Difference Between Dissertation vs Thesis

Difference Between Dissertation vs Thesis

Commonly, in every academic setting, there are some misconceptions among students about terms and concepts that are closely related but not totally the same. Dissertation and thesis are two closely related terms that are easily confused.

Although both terms refer to academic papers that are written based on a specific topic in order to become certified or as a confirmation of intellectual understanding in a given topic, they really have significant differences.

And it is vital that a precise and distinctive explanation is made to enlighten individuals and show the difference between thesis and dissertation for subsequent appropriate usage of the terms.

Definition of Dissertation

A dissertation is a document that is compiled and written based on the observations and discoveries obtained from research or study for the completion of a doctorate degree program (Ph.D.). Etymologically, the word dissertation is from the Latin word “dissertare,” which means “to discuss” or “discussion.”

In other words, it is a well-structured and researched document that explains and demonstrates all logical, experimental, and theoretical findings regarding a topic or focus that is appointed by a supervisor or personally chosen for higher study.

Usually, dissertations are required to be written by candidates who are studying to obtain a Ph.D. degree or other scholars of higher studies, and a dissertation is expected to be unique in terms of structure, content, and research.

The research must be original (plagiarism-free) and new. And just like every other academic research document, a dissertation is a means of evaluation and assessment to confirm and estimate the intellectual and research skill of a candidate.

On this note, institutional supervisors usually evaluate the written content for originality and individual understanding through presentation and questioning.

Definition of Thesis

A thesis is a compiled work that is intended to address a particular problem or topic under the scope of a master’s degree program. In a scientific course, a master’s student is expected to take advanced coursework and acquire applied skills and experience, but the research work will not be as intense as doctorate degree research.

In this regard, the candidate simply provides logical ideas and intellectual contributions, and the main purpose is to acquire technical and applied expertise rather than producing new and original research.

A thesis is rather more opinionative, and it allows the student to suggest new ideas and show proof to back them up. When writing such a thesis, it is important that there are in-depth research and reasons to further prove and establish points.

Main Differences Between Dissertation and Thesis

The table below further shows the difference between thesis and dissertation.

Basis of ComparisonDissertationThesis
DefinitionAn academic document that is well researched and written at the end of a doctoral program of studyA document or project that is written usually at the completion point of a master’s degree program
PurposeThe research and presentations are new, and it is written as a means of introducing a new discovery, theory, or knowledge into a subject or system.The research work shows intellectual depth and an understanding of what is learned during the course or program.
LevelsDoctorate degree (Ph.D.)Master’s degree (MSc)
FunctionAims to give an intense explanation of a hypothesisTo describe a preexisting hypothesis
LengthUsually longer than a thesis and ranges from 100 to 300 pagesUsually around 100 pages
DepthRequires extensive and broader researchRequires less research work
ObjectiveIs expected to inculcate in the individual an intellectual ability to self-program logical development in the subjectBasically, to evaluate and test candidates’ understanding of the course

Difference Between Dissertation vs Thesis: Conclusion

In summary, after discussing a lot of clear differences regarding thesis vs dissertation, it is important to still note that these two research documents are definitely a necessity in every academic setting and system as they provide historical references of discoveries and explanations.

They are usually presented and supervised under the guidance of an appointed professor who evaluates and ensures that the project content fulfills its purpose. Importantly, the subject of dissertation vs thesis is expected to bring improvement not just to the student but also to the academic field, educational system, and the ecosystem at large.