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What is the difference between a Thesis and Dissertation?

Despite of the fact that some universities and schools change the term thesis and dissertation interchangeably, there are a few differences that demarcate the two. According to their differences they are both defined as follows;

 A thesis is, “A proposition stated or put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections”- Dictionary.com

Whereas, a dissertation is, “A written essay, treatise, or thesis, especially one written by a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.” –Dictionary.com

Some of the differences between the two are listed below;

  • Degree to Acquire

One major difference between the two is that Thesis is required when one wants Master’s degree while the dissertation is required for the doctoral degree. Furthermore, in master’s a student can either chose the thesis option or the non-thesis option to get his or her degree however, for a PhD dissertation is the only way out. Lastly, a dissertation is followed by the defense whereas a thesis can be graded by a viva only.

  • The Purpose of writing

The intended purpose of writing a dissertation and a thesis vary greatly. A thesis is basically a research that helps in unveiling the interest and understanding of the students of the field. A thesis is more often extension or building up on the work of the others. Thus, thesis’s purpose is the analysis of the already present literature review and connecting it with the subject. The purpose of dissertation on the other hand is to produce something new, a new idea, a new experiment, a new approach. Dissertation are purely those subjects that have not been worked upon. Thus, an authentic hypothesis should be proved or disapproved.

  • Length

A thesis is not a very long document and each university has its own particular requirement. For instance, a thesis might be of 50 to 60 pages whereas a dissertation is far too long like the size of a hefty book. The length is thus another point of difference.

  • Extensive work

A more extensive work is required in a dissertation than a thesis. The scope of thesis is lesser than the dissertation.

  • Previous work

A thesis uses previous literature whereas a dissertation builds on its hypothesis. Thus, for a good work or creative work, school students are not burdened with writing a detailed dissertation.  

  • Difference of Statements

There are different statements for a thesis and a dissertation. A thesis statement is comprehensive statement explaining the point of view of the readers and how once will prove his or her argument in the research. A dissertation on the other hand is developed extensively from a hypothesis. This hypothesis is something unique yet authentic. The dissertation introduction therefore requires the overview of the expected results. Also, a dissertation requires an application of paradigm of theory of the particular subject however, thesis can be based on the review of the literature.   

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