Difference Between Dissertation Writing and Thesis

By: | Updated: Dec-27, 2021
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Being a university student means dealing with various kinds of challenging assignments, coursework, and exams. However, dissertation writing and thesis remain the largest project that a student has to undertake to earn a doctoral or master’s degree.

Dissertation writing and thesis differ significantly because one is required to undertake them at different times in their educational journey. Knowing the differences between the two will create an understanding of what is expected in each one of them. Let’s break down the differences.

Dissertation vs. thesis

Pursuing a Ph.D. requires having a deeper understanding of how to conduct research successfully. Towards the end of a doctoral program, a student will be required to produce a dissertation and later defend it.

A dissertation is a lengthy document that enables students to present findings as they respond to a proposition or a question of their choice. Its purpose is to test the research skills the students have acquired in the course of their studies. A thesis is primarily a piece of writing required of students pursuing master’s degrees. It enables students to demonstrate their expertise and knowledge of a particular subject matter.

Writing the best dissertation starts with exploring some set of ideas and developing a workable hypothesis before writing a proposal. On the other hand, writing a thesis requires identifying a topic, generating the main idea around the topic, and providing reasons that support the idea.

Structural differences

A dissertation represents complex work that is about two or three times longer than a thesis. Even though a dissertation is an independent document, a student receives guidance from a member of faculty who acts as the dissertation adviser. The adviser points out whether the student is on the right track while ensuring that the proposal is okay.

A thesis is almost similar to a research paper where a student is required to research a topic and analyze it based on the information they gather. The idea behind a thesis is to demonstrate one’s ability to think logically and critically about the topic. Upon submitting the research work to the committee, a student will be required to defend that work by answering some questions from the committee.

Defending a thesis comes after evaluation, so it is like a formality. The questions asked during defense are open-ended, requiring the respondent to think logically and critically before responding. The defense could take between 20 minutes and 60 minutes, depending on the committee’s objectives.

You can ask for help in writing your dissertation

Students in college must complete dissertations before being awarded doctorate degrees in their field. Due to the complexity of writing, students often choose to find dissertation help from experts. They can benefit from cheap dissertation writing services by EduBirdie that guarantees quality work and timely completion. Edubirdie will help to save time and reduce stress among the students. The professional writers are experienced and have the relevant education to allow them to handle all kinds of assignments no matter their complexity.

Differences according to purpose

Dissertation and thesis also differ based on the intended purpose. A dissertation, which is done by doctorate students, is an extension of original research. The student must create a subject line in their field that has not been researched before.

A thesis tests a student’s understanding of their field of study, where they must formulate a thesis or a proposition based on work done by others. The student analyzes the previous work done as they make a case for a specific point of view.

Contextual differences

In the United States, a thesis is a requirement by students pursuing master’s degrees, while a dissertation is completed by Ph.D. candidates. Departments and institutions can use the two words differently, so when one is in doubt, they need to go by the department or university distinction.

In Europe, the difference between a dissertation and a thesis may be more cloudy because Ph.D. students must produce a doctoral thesis before graduating. For broader research projects for undergraduate and master’s level students, a dissertation is required. A thesis in this context is a piece of work produced by students towards the completion of a Ph.D.


The differences between dissertation writing and the thesis are based on the structure, purpose, and context. However, each program and school has guidelines for the components of a dissertation, a thesis, and the general structure. No matter where a student earns their doctoral or master’s degree, they are likely to complete a dissertation or a thesis. Understanding the differences between the two will enable the students to meet their academic writing goals.

Author’s Bio

Brandon Kryeger is a writing and editing trainer and helps students from schools and colleges learn the art of writing high-class academic assignments. If requested, he loves to work on essays and thesis and help students overcome writing challenges. His free time is spent watching debate shows on tv, doing digital art and relaxing on the beach.

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