Learning To Distinguish Between A Thesis And A Dissertation

What Is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation

Both a thesis and a dissertation are both university related, either for a Master’s degree or a doctoral degree. In some undergraduate degrees, a thesis may be required for graduation. In today’s society, many adults who are not educated on the difference use these two words simultaneously. Both a thesis and dissertation have a similar structure: including an introduction, literary review, a main explanation of topic, and a conclusion. Many students become confused when researching the difference because the terms, “thesis” and “dissertation” are used differently in different areas around the world.

The main differences between a thesis and a dissertation are:

  • Length
  • What The Paper Is For
  • What is included


The length of a thesis can be up to one hundred pages in length, documenting the research and some beliefs of the student. The length of a dissertation can be almost triple that. Dissertations include research and experiments that have been done by the student, as well as the student’s thesis for a strong argument. Dissertations can take over 5 years to complete, with several sub papers being submitted in for review.

What The Paper Is For

A thesis is often written to complete a master’s program. A dissertation is written to complete a doctoral program. In the United States, a “capstone” class is offered to undergraduates to complete their degrees with a final paper. A thesis is the final project for a master’s degree, and a dissertation is the final project for a doctoral degree.

What Is Included

A thesis is more related to a research paper that would have been written during an undergraduate program. Thesis writers are expected to use other’s research to support their own opinion. There is no interaction between humans and the writer. The experiment used for the paper had already been completed. A thesis writer is required to analyze discoveries made by others and use critical thinking in order to make a plausible argument. A thesis must surround research that has been done in the student’s specific subject of study. This paper explores the student’s knowledge of their subject that has been learned during their time in the program. On the other hand, a dissertation writer is expected to dive into unknown territory and complete an experiment of their choosing. The dissertation writer is required to come up with a new hypothesis statement and use their own experiment as the basis for their findings.