Now, we know most graduate degrees require you to complete a thesis or a dissertation. This gets most folk interchanging the mix, leaving academicians like your supervisors and professors wondering if you truly deserve that degree.

Have you juggled these two words lately, wondering what’s the difference between both? Great! You might want to read this and know the difference now, before the next time you get to his office.


A Thesis is like a project work or a paper you submit to attain a Master’s degree. An original paper, critically researched and written where you as a candidate show your knowledge and expertise on a particular proposition to a subject matter in your field.

It’s all good you’ve been reading for those exams and passing them in high scores. How about applying that knowledge to real-life situations, that’s where a thesis comes through to checkmate all you think you know.


A dissertation, on the other hand, will then be for the true scholars (not like you can’t be one of them). The next academicians take on that doctorate degree to prove to the world they have something to deliver. You write a dissertation to earn a Ph.D. It’s a lengthier piece than the thesis. Of course, you obviously don’t think you’ll get it simple. See it as a compendium on original research or an existing one, submitted to be defended with rigor. You claim to have a new idea on something in your field in form of a literature review, now how will your idea help other folks in other fields.

Theories and Ideas

Get ready to see most of your theories and ideas shamelessly refuted. If you think I’m being harsh! Think again! Don’t worry, most dissertations just focus on the candidate’s ideas and his ability to express and compose himself.

After all, we wouldn’t want someone who isn’t vast in a field, haven’t read wide, to wake up one day and claim he is now an authority in that field. It would be a big blow if we keep loosening the hook every year to our future generations. He just must be an authority!

Now, this should be a guide between a thesis and a dissertation but there’s more you still don’t know. So, allow me to explain further. You now know that a thesis is presented at the end of a Masters’ program and a dissertation for a Ph.D.

Thesis Vs Dissertation

The thesis compiles research that the researcher is well informed on with knowledge as regards what is learnt in his study program. A dissertation is more of an opportunity (see it as a privilege), to contribute new theories and ideas to the existing literature in your field. Who knows, you might come up with a badass law.

Finally, a thesis is the presentation of information learnt but the true purpose of a dissertation is to add unique concepts in your field, defending it with practical and theoretical results.

You show know also that the length of a thesis is approximately 100 pages in length but a dissertation is much longer than this. Might as well include your research proposal, grant proposal, literature review, ideation of research topic, and other minute details in the course of your research. On the lighter side, make it five times your thesis.

Similarly, thesis and dissertation are final projects required to graduate in respective programs, require a deep and accurate understanding of your research topic, addressing specific research questions. Both don’t accept plagiarism, require analytical skills to support findings with ethical practices deeply followed.

So here you have it, the differences between a thesis and a dissertation are facts. Best you keep these in mind if you don’t want to get on the bad side of your lecturers and professors who believes these to be basic things you should know by now.

Knowing is fine but remembering the purpose for each is awesome. Whichever one you get on, keep in mind that both require critical thinking, time management, and academic writing skills. You sure might do better with a tutor as time goes on. Either for counseling, mentoring, or ideas that you just didn’t know before.

Do you think there are other differences and similarities I didn’t mention about thesis and dissertation? Do you need help analyzing your thesis and dissertation? Still don’t know how much about thesis and dissertation? Or do you just want to reach out to us? Don’t be shy, let’s get to hear from you from the comment section! Plus, you can visit our FAQ page for frequently asked questions related to all aspects of research writing and publishing answered by our experts. Good luck, tackling that degree!