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Definition of thesis
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In high school, college, or graduate school, students often have to write a thesis on a topic in their major field of study. In many fields, a final thesis is the biggest challenge involved in getting a master's degree, and the same is true for students studying for a Ph.D. (a Ph.D. thesis is often called a dissertation ). But a thesis may also be an idea; so in the course of the paper the student may put forth several theses (notice the plural form) and attempt to prove them.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thesis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback .
in sense 3, Middle English, lowering of the voice, from Late Latin & Greek; Late Latin, from Greek, downbeat, more important part of a foot, literally, act of laying down; in other senses, Latin, from Greek, literally, act of laying down, from tithenai to put, lay down — more at do
14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a(1)
Dictionary Entries Near thesis
the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children
Cite this Entry
“Thesis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thesis. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.
Kids definition of thesis, more from merriam-webster on thesis.
Nglish: Translation of thesis for Spanish Speakers
Britannica English: Translation of thesis for Arabic Speakers
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about thesis
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- How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 14, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .
Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.
You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:
- Start with a question
- Write your initial answer
- Develop your answer
- Refine your thesis statement
Table of contents
What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.
A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.
The best thesis statements are:
- Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
- Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
- Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.
The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.
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You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.
You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?
For example, you might ask:
After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .
Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.
In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.
The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.
In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.
The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.
A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:
- Why you hold this position
- What they’ll learn from your essay
- The key points of your argument or narrative
The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.
These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.
Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:
- In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
- In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :
- Ask a question about your topic .
- Write your initial answer.
- Develop your answer by including reasons.
- Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.
The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .
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Thesis and Dissertation Resources
Here you can find resources and guidelines on how to prepare and submit your Thesis/Dissertation.
The Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Guide
This Guide includes everything you need to know about what should be included in your final document, samples of specific sections, formatting guidelines, and a checklist for submitting your work.
Submit your thesis or dissertation
This link directs you to the ProQuest ETD Administrator site where you will set up an account and submit your completed electronic thesis or dissertation to The Graduate School.
The Graduate School Handbook
The Handbook provides additional information on master's thesis requirements or doctoral dissertation requirements .
Thesis and dissertation formatting workshops
- Dissertation formatting workshop: PC version
- Dissertation formatting workshop: Apple/Mac version
Stages of the thesis or dissertation process
These guidelines and advice will be helpful as you consider your thesis or dissertation from preparation through final submission.
Stages of the Thesis or Dissertation Process
Although you won't submit your thesis or dissertation until your final semester of graduate study, it is recommended that you begin thinking about many aspects of your thesis or dissertation much sooner.
- Use The Graduate School's Thesis and Dissertation Guide to aid in preparing and submitting your thesis or dissertation. Read through the guidelines early and refer back to them as often as needed throughout the process.
- Begin discussions with your advisor and committee early, as they may have useful information to impart to you as you begin your research and writing.
- Be sure to determine which style manual is appropriate for your discipline. Formatting is often easier when applied at the beginning of the writing process rather than at the end, especially when concerning citations.
- Review and discuss how copyrighting may impact your research and writing, including decisions about publishing your own work. The University Libraries' Scholarly Communications Office is a campus resource on scholarly publishing practices.
- Take advantage of campus resources such as workshops, University Libraries, and the Writing Center.
- As you approach your defense, set up your student account in the ProQuest ETD Administrator . Review the site for useful information about the online submission process.
- After your defense has occurred and all final edits are approved by your committee, plan to submit your thesis or dissertation. Follow the checklist and submission instructions in the Thesis and Dissertation Guide to prepare your document.
- In addition to uploading a PDF of your thesis or dissertation, be prepared to provide added information (e.g., abstract, keywords, and subject headings) about your work for indexing and identification purposes. This information will help make your work more discoverable online.
- After you have submitted your thesis or dissertation, check your email regularly for updates. Make any required revisions promptly.
- You will receive a final email notifying you that your ETD has been accepted. ProQuest will make the title and abstract of your thesis or dissertation available online shortly after graduation. The University Libraries will make your thesis or dissertation available within one semester.
Frequently asked questions about electronic theses and dissertations
Follow the dates posted on The Graduate School's graduation deadlines website . Submit your thesis or dissertation after your defense has occurred and all final edits are approved by your advisor and committee. Your Committee Composition and Exam Report forms (with all approval signatures) must be submitted to The Graduate School before submitting your document.
The ETD Administrator uses statuses to help students and staff keep track of what step comes next during the ETD submission process. Some statuses require action on the part of the student while others indicate that staff are responsible for taking the next step. To help you understand what each status means, visit the ProQuest help page . You can also access this page from within the ETD Administrator by clicking on the “Help ?” link on the top right corner of most pages.
You should receive an email from the ETD Administrator immediately following submission of your thesis or dissertation. If you do not receive this email, please check your junk/spam folder and verify which email address you used when you set up your ETD Administrator account. You will continue to receive emails relating to time-sensitive required revisions, so it is important that you monitor the email account associated with your ETD Administrator account on a daily basis. You will receive a final email when The Graduate School has accepted the finalized document.
While you should receive emails notifying you of necessary changes, required revisions can also be viewed directly within the ProQuest ETD Administrator . To view required revisions:
- Login to your account
- Go to the “My Dissertations/Theses List”
- Click on the “View” button under the entry for your ETD
- Under “Manage this ETD” on the left margin, select “View decisions”
- A list of the decisions that have been made will be displayed in the middle of the page; on the far right of each decision is a link for “View Email”
- Click the “View Email” link to display the entire contents of the email that was sent to you, including any required revisions
Conflict of interest disclosures should be included in the Acknowledgements section of your document. Please contact [email protected] for more information.
The Thesis and Dissertation Guide has been designed as a comprehensive resource to aid you in preparing your thesis or dissertation for final acceptance and approval. If you have read the Guide and still have questions about the guidelines or submission process, email your Graduate School enrolled students specialist . Please note that Graduate School staff cannot offer formatting assistance. For technical assistance relating to the ETD Administrator submission website, contact ProQuest Tech Support or review the ETD Administrator Help pages .
Receipt of a submitted and approved thesis or dissertation in The Graduate School results in the publication of the document by the University Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. As such, each student grants the University a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce the student's work, in whole or in part, in electronic form to be posted in the University Library database and made available to the general public at no charge. As a public institution, UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to disseminating research widely and furthering the free exchange of intellectual information, including approved theses and dissertations completed by graduating students. See the Thesis and Dissertation Guide Copyrighting section for information about the campus copyright policy.
Most students will not need to request an embargo. In certain circumstances (e.g., pending patent application, publisher requirements) it may be advisable to request one. If you would like to delay release of your thesis or dissertation, please discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an embargo with your advisor or academic program.
UNC-Chapel Hill only permits the request of a one or two year embargo – regardless of options and documentation displayed in ProQuest. If your request for an embargo is accepted by The Graduate School, online publishing of your thesis or dissertation will be delayed for one or two years. Please note that the title of your work, as well as your abstract, will be available through ProQuest Dissertations & Theses shortly after your work has been approved by The Graduate School and submitted to ProQuest. Please review the Thesis and Dissertation Guide Embargo section for more information.
The Open Access, full text of your thesis or dissertation will be available online through the UNC Libraries . There is an approximately one semester delay for processing and uploading electronic theses and dissertations to the Library's digital collections.
Shortly after graduation, your thesis or dissertation title and abstract will be available through several ProQuest databases that can be accessed through the UNC Libraries.
If you chose to order optional printed copies of your thesis or dissertation in the ETD Administrator as part of the submission process, your order will be filled by ProQuest. Your order summary and manuscript ID are in your submission confirmation email. For questions about your order, you will need to contact ProQuest directly. Neither The Graduate School nor the University Libraries can offer information about past orders or requests for print copies.
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Dissertation vs. Thesis: A Comparison
No matter what your field or specialty is, earning a graduate degree is one of the best ways to advance your career. In fact, for some professionals, earning a master’s degree and a doctoral degree is a requirement. A graduate degree program nurtures professional critical-thinking skills and refines field-specific knowledge, enabling you to prove your expertise and competence.
When completing a graduate degree program, students are required to produce a major research and writing project, such as a dissertation in a doctoral program or thesis in a master’s program. These two projects are often confused, so what is the difference between a dissertation vs. thesis? There are a few major differences and similarities between the two that are important for any potential graduate student to know.
What Is a Thesis?
A thesis is an academic paper completed near the end of a student’s course of study for a master’s degree program. Note that most master’s degrees require the completion of a thesis for graduation. Some bachelor’s degree programs even require students to write an undergraduate thesis, which is typically shorter and less in-depth than a master’s degree thesis.
To write a master’s thesis, students select a reasonably narrow topic of interest in their field. For example, if you’re earning a degree in nutrition science , you might examine the effects of varying compositions of pregame meals on athletic performance.
The next step is to conduct an in-depth review of existing research on your topic. You would then formulate an academic argument (for example, that high-carb pre-game meals are advantageous for endurance athletes) and use the existing research to prove your assertion.
A thesis is typically structured in a relatively rigid format, depending on the policies of the university and the individual department. The following components are often required:
- Abstract (summary)
- Table of contents
- Table of figures/maps
- Body, typically divided into chapters
What Is a Dissertation?
In contrast to a thesis, students working on a doctoral dissertation conduct their own original research after reviewing the established research. The goal of a dissertation is not only to prove the student’s own knowledge and skills but also to add to the existing body of knowledge in their field.
Students may present a new theory or hypothesis in their field or present research disproving a previously presented theory. Alternatively, they may tackle a new angle, taking the established research in a new direction.
The traditional order is to take doctoral courses, complete the qualifying exams and then write the dissertation. However, there are exceptions to this. At some universities, the dissertation process is integrated into the coursework. This allows students to get a jumpstart on their research while working toward the completion of their course requirements. As a result, they may graduate more quickly.
The process of writing a dissertation begins in a way similar to the process for a master’s thesis. Students select their topic and then conduct a literature review, which is a thorough analysis of the existing research on that topic. From there, students can work on developing a new theory, debunking a previously established theory or finding a new angle on an existing theory.
The dissertation defense is often one of the most intimidating aspects of the doctoral degree program. However, students work closely with their selected committees throughout the dissertation process. This means you can rest assured that if your committee has allowed your work to proceed to the point of the dissertation defense point, then your dissertation will almost certainly be accepted, and you will be granted your degree after your successful defense.
Like that of a thesis, the specific makeup of a dissertation depends on the policies and requirements of the university and the doctoral candidate’s department. In general, however, dissertations include the following:
- Literature review and theoretical framework
- Discussion of findings (interpretation, analysis and applications)
- Reference list
Differences Between a Dissertation vs. Thesis
The primary difference between a dissertation vs thesis is the degree programs that require these projects. Students in a master’s degree program will write a thesis, whereas students in a doctoral degree program will complete a dissertation.
