Dissertation or Thesis?


Dissertation or Thesis?

Dr. Niall McElwee

This is something I’m asked all the time at the Clinic. What is the difference between a Dissertation and a Thesis? Well, a thesis or dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author’s research and findings. In some contexts, the word “thesis” or a cognate is used for part of a bachelor’s or master’s course, while “dissertation” is normally applied to a doctorate, while in others, the reverse is true.

The word dissertation can, at times, be used to describe a treatise without relation to obtaining an academic degree. The term thesis is also used to refer to the general claim of an essay or similar work.

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