Dissertation vs. Thesis: What’s the Difference?

The process of assigning writing projects to students begins with essay writing and gradually as a student reaches higher grades, he is assigned theses, assignments, research works, and dissertations. The purpose of all of these writing projects is to evaluate the academic performance of a student in particular coursework. All academic projects have a certain format that must be followed. You cannot write whatever your heart says, you need to think critically and then state the point logically.  This is the main difference between fiction writing and academic writing. 

“Academic writing you have to get right. Fiction you have to get plausible. And there’s a world of difference.” Elliot Cola

Each academic writing project has certain rules and regulations that differentiate it from other academic projects. However; students often confuse dissertation writing with thesis writing as they are not aware of the differences between them. This post is intended to break down the Dissertation vs. Thesis writing in such a way that students can clearly understand the difference and similarities between the two. 


Difference between thesis and dissertation:

When a graduate or a post-graduate student is assigned a thesis or a dissertation respectively then he needs to understand the differences between them to have a clear understanding. If a student is not well acknowledged the differences then his confusion will be reflected in his work. Following are some of the differences between the two;

  • Thesis vs. Dissertation– Definition:

A thesis can be defined as an academic piece of writing in which a student is meant to showcase his expertise by providing the thoroughly researched content of existing work and coming up with a new take on it.  

On the other hand; dissertation writing is the longest piece of academic writing in which a student is meant to conduct original research or extended research of already published scholarly research work. 

  • Thesis vs. Dissertation- primary difference:

There might be many differences between dissertation writing and thesis writing but the primary difference lies in their time of culmination. A thesis is meant to be presented at the end of the master’s degree whereas a dissertation needs to be prepared for the doctorate level of study. 

  • Thesis vs. Dissertation- Purpose:

The purpose of a thesis is to enlighten the reader about the existing knowledge on the topic in discussion. It ensures that a researcher is well-informed and has proper knowledge about the topic. The purpose of a dissertation is to provide a new take on the existing research work by conducting new research on the related topic. 

  • Thesis vs. Dissertation- Length:

The difference between a dissertation and a thesis UK-based can also be highlighted based on the length of each academic project. The length of a thesis mainly varies from 50 pages to 100 pages whereas the length of a dissertation exceeds that and may reach up to 400 pages because it has a collection of all the previously gathered research work as well. 

  • Thesis vs. Dissertation-Division of chapters:

Now that students are aware of What is Dissertation or thesis, it is important to know about the division of chapters of each of these projects. The main body of a thesis is divided into the following chapters;

  • Introduction.
  • Methods.
  • Major paper.
  • Thesis chapter.
  • A final preliminary study.
  • General discussions.

On the other hand; the main body of a dissertation is categorized into the following sections/chapters;

  • Introduction.
  • Literature review.
  • Methodology (Quantitative & qualitative).
  • Findings/results.
  • Discussion.
  • Conclusion.

Students often opt for thesis writing services or dissertation help because they are not aware of thesis or a dissertation writing which makes them intimated by these two projects. However; after getting familiar with the basics of these two writing projects, you can do it if you are determined enough.


Similarities between dissertation and thesis:

Now that students know What is a thesis or dissertation and the differences between them. It is important to look at their similarities as well. There are quite many similarities between these two projects. Some of the similarities between the two are as follows;

  • Thoroughly researched:

Both academic writing projects need to be thoroughly researched and a student must have a deep understanding of the research problem. As Leon Uris said:

“Research to me is as important as or more important than the writing. It is the foundation upon which the book is built.”

  • Same anatomy:

The basic anatomy of both academic projects is the same which is;

  • Title page.
  • Abstract.
  • Acknowledgments.
  • Table of contents.
  • Table of figures.
  • Chapters.
  • Appendices.
  • References.
  • Final projects:

Both; a thesis as well as a dissertation are final projects in their respective coursework. A thesis is the final project for a master’s degree whereas a dissertation is a final project for Ph.D.

  • Critical analysis:

Both projects need to be critically analyzed by the student that reflects his understanding of the topic.

  • Edited & proofread:

Both of the projects need to be edited and proofread as many times as a professor wants changes in the project.

  • No plagiarism accepted:

No plagiarism is can be accepted in either of the academic writing projects.

  • Use of authentic sources:

Only authentic sources can be used as references for both academic projects. These sources include;

  • Scholarly journal articles.
  • Published academic books.
  • Peer-reviewed research works.
  • Statistical data from authentic websites.
  • Conference proceedings.
  • Proficiently written:

Both of the academic writing projects must be proficiently written with the correct use of language and format.


Dissertation vs. Thesis (USA, UK & Australia):

The education criterion varies from place to place. Similarly; a prominent difference between dissertation writing and thesis writing can be seen in these two different places (USA, UK & Australia).

Dissertation vs. Thesis (USA):

In the USA; a dissertation is a Ph.D. degree program that is quite extensive and is originally researched by the student. It involves a deep analytical study and includes a large number of citations.

On the other hand; a thesis is considered a post-graduation coursework in which a solution to a particular research problem is found by the student. 

Dissertation vs. Thesis (UK):

In the UK; a dissertation is a project assigned for a master’s degree that is meant to test the skills of a student and does not need the addition of too many sources. 

The thesis in the UK is a project assigned to the Ph.D.-level of students. It requires extensive research and the addition of a fair number of references.

Dissertation vs. Thesis (Australia):

In Australia; dissertation is used as a synonym for a thesis. It is assigned to master’s students. Mainly a term thesis is used for academic projects of Ph.D. as well as post-graduation level of study. 


Importance of Dissertation and thesis writing:

“The use of thesis writing is to train the mind, or to prove that the mind has been trained; the former purpose is, I trust, promoted, the evidence of the latter is scanty and occasional.” Sir Thomas Clifford Albott

Both; Dissertation writing as well as thesis writing are extremely important academic projects which is why students buy dissertation writing help and thesis help from professional writers. Following are a few of the points that shed light on the importance of these two projects. 

  • Boosts writing skills:

These writing projects obviously boost the writing skills of the students because they require a lot of research and time investment which improves the writing quality of the student. 

  • Increases research ability:

Students get to have a sense of independent research skills as he has to collect a lot of data from different sources for these writing projects. This increases the research ability of students. 

  • Enhances critical thinking:

As both of these projects requires a critically analyzed point of view of a student so it automatically enhances the critical thinking ability of students. 

  • Provides clarity to the student:

When a student writes such extensive pieces of academic writing projects, he starts to have clarity regarding the topic in discussion and his respective coursework as well.

  • Helps the teacher to assess student’s growth:

The kind of academic project that a student writes also helps the teacher in assessing the academic growth of a student as his/her performance is clearly reflected in his/her project.

  • Helpful for future research works:

The academic projects that students prepare will definitely prove to be helpful for future generations of scholarly works.

  • Contributes to the final grades:

Both of these academic projects contribute to the final grading of the student as it helps in the evaluation of the student’s academic performance throughout the year.



A dissertation and a thesis are two extremely important forms of academic pieces of writing that have their fair share of differences and similarities. Hopefully; the above-mentioned post will help the students in understanding the differences, the similarities, and the importance of these two academic projects.


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