Another difference between the two projects is that a dissertation usually requires an oral defense, whereas a thesis generally does not. After submitting the completed dissertation to their dissertation committees, students will schedule dates for the oral presentation of their work. The committee members will ask questions and sometimes pose challenges. Students must be able to justify their methodology and interpretation of their findings.
Additionally, as you might expect, a typical master’s thesis is far shorter than a typical doctoral degree dissertation. A thesis might be between 40 and 80 pages, although it can vary from one degree program to the next. In contrast, the average dissertation is between 100 and 300 pages.
Similarities Between a Dissertation and a Thesis
Despite the differences, there are some similarities between a dissertation and a thesis. Both require intensive research and the completion of a lengthy paper comprised of original writing.
In addition, both projects require the following:
- The skillful defense of an academic argument (the stance or main point of the paper)
- Analytical reasoning and critical thinking
- In-depth expertise about the subject area
- A significant investment of time (years for dissertations and months for theses)
- A willingness to rewrite and edit based on feedback from professors, peers or committee members
Another similarity is the committee. All doctoral degree students work with a committee comprised of faculty members, advisors and similar professionals who guide the student’s research and writing. It’s also customary for students writing a master’s thesis to have a committee.
In both thesis and dissertation committees, the committee chair is the primary point of contact for the student. In other words, the chair is the person who is most closely involved with shaping the direction of the student’s research, academic arguments and writing.
For both types of degree programs, the thesis or dissertation is a requirement to graduate with the degree. It is typically considered the capstone project.
Grand Canyon University offers a wide range of master's and doctoral degree programs to choose from. GCU is committed to helping students enhance their career qualifications, transition to new careers or simply fuel their passion for learning. Click on the Request Info button above to learn more about GCU’s graduate degree programs and how to apply
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.
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What Is a Thesis?
Writing a thesis is often required in US university degree programs. But what exactly is a thesis? Do you know the difference between a thesis statement and a thesis project? Read on to learn more.
If you are considering studying in the US, you may have come across the term “thesis” in your research. Writing a thesis is an important part of completing your degree. Read our guide to find out what a thesis is in the US, the benefits of writing a thesis, and why colleges in the US value them.
What Is a Thesis?
In the US, students may use the term “thesis” to describe two distinct academic requirements:
Thesis statement—the focus of an academic paper. Papers with a clear thesis statement are typically required in liberal arts classes, such as literature or history, and can vary in length and citation style.
Final thesis—a longer academic paper required to complete a degree program. These often require months (or even years) of research and may be defended in front of a university committee.
Let us take a closer look at both meanings.
What Is a Thesis Statement?
A thesis statement is one to three sentences in the introduction of an academic essay outlining what the reader can expect. It is an argument, or claim, that will be defended through your research. A strong thesis statement identifies the topic to be discussed, summarizes the main arguments, and persuades your audience to continue reading.
Typically, a good thesis statement consists of two components:
Topic—tells the reader what your essay is about.
Argument about the topic—explains your logical claims and ideas about the topic.
What Are the Different Types of Thesis Statements?
The thesis statement you write may vary depending on the type of academic paper you are writing.
Argumentative—presents a topic which is debatable and reasons supporting the topic.
Analytical—presents a claim and explains how it is supported.
Expository—presents a topic and explains what the reader will learn in your paper.
How to Write a Good Thesis
When looking at how to write a thesis statement, it is important to understand the meaning of a thesis. A thesis identifies a question on a topic that relates to your degree program, which you then have to answer with a sensible argument, using credible research and findings.
Here are some tips you can use when you are writing a thesis:
Research and identify your thesis topic —To write a good thesis, consider what your thesis is going to be about. Are there any areas in your field that you would like to explore further? Research is an important foundation to your thesis. Give yourself enough time to conduct enough research to support your central argument. (Professors and advisors can help you with time management and making a research plan.) Collecting evidence to support your claims and reading a wide range of sources on the topic can help you build a sound foundation for your thesis.
Work on a strong thesis statement —A good thesis needs a strong opening statement. Your thesis statement gives those who are reading and grading your work a summary of what will be discussed, why your claim is important, and persuades them to read more. Consider the following scenario: If someone asked, “what is a thesis statement?” and you showed them your paper, would they be able to identify the thesis right away? You always want to be as clear and convincing as possible when putting together your central argument.
Put all your information together —Once you have built a strong thesis statement, organize all your research and supporting information. Analyze your data and identify whether it is relevant to your research topic. A thesis should be persuasive. Acknowledge that there could be multiple sides to your argument, while also keeping your thesis specific, comprehensive, and decisive.
Build a solid structure —It is important that the flow of your thesis is logical and straightforward. Make an outline to organize your ideas and provide a roadmap before you start writing.
Review and take your time to edit —Take time to edit your thesis. As you revise, reevaluate your points, see where you can strengthen your arguments, and fill in any gaps.
Include citations —Citing your sources provides credibility – and also ensures you won’t plagiarize another scholar’s work.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help —You can speak to your professor, an advisor, or a classmate for guidance on how to write a thesis statement, the structure of your thesis, or any other sections you want to clarify. They can provide valuable feedback to improve your project.
Some important questions to ask yourself during the thesis writing process are:
What is a thesis and why am I writing it?
Will the reader understand my thesis statement meaning and intention?
Have I answered the question my thesis is based on?
Do I have a strong thesis statement?
Does my thesis add value to my field?
Remember: Your professors and advisors want you to succeed. Speak to your Shorelight advisor if you’re struggling with writing a thesis paper or final thesis – our academic counselors are here to help!
Which Subjects Require a Thesis Statement in Academic Papers?
Many college professors assign academic papers for students to explore subject topics further — this information can be found on your course syllabus , giving you plenty of time to prepare! In almost every undergraduate-level subject you study, you may be required to develop thesis statements for your academic papers. Writing a thesis statement paper helps improve your critical thinking skills, as it requires you to identify and analyze multiple sources of information to form strong arguments — a useful skill in both the classroom and the workplace.
How Is a Thesis Statement Graded?
Your thesis statement will be evaluated based on how well you have used research to support your argument, and how effectively you have communicated your ideas (e.g., whether your paper is well written, clear, and specific). How your thesis statement is evaluated will vary depending on your subject area and the university, but your course syllabus should include detailed grading requirements.
What Is a Final Thesis or Dissertation?
A final thesis, sometimes known as a dissertation, is a compilation of research on a specific topic. Typically, a thesis or dissertation is required to complete a master’s degree in the US. While it is not common, you may be expected to write a thesis to complete your bachelor’s degree. For example, in some liberal arts colleges, writing a thesis is a degree requirement, a way to showcase what you have learned over your program of study, and may even add to the body of research in your specialization. A final thesis or dissertation is significantly longer than a thesis statement, and may take months or even years to complete.
What Are the Main Components of a Final Thesis or Dissertation?
Generally, a final thesis consists of five major sections.
Introduction —The introduction of your thesis explains the topic and central argument to the reader at a high level. The introduction should go over why you chose the topic, and act as a summary of what you will be covering in the pages to follow.
Literature Review —This section includes research papers, studies, and articles related to your topic area. You also are expected to identify gaps and weaknesses in existing research, which helps you build counterarguments and develop a strong claim.
Methodology —This section explains the methods and data used to conduct your research.
Results —The results section presents the findings of your study.
Discussion and Conclusion —This section summarizes why and how you conducted your research, the results of your research, and presents conclusions based on the results.
What Is a Citation in a Thesis?
When writing either a shorter academic paper with a thesis statement or a final thesis, you are required to include your research sources. Throughout your work, when you directly quote another text or paraphrase ideas, you must cite the source. There are two types of citations:
In-text citation —this reference is included in the text at the point of mention, such as an on-page footnote or parenthetical citation.
End-of-paper citation —also known as endnotes, these are references included at the end of your paper or dissertation.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Thesis?
A final thesis to earn a master’s degree requires you to be familiar with previous work in the field and demonstrate your capability of carrying out independent research. From conducting in-depth research to listening to feedback from professors, completing a thesis can be a major commitment.
Many universities in the US may require you to dedicate a semester or longer to complete your research. You will have to work with a faculty committee member to ensure your research and writing is on track. As you compare different graduate programs, you can get a better sense of each program’s dissertation requirements (looking at time, research, and more) and which best align with your academic and professional plans .
How Is a Thesis Graded?
Generally, a master’s thesis or dissertation in the US is not graded, but you will have to defend it, or present your research and findings before a university committee. For example, at American University , a thesis is evaluated based on how students demonstrate their capacity to conduct independent research. However, the evaluation of your thesis may vary depending on the university and your subject area.
So, once you have completed your thesis, the next important step is to prepare well for your thesis defense.
What Is a Thesis Defense?
If you are pursuing a master’s degree, you are required to meet with a thesis committee upon completion of your thesis to defend what you worked on. At this stage, you will have already worked closely with faculty advisors and received ongoing evaluations. A thesis defense can take many forms, from presenting in front of a panel and taking questions and answers to a more informal discussion with select faculty and advisors. Your individual program will have a clear and established process regarding this important final task required for your degree.
Are a Thesis and a Dissertation the Same?
The terms thesis and dissertation may be used interchangeably. While they are similar in terms of the structure, in the US, there are differences between a thesis and a dissertation.
Type of degree
Generally required to complete a master’s degree
Required at the doctoral level
Will vary by program, but expect at least 60–80 pages plus the bibliography
At least double the length of a thesis or more
Proves how well you understood what you learned during your graduate program
Contribution of a new study or knowledge to your field
Is Writing a Thesis Mandatory?
Whether writing a thesis is required or not depends upon the program you choose to study. For example, if you are pursuing a liberal arts degree consisting of a wide variety of majors, including literature, history, and philosophy, writing a thesis can help you make connections across subjects.
Some universities and colleges in the US may offer both a thesis and a non-thesis option. For example, if you are a student who is interested in taking more classes to learn about your subject, you could choose the non-thesis option. So, instead of writing a thesis, you could either work on a research project or complete supervised fieldwork.
Whether you are writing a shorter paper with a thesis statement for a single class or working on a longer final thesis for your degree, making an argument and supporting that argument with established research gives you a skillset that is versatile and applicable to many fields. While conducting research for the thesis, you will refer to multiple sources, analyze information, and learn how to form strong arguments that will set you up for success wherever you go.
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Dissertation vs Thesis: The Differences that Matter
As a graduate student, you will have many different types of challenging coursework and assignments. However, the biggest project that you’ll work on when earning your master’s or doctoral degree will be your thesis or dissertation . The differences between a dissertation vs thesis are plenty. That’s because each of these pieces of writing happen at different times in one’s educational journey.
