Dissertation vs Thesis (Major differences and similarities)

As a graduate student or graduate-study aspirant, you must or may have come across the terms thesis and dissertation and may be wondering what they really entail.

These terms are often used interchangeably and are sometimes said to be similar. However, they differ in various ways and in different instances.

Stick with us through this article to find out the similarities and disparities between a thesis and a dissertation.

Thesis vs Dissertation


Depending on where you are and study, the terms thesis and dissertation can mean different things and be used differently.

In the UK, and countries whose educational systems are based on the British system, a dissertation refers to a project work completed and presented at the end of an undergraduate or master’s degree, while a thesis is a project work completed and presented at the end of a doctoral degree (Ph.D.).

Whereas, in the US, and countries whose educational systems are based on the American system, the terms are used in reverse.

The terms can also differ from institution to institution as well as faculty to faculty.

More on Thesis vs Dissertation:

Length and structure

The length and structure of a thesis and dissertation depends on various factors; location, institution, and most importantly, the field of study.

In the US system, the dissertation is longer than a thesis, and is a novel or original body of work of the student’s ideas and research. It is mostly done to add new knowledge to the field of study.

A thesis on the other hand is a review of already existing research and literature.

In the UK, however, reverse is the case with a thesis being longer.

Also, students offering science majors do not require a lot of paperwork as they carry out more hands-on experiments, while students in art majors carry out more theoretical research and thus write longer papers.

Thesis vs Dissertation


  • Both thesis and dissertation are papers assigned to graduate students.
  • A thesis and dissertation both require a final oral presentation and defense.
  • Both are used to check a student’s knowledge of their field of study learned over the years.

Read this: How many credits to graduate College (Best tips)


Thesis are dissertation are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably and said to be the same, but are different. However, their differences are determined or dependent on location, context, institution, and field of study.

It is therefore advised to get in contact with your institution of choice as well as faculty to book appointments so as to know how they define theirs.

Read this: Degree vs Major – The major difference

Awesome one, I hope this article answered your question.

Share this Information.

More articles from the Author:

    ST Admin
    ST Admin

    Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of www.schoolandtravel.com at present.

    Articles: 918