Dissertation vs Thesis

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Find out the Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation (1)

Many students get confused between a Dissertation and a Thesis. A thesis is an academic essay or a research paper that is written as a part of a higher degree. The aim of a thesis is to prove your opinion through a statement. It has a specific length limit and takes less time to complete. It is extremely important for a student to complete and submit their thesis on time to obtain a Master’s Degree. On the other hand, a dissertation is an academic piece of writing based on one’s independent research. It is meant to be submitted as a part of one’s PhD, Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. It can take several months or even years to complete a dissertation. It prepares students to develop problem-solving, project management and numerical skills.  Read the whole blog to understand the difference between a thesis and a dissertation, its structure, types of dissertations, thesis and dissertation in India, US, EU and more.

LengthNo specific length 100-150 Pages
DegreeDoctorate degree Bachelors or Master’s degree program
SubmissionDone during the doctoral programShould be submitted during the completion of a graduate program
PurposeDone to contribute to the field of study through the researchTo mark an end to their study program

Also Read: What is Research Proposal?

Difference Between a Dissertation and a Thesis

The main difference is the purpose of the submission. A Dissertation is meant to be submitted with the aim of projecting the student’s skills and experience throughout the course of their doctoral program. While a Thesis is meant to be submitted to complete one’s master’s degree. 

  1. A Dissertation consumes more time to complete while a thesis can be completed in even 2 weeks as it comes with a specific length.
  2. A dissertation is completely based on original research; there is no place for secondary research sources.
  3. A thesis includes primary and secondary sources; there is no need to analyze a particular field of study.
  4. A thesis requires argumentation to prove a particular point while a dissertation needs a lot of background research. A thesis includes a viewpoint of the findings while a dissertation requires students to extrapolate their findings. 
  5. A thesis is more of an academic research paper while a dissertation is a lot lengthier than a thesis and is required to be submitted in the form of a book.

Major Difference Between a Dissertation and a Thesis

The primary distinction between a thesis and a dissertation is that a thesis is based on previously conducted research.

A dissertation, on the other hand, will almost certainly require the doctorate student to conduct their own research and analysis. Another significant distinction is that a thesis is for master’s students and a dissertation is for PhD students.

Structure of Dissertation vs Thesis

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The structural difference between the two lies in the length of the document. A dissertation is a lot lengthier than a thesis which is meant to be at least 100 pages long. The outline of both a dissertation and a thesis is quite similar. Below mentioned are the structures:

Structure of a Dissertation

The structure must include the 5 chapters of a dissertation that are mentioned below:

  • Chapter I: Introduction
  • Chapter II: Review of Literature
  • Chapter III:  Research Methodology 
  • Chapter IV:  Result Presentation
  • Chapter V: Summary, Implications and Conclusions

Structure of a Thesis

Here is the typical outline of a Thesis for your reference:

  1. Title
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Problem Statement
  6. Purpose/Aim/ResearchQuestions
  7. Review of Literature
  8. Methodology
  9. Significance/Implications (Results of the Discussion)
  10. Overview of Chapter (Conclusion)
  11. Recommendation
  12. References

Similarities between a Dissertation and a Thesis

  1. A dissertation and a thesis are extremely important to get the respective degree.
  2. The aim of both a dissertation and a thesis is to test a student’s research abilities.
  3. An obvious similarity between the two is the structure/outline that is followed by both.
  4. Another similarity is the Guidance, teachers and supervisors are assigned to personally guide the students by helping them through the course of the research.
  5. Plagiarism is meant to be followed strictly while writing a thesis and a dissertation 

Some people use the word dissertation as a synonym for a thesis which is not correct. The purpose of a dissertation and a thesis is what makes it complex to understand the difference between the two. This blog has covered almost everything you needed to know about the difference between the two. However, both of them have a lot of similarities but are done for obtaining different degrees. While writing any of them, remember that it is only adding to your skills. The aim is to improve your academic and research skills.

Dissertation vs Thesis in Different Countries


Those who are pursuing a PhD are required to submit a thesis while the ones pursuing an MPhil must submit a dissertation.


A thesis must be submitted to complete a PhD Degree while a dissertation is supposed to be part of a research project.


The purpose of submitting a dissertation and a thesis is completely different. A dissertation is an independent research project to obtain a Doctoral Degree in the US, while a thesis is a shorter research project that is required to obtain a Master’s Degree.

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How long is the Master’s dissertation?

A master’s dissertation is generally between 15,000 and 20,000 words.

Which PhD is most in demand?

The top PhD subjects include physical therapy, education, administration, chemistry, political science and technology.

Can I complete my PhD in 2 years?

Yes, you can complete a PhD Degree in 2 years.

What is the difference between Masters thesis and dissertation?

Because it is based on original research, a doctoral dissertation has greater breadth, depth, and intention than a master’s thesis. A master’s thesis is typically 100 pages long, and a doctorate dissertation can be 400-500 pages long.

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