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Difference Between Thesis and Dissertation

What Is the Difference Between Thesis And Dissertation?

A thesis is an academic requirement at the end of a master’s program while a dissertation is a major prerequisite to earn a PhD. Other differences exist that distinguish theses from dissertations.

Several academic essays are required to attain different qualifications or meet certain expectations set by institutions. The differences between a thesis and dissertation seems to cause some form of confusion among students in various countries. However, these academic essay share several similarities too.

Theses and dissertations are long-form academic essays, and it is essential to know the main differences between both kinds of research.

Many universities require a student to write a thesis focused to solve particular problems. The thesis should contain information that maintains a particular proposition from start to finish. However, dissertations are usually required from a qualified candidate at the climax of a doctoral course.

Students required to write a thesis or dissertation are expected to defend such essays upon completion. Let’s see in-depth information about each academic essay, their differences, similarities, and other vital details.

What is a Thesis?

A thesis is a scholarly research work written by a student in partial fulfilment for the award of a master’s degree or other qualification. Theses allow students conduct research and display their knowledge about a certain topic. Most theses written by students should cover a subject related to their course of study.

A thesis is usually between 90 and 150 pages long depending on your topic, methods used, results, and your school’s guidelines.

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is a longer form of scholarly research written by a student to satisfy some requirements for the award of a doctorate degree or PhD. Researchers earn a PhD after defending the contents of their dissertation in front of a review committee.

Dissertations can be quite long and include information about any original research on the topic and expands on earlier findings. In other words, the dissertation might be a topic suggested in a thesis and carried out in better detail to earn a PhD.

Major Differences between a Thesis and a Dissertation

Theses and dissertations share many similarities; however, these two essays also have many differences between them. Let’s see some of the main differences between a thesis and dissertation below:





A thesis is presented at the climactic stage (towards the end) of a master’s program

A dissertation is presented to earn a PhD


 A thesis presents learned and existing fact for easier understanding

A dissertation develops a concept and defends it based on practical and/or theoretical results


A thesis compiles research to ensure the reader or supervisor gets information about the chosen topic(s)

A dissertation presents researchers with an opportunity to propound new information shaped into theories; usually designed to add valuable perspectives to existing literature


A thesis might not possess a detailed research or grant proposal

A dissertation usually has a research proposal and/or grant proposal


A thesis does not usually feature an ideation of the research topic

A dissertation commonly features a lengthy ideation of the chosen research topic


A thesis might not be longer than 100 pages

A dissertation should be at minimum thrice the total length (in pages) of a standard thesis


A thesis must not include the researcher’s process of research and background information

A dissertation must contain the researcher’s background information and research approach


A thesis usually has no preceding research before it, that is, it begins a new topic

A dissertation might be an improvement on an earlier topic researched by the doctorate degree candidate. Dissertations might expand into areas not covered in the thesis preceding it.  

What are the Similarities between a Thesis and a Dissertation?

Theses and dissertations share the following similarities:

1.    Both theses and dissertations are required at the tail end of an academic program for students to graduate. A thesis or dissertation is usually among the requirements for the fulfilment of an award of any degree or academic program you signed up for,

2.    Theses and dissertations both require;

(a)    a statement of problem,

(b)    research on the stated issue(s) and

(c)     a deep understanding of the problem(s) concept(s)

3.    Ethical best practices must be respected when documenting, organizing, collating, and analyzing data for research

4.    Theses and dissertations must address certain research questions and provide valid answers before concluding the study

5.    Analytical know-how is crucial to create a solid basis for your findings

6.    Theses and dissertations require detailed proofreading and editing before final submission

7.    Intentional or unintentional plagiarism is not accepted in a thesis or dissertation

8.    Both long-form academic essays require proper referencing to avoid theft of other researchers’ ideas


1.  How can I spot the differences between a thesis and dissertation?

      If you’re in the UK or country with similar language definitions, a dissertation should be much longer than a thesis. Theses submissions in the UK and many other         countries could be between 250 – 300 pages long. However, there are many other ways to seel the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. 

2.  Which is harder to write between a thesis and dissertation?

      A thesis is usually easier to write than a dissertation. Theses might not require extensive input and could be complete in a short time. Dissertations take much               longer to complete and cane be much harder to write than a thesis in general.

3.  Will I need to write a thesis or dissertation any time I graduate?

      You might not need to present a thesis or dissertation to earn some certifications. However, you will likely need to write a thesis or dissertation if you plan to                    graduate from a master’s program or earn a PhD.

Final Word

Writing a thesis or dissertation properly ensures you get good grades when it’s time to assess your work. Endeavor to follow all guidelines set by your institution to ace your thesis or dissertation in your first attempt. See the differences between both long-form essays above for guidance and ensure your academic excellence without hassle!