Earning a graduate degree, regardless of your subject or specialty, is one of the most effective methods to boost your career. In fact, obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree is a prerequisite for some professionals. A graduate degree programme develops professional critical thinking abilities and refines field-specific information, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
Students must complete a substantial research and writing assignment as part of their graduate degree programme, such as a dissertation in a doctorate programme or a thesis in a master’s programme. These two projects are frequently misunderstood, so what is the difference between them? There are a few key differences and similarities between the two that each prospective graduate student should be aware of.
What is a Thesis?
A thesis is a piece of academic writing prepared near the end of a master’s degree programme by a student. It’s worth noting that most master’s degrees require you to write a thesis in order to graduate. Some bachelor’s degree programmes even require students to complete an undergraduate thesis, which is often shorter and less detailed than a master’s thesis.
Students choose a relatively specific topic of interest in their field to write a master’s thesis on. For example, if you’re studying nutrition science, you could look at the effects of different pregame meal compositions on sports performance.
The next stage is to perform a thorough examination of existing research on your subject. You’d next make an academic case (for example, that high-carb pre-game meals are beneficial for endurance athletes) and support it with existing data.
Depending on the policies of the university and the individual department, a thesis is often arranged in a very fixed fashion. Frequently, the following elements are required:
- Title Page
- Abstract (Summary)
- Table of Contents
- Table of Figures/Maps
- Body, Divided Typically into Chapters
What is a Dissertation?
Students working on a doctorate dissertation, unlike students working on a thesis, undertake their own unique research after analyzing existing material. A dissertation’s purpose is to demonstrate not only the student’s own knowledge and abilities, but also to contribute to the body of knowledge in their profession.
Students may propose a novel theory or hypothesis in their subject, or research that refutes a theory that has already been given. Alternatively, they could take a fresh approach to an old problem, shifting the focus of existing research in a new direction.
Taking doctoral classes, passing qualifying exams, and then writing the dissertation is the conventional order. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. The dissertation procedure is integrated into the coursework at several universities. This enables students to get a head start on their research while still meeting the course’s requirements. As a result, they may be able to graduate sooner.
The writing of a dissertation begins in the same way that writing a master’s thesis does. Students choose a topic and then do a literature study, which is a comprehensive examination of previous research on that issue. Students can then focus on inventing a new theory, discrediting an existing theory, or finding a fresh perspective on an existing theory.
One of the most frightening components of a PhD programme is the dissertation defense. Students, on the other hand, collaborate extensively with their chosen committees throughout the dissertation process. This implies that if your committee has approved your work to the stage of dissertation defense, you can be assured that your dissertation will almost probably be accepted, and you will be awarded your degree following your successful defense.
The particular makeup of a dissertation, like that of a thesis, is determined by the university’s norms and standards as well as the doctorate candidate’s department. Dissertations, on the other hand, typically include the following:
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- Literature Review and theoretical framework
- Discussions, such as interpretation, analysis and applications of findings
- Reference List
Differences between a Dissertation and a Thesis
The degree programmes that demand these assignments are the fundamental difference between a dissertation and a thesis. A master’s degree programme requires students to write a thesis, whereas a doctoral degree programme requires students to finish a dissertation.
Another distinction between the two projects is that a dissertation typically necessitates an oral defense, whereas a thesis does not. Students will organize dates for oral presentations of their work after submitting their completed dissertations to their dissertation committees. Members of the committee will ask questions and occasionally pose challenges. Students must be able to defend their research technique and conclusions.
A normal master’s thesis is also much shorter than a typical doctorate dissertation, as you might assume. A thesis might be anything from 40 and 80 pages long, depending on the degree level. The average dissertation, on the other hand, is between 100 and 300 pages long.
Similarities between a Dissertation and a Thesis
Despite their distinctions, a dissertation and a thesis have some parallels. Both necessitate extensive research and the drafting of a lengthy article that is entirely novel.
Furthermore, both projects necessitate the following:
- The skillful defense of an academic argument (the paper’s stance or the main point)
- Analytical reasoning
- Critical thinking
- Subject area’s in-depth expertise
- A significant investment time (months for thesis and years for dissertation)
- Willingness for rewriting and editing on the basis of the feedback from professors, peers or committee members.
The committee is another similarity. Students pursuing a PhD degree work with a committee of teachers, advisors, and other experts who direct their research and writing. A committee is also required for students doing a master’s thesis.
The committee chair is the student’s primary point of contact in both thesis and dissertation committees. To put it another way, the chair is the person who has the most influence over a student’s research, academic arguments, and writing.