A Detailed Investigation into the Main Differences Between Dissertation and Thesis.

What are the significant similarities between dissertation and thesis? What is the difference between thesis and dissertation?

Dissertation vs. thesis is a debatable topic. When you are a university student, you know pretty well that a genuine and comprehensive paper is required for your graduation. If you are pondering upon the fundamental difference between thesis and disseratation, you are not the only one who is thinking about it. Many other students also suffer through the same confusion.

These both papers are quite different from each other, but at the same time, they possess some similarities as well. Let's explore this debatable topic and see the similarities and differences between dissertation and thesis.

Similarities between the dissertation and thesis

The major similarities between a dissertation and thesis are:

  • The purpose of writing both papers is the same. Both terms are also used interchangeably in many institutions.
  • There is a fixed deadline for these researches. You have to write these two researches in a fixed time without any delay.
  • A student chooses the topic of his interest in both dissertation or thesis writing.
  • Both these researches are organized to check the research ability of a student.
  • They both have almost similar structure and format.
  • A student defends his completed dissertation and thesis work to earn a degree.
The dissertation and thesis

Differences between a dissertation and a thesis

Major differences between a dissertation and a thesis are:

  • The word dissertation has been derived from the Latin language that means "discussion", whereas the word thesis originated from the Greek language, which means "proposition".
  • The Master level students write a thesis to get a master degree in the US whereas a dissertation is required to earn a PhD degree. On the other hand, a thesis is used for acquiring a PhD degree in the UK.
  • Both these written works differ in length. A dissertation is a lengthier work than a thesis.
  • You can use the existing research in the dissertation but in a thesis you have to conduct an original research.
  • As compared to a thesis, you have to write more extensive work in the dissertation to develop your research on a specific topic.
  • A dissertation statement is different from a thesis statement. A hypothesis is a compulsory part of a dissertation statement, and you have to explain the expected results from your written work. To research a particular subject, you need a theory to explore in a dissertation. On the opposite hand, you have to explain a specific point to the reader how you will prove your statement in the thesis.
  • Dissertation writing is considered more difficult and complex than a thesis because you have to create more questions to write quality work.

What is a dissertation?

When you enter into a university to earn your PhD degree, you know how to conduct quality research. At the end of your degree, you have to write a dissertation.

A dissertation is a lengthy piece of writing that has original and expanded research on a new or previously existing topic. You have to choose your desired topic within your area of interest and write about it. 

Main parts of dissertation

It is essential to have a proper understanding of the main parts of a dissertation. It has seven basic elements. These are:

  1. Title
  2. Acknowledgement
  3. Abstract
  4. Introduction
  5. Methods and discussion
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

The detail of each element of the dissertation may differ depending upon the topic. Some universities have set up their own specific rules related to fonts, sub-parts, word length, and chapters' sequence in writing a dissertation. Therefore, it is essential to follow their rules and regulations.

Details of the elements of dissertation

Title of a Dissertation

The first element of the dissertation is the title page. The title page contains:

  • Topic name
  • University name
  • Mentor's name
  • Roll number
  • University logo


This part presents personal information about your life. It is the place where you appreciate the people who supported you throughout your research. These people include your mentors, supervisors, colleagues, family and friends. Your writing's tone and language in this chapter are informal compared to the other chapters of your dissertation.

Table of Contents

This component of dissertation includes the page number of each chapter of your dissertation. It is also called an index table.


When you present your dissertation's data with the help of tables and illustrations, it becomes easy to comprehend.

 List of Tables

The title and page number of all the tables that you have written are included in this portion.

 List of Illustrations

Different maps, charts and graphs may be used in the dissertation to make it more attractive. This page includes the title and page number of all the illustrations you used in your dissertation.

 List of abbreviations

This list contains the alphabetically arranged abbreviation of your dissertation.


This section of the dissertation includes a concise description of your project. It should consist of all the highlighted issues along with their solutions. An abstract is your first impression on the reader, and he will decide whether to read your dissertation or not. A good abstract is in the range of 150-200 words.

An abstract may be called an executive summary of your dissertation. It is written after completing your dissertation to provide a complete picture of your dissertation to the reader.


An introduction is the ground state for the main body of your dissertation. In this section, you look to engage an interest in your research work and describe something important in the background. You also explain the reason for choosing your dissertation topic in this chapter.

Length of introduction

The length of an introduction is usually two to three pages.

Purpose of introduction

The primary aim of introduction is to give a clear idea to the reader of what to expect in the following chapters. You raise the curiosity of the reader to whet his appetite.

Methodology and Discussion: 

This section includes:

  • Research design
  • Scholar's overview
  • Methodology
  • Measurements

The length of this part depends on the route that you choose for your dissertation. The route may be empirical and non-empirical. This chapter answers the main research questions of your dissertation. The general chapters included in this section are:

  • Primary source of data collection
  • Secondary source of data collection
  • Study area
  • Sampling
  • Measurement
  • Data analysis
  • Timeframe for research
  • Budget for research


It is an important part of your dissertation. This portion includes:

  • Summary of the whole dissertation project
  • Highlighting all the discovered solutions
  • Raised research questions

The conclusion should be shorter in length than the other chapters of the dissertation. It should be presented in the form of a one-man army that it alone represents the entire dissertation.


It is vital to create a list of all the references that you used in your dissertation. It includes the alphabetical list of:

  • Background readings
  • Books
  • Articles

What is a thesis?

A thesis is also a lengthy piece of writing and it involves genuine research. It is for the students who are graduating from the master's program. The thesis's basic purpose is to examine the student's knowledge and expertise within the discourse they have been studying.

Main parts of a thesis

The basic components of a thesis depend on the discipline to which it belongs (literature, linguistics, biology, engineering, etc.). The general parts of a thesis are:

  1. Preliminary Body
  2. Text
  3. Conclusion
  4. Bibliography
  • Preliminary Body

It refers to the pages that are written before the text of the thesis. It consists of:

  1. Cover
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Table of contents
  4. Index of illustrations and tables
  5. Summary
  • Cover

It is the main page of a thesis. The research topic is identified in this place. It includes:

  • University name and logo
  • Author's name
  • Title of the thesis
  • Purpose of certification
  • Supervisor's name
  • Place and date


It is an optional page of the thesis in which the author of the work mentions the names of the people who helped him in conducting the research.

Table of contents

It refers to the systematically arranged list of the parts that make up the thesis. It includes:

  • Pages of the Preliminary body
  • Titles of the chapters
  • Parts or sections

Index of illustrations and tables

It is also an optional part of thesis writing. It is good if you use the pictures and illustrations with their titles and respective numbers.


The summary allows the reader to decide whether the paper is interested or not. It gives a clear understanding and brief explanation of the content of the work. Numerical data can also be included in the summary.

  a) Text

The text deals with the introduction and body of the thesis.

b) Introduction

An introduction is the precise presentation of the thesis. As it is the first part of the thesis, you should not include the conclusions in this section.

c) Body of the work

 It comprises the chapters, sub-chapters, sections, theoretical framework, methodology, and research result. The chapters mark the body's division within the body, whereas sub-chapters break down the chapters into small portions.

d) Conclusion

This element of the thesis holds tremendous significance in writing. In this portion, the author justifies his hypothesis. The conclusion reflects the study's scope, recommendations and consequences that may take part in the development of the knowledge.

e) Bibliography

This element of the thesis contains supportive references to the texts and documents used for the thesis.

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