Mar 2nd 2022

Thesis vs Dissertation: What Are the Differences?

Thesis vs Dissertation

Being a postgraduate student is not easy. After successfully passing all those exams, you still have to walk the extra mile and complete the final project. This is where many young scholars become confused, not knowing the real difference in dissertation vs thesis dilemma. 

So, what is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation? It's a tough question because no one can answer it in a single sentence. That's why we decided to help you out by presenting the key distinctions between the two academic concepts.

What is thesis?

A thesis is an extensive research project that students undertake in order to get their graduate degree. It is typically the most important piece of the work you get to produce during your time in graduate school. That's why it can take months to complete.

Unlike its lighter version – AKA bachelor thesis – an MA thesis usually consists of a substantial body of original research. Besides that, you will likely accompany it with a comprehensive literature review. It also requires research proposal writing because you need to summarize the future work and prove that the points you are trying to investigate are important for the specific academic field. 

A thesis is a culmination of all the knowledge and skills you have acquired at university. By writing a thesis, you can acquaint yourself with different kinds of work. It will not only train your academic writing skills but also improve your powers of critical thinking and analysis.

How do you write a thesis?

The first step in crafting your doctoral thesis is to choose a specific topic related to your studies. The topic must come from a field that you care about because you'll spend a lot of time researching it. Once your topic is clear, it is time to start reading.

Make yourself familiar with the existing literature, but don't forget to find articles and books written by authors who are experts in the field you're studying. After that, you can decide if their approaches will lead you towards a good research question. A typical graduate paper follows the same structure:

  • It has a cover page with a title
  • An abstract comes next
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Research chapters
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Every university has its thesis writing rules, but most of them follow this exact pattern. If you are not sure you can handle it properly, you can always ask for help from thesis writing services. They employ expert authors with vast experience in the field of academic writing, so they can answer all of your questions and dilemmas.  

What is a Ph.D. dissertation?

A dissertation is an in-depth, original research project written by a Ph.D. candidate. You will typically submit it to the university committee for evaluation and possible awarding of a Ph.D. degree.

The dissertation represents the final result of intensive study and research in a particular field. It is longer and more detailed than any other academic writing assignment that you've completed by this point. It is therefore essential to make a well-written, carefully-researched, and correctly formatted academic dissertation in order to make the best possible impression on the evaluators.

The basics of doctoral dissertations

Writing a masters dissertation comes right at the end of your doctoral studies. This paper usually has around 200 pages. It includes an extensive literature review, detailed methodology section, and comprehensive analysis and discussion of findings. Most scholars consider it to be one of the most important milestones in their careers.

If you ever visit a GCU doctoral blog, you will learn that dissertations can be a make-or-break factor in whether or not you are able to secure a tenure-track position at a university. Creating a dissertation also comes in a few basic steps:

  • Determine the question you want to answer.
  • Conduct research to find out what is already known about the question.
  • Draft a dissertation proposal, including a literature review and proposed methodology.
  • Conduct your research and write all of your dissertation chapters.
  • Defend your dissertation in front of a committee of experts.

Writing a dissertation: The structure

Perhaps it sounds simple, but writing a dissertation is a time-consuming process that only talented and hard-working scholars can complete. The end of your doctoral journey results in a research paper with this kind of structure:

  • It has a cover page with a title
  • Acknowledgements
  • An abstract comes next
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • A brief presentation of research methodology
  • A summary of literature research and theory
  • Research chapters
  • Research conclusions with interpretations
  • Bibliography and references
  • Appendices

The structure may differ from university to university, but the general framework remains the same in most cases.

Doctoral Thesis vs Dissertation

A lot of students also don't recognize the difference between a Ph.D. thesis vs dissertation. In this case, a doctoral thesis is a smaller segment of research that concentrates on a narrow field. The point of this research is to get your Ph.D. degree. On the other hand, a doctoral dissertation is a post-graduate project that targets a much wider research area.

Dissertation vs Thesis: Difference That Matters

High-level academic works all seem the same, but there are quite a few differences between a thesis and a dissertation. If you are putting thesis versus dissertation in front of our experienced academic authors, they will give you an entire list of obvious distinctions. Here's what they came up with.

  • The length

The main dissertation/thesis difference is that the former is considered to be much longer than the latter. Almost every thesis is up to 80 pages long, while dissertations can get up to 300 pages.

