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A dissertation is a document with a specific structure that is easy for the reader to understand. It is a research paper that deals with an original idea based on data collection and analysis. A Dissertation format also include a discussion section, in which the writer discusses the results of their research. On the other hand, format of thesis is more like a piece of original writing that can be non-fiction or fiction. It is about something that you are willing to learn about.   

You may have heard the terms dissertation and thesis interchangeably among students. While they share some similarities, there are also important differences between them. 

An Overview: 

Ask two people to define a thesis, and you’ll probably get two different answers. It is because there are two definitions of the word “theses”: one referring to a document submitted for academic credit and another referring to the broader concept of a dissertation. It may seem like semantics, but the definition of the word “thesis” is the first step to understanding how dissertations differ from theses. 
To receive an undergraduate degree, students must complete a thesis-based research project required in their field. This research project (or paper) must be original and contain information or insights not previously published by another researcher.  

The information contained within a format of thesis paper must also be relevant to the student’s area of study. Presented in such a way that it can stand on its own as an academic resource for readers. In other words, it should be written and formatted to make it clear and easy for others to understand and use.  
The term “dissertation” refers to this type of project or paper. 

Differences between Theses and Dissertations: 

thesis writing
  1. A thesis is a document that consists of the arguments, research, and other materials that are the foundation for your dissertation.  
  2. The dissertation format is an original piece of work that you conduct to prove the validity of your thesis. These documents differ in length, content and structure.  
  3. A theses is typically shorter than a dissertation and contains less depth. A thesis can contain everything you’ve done up to the time you started your dissertation; it includes all the research, data collection, results and analysis.  
  4. Thesis statements are typically shorter than dissertation statements; they state what you intend to prove. Thesis statements can be as long as a couple of sentences or as short as one word.  
  5. These also have an introduction section that explains why the topic is important and sets out your objectives; dissertations do not have this section. 
  6. Dissertations and Thesis are two important documents for students pursuing a degree.  
  7. Although dissertations and theses share some similarities, the main difference is that the thesis is a requirement for all college or university students to earn their degrees.  
  8. On the other hand, a dissertation format is written by a graduate student to get their degree. 
  9. Most of the time, before writing a dissertation, an author has to write a thesis.  
  10. When compared with the dissertation, it is clear that there are some significant differences between these two documents.  
  11. Both have different formats and requirements, and it should note that dissertations often have additional sections.  
  12. Besides, dissertations should be more detailed than a thesis. 

Purpose of a Thesis and a Dissertations: 

  1. A thesis usually focuses on one subject and looks at it from many different angles. It can include many different parts of research and reference books. A dissertation is more focused on collecting data and then presenting this data in an organized manner.  
  2. When you have finished your thesis or dissertation, you will need to organize it into chapters and sub-chapters, depending on how complex your topic is.  
  3. You must ensure that each chapter has a focus and contains information related to your main topic or hypothesis. 
  4. To do this, you will need to acquire reference books related to your topic, research using these books and other resources such as the Internet, collect information and statistics, and easily present them for others to understand. 
  5. There are many similarities between a dissertation and a thesis. Both are by students who are working towards a graduate degree. It’s important to understand the difference between these two because they can be confused with one another. 
  6. A thesis is used in the humanities and social sciences. While a dissertation format is used in the natural sciences and computer science.  

  1. It is because a thesis or dissertation usually summarizes or explores an idea or ideology that has been presented previously.  
  2. Another difference is that a thesis’s format differs from a dissertation’s format.  
  3. A thesis is in MLA format. Whereas dissertations are in APA format. 
  4. The distinction between the two is ultimately in the details.  
  5. The main difference is that a thesis often focuses more narrowly on a single topic, whereas a dissertation encompasses multiple topics or themes.  
  6. Dissertations usually offer an overarching theory or methodology that applies to your chapters, whereas the chapters of a thesis stand on their own.  
  7. Finally, a dissertation format is expected to be longer and more comprehensive than a thesis. In the end, any of these concepts can lead you in exciting new directions as you research and write. Good luck with whichever one you choose! 


The bottom line? They are different, and much of that concerns the intentions of those who write them. One is years in the making, while the other is in a matter of months. One shows you’ve learned a subject thoroughly, while the other displays your knowledge on a given topic. Hopefully, we’ve been able to at least narrow down the difference between dissertations and thesis for you here.  

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