Every graduate student that wants to move on to the Master’s level cannot escape writing a thesis. If you want to move further to the Ph.D. level, then we are going to be talking about the dissertation. The two terms are used interchangeably in some universities and we are going to attempt explaining the similarities as well as the marked differences between the two.

The Difference Between The Two

We are going back to the basics in an attempt to separate the two from each other. Shakespeare in his time, the master’s student is required to write a thesis of his or her own. The same will be defended by the student before the thesis committee that will test the performances of the student.

Where the student wants to proceed with his or her course of study up to the Ph.D. level; he or she will be expected to write a dissertation. This dissertation is a result of a review of the works of others while the thesis is authored by the student.

Differences Between The Two As It Applies To Europe

The idea that holds during the time of Shakespeare applies to the European situation with a change in the order of reference. The thesis applies to those doing their Ph.D. while the dissertation applies to those in the Master’s degree level of education.

Differences Between The Two In The US

The difference between the two in the US is in their length. The thesis is the shorter of the two in the US and it applies to students who are studying towards the award of their Master’s degree. Those pursuing their Ph.D. in the US are required to write a dissertation. It represents an extensive and original research project.

Major Similarities Between The Two

  • Both of them are not done at the undergraduate level. They are carried out by Masters and Post Graduate students.
  • Students are expected to choose a topic of their choice and write extensively on it in both cases
  • While working on any of the two; the first thing to do is to write the proposal
  • Before a student is awarded any of the certificates, they will have to go through the requirement of defending their submissions.
  • In both cases, plagiarism is forbidden.

What Does It Take To Pass Both? 

Let us take a look at the dynamics that you are expected to pass before the award of any of the certificates under review:

  • Supervisor: In both instances, you are going to be allocated a supervisor who will moderate the work. He will not do the work for you; the role is purely advisory.
  • The TimeLine: The dissertation takes more than a year while the thesis will not be more than 6-9 months. 
  • The Dissertation Template: You are going to be provided with a template for the dissertation by most universities; but where there is none, you must fashion one out by looking through another thesis.
  • Both Require Help: You cannot do it alone; you will need help along the line.

Final Take

The major differences between thesis and dissertation are as described above.