Let’s break down what a dissertation and thesis are so that you have a strong handle on what’s expected. For both a thesis and a dissertation, there is an obvious fluency and understanding of the subject one studies.
Let’s take a look at their similarities and differences.
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What is a dissertation.
When you enter a doctoral program to earn a PhD, you will learn a lot about how to conduct your own research. At the culmination of your degree program, you’ll produce a dissertation.
A dissertation is a lengthy piece of written work that includes original research or expanded research on a new or existing topic. As the doctoral student, you get to choose what you want to explore and write about within your field of study.
What is a Thesis?
A thesis is also a scholarly piece of writing, but it is for those who are graduating from a master’s program. A thesis allows students to showcase their knowledge and expertise within the subject matter they have been studying.
Main Differences Between a Thesis vs. Dissertation
The biggest difference between a thesis and a dissertation is that a thesis is based on existing research.
On the other hand, a dissertation will more than likely require the doctoral student to conduct their own research and then perform analysis. The other big difference is that a thesis is for master’s students and the dissertation is for PhD students.
Structural Differences Between a Thesis and a Dissertation
Structurally, the two pieces of written analysis have many differences.
- A thesis is at least 100 pages in length
- A dissertation is 2-3x that in length
- A thesis expands upon and analyzes existing research
- A dissertation’s content is mostly attributed to the student as the author
Research Content and Oral Presentation
Once completed, some programs require students to orally present their thesis and dissertation to a panel of faculty members.
Typically, a dissertation oral presentation can take several hours. On the other hand, a thesis only takes about an hour to present and answer questions.
Let’s look at how the two scholarly works are similar and different:
- Each is considered a final project and required to graduate
- Both require immense understanding of the material
- Written skills are key to complete both
- Neither can be plagiarized
- Both are used to defend an argument
- Both require analytical skills
- You will have to draft, rewrite, and edit both pieces of writing
- For both, it is useful to have another person look over before submission
- Both papers are given deadlines
- A dissertation is longer than a thesis
- A dissertation requires new research
- A dissertation requires a hypothesis that is then proven
- A thesis chooses a stance on an existing idea and defends it with analysis
- A dissertation has a longer oral presentation component
The Differences in Context: Location Matters
The united states.
In the US, everything that was previously listed is how schools differentiate between a thesis and a dissertation. A thesis is performed by master’s students, and a dissertation is written by PhD candidates.
In Europe, the distinction between a thesis and dissertation becomes a little more cloudy. That’s because PhD programs may require a doctoral thesis to graduate. Then, as a part of a broader post-graduate research project, students may complete a dissertation.
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The purpose behind written research.
Each piece of writing is an opportunity for a student to demonstrate his or her ability to think critically, express their opinions in writing, and present their findings in front of their department.
Graduate degrees take a lot of time, energy, and hard work to complete. When it comes to writing such lengthy and informative pieces, there is a lot of time management that is involved. The purpose of both a thesis and a dissertation are written proof that you understand and have mastered the subject matter of your degree.
A doctoral degree, or PhD, is the highest degree that one can earn. In most cases, students follow the following path to achieve this level of education: Earn a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s, and then a PhD. While not every job title requires this deep educational knowledge, the salaries that come along with each level of higher education increase accordingly.
Earning Your Degree
Whether you are currently a prospective student considering earning your higher education degree or a student enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program, you know the benefits of education.
However, for some, earning a traditional degree on-campus doesn’t make sense. This could be because of the financial challenges, familial obligations, accessibility, or any other number of reasons.
For students who are seeking their higher education degrees but need a flexible, affordable, and quality alternative to traditional college, take a look at the programs that the University of the People has to offer.
University of the People is an entirely online, US accredited and tuition-free institution dedicated to higher education. You can earn your Master’s in Business Administration or your Master’s in Education . Not to mention, there are a handful of associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs to choose from as well.
If you want to learn more, get in touch with us !
The Bottom Line
Regardless of where and when you earn your master’s or doctoral degree, you will likely have to complete a thesis or dissertation. The main difference between a thesis and dissertation is the level at which you complete them. A thesis is for a master’s degree, and a dissertation is for a doctoral degree.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect of having to research and write so much. Your educational journey has prepared you with the right time management skills and writing skills to make this feat achievable!
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Choosing Between a Thesis or Non-thesis Master's Degree
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- Resources Choosing Between a Thesis or Non-thesis Master's Degree
As of 2015, approximately 25.4 million Americans held advanced degrees , with more citizens joining these ranks each year. As studies continue to show the career advancement and salary benefits of completing a master's degree, more and more students elect to pursue advanced educations. When considering their options, many question whether to enroll in a master's requiring a thesis or not. The following guide examines some of the reasons degree seekers may want to write a thesis while also highlighting why they might not. Students on the fence about this important decision can find expert advice, actionable tips, and relevant guidance to help them make an informed choice in the guide that follows.
Understanding the Master's Thesis
What is the difference between a thesis & non-thesis master's program, the decision not to do a thesis.
As students research various master's programs in their chosen discipline, it's common to find that many degrees require a thesis – especially if they want to enter a research-heavy field. While this word gets thrown around a lot in academia, some learners may want more information regarding what it entails in order to make an informed decision.
What is a Master's Thesis?
The master's thesis is an original piece of scholarship allowing the student to dig into a topic and produce an expanded document that demonstrates how their knowledge has grown throughout the degree program. These documents require significant independent research of primary and secondary sources and, depending on the subject, may require interviews and/or surveys to support the overarching argument.
Individual schools and departments dictate the length of these documents, but they typically range between 60 and 100 pages – or approximately 20,000 to 40,000 words. While tackling a document of such heft may seem overwhelming at first, learners need not fret. Each master's candidate receives a faculty advisor early in their tenure to provide support, feedback, and guidance throughout the process. Because the final thesis is expected to be of a publishable quality, learners seeking the highest marks typically send their supervisor excerpts of the document as they write to ensure they are on the right track.
When picking a thesis topic, no magical formula exists. Students should consider their interests and read extensively on that topic to get a better sense of existing scholarship. They should also speak to other academics working in that sphere to familiarize themselves with ongoing projects. Only after they feel reasonably well-read should they begin looking for uncovered angles or interesting ways of using emerging methodologies to bring new light to the topic.
When considering formatting, degree seekers should check with their specific schools and departments, as they may have unique requirements. To get a general understanding of what to expect, learners can review Simon Fraser University's guidelines on thesis formatting. After completing the thesis, some programs require an oral defense before a committee while others read the document and provide a grade. Check with your prospective schools to get a better sense of procedure.
Format & Components of a Master's Thesis
While this guide attempts to provide helpful and actionable information about the process of deciding whether to follow a thesis or non-thesis track in a master's program, readers should remember that specific components and requirements of a thesis vary according to discipline, university, and department. That being said, some commonalities exist across all these – especially when it comes to what students must include in their final drafts.
As the first section a reader encounters after moving through the table of contents and other anterior text, the introductory allows the writer to firmly establish what they want to accomplish. Sometimes also called the "research question" section, the introductory must clearly state the goals of the paper and the overarching hypothesis guiding the argument. This should be written in a professional yet accessible tone that allows individuals without specializations in the field to understand the text.
This section allows learners to demonstrate their deep knowledge of the field by providing context to existing texts within their chosen discipline Learners review the main bodies of work, highlighting any issues they find within each. Constructive criticism often centers around shortcomings, blind spots, or outdated hypotheses.
Students use this section to explain how they went about their work. While scientists may point to a specific method used to reach conclusions, historians may reference the use of an emerging framework for understanding history to bring new light to a topic. The point of this section is to demonstrate the thought processes that led to your findings.
This section allows for learners to show what they learned during the research process in a non-biased way. Students should simply state what information they gathered by utilizing a specific framework or methodology and arrange those findings, without interpretation, in an easy-to-read fashion.
After providing readers with all the necessary information, the discussion section exists for candidates to interpret the raw data and demonstrate how their research led to a new understanding or contributed a unique perspective to the field. This section should directly connect to the introduction by reinforcing the hypothesis and showing how you answered the questions posed.
Even though the previous sections give prospective degree seekers a better sense of what to expect if they decide to write a thesis during their master's program, they don't necessarily help learners decide whether to pursue a thesis or non-thesis track. The following section highlights some of the reasons students frequently choose to complete a thesis or bypass the process altogether by providing a pros and cons list.
Why a Thesis Program
- Especially when entering a research-heavy discipline, completing a thesis shows prospective schools and employers that you possess the skills needed for researching and writing long-form reports.
- Students hoping to pursue a Ph.D. stand in better stead with admissions panels if they wrote a thesis during a master's program.
- Individuals hoping to enter a field that values syntax and grammar often better their writing skills by completing a thesis.
- Students who write a thesis can submit the final product to various academic journals, increasing their chances of getting published.
- Theses expand students' understanding of what they're capable of, deepen their ability to carry out an argument, and develop their skills in making connections between ideas.
Why a Non-thesis Program
- Because they don't require a significant written product, non-thesis master's tend to take less time to complete.
- Often mirrors a bachelor's program in terms of structure, allowing learners to complete classes and take exams without a great deal of research or writing.
- Students who excel in project-based assignments can continue building skills in this arena rather than focusing on skills they don't plan to use (e.g. research)
- Provides learners the opportunity to work more closely and more frequently with faculty on real-world projects since they don't spend hundreds of hours researching/writing.
- Allows learners to take more classes and gain hands-on skills to fill the time they would have spent researching and writing a thesis.
How to Choose a Master's Program: FAQs
Within some academic disciplines and professional fields, research and writing plays a key role in work done on a daily basis. Because of this, master's programs in these fields require learners to complete theses to compete against peers and be seen as competent in their work. Other disciplines, conversely, rely on other tools to accomplish work and progress ideas – making theses less important.
Yes. Master's programs focused more on application than research typically don't require a thesis – although they may still give students the option. Examples of common non-thesis master's programs include nursing, business, and education.
Even though non-thesis students won't be writing a 100-page paper, that doesn't mean they avoid completing a significant project. In place of a thesis, most applied master's programs require students to take part in at least one internship or complete a culminating project. These projects typically ask learners to take what they learned throughout coursework and create an expansive final project – examples include case studies, creative works, or portfolios.
While students who followed a non-thesis path routinely receive acceptance to Ph.D. programs, those with theses often find the process easier. Even if a learner pursues a Ph.D. in a discipline that isn't research-heavy, admissions panels still want to get a sense of your academic interests and ability to engage in independent, nuanced thought. Students with theses can provide solid proof of these skills, while those without may struggle to demonstrate preparedness as thoroughly.
