the researcher is knowledgeable and is knowledgeable about the topic of study that was studied during the course of study. However dissertations provide researchers with the opportunity to add new ideas and knowledge to the literature that is already in the field of research.
  3. A master's thesis will be approximately 100 pages long. However the PhD dissertation must be more extensive than a thesis, and must contain background information and research details. A dissertation must contain your research proposal, grant proposal literature review, a proposal for your research topics, and every other small detail of your research. The ideal dissertation, which is composed of all the details previously mentioned, should be three times longer than the length of an academic master's thesis.
  4. Dissertations may require an oral presentation, referred to as a viva. In viva, results are displayed to academics, who are able to ask questions regarding the research. A thesis does not typically need this.

The word's root

The word "dissertation" originates of the Latin word 'dissertare' meaning to continue to debate and to continue to discuss. It also comes from the Latin"disserere" word, which refers to the study and discussion.

The word "thesis" is derived directly from Greek phrase 'tithenai' meaning to put in a put in a position. The word later evolved into Latin "thesis," that had two meanings: abstract question and the ability to present an idea forward.

Structural Differences Between a Thesis and a Dissertation

In terms of structure, the two parts of written analysis have a lot of distinctions.

  • A thesis should be at minimum 100 pages long
  • A dissertation is about 2-3 times as long in length.
  • A thesis extends on the current research
  • The content of a dissertation is usually due to the student who is the creator.

Research Content and Oral Presentation

When the program is completed, some require students to present their thesis and dissertation in front of an audience of faculty members.

A typical oral presentation may take many hours. However it takes around an half hour for presenting and to respond to questions.

Summary of the blog

Let's take a look at how two academic works differ:

  • A dissertation is more than a thesis.
  • A dissertation is a new piece of research that must be conducted.
  • A dissertation is based on the creation of a hypothesis, which is later established
  • A thesis is a statement on an idea that is already in place and defends it through an analysis
  • A dissertation is an extended oral presentation component

Parameter for Comparison




The thesis is the last task a student submits at the conclusion of their course.

A dissertation is an completed research project which permits one to contribute significantly to their area of study.

Submission deadline

Any graduate school can accept thesis.

Dissertations are usually completed within the doctoral program.


A thesis is considered successful when the research notes and papers are reliable.

Dissertations are only productive if there is a potential in the individual and the work is original.


The thesis can be described as a document which demonstrates the student's enthusiasm in a particular area.

A dissertation provides proof that someone is competent to perform work in a specific area.


A thesis shouldn't exceed 100-150 pages.

A dissertation doesn't have to have a specific length. A dissertation could be longer than an essay.

Dissertation and. Thesis Comparisons

  1. Thesis and dissertations both of them, require intensive editing and critical proofreading prior to the final submission.
  2. Both require analytic abilities to support the conclusions.
  3. Plagiarism is not a valid method of presenting information in any way.
  4. Ethics-based practices should be observed when analyzing and archiving research data.
  5. Academic writing skills are crucial for a thesis , as well as dissertation.
  6. Both types of academic written work should be able to address specific research questions and also be used to argue for a position.
  7. The thesis and dissertation require a thorough and precise knowledge of the research issue.
  8. The thesis and the dissertation are both considered to be final projects and require graduation from the respective program.
  9. Both papers have deadlines.

The Differences in Context: Location Matters

The United States

In the US The entire list of things earlier mentioned was how schools distinguish between dissertation and thesis. The thesis is written by master's degree students, while dissertations are composed by PhD students.


In Europe The distinction between a thesis and a dissertation can be a bit obscure. This is because PhD programs might require a doctoral dissertation to finish the program. In the course of a larger postgraduate research, students could write dissertations.

The Purpose Behind Written Research

Every writing assignment is an opportunity for students to showcase their capacity to critically think, present their thoughts in writing and present their findings front of their teachers.

Graduate degrees require lots of time, energy and effort to complete. When it comes to writing these long and lengthy pieces of work there's a lot of time management required. The goal is that both the thesis as well as dissertations is to prove that you are knowledgeable and have grasped the subject of your academic degree.

Are dissertations more difficult as a thesis?

Many students might have a difficult time completing a dissertation compared to the thesis. Dissertations require students to create a new research idea, which could often be more challenging than building on ideas that have already been developed.

However, the complexity of a thesis dissertation will depend on your individual skills. For instance, those who develop their own research ideas might be able to write a dissertation more easily than the thesis.

The difficulty can also be influenced by the degree of course. For example an essay that was done at the doctoral level will likely require more sophisticated understanding than a thesis completed at an undergraduate level.

The complexity of any type of research project could depend on the topic and the resources you have available.

Theses and dissertations aren't easy However, don't get discouraged by the idea of having to create an entire body of work. Your teacher is there to help you and we are too.

The final Summary

In the end, it doesn't matter which one you employ since both are extensive and serious piece of work that are able to demonstrate what you've done and learned in you postgraduate education.

If you're talking about the work you are putting together in the same manner like the other pieces of work you're putting together within your department, you'll stay clear of confusion.

It is crucial to determine whether the research you are doing is new research or requires you to draw on existing research.

The process of writing a dissertation or thesis takes a lot of planning and preparation and you do not want to fail when you're at the end of the road with a inadequate presentation of your research, therefore, always pay attention to your program or department's guidelines.


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