Dissertation Vs. Thesis: What’s The Difference?

Most disciplines require either a thesis or dissertation to be completed in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. There are many differences between the thesis and dissertation and knowing what they are can help you decide which one is needed to earn the specific degree you are working towards. A dissertation is usually required when a student is working toward earning a master’s degree or a Ph.D., while a thesis is often a shorter project that is required when working toward earning a bachelor’s degree. Each institution’s discipline department might have specific requirements, but it’s a good idea to know what makes each project unique.

Dissertation Vs Thesis: Consider Project Scope and Length

Perhaps the biggest difference in a dissertation vs thesis is the project scope and length. Dissertations are longer projects that can be several hundreds of pages long, while a thesis is a much shorter project that doesn’t go beyond a hundred pages. Dissertations are also much more in-depth studies of a given topic and will usually be referenced by other researchers and educators in the field. A thesis focuses on a single subject but isn’t considered comprehensive and is much more of a stepping stone for students that are going into a particular area of study.

Difference between Thesis and Dissertation: Data Collection

Data collection methodology is an important difference between thesis and dissertation projects. You need to decide what kind of study you want to conduct and then decide on the best methodology to collect data. A great resource to help you to choose the most appropriate form of data collection is prior examples of both types of projects. These are readily available at the university library where all past dissertations and theses completed at the university are archived. For assistance, ask a reference librarian to show you how to use the library’s databases. Download similar studies and decide between the different types of data collection methods.

Thesis vs Dissertation: Department Requirements

When trying to decide whether to work on a thesis or dissertation students need to visit their department’s website or office and ask for specific degree requirements. Students can ask their advisors for assistance and can also conduct their research to determine if their best option is to work hard in their final years instead of joining the workforce. In recent years it’s become clearer that young professionals can acquire skills by entering an internship and getting real-world experience. Still, many benefits come from earning an advanced degree. Students just have to be sure they can meet all of their departments’ requirements.

Both the thesis and dissertation require extensive research to complete. Students should work closely with their department advisor to determine which project is the most feasible to attain their goals. All the components described above (project scope and length, data collection, and department requirements) need to be considered. The difference between the two can affect whether the project is a success or a failure.