The answer to this question depends on many factors, but typically it is okay not to do a thesis if you plan to enter a field that doesn't depend heavily on research or writing, or if you don't plan to complete a Ph.D.
Students wanting to work in academic, research, or writing should always opt for the thesis track. They should also follow this path if they have any doctoral degree aspirations.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to complete a thesis rests with the individual student. Figuring out how to proceed on this front requires lots of careful consideration, and learners should ensure they consider various aspects before coming to a final decision. The following section helps students consider how they should and should not come to a conclusion.
Dos and Don'ts of Choosing a Thesis or Non-thesis Program
- Consider the longevity of your decision: will you feel the same in 5-10 years or are you making a decision based on current desires?
- Talk to others who with experience in this area. Ask them questions about their decision-making process and if they regret their choice.
- Research potential thesis topics before starting a program. Going in with a game plan can help you feel more confident and settled about the process than if you're scrambling for a topic while in school.
- Reach out to prospective schools to speak with faculty and/or current students following both tracks. This will provide knowledge specific to the school while also expanding your network if you choose to attend there.
- Research Ph.D. entrance requirements to ascertain if the majority expect learners to possess a thesis when applying. This will give you a sense of whether you may experience issues later on if you do not complete one.
- Decide not to complete a thesis simply because you have never taken on such a task and feel overwhelmed or fearful that you will fail.
- Complete a thesis simply because you think it will look good on your resume. Theses require intense devotion over an extended amount of time; learners who complete them without conviction often find the process miserable.
- Forget to research alternatives to writing a thesis. Just because you don't complete a research paper doesn't mean a non-thesis track lacks rigor or challenging coursework.
- Forget to read examples of theses by previous students. If you feel overwhelmed by the task, reading work other people have done can often make the task at hand feel less scary.
- Let yourself off easy by taking the non-thesis path. If you find you have extra time in the program, talk to your advisor about taking more classes, develop meaningful projects for yourself, or see about presenting at an academic conference.
From the Expert
Sudiksha Joshi, Ph.D. is a learning advocate. Her mission is to empower our youth to think bigger, bolder thoughts and forge a career path that will change the world. She taps into her natural curiosity and ability to identify strengths to help students and those in transition find their path from feeling lost in the traditional ways of achieving success to charting their own path. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Medium and LinkedIn.
Why might a student decide to follow a thesis track? Why might they follow a non-thesis track?
A student might decide to take a thesis track if she/he wants to pursue a Ph.D. Also, if the students want to focus on careers where research and writing have a strong focus, the students opt for the thesis option. Research assistantships at the graduate level are also more often available to students who opt for the thesis option.
A student who might feel that writing is not one of their strengths might choose to go the non-thesis track. Likewise, a student who has other work commitments may find a non-thesis option more convenient.
Do you have any tips for deciding on a program?
I chose a thesis option because being able to conduct independent research was a big reason to go to graduate school. Also, showing the ability that I could do research was what afforded me research assistantships which meant that my tuition was paid for and I got a stipend that paid for expenses while I was in graduate school. This also allowed me the opportunity to work closely with the faculty mentor that provided me with the support and the accountability I wanted.
I would not recommend taking a non-thesis option if all the degree requires is for you to take courses. You have little to show in terms of your learning other than your grades unless you are already working on something on the side that does that for you and all you need is a certificate.
Opt for a non-thesis option if you can still work closely with a professor or on a project and if you'd rather be involved in multiple projects rather than focus on a single project. If you already have a good (informed) reason for choosing one over the other, go for it.
What's the most important thing to consider when choosing a program?
The most important thing to consider when choosing a program is getting excited about the projects that at least one of the faculty members are involved in. Do some research and see why you are excited about a particular work that at least one of the faculty members have been involved in.
Who should students talk to when considering options?
Students should talk to other students and also reach out directly to the graduate coordinator and even individual faculty members. This means that students should have done prior homework and have some good questions ready. Asking good questions will get you at least halfway through to make the right decision.
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- Thread starter walkkker
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- Nov 24, 2019
Hello, I want to know is there any difference between "graduate thesis" and "graduation thesis"? Thanks.
walkkker said: Hello, I want to know is there any difference between "graduate thesis" and "graduation thesis"? Thanks. Click to expand...
So if I was a undergraduate student. I can only have "graduation thesis", right?
walkkker said: So if I was a undergraduate student. I can only have "graduation thesis", right? Click to expand...
- Nov 25, 2019
Thanks to The Newt. I want to know an expression in British English. I was a undergraduate student. And I finished my graduation thesis . I want to know should I call it as "graduate thesis" or what? In British English, "graduate thesis" means "post-graduate thesis" or what? Core question: I want to know what should I call my graduation thesis for my bachelor's degree in BrE?
In my undergraduate days, decades ago, this paper was referred to simply as a dissertation. I don't know what it's called today.
tunaafi said: In my undergraduate days, decades ago, this paper was referred to simply as a dissertation. Click to expand...
tunaafi said: In my undergraduate days, decades ago, this paper was referred to simply as a dissertation. I don't know what it's called today. Click to expand...
Moderato con anima (English Only)
- Nov 26, 2019
'Dissertation' and 'thesis' are used in both BrE and AmE. In BrE, 'dissertation' tends to be shorter (say 10,000 words), and 'thesis' tends to be longer (say 40,000-80,000 words). In AmE it is the opposite (a dissertation is longer, a thesis is shorter). Undergraduates can be said to write 'dissertations' (as tunaafi mentioned); you might also encounter 'final year dissertations' or 'honours dissertations'. In the UK, people talk about PhD (DPhil, etc) theses; in the US, people talk about PhD dissertations.
- Do All College Students Write a Thesis?
What is a College Thesis?
- Final Research or Capstone Project
College Thesis vs Field Experience
How to pick the right one, a few thesis paper topic ideas.
Before graduating from school, some students wonder if everyone must do a college thesis. You might hear various things, but the truth is a thesis is not always required from graduate students to complete their school programs. Of course, it depends on many things, including the type of study. Some schools offer two ways that include thesis writing and a non-thesis variant where students have to take more classes without creating a thesis. In our short article, you can learn about some alternatives to a thesis. It will help you to decide which option to choose or if you should simply ask thesis writing service for help. We will provide you with full information about a college thesis and thesis writing services that can help avoid struggling with this paper. Of course, the final decision is yours!
A college thesis is quite complex work students have to create within their last year before graduating a school. In general, students are required to select a topic they studied and make research around the chosen subject. The topic must be related to the students’ part experience. After selecting a subject, students have to submit it with an advisor. They can start their research and writing after the meeting with an advisor. Later, when their paper is completed, college professors read it and decide if the document meets all the needed requirements and instructions for graduating from school.
Final Research or Capstone Project
If you’ve heard that some graduate students are not required to create a thesis, you should know that in some schools, students have to finish a capstone project instead of a thesis. This is a kind of final research on the chosen topic. It’s a better choice for those students who don’t like to work in a classroom and prefer things connected to the experience. For example, a student who studies computer science can make new software or a new program for a computer instead of creating a huge work about innovations in computer science and technology.
Some students in a school who have completed their field experience can not be required to create a school thesis. For some people, it may seem like a simpler variant. If you’re thinking about selecting this option, you have to know that your school may require completing around 300 or more hours of fieldwork under your supervisor’s control. Needless to say, this work should be done after finishing the studies. It means that it may take about 3 or more years to get your degree. If compared with students who choose thesis writing, they can get a degree within 2 years or even less. Are you one of them? Pay attention to all thesis parts and their detailed descriptions from the beginning. Of course, the choice is yours. Keep in mind that if you will choose fieldwork, you may be required to provide detailed logs of your work and show these logs to the department before you get a degree.
Of course, you have to decide what variant is more acceptable for you. Some people don’t want to create a thesis because they don’t like long research. We believe you understand how long is a thesis and how much time you should spend with books in the library. In this case, a non-thesis variant is a good option. It’s suitable for those students who want to get more experience in the selected field and avoid a lot of paperwork. The option of writing a research project will fit those students who want to make a project without detailed research, and fieldwork will appeal to those people who agree to work extra time before graduating from a school.
Some professors would want you to come up with thesis paper topics on your own, without giving you advice at all. Sure, it is quite a challenging task for the majority of students. Here we have compiled ideas for thesis that we believe are worth consideration to expedite your creativity. Feel free to check this list to get a better understanding as to how good thesis topics should look like:
- Promotion of violence in popular culture.
- The culture of family development: the political aspect of the problem.
- Why is skin on a face more sensitive to breakouts and touch than on any other part of the body?
- The role of relatives in overcoming severe chronic health conditions.
- Food insecurity in urban states: factors to bring the issue about and possible mechanisms of management.
- What are some pros and cons related to plastic surgery?
- The role of a father in the prevention of early childhood obesity.
- The role of the school in the sexual education of children.
- Forced child marriage as a factor influencing life quality.
- Doctor-patient communication as a significant factor in preventing infectious diseases.
- Language learning as a factor in preventing intellectual disorders of seniors.
- Are there hobbies you can do in your own country but not when you travel abroad? Why?
- What stereotypes are related to people from your country, and is there any truth to those?
- Frequent change of place of residence as a factor preventing depressive states.
- The role of stresses in the natural psychological development of individuals.
- The role of age in the effectiveness of coping with alcohol abuse diseases.
- The influence of intensity of medical care upon the development of cancer-related depressive states.
- Does beauty, in general, determine how much a person will be successful in life?
- How to be better at communicating with friends, family, work colleagues, and strangers?
- The correlation between suicidal attempts and video games abuse in adolescents.
- Gender differences in the effectiveness of language learning: myth or reality.
- Employment as a factor to overcome PTSD in military veterans.
- Marital satisfaction and job satisfaction: does an interconnection exist?
- The relation between formula feeding and obesity in infants.
- Can amusement parks have an educational purpose apart from an entertaining one?
- What other common sayings such as “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” exist in your language?
- Domestic violence as a factor of destruction for the reproductive health of women in developing countries.
- Are the virtual world and video games, causing more violence or more antisocial people?
- Why should more expensive sports like rowing and tennis be more accessible to social and ethnic minorities?
- Domestic violence and the quality of breastfeeding. Detecting the triggers and foreseeing the results to avoid.
If you have decided to write a thesis, but feel like it’s too difficult for you to complete this task, don’t be upset! You still have a chance to make a proper document and get a degree without problems. Just ask our professional team to assist in making your thesis, and we will finish this paper on time. Our talented specialists are here to work on your college thesis!
If you want to deliver a senior thesis and start a professional career quickly, then you need not only to research a topic well but also to find all the necessary information for the final work and know how to properly format and structure a thesis. Thus, having a clear plan and understanding what s...
