How Are Theses And Dissertations Different?

The two writing terms, dissertation and thesis, are often used interchangeably even though they are different types of writing projects. Both terms are used in education in the US and the UK and interestingly, they are used in different ways.

What is a thesis in the US?

In the US, the two terms define different types of papers written while students are pursuing advanced degrees. Students will write a thesis while they are working on their master’s degree. This paper involves some forms of research and in many cases, students have to conduct their own research. For example, students who are working on a master’s degree in education often test theories of learning on their students. They write their thesis based on the theories and the outcomes they saw in their classrooms. The thesis also will need to include research gleaned from previous studies, so that the students have some knowledge about which to base their theories. Some students who are working on master’s degrees do not have to write a thesis, they might conduct a research project instead.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis paper should not be confused with a thesis statement. In essay writing, the thesis statement is the controlling statement of any paper. Many people are beginning to use the work “claim” in lieu of “thesis.”

What is a dissertation in the US?

Students who are working on their doctorate degrees usually write dissertations when they are studying in the United States. The dissertation similar to the thesis with regards to researching. The biggest difference is the length of time it takes to complete the two papers and the final lengths of the papers. The dissertation is much longer than the thesis and in some cases, students can spend months or even a year or two working on it. The thesis is usually completed in less than four weeks.

How the two are different in the UK?

In the UK, students complete these papers in a different order. The dissertation is usually written while working on a master’s degree. The thesis is written while working on a PhD. Some students will earn scholarships while writing their dissertations so they can earn money to work on the next degree. No matter which paper you write, you will need to conduct research, read a serious amount of academic texts, and write a lengthy paper that will take much of your time.