We all know that the more pages, the longer the work is going to be and it takes a lot of time and effort for any student to complete such an assignment. That's also why scholars look for dissertation services to speed up the writing part.

  • Originality of content

A thesis is a document that summarizes the findings of a research project. On the other hand, dissertations represent a longer and more comprehensive document - they make the original contribution to knowledge in a particular field of research. A typical thesis strives to show how something happened, while a dissertation explains the "why" part.

  • Scope of work

Another difference in the Ph.D. dissertation vs thesis duel is the sheer scope of work. The thesis has to be very focused on a single topic, while dissertations can cover multiple aspects of research. An author will write a dissertation to examine the subject from different angles in order to get a comprehensive overview.

  • Academic level

And let's not forget one important detail – thesis is the final step on your MA journey, while dissertations mark the completion of doctoral studies.

So, is a dissertation the same as a thesis? The answer is definitely 'no'.

Thesis and Dissertation: Main Similarities

Although different, these two academic concepts have a few similarities as well. We want to point them out because it will reveal why so many students use these concepts interchangeably.

  • Both are required to obtain a diploma

First of all, both the thesis and the dissertation are formal requirements to obtain a degree. Without them, you can't complete your postgraduate studies - regardless of the level. Therefore, you need to get the job done before earning your diploma.

  • Extensive research is a must

Secondly, both types of academic papers demand thorough research. Writing a thesis means conducting research that results in a broad literature review. In the case of dissertations, extensive research is compulsory because it builds up your knowledge and contributes to the development of theory.

  • They have to be good

Here's another common ground between thesis and dissertation - their content must be really good since it has a profound influence on your academic performance. Your research must be solid if you want to complete your studies with flying colors.

  • Both projects demand critical thinking

Both projects require a fair share of critical thinking. You must have the ability to recognize the problem and all of its solutions. It also means presenting your ideas in an original manner while criticizing other researchers' opinions. It is essential to provide an original perspective of the problem, propose a new method of solving it, and present unbiased results.

  • They take time to complete

Needless to say, both projects are very time-consuming. It is why you need to plan ahead and organize your time correctly. You should create a schedule for both research and writing sessions. It will make the process less complicated, reduce stress, and boost productivity.

  • Expertise is the end result

Finally, the similarity is that they all result in expertise. You won't be able to complete your studies without this knowledge. So it means that you have to acquire new skills and perfect the ones you already have.

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Research Resources You'll Need to Write a Thesis or Dissertation

We answered the main question: What is dissertation and thesis? However, we also need to mention research resources that are necessary for the completion of both projects.

You can always consult with professionals for your project to ensure the highest level of quality. Apart from that, you should make sure to find and explore all of these resources:

  • Niche academic journals
  • Notable academic works such as publications, reviews, and books
  • Scholarly magazines
  • Niche surveys and opinion polls
  • Official industry/market reports
  • Official reports from state institutions
  • Statistical reports
  • Historical data and earlier studies

All these resources are necessary if you want to write a great thesis. But what's the deal with dissertations? The situation is similar, but Ph.D. writing forces you to take the extra step. Apart from everything we've listed above, you need to add the following:

  • Conduct real-world research, laboratory experiments, or practical investigations
  • Perform first-hand opinion polls, surveys, one-on-one interviews, or focus group sessions
  • Research and evaluate unpublished reports and data
  • Visit academic conferences, round tables, etc.

This obviously takes much more time, but that's the price of obtaining your Ph.D. degree. How Can We Help You?

Academic writing is not easy, which is why provides that much-needed assistance to talented scholars. We understand that the project might take more time than you can afford, so feel free to consult with our experienced academic writers. This is what you'll get:

  • We can help you write a thesis or dissertation on time
  • A designated expert will assist you in writing a high-quality document
  • You won't have to worry about the style, tone, and formatting of your thesis or dissertation
  • Obtain unique content packed with cutting-edge academic insights

If you need additional explanations, feel free to contact an agent from our support center via live chat.

The Bottom Line

Am I writing a dissertation or a thesis? It's an ancient academic enigma, but we made sure to give you a clear answer in this post. 

There are many differences, but the main include the sheer scope of work and content uniqueness. Do you think you can handle your project now?  

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