Are you about to write a bachelor thesis? Congratulations - you are on the home straight and need to take the very last but important step to earn a bachelor’s degree. You have successfully handled all academic assignments; however, it doesn’t make bachelor thesis writing any easier. Writing a thesi...
Writing a master’s thesis requires a lot of patience. It's not something you can create in a few days. It’s a large scale project, so you’ll have to make a strict schedule and write a little piece every day. Do you feel it's a difficult job for you and you need thesis help? Instead of devoting your ...
What Is Thesis Statement for Graduate Students?
Contrary to it, a thesis writer evaluates the facts and based upon certain assumptions, draws conclusions and recommendations. The concluding paragraphs are actually the hypothesis of the writer’s research paper for which he/she collects the relevant data, organizes it, and evaluates it critically in the research. Thus, a thesis should be a synthesis of your discoveries about a topic and your evaluation of those discoveries.
Table of Contents
Definition / Positioning of Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is a sentence that clearly and specifically states the topic and purpose of your research work. Do you know what is a thesis paragraph? Remember, a thesis statement is always included in the opening paragraph of a research paper, mostly the last sentence of the introductory paragraph. This opening paragraph is also known as the thesis paragraph.
Features of a Good Thesis Statement
Many students make a serious mistake while crafting a thesis statement for their research assignment because they don’t exactly know what is thesis statement and how to write it perfectly. If you are a student at the PhD level, you should understand what is a PhD thesis and whatever the topic you are assigned, your thesis statement must follow the following features:
- Specific in nature;
- Identifies the direction of the whole thesis;
- Corresponds to the structure of your essay;
- Explains understandable ideas to the readers.
It is Mandatory to Understand What is a Thesis Paper Before Writing?
A thesis paper is a sort of academic paper that involves comprehensive research, and you have to compose it under supervision of your tutor. The assignment of a thesis paper is assigned to the students at the graduate level. When you write your thesis paper, actually it reflects your understanding level on the assigned topic.
It also shows how much you can evaluate things critically. You have to explain and support your opinion based on arguments; thus, a thesis paper highlights your argumentative abilities as well.
How to Write a Thesis at Graduate Level?
Before writing a thesis at graduate level, you must have a sound knowledge of what is a graduate thesis? The following paragraphs is a brief guideline for the graduate level students to write a thesis:
- Determine the Purpose
Clearly specify the aim of the thesis and limit the scope to a manageable size.
- Conduct In-Depth Research
Do a thorough search of all available sources. Much of your information may come from the college or university library, but there are many other sources available to you, such as newspapers, magazines, old publications about the topic, or online resources.
- Support, Organize and Draft Your Ideas
Determine what information you will use to support your ideas. Organize them into a logical pattern, and produce a topic outline, sentence outline, and the initial draft.
- Revise and Edit
Read and re-read your first draft. Set it aside, and then read it again objectively. Then, revise your thesis to say exactly what you want it to say, edit it to eliminate spelling and punctuation errors, errors of logic, faulty information, verbosity, and typographical errors.
- Get Feedback
After converting into better shape, it is far better to take the print out of your paper and ask some of your classmates, senior, or even any of your parents to go through it and give feedback to you. welcome their inputs objectively and make necessary amendments in your draft. Sometimes you may even get new ideas to improve the quality of the content.
- Use Active Voice
Although it is not 100% mandatory to use each of your sentences in an active tone, however, it is always considered to use active voice in your content. Avoid the passive voice.
- Plan your schedule of work carefully
Writing a thesis is neither a quick nor an easy task. But it is not an overwhelming one either. As long as you feel that you are undertaking a worthwhile project and know that you are following a planned procedure, you should produce a successful thesis.
Do You Know What is a Thesis Statement in an Essay?
Sometimes it is really unfortunate that students, even at master’s level don’t fully understand what is a master thesis? Being student, it is obligatory for you to comprehend what is a thesis statement in an essay and how you should include it in your writing? You cannot include a thesis statement blindly in your topic, or a particular style of writing a thesis statement is also not valid for all kinds of essays. Rather, it all depends on the type and nature of the essay format . The most common types of essay formats are the following:
- Persuasive / argumentative essay ;
- Descriptive / narrative essay;
- Expository essay.
Thesis statement for Persuasive / Argumentative Essay
Most of the papers are of persuasive format that intends to persuade the readers to accept your thesis. The argumentative essays provide space for the readers to think oppositely. In both situations, the thesis statement must be decisive and specific, particularly in case of a controversial topic. It may also discuss the opposite argument.
Thesis Statement for Descriptive / Narrative Essay
In an essay of descriptive or narrative nature, the writer intends to explain a certain event (maybe historical or current), process (scientific or social), or action to keep the readers engaged in reading till to the last. The decisive statement is not necessary for narrative essays; however, you may explain the significance of the topic and its relevance to the readers to create interest or curiosity.
Thesis Statement for Expository Essay
The thesis statement for an expository essay reflects the topic of your research paper and briefly explains the potential aspects of the idea the readers will see in the paper.
Can You Explain What is a Thesis Statement Example?
After discussing different types of thesis statements, let’s understand with examples what is a thesis statement example with respect to a specific format of an essay.
As discussed earlier, the thesis statement of an argumentative essay states three points. (1) the topic of your research work (2) Your own opinion on the idea, and (3) causes why you are of that opinion. See the statement below: –
“Modern Technology has created distances among relatives because
it has created physical gaps in our social environment, and it is
not an alternative to re-strengthen the social norms”.
Here “Modern Technology” indicates (1) the main topic, “has created distances among the relatives” indicates (2) your opinion, and “it has created physical gaps in our social environment, and it is not an alternative to re-strengthen the social norms” indicates (3) causes.
In a descriptive or narrative essay, your thesis statement must include (1) the topic, (2) your evaluations or analysis, and (3) your conclusions. See the following thesis statement:
“An evaluation to use the substitutes of crude oil energies explain
that the use of wind power and solar energy are better options.”
Here “crude oil energies” indicates the (1) main topic, “An evaluation to use the substitutes” explain (2) what you have analyzed in the study, and “the use of wind power and solar energy better options” indicates (3) the conclusion of the research.
As far as an expository essay format is concerned, the thesis statement explains (1) the topic, (2) major outcomes of your paper. See the following example:
“Main contributory factors in the success of a graduate-level student
include hard work, better time management, inspiration
from family and personal motivation”.
Here “the success of a graduate-level student” indicates (1) topic, and “hard work, better time management, inspiration from family, and personal motivation” explains (2) main findings of the research work.
In the following examples, you will see and understand what is a good thesis statement.
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What is a Thesis Defense?
If you're researching a master's degree, you'll likely come across the phrase "thesis defense" among the list of requirements for earning an advanced degree. This formal-sounding requirement usually comes at the end of a graduate program. As a student seeking a master's degree, your thesis defines your educational experience at the university. Once you've completed all the necessary coursework and finished any internship or practicum experiences, you will be required to meet with a committee to defend your work. Details of a defense vary by college, but there are some general things to keep in mind as you embark on the graduate process.
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What is a Thesis?
In most schools, the thesis represents a student's collective understanding of his or her program and major. Students who major in English, for example, typically explore language, literary themes, a specific author's work or a similar topic when writing a thesis paper. Universities often require theses to consist of a prospectus, which outlines the intent of the paper, and a full-length paper treatment of a particular topic. In the natural sciences, theses might cover experiments or hypothetical situations in which a student researches certain elements of his or her field.
Theses projects demand full attention, and many schools require that students devote an entire semester to completing the research and resulting paper. Students work with a faculty committee or adviser on a close basis to make sure that the research stays on schedule. Depending on the level of degree, a thesis paper can be extremely complex.
Defending the Work
Once students submit their theses papers to the thesis committee, they will be assigned a date to defend their work. In this case, "defend" does not imply that a student will have to argue aggressively about his or her work. Rather, the thesis defense is designed so that faculty members can ask questions and make sure that students actually understand their field and focus area. Defending a thesis largely serves as a formality because the paper will already have been evaluated. During a defense, a student will be asked questions by members of the thesis committee. Questions are usually open-ended and require that the student think critically about his or her work. A defense might take only 20 minutes, or it might take an hour or more depending on the goal of the committee and the requirements of the program.
Preparation for Your Thesis Defense
Students have months to prepare for a defense . Schools want graduate candidates to be as prepared as possible when attending a defense, which means that neither the date nor faculty committee will be a surprise to the student. It's important to keep in mind that if you go into a defense with the right attitude and preparation, failing is nearly impossible. The committee wants to see how well you know your subject and your research. Nerves may get the better of you as you face unknown questions, but as with a job interview, practicing ahead of time will lead to a successful defense.
Facing a defense can be stressful, but think of it as an opportunity to share what you've learned. Remember that you aren't arguing points when you defend your work. Instead, a proper thesis defense gives you and your faculty advisers the chance to discuss your topic and research in greater detail.
What is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation?
If you're contemplating graduate school, you may have heard that a comprehensive paper is required to graduate, and you likely wonder what exactly is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. It's good that you're thinking ahead. There are definite differences between the two terms, though they are sometimes used interchangeably and often confused. Both papers are similar in their structure, as they contain an introduction, literary review, body, conclusion, bibliography and appendix. Beyond that, the similarities basically end. Let's delve further into the definition of each and the differences between them.
Basic Thesis and Dissertation Differences
The main difference between a thesis and a dissertation is when they are completed. The thesis is a project that marks the end of a master's program, while the dissertation occurs during doctoral study. The two are actually quite different in their purpose, as well. A thesis is a compilation of research that proves you are knowledgeable about the information learn throughout your graduate program. A dissertation is your opportunity during a doctorate program to contribute new knowledge, theories or practices to your field. The point is to come up with an entirely new concept, develop it and defend its worth.
Structural Differences Between a Thesis and a Dissertation
A master's thesis is kind of like the sorts of research papers you are familiar with from undergrad. You research a topic, then analyze and comment upon the information you gleaned and how it relates to the particular subject matter at hand. The point of the thesis is to show your ability to think critically about a topic and to knowledgeably discuss the information in-depth. Also, with a thesis, you usually take this opportunity to expand upon a subject that is most relevant to a specialty area you wish to pursue professionally. In a dissertation, you utilize others' research merely as guidance in coming up with and proving your own unique hypothesis, theory or concept. The bulk of the information in a dissertation is attributed to you.
Finally, there is a difference in length between these two major works. A master's thesis should be at least 100 pages in length, likely a bit beyond that. However, a doctoral dissertation should be much longer, because they involve a great deal of background and research information, along with every detail of your proposal and how you arrived at the information, according to Purdue University . A dissertation is an extremely complex work. It will likely be two, possibly even three, times the length of a thesis. You will receive guidance from a faculty member who will serve as your dissertation adviser. This adviser will be there to point you in the right direction if you are stuck, can assist in locating resources and ensure that your proposal is on the right track.
