For any student, a dissertation or a thesis, or any other written documents are an important part of their academic life. These writing assignments involve research material in the form of audio recordings as well. Digital transcription agencies help students convert all audio lectures, interviews and discussions into digital format.

When a student goes to a graduate school or a doctorate level school, they have to work on their thesis or dissertation. Almost all graduate level programs in the US require completion of a final thesis or dissertation within the field of the study. A thesis is a large paper that is submitted upon the completion of a Master’s degree program. A well-written thesis demonstrates the student’s ability to think critically about a topic and discuss it in detail. A dissertation could be a few hundred pages long that utilizes others’ research merely as guidance in coming up with a new and unique hypothesis, theory or concept. It is much longer than a thesis as it contains thoroughly researched information along with every detail of your proposal and how you arrived at the information.

Understanding the key differences between thesis and dissertation is important. Both papers are similar but different in their own way. So here are some of the main differences between thesis and dissertation.

  • Basic difference: The major difference between a dissertation and thesis can be identified only when they are completed. A thesis is a compilation of research that shows how knowledgeable you are about the information learnt throughout the graduation program. A dissertation is an opportunity for students completing a doctoral program to contribute new knowledge, theories or practices of the field.
  • Length and Structure: Students usually complete a thesis in one full semester whereas doctoral candidates spend years completing their dissertation. They write, edit, and produce a research document that may comprise 400 or more pages. In some schools, a doctoral candidate’s entire course of study may be referred to as his dissertation.
  • Research content: Both thesis and dissertation require extensive research but a thesis requires less external research because it shows only a student’s own ideas and conclusions. A dissertation requires extensive research and may also require hundreds of external sources. You should be able to defend your own work be it thesis or dissertation. A thesis defence involves oral defence before faculty members who ask questions about the paper but a dissertation defence may last for hours and includes faculty members from various universities and other scholars.
  • Understanding the context: In the US, the word thesis refers to a student’s ideas supported by research whereas dissertation is part of a doctoral program which needs extensive research. In Europe a doctoral thesis is a focused piece of writing of original research which is performed to obtain a PhD and dissertation is part of a broader post graduate research project. Some schools use these terms interchangeably. So understanding the cultural difference in writing a thesis or dissertation is important.