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Dissertation Vs Thesis, Differences And Similarities

If you plan to enroll in graduate school, you must have come a cross the debate on dissertation vs master’s thesis. This is a confusing tussle that never seems to go away. Both of them are final projects that you are required to complete. The differences and similarities depend on the interpretation given by the department. Both are used to gauge your understanding of your area of study. However, in the debate on thesis vs dissertation, 8 basic differences emerge.

  1. Masters vs PhD
  2. Theses are used for Master’s classes while dissertations are used for PhD. This means that you will be expected to graduate with a Masters degree after completing your thesis compared to a dissertation where the institution awards you a PhD. Despite dissertation and thesis writing being used interchangeably, their meanings end results are totally different.

  3. Critical Thinking vs New Ideas
  4. Thesis is used to test your critical thinking around a particular issue while a dissertation requires you to produce a new idea. Masters students are required to review a field of study or case studies and analyze the issues around the case critically. This is a fundamental shift from dissertations where new ideas are expected. The content or area of study will therefore determine whether you write a dissertation or thesis.

  5. Literature Review Vs Original Idea
  6. Masters thesis involve a lot of literature review. Though there are instances of data collection, even the data is collected around particular literature. You will still need a reliable dissertation and thesis database since all the materials referred to must be credible and verifiable. However, the volumes expected of the two and the amount of weight these materials carry depend on your level of study.

  7. Data Collection Vs Literature Review
  8. The approach in the process of writing dissertation and theses from start to finish will appear similar in data collection and literature review. However, dissertations require you to use the data collected to develop a new line of thought. However, a thesis uses data to cement existing ideas and develop or justify them.

  9. Length
  10. The length of either of these papers is evidence of the differences. A Masters thesis is expected to be shorter than a dissertation. The former goes for up to 250 pages depending on topic. The latter will be between 250 and 350 pages, again depending on your topic.

  11. Committee
  12. The department sets up a committee made of several PhD holders to assist in your dissertation. For a Masters thesis, only a supervisor is assigned.

  13. Structure
  14. The structure of your dissertation and that of a thesis are different. Use samples or templates to capture these differences. The differences may also vary from department to another and even one topic to another.

  15. Specialization
  16. A dissertation shows greater and in-depth specialization compared to Masters thesis which focuses on critical thinking and commentary on an area of study.

Get samples and examples from reliable dissertations and theses database free to help you understand these differences better. Consult your supervisor to ensure that you do not misunderstand the instructions. Both are academic papers that must be free of plagiarism and follow stipulated structure.


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