Related Resource: Capstone Project
Each school and program has its own guidelines for what a thesis and dissertation should contain, as well as its structure. However, you now have an overview of the difference between a thesis and a dissertation.
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Organizing and Formatting Your Thesis and Dissertation
Learn about overall organization of your thesis or dissertation. Then, find details for formatting your preliminaries, text, and supplementaries.
A typical thesis consists of three main parts – preliminaries, text, and supplementaries. Each part is to be organized as explained below and in the order indicated below:
- Title page (required)
- Copyright page (required)
- Abstract (required) only one abstract allowed
- Acknowledgments (optional) located in the Preliminary Section only
- Preface (optional)
- Autobiography (optional)
- Dedication (optional)
- Table of Contents (required)
- List of Tables (optional)
- List of Figures (optional)
- List of Plates (optional)
- List of Symbols (optional)
- List of Keywords (optional)
- Other Preliminaries (optional) such as Definition of Terms
- References or bibliography (optional)
- Appendices (optional)
- Glossary (optional)
- List of Abbreviations (optional)
These are the general requirements for all preliminary pages.
- Preliminary pages are numbered with lower case Roman numerals.
- Page numbers are ½” from the bottom of the page and centered.
- The copyright page is included in the manuscript immediately after the title page and is not assigned a page number nor counted.
- The abstract page is numbered with the Roman numeral “ii”.
- The remaining preliminary pages are arranged as listed under “Organizing and Formatting the Thesis/Dissertation” and numbered consecutively.
- Headings for all preliminary pages must be centered in all capital letters 1” from the top of the page.
- Do not bold the headings of the preliminary pages.
A sample Thesis title page pdf is available here , and a sample of a Dissertation title page pdf is available here.
Refer to the sample page as you read through the format requirements for the title page.
- Do not use bold.
- Center all text except the advisor and committee information.
The heading “ Thesis ” or “ Dissertation ” is in all capital letters, centered one inch from the top of the page.
- Your title must be in all capital letters, double spaced and centered.
- Your title on the title page must match the title on your GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form
Submitted by block
Divide this section exactly as shown on the sample page. One blank line must separate each line of text.
- Submitted by
- School of Advanced Materials Discovery
- School of Biomedical Engineering
- Graduate Degree Program in Cell and Molecular Biology
- Graduate Degree Program in Ecology
If your department name begins with “School of”, list as:
- School of Education
- School of Music, Theatre and Dance
- School of Social Work
If you have questions about the correct name of your department or degree, consult your department. Areas of Study or specializations within a program are not listed on the Title Page.
Degree and Graduating Term block
- In partial fulfillment of the requirements
- For the Degree of
- Colorado State University
- Fort Collins, Colorado (do not abbreviate Colorado)
- Master’s students will use the heading Master’s Committee:
- Doctoral students will use the heading Doctoral Committee:
- The Master’s Committee and Doctoral Committee headings begin at the left margin.
- One blank line separates the committee heading and the advisor section.
- One blank line separates the advisor and committee section.
- Advisor and committee member names are indented approximately half an inch from the left margin.
- Titles before or after the names of your advisor and your members are not permitted (Examples – Dr., Professor, Ph.D.).
- A sample copyright page pdf is available here.
- A copyright page is required.
- A copyright page is included in the manuscript immediately after the title page.
- This page is not assigned a number nor counted.
- Center text vertically and horizontally.
- A sample abstract page pdf is available here – refer to the sample page as you read through the format requirements for the abstract.
- Only one abstract is permitted.
- The heading “ Abstract ” is in all capital letters, centered one inch from the top of the page.
- Three blank lines (single-spaced) must be between the “ Abstract ” heading and your title.
- Your title must be in all capital letters and centered.
- The title must match the title on your Title Page and the GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form
- Three blank lines (single-spaced) must be between the title and your text.
- The text of your abstract must be double-spaced.
- The first page of the abstract is numbered with a small Roman numeral ii.
Table of Contents
- A sample Table of Contents page pdf is available.
- The heading “ Table of Contents ” is in all capital letters centered one inch from the top of the page.
- Three blank lines (single-spaced) follow the heading.
- List all parts of the document (except the title page) and the page numbers on which each part begins.
- The titles of all parts are worded exactly as they appear in the document.
- Titles and headings and the page numbers on which they begin are separated by a row of dot leaders.
- Major headings are aligned flush with the left margin.
- Page numbers are aligned flush with the right margin.
The text of a thesis features an introduction and several chapters, sections and subsections. Text may also include parenthetical references, footnotes, or references to the bibliography or endnotes.
- The entire document is 8.5” x 11” (letter) size.
- Pages may be in landscape position for figures and tables that do not fit in “portrait” position.
- Choose one type style (font) and font size and use it throughout the text of your thesis. Examples: Times New Roman and Arial.
- Font sizes should be between 10 point and 12 point.
- Font color must be black.
- Hyperlinked text must be in blue. If you hyperlink more than one line of text, such as the entire table of contents, leave the text black.
- Margins are one inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right).
- Always continue the text to the bottom margin except at the end of a chapter.
- Please see preliminary page requirements .
- Body and references are numbered with Arabic numerals beginning with the first page of text (numbered 1).
- Page numbers must be centered ½” from the bottom of the page.
- A sample page pdf for major headings and subheadings is available here.
- Use consistent style for major headings.
- Three blank lines (single-spaced) need to be between the major heading and your text.
- Each chapter is started on a new page.
- The References or Bibliography heading is a major heading and the formatting needs to match chapter headings.
- A sample page pdf for major headings and subheadings is available here .
- Style for subheadings is optional but the style should be consistent throughout.
- Subheadings within a chapter (or section) do not begin on a new page unless the preceding page is filled. Continue the text to the bottom of the page unless at the end of a chapter.
- Subheadings at the bottom of a page require two lines of text following the heading and at least two lines of text on the next page.
Do not insert a running head.
When dividing paragraphs, at least two lines of text should appear at the bottom of the page and at least two lines of text on the next page.
The last word on a page may not be divided. No more than three lines in succession may end with hyphens. Divide words as indicated in a standard dictionary.
- The text of the thesis is double-spaced.
- Bibliography or list of reference entries and data within large tables may be single-spaced. Footnotes should be single spaced.
- Footnotes and bibliography or list of reference entries are separated by double-spacing.
- Quoted material of more than three lines is indented and single-spaced. Quoted material that is three lines or fewer may be single-spaced for emphasis.
Poems should be double-spaced with triple-spacing between stanzas. Stanzas may be centered if lines are short.
- Consult a style manual approved by your department for samples of footnotes.
- Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis.
- Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page on which the reference is made.
- Footnotes are single-spaced.
- Consult a style manual approved by your department for samples of endnotes.
- Endnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis.
- Endnotes may be placed at the end of each chapter or following the last page of text.
- The form for an endnote is the same as a footnote. Type the heading “endnote”.
Tables and Figures
- Tables and figures should follow immediately after first mentioned in the text or on the next page.
- If they are placed on the next page, continue the text to the bottom of the preceding page.
- Do not wrap text around tables or figures. Text can go above and/or below.
- If more clarity is provided by placing tables and figures at the end of chapters or at the end of the text, this format is also acceptable.
- Tables and Figures are placed before references.
- Any diagram, drawing, graph, chart, map, photograph, or other type of illustration is presented in the thesis as a figure.
- All tables and figures must conform to margin requirements.
- Images can be resized to fit within margins
- Table captions go above tables.
- Figure captions go below figures.
- Captions must be single spaced.
Landscape Tables and Figures
- Large tables or figures can be placed on the page landscape or broadside orientation.
- Landscape tables and figures should face the right margin (unbound side).
- The top margin must be the same as on a regular page.
- Page numbers for landscape or broadside tables or figures are placed on the 11” side.
These are the general requirements for all supplementary pages.
- Supplementary pages are arranged as listed under “Organizing and Formatting the Thesis/Dissertation” and numbered consecutively.
- Headings for all supplementary pages are major headings and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.
References or Bibliography
- The References or Bibliography heading is always a major heading and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.
- References or Bibliography are ordered after each chapter, or at the end of the text.
- References or Bibliography must start on a new page from the chapter text.
- References are aligned flush with the left margin.
- The style for references should follow the format appropriate for the field of study.
- The style used must be consistent throughout the thesis.
- Appendices are optional and used for supplementary material.
- The Appendices heading is a major heading and the formatting style needs to match chapter headings.
- As an option the appendix may be introduced with a cover page bearing only the title centered vertically and horizontally on the page. The content of the appendix then begins on the second page with the standard one inch top margin.
- Quality and format should be consistent with requirements for other parts of the thesis including margins.
- Page numbers used in the appendix must continue from the main text.
A Foreign Language Thesis
Occasionally, theses are written in languages other than English. In such cases, an English translation of the title and abstract must be included in the document.
- Submit one title page in the non-English language (no page number printed).
- Submit one title page in English (no page number printed).
- Submit one abstract in the non-English language (page number is ii).
- Submit one abstract in English (page number is numbered consecutively from previous page – example: if the last page of the abstract in the foreign language is page ii the first page of the abstract in English is numbered page iii).
In some departments, a student may do research on two or more generally related areas which would be difficult to combine into a single well-organized thesis. The solution is the multi-part thesis.
- Each part is considered a separate unit, with its own chapters, bibliography or list of references, and appendix (optional); or it may have a combined bibliography or list of references and appendix.
- A single abstract is required.
- The pages of a multi-part thesis are numbered consecutively throughout the entire thesis, not through each part (therefore, the first page of Part II is not page 1).
- The chapter numbering begins with Chapter 1 for each part, or the chapters may be numbered consecutively.
- Pagination is consecutive throughout all parts, including numbered separation sheets between parts.
- Each part may be preceded by a separation sheet listing the appropriate number and title.
What does graduate thesis mean?
Definitions for graduate thesis grad·u·ate the·sis, here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word graduate thesis ., did you actually mean graduated tax or gratuitous , how to pronounce graduate thesis.
Alex US English David US English Mark US English Daniel British Libby British Mia British Karen Australian Hayley Australian Natasha Australian Veena Indian Priya Indian Neerja Indian Zira US English Oliver British Wendy British Fred US English Tessa South African
How to say graduate thesis in sign language?
The numerical value of graduate thesis in Chaldean Numerology is: 2
The numerical value of graduate thesis in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4
Translations for graduate thesis
From our multilingual translation dictionary.
- tesis de posgrado Spanish
- graduate thesis French
- 卒業論文 Japanese
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/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="graduate thesis meaning"> Cornell University --> Graduate School
Guide to writing your thesis/dissertation, definition of dissertation and thesis.
