• A Thesis Versus A Dissertation: Learning the Difference


    In some countries a dissertation and a thesis are interchangeable and are seen to mean the same thing, but in others there are clear differences between the two. For instance, in the U.S. a thesis may be used to meet the requirements of a master’s degree, while a dissertation is a requirement most often associated with earning a doctoral degree in a discipline. Usually, both are written discourses on subjects chosen by the students, but some universities require write either their dissertations or theses on specific pre-assigned topics. Here are a few ways of telling the two apart:

    What is a Master’s Thesis?

    In a thesis, a student has to conduct his own original research on an original proposition or argument. The thesis statement in a thesis is a lot more focused on a student’s primary argument. A master’s thesis doesn’t require a student to be an expert in a given field, but does require him to know something about a given topic which he must prove by way of providing supporting evidence. It will give various states of point, and in the end summarize the central argument. One of looking at this is that a thesis will be contributing to a discipline by providing new work in the field. Therefore a student needs to focus on contributing something that is entirely new and will later be used by other researchers as they further the work.

    What is a Doctoral Dissertation?

    In a dissertation, a student has to conduct original research and synthesize whatever information has been collected. Doctoral dissertations will still present a thesis statement, or central argument upon which a student must prove (just like a master’s thesis), however, a dissertation requires one to have a solid background of the subject and have a good knowledge of current discoveries. A dissertation basically requires one to infer new or updated conclusion on what has been read and researched. While a dissertation will certainly present new work in a discipline, it’s a lot more of an evaluation of existing literature, presented in a way that work is analyzed and synthesized into a new mode of thought. A great way to know the difference is that a student may consult many thesis papers as he writes his dissertation, providing his audience with an understanding of how all of this existing literature works together to present a new topic or area of study.

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