The dissertation or thesis is a scholarly treatise that substantiates a specific point of view as a result of original research that is conducted by students during their graduate study. At Cornell, the thesis is a requirement for the receipt of the M.A. and M.S. degrees and some professional master’s degrees. The dissertation is a requirement of the Ph.D. degree.
Formatting Requirement and Standards
The Graduate School sets the minimum format for your thesis or dissertation, while you, your special committee, and your advisor/chair decide upon the content and length. Grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other mechanical issues are your sole responsibility. Generally, the thesis and dissertation should conform to the standards of leading academic journals in your field. The Graduate School does not monitor the thesis or dissertation for mechanics, content, or style.
“Papers Option” Dissertation or Thesis
A “papers option” is available only to students in certain fields, which are listed on the Fields Permitting the Use of Papers Option page , or by approved petition. If you choose the papers option, your dissertation or thesis is organized as a series of relatively independent chapters or papers that you have submitted or will be submitting to journals in the field. You must be the only author or the first author of the papers to be used in the dissertation. The papers-option dissertation or thesis must meet all format and submission requirements, and a singular referencing convention must be used throughout.
ProQuest Electronic Submissions
The dissertation and thesis become permanent records of your original research, and in the case of doctoral research, the Graduate School requires publication of the dissertation and abstract in its original form. All Cornell master’s theses and doctoral dissertations require an electronic submission through ProQuest, which fills orders for paper or digital copies of the thesis and dissertation and makes a digital version available online via their subscription database, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses . For master’s theses, only the abstract is available. ProQuest provides worldwide distribution of your work from the master copy. You retain control over your dissertation and are free to grant publishing rights as you see fit. The formatting requirements contained in this guide meet all ProQuest specifications.
Copies of Dissertation and Thesis
Copies of Ph.D. dissertations and master’s theses are also uploaded in PDF format to the Cornell Library Repository, eCommons . A print copy of each master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation is submitted to Cornell University Library by ProQuest.
Thesis Vs. Dissertation — Know the difference and similarities!
The academic world is filled with many different types of writing assignments, each with its own unique set of requirements and expectations. One common source of confusion for students is the distinction between a thesis and a dissertation. Both are long-form academic works, but there are several key differences between the two that are important to understand.
In Shakespeare’s day, a candidate for a master’s degree would write a thesis, an original paper in which he maintained a certain proposition. Whereas, completion of a doctoral program required submission and defense of a dissertation. He would read his thesis to his committee, after which he sat in silence while two faculty members gave point-by-point refutations of everything the candidate said.
The focus here was on the student’s ideas and his ability to arrange and express them clearly. If a student wished to advance further in academia he could pursue a dissertation. This was more of a literature review . He would read widely in a particular area and write up his findings, discussing the various authorities and their opinions. The point was to demonstrate that he was well-versed in the literature of the field. While the confusion between the two terms is understandable, we shall tackle the dissertation vs. thesis topic in this article and provide unambiguous insights on it.
Table of Contents
What Is a Thesis?
A thesis is a critically written scholarly piece of research work. Typically, it is submitted by students graduating from a master’s program. The purpose of a thesis is to allow students to showcase their knowledge and expertise within the subject matter they have been studying as part of the program.
What Is a Dissertation?
A dissertation is a comparatively lengthier piece of scholarly writing that accounts for your research work throughout the doctoral program. A researcher earns the Ph.D. after submitting and defending his/her dissertation. It includes all information about the original research or expanded research on a new or existing topic conducted by the Ph.D. candidate.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: Differences
- The primary difference between a thesis and a dissertation is the time when they are completed. As mentioned earlier, a thesis is presented at the culmination of a master’s program, whereas, a dissertation is presented to earn a Ph.D.
- A thesis is a compilation of research ensuring that the researcher is well-informed and has knowledge about the research topic learned in the study program. On the other hand, a dissertation provides an opportunity for the researcher to contribute new theories and information to the existing literature in the research field.
- A thesis is a presentation of learned and existing information, while the purpose of a dissertation is to develop a unique concept and defend it based on theoretical and practical results.
- A master’s thesis is approximately 100 pages in length. However, a Ph.D. dissertation should be much longer than a thesis and must include background and research information. A dissertation must include your research proposal, grant proposal, literature review , ideation of research topic, and every other minute detail about your research. Ideally, a dissertation inclusive of all details mentioned above should be three times the length of a master’s thesis.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: Similarities
- Both a thesis and a dissertation are considered final projects and are required to graduate from respective programs.
- The thesis and dissertation both require a deep and accurate understanding of the research problem.
- Both forms of scholarly written pieces must address specific research questions.
- Academic writing skills are imperative for a thesis as well as a dissertation.
- Ethical practices must be followed while collating and documenting research data.
- Plagiarism is not accepted in either.
- Both require analytical skills to support the findings.
- The thesis and dissertation, both require intense editing and critical proofreading before final submission.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: Europe
In Europe, the original distinction between a thesis and a dissertation has been largely retained. A doctoral thesis is a focused piece of original research that is performed to obtain a Ph.D. A dissertation is part of a broader post-graduate research project.
However, the thesis has evolved since original research nowadays requires plenty of background research . So, a thesis will contain extensive citations and references to earlier work, although the focus remains on the original work that comes out of it.
Dissertation vs. Thesis: USA
In the United States, the definition of a thesis is almost the opposite of that in Europe. Because a thesis is shorter than a dissertation it gradually came to mean a preliminary degree on the way to a doctorate. A thesis is now performed to earn a Master’s degree. In scientific fields, a master’s candidate takes advanced coursework and gains hands-on experience in a research project but does not direct the project to the same extent that he would in a doctoral program. In a master’s project, the student’s ideas are welcomed and expected but the focus is on obtaining technical expertise, not doing original research. Engineering students commonly obtain Master’s degrees and seldom go on to get PhDs. In other fields such as Chemistry, the opposite is true, with a Master’s degree no longer being required as the first step for a doctorate. Almost everyone I know who received a Master’s degree in Chemistry got one because they dropped out of graduate school and wrote their truncated research as a Master’s project.
In a Nutshell
Needless to say, the dissertation vs. thesis facts are real. Therefore, using one term instead of another is not acceptable as an academic. One must remember the purpose of each and use them accordingly. However, one is not undermined by the other. Whether you are writing a thesis or a dissertation, both must be done with the same seriousness. Both require critical technical and soft skills. Improving your time management and academic writing skills plays a major role in acing both forms of scholarly writing.
How do you decipher dissertation vs. thesis? Should the interchanged usage of these terms be acceptable? How is your approach to writing a thesis different from that of a dissertation? What are the other differences associated with the thesis and dissertation? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Master’s Thesis Outline: Example And Tips For Writers
A thesis outline is a detailed description of the major parts of your thesis – from introduction, literature overview, thesis problem and methodology to the results, discussion, and conclusion sections.
Thesis Outline Template
- Introduction : Describe the large problem to be solved.
Introduction answers the question: Which problem area this thesis is about to address?
- Literature Overview : Review the existing research in this problem area.
Answers the question: How did the previous researchers deal with this problem?
- Thesis Problem : Define your intended contribution to solving this problem and make the promise of the thesis.
Answers the question: What will be your contribution to the current work on solving this issue?
- Method Section : Describe the protocol you’ve followed to obtain the results.
Answers the question: What methods have you chosen for the research and why are they suitable for this study?
- Results : Present your findings.
Answers the question: What are the outcomes of this research?
- Discussion : Question your findings from the different perspectives, discuss their significance.
Answers the question: How can the research results be interpreted? (it is advisable to use such expressions as “ on one hand/on the other hand, instead, nonetheless, however , etc.”)
- Conclusion : Summarize your findings and answer the research question.
The thesis statement outline or main outline is an important blueprint used to guide the process of organizing and writing your thesis or dissertation. These works are usually required in pursuit of a master’s or Ph.D. degree in many academic fields. What you choose to do depends on your school’s requirements as well as the type of degree you are seeking to earn.
When students ask “what is a thesis?” or “do I have to create an outline?” we respond by explaining that the thesis a study that can range anywhere between 100 to 300 pages that address a specific problem or answers a question in a specific area of study. It is considered an authoritative work that other researchers and academics will build upon and use in their own studies. Something of this depth and scope can get pretty messy without the aid of a well-crafted outline. So, while an outline is not a prerequisite to completing the assignment, it most certainly helps to create one before attempting to write.
In this article, we provide a standard template for you to use as well as detailed instructions on how to write a thesis outline. There are a number of resources available on the web, but this no-nonsense approach is a great start and provides you with all the information you need.
A Thesis and Outline Should Be Mirror Images
Your thesis proposal outline is something you need to do before you start your research in earnest. It needs to be approved by your graduate advisor as it will guide your study for the next several months. However, the paradox about creating a proposal outline is that you likely don’t have a well-developed plan and should actually conduct a little background research before trying to put one together. After you receive this approval, you can get to work, and after you’ve accumulated tons of notes including quotations, paraphrases, questions, responses, data, and more, you will be ready to create the thesis outline.
How to write a thesis? It’s not much different from writing a long research study – but will likely require a lot more of your time and dedication. When writing an outline you can draw from the dissertation proposal outline so that it is basically a mirror image of the work you were granted approval to do. Of course, the revised outline at this stage will have far more detail but it should follow the same chapter or section order as well as meet any of the specific department requirements.
Thesis Outline Template for Free Use
This thesis paper outline lays the foundation for the entire assignment. While you may find very slight differences and may even need to adhere to specific departmental guidelines, the thesis outline example we provide here should help to organize your capstone project in most disciplines.
Unlike the research or term papers, you are experienced with, an academic work of this scope requires a lot more. You shouldn’t be intimidated by this statement, but you should take the time to become familiar with all that is expected that you include and reference. The best place to start is to create a thesis chapters outline touching on all of the major sections. These include a title page, an abstract , an introduction, methods and discussion, conclusions, and a bibliography. Here’s a thesis outline sample you can use for free:
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- General Introduction of the Research Study
- Research Problem or Questions with Sub-Questions
- Reasons or Needs for the Research Study
- Definition and Explanation of Key Terminology
- Context of Research Study within the Greater Discipline (Area of Study)
- Chapter 2: Hypothesis (Theory)
- Brief Overview of Theoretical Foundations Utilized in the Study
- Brief Overview of Literature Reviewed, Discussed and Applied
- Study Model and Process Aligning with Literature Reviewed
- Hypotheses and Justifications Tied to Prior Sections or Statements
- The Scope of Your Study with Theoretical Assumptions and Limitations
- Chapter 3: Methods
- Introduction and General Description Study Method and Study Design
- In-Depth Description of the Study Design (Study Materials to Be Used)
- Explanation of Sample to Be Used in the Study
- Explanation of Measurements, Definitions, Indexes, etc. and Reliability and Validity of Study Method and Study Design
- Description of Analytical Techniques to Be Applied and Justification for Them
- Reliability and Validity of Internal/External Design and Related Subtypes
- Assumptions of Study Method and Study Design with Implied Limitations
- Chapter 4: Findings
- Brief Overview of Material
- Findings (Results) of the Method of Study and Any Unplanned or Unexpected Situations that Occurred
- Brief Descriptive Analysis
- Reliability and Validity of the Analysis
- Explanation of the Hypothesis and Precise and Exact Data (Do Not Give Your Opinion)
- Chapter 5: Discussion
- Full Discussion of Findings (Results) and Implications
- Full Discussion of Research Analysis of Findings
- Full Discussion of Hypothesis and of Findings
- Post Analysis and Implications of Hypothesis and of Findings
- Chapter 6: Conclusion
- Summary of Academic Study
- Reference to Literature Review
- Implications of Academic Study
- Limitations of the Theory or Method of Research
- Recommendations or Suggestions of Future Academic Study
- Chapter 7: Bibliography
- Complete List of all Sources Used Regardless of Citation or Inclusion
How to Make a Thesis Outline
You can use the template above to save time – but we thought a simple process on how to write a thesis outline and getting started with organizing your material before applying the information to the appropriate section would be equally beneficial.
- Start with your hypothesis . Place it right at the top of the page – all of the subsequent sections will need to relate or address this in some way. The page doesn’t have to be too detailed since you are the only one who will be looking at these notes. Just make sure you understand it.
- Work down the template in the order it is presented above . Fill in all top-level sections and add sub-sections as necessary (e.g., I.a, I.b. II.a, II.b., II.c., etc.). We recommend you use a combination alpha-numerical dissertation outline because you will have a lot of information to organize, but this is a matter of personal preference. Use whatever format with which you are most comfortable.
- You might consider using a master outline for the entire work and working outlines for each chapter . The latter will help you focus on just one section at a time, a strategy which can help you stay organized and productive throughout the months-long writing process.
- Review each of your outlines and make adjustments prior to filling it in with all the remaining research content notes you have. It’s easier to do this now before you have to rethink and reorganize large pieces of text. The outline for thesis is a tool to facilitate your writing – but it won’t be of much help if you don’t structure it in a logical manner before getting to work.
- Now, you can flush out all of the details with key terms, phrases, and sentences to guide you through your first draft. Most students should look towards revising the outline(s) after completing the first draft. This may seem a little tedious but it really does help (as we’re certain you will see after completing the draft).
Professional Services to Help with Writing Outline
Creating a thesis outline is difficult, but it’s a challenge you can overcome when you seek out professional assistance . We can provide you with a custom template for your thesis statement and outline. We can also help you to write, revise, edit, and proofread your work anytime throughout the year. We know that the importance of earning a master’s degree and we ensure that our experts are always ready to go the extra mile to give the highest-quality support that you will find anywhere on the internet. Give us a call to discuss your project and unique needs, we’re glad to work within your budget and will always exceed expectations.
Tired of writing thesis on your own? Great news! Enter promo “ thesis20 ” and get a unique outline with 20% discount!
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Graduate Thesis Definition
A master's thesis or ( doctoral ) dissertation .
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What is a Dissertation?
By Sabrina Collier
The majority of degrees end with this assignment, but just what is a dissertation?
Sometimes known as a thesis (in some countries, this term is used only for the final assignments of PhD degrees, while in other countries ‘thesis’ and ‘dissertation’ are interchangeable), a dissertation is a research project completed as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Typically, a dissertation allows students present their findings in response to a question or proposition that they choose themselves. The aim of the project is to test the independent research skills students have acquired during their time at university, with the assessment used to help determine their final grade. Although there is usually some guidance from your tutors, the dissertation project is largely independent.
For most students this will be the longest, most difficult and most important assignment completed at university, requiring months of preparation and hard work (the library might become a second home). However, it can also be very rewarding, particularly if you’re passionate about your choice of topic. It’s therefore definitely a good idea to make sure you choose a subject you’re genuinely interested in.
What are the two types of dissertations?
The type of dissertation you complete will vary depending on your course of study. One of the main differences is between empirical and non-empirical dissertations.
Empirical dissertation s are dissertations which involve collecting data, for example in a psychology degree. This may mean putting into practice professional and ethical guidelines when collecting data from members of the public. Empirical dissertations in natural and life science subjects may involve or be entirely centered on laboratory work.
Non-empirical dissertations are based on existing data and arguments in the work of others. This is likely to mean spending a lot of time with your head in a book! In this type of dissertation, you need to make sure you don’t just describe what others are saying, but critically analyze the work and explore its practical applications.
Skills you need to show
No matter what type of dissertation you write, and what topic you choose, you’ll need to demonstrate the following skills:
- Defining and outlining a research area with a clear question
- Identifying the leading issues
- Sourcing the relevant information
- Assessing its reliability and legitimacy
- Evaluating the evidence on all sides of a debate
- Coming to a well-argued conclusion
- Organizing and presenting the outcomes of your work critically, convincingly, and articulately, following all the guidelines on how to format your essay
How long is a dissertation?
The length of a dissertation varies between study level and country, but is generally around 10,000-12,000 words at undergraduate level, 15,000-25,000 words at master’s level and up to 50,000 words or more at PhD level.
Oral examinations (vivas)
For some advanced degrees (particularly PhDs) you may need to attend an oral examination, which is known as a viva in some countries (short for viva voce, which is Latin for ‘live voice’). The viva will usually start with you giving a short presentation of your work to two or three professors, which is then followed by a questioning/answering period which could last up to two hours.
Finally, it pretty much goes without saying, but it’s definitely not advisable to pay someone to write your dissertation for you or otherwise cheat in any way. It’s not worth the risk, and the dissertation is meant to be your chance to let your skills shine through. However, asking a supervisor, friend or family member to take a look at your dissertation is fine. Your supervisor is on hand to guide you, so don’t worry if you need to ask for help.
This article was originally published in January 2016 . It was last updated in January 2023
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The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK.
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a : a proposition to be proved or one advanced without proof : hypothesis b : a position or proposition that a person (such as a candidate for scholastic honors) advances and offers to maintain by argument 3 a (1) : the unstressed part of a poetic foot especially in accentual verse (2)
Step 1: Start with a question. You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis, early in the writing process. As soon as you've decided on your essay topic, you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.
Your thesis is the sum of all of your learned knowledge from your master's program and gives you a chance to prove your capabilities in your chosen field. A thesis also involves a significant amount of research, and depending on the subject, may require you to conduct interviews, surveys and gather primary and secondary resources.
Use The Graduate School's Thesis and Dissertation Guide to aid in preparing and submitting your thesis or dissertation. Read through the guidelines early and refer back to them as often as needed throughout the process. Begin discussions with your advisor and committee early, as they may have useful information to impart to you as you begin ...
The primary difference between a dissertation vs thesis is the degree programs that require these projects. Students in a master's degree program will write a thesis, whereas students in a doctoral degree program will complete a dissertation. Another difference between the two projects is that a dissertation usually requires an oral defense ...
When looking at how to write a thesis statement, it is important to understand the meaning of a thesis. A thesis identifies a question on a topic that relates to your degree program, which you then have to answer with a sensible argument, using credible research and findings. ... As you compare different graduate programs, you can get a better ...
A thesis is also a scholarly piece of writing, but it is for those who are graduating from a master's program. A thesis allows students to showcase their knowledge and expertise within the subject matter they have been studying. Main Differences Between a Thesis vs. Dissertation
What is a Master's Thesis? The master's thesis is an original piece of scholarship allowing the student to dig into a topic and produce an expanded document that demonstrates how their knowledge has grown throughout the degree program.
A graduate thesis is a thesis written by a graduate student; a graduation thesis (if we use that term at all) might be interpreted as meaning a thesis required in order to graduate. walkkker Senior Member Chinese Nov 24, 2019 #3 So if I was a undergraduate student. I can only have "graduation thesis", right? The Newt Senior Member USA / EEUU
A college thesis is quite complex work students have to create within their last year before graduating a school. In general, students are required to select a topic they studied and make research around the chosen subject. The topic must be related to the students' part experience.
The term graduate thesis is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations.  The required complexity or quality of research of a thesis or dissertation can vary by country, university, or program, and the required minimum study period may thus vary significantly in duration.
A thesis paper is a sort of academic paper that involves comprehensive research, and you have to compose it under supervision of your tutor. The assignment of a thesis paper is assigned to the students at the graduate level. When you write your thesis paper, actually it reflects your understanding level on the assigned topic.
What is a Thesis? In most schools, the thesis represents a student's collective understanding of his or her program and major. Students who major in English, for example, typically explore language, literary themes, a specific author's work or a similar topic when writing a thesis paper.
A thesis is a compilation of research that proves you are knowledgeable about the information learn throughout your graduate program. A dissertation is your opportunity during a doctorate program to contribute new knowledge, theories or practices to your field. The point is to come up with an entirely new concept, develop it and defend its worth.
The heading " Thesis " or " Dissertation " is in all capital letters, centered one inch from the top of the page. Title. Your title must be in all capital letters, double spaced and centered. Your title on the title page must match the title on your GS30 - Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form; Submitted by block
Definitions for graduate thesis grad·u·ate the·sis Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word graduate thesis. Did you actually mean graduated tax or gratuitous? How to pronounce graduate thesis? David US English Zira US English How to say graduate thesis in sign language? Numerology Chaldean Numerology
Definition of Dissertation and Thesis. The dissertation or thesis is a scholarly treatise that substantiates a specific point of view as a result of original research that is conducted by students during their graduate study. At Cornell, the thesis is a requirement for the receipt of the M.A. and M.S. degrees and some professional master's ...
A thesis is a compilation of research ensuring that the researcher is well-informed and has knowledge about the research topic learned in the study program. On the other hand, a dissertation provides an opportunity for the researcher to contribute new theories and information to the existing literature in the research field.
The best place to start is to create a thesis chapters outline touching on all of the major sections. These include a title page, an abstract, an introduction, methods and discussion, conclusions, and a bibliography. Here's a thesis outline sample you can use for free: Chapter 1: Introduction.
noun A master's thesis or ( doctoral ) dissertation . Wiktionary Advertisement Other Word Forms of Graduate Thesis Noun Singular: graduate thesis Plural: graduate theses Find Similar Words Find similar words to graduate thesis using the buttons below. Words Starting With G GR GRA Words Ending With S IS SIS Unscrambles graduate thesis
Sometimes known as a thesis (in some countries, this term is used only for the final assignments of PhD degrees, while in other countries 'thesis' and 'dissertation' are interchangeable), a dissertation is a research project completed as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.