Doctoral dissertation or thesis?

If you see your future after getting a bachelor’s degree in extending your science education, you’ll need to accomplish thesis and dissertation writing. A common mistake is to confuse these two terms. Let’s find out the difference between these educational distinctions.
First, let’s remember that these terms have different meanings in Europe than in the United States. But they have a few things in common. Both a Ph.D. dissertation and a master’s thesis are usually assigned for postgraduate students to get a higher science degree.
In the U.S., to get the doctoral degree, you need to write a dissertation and for a master’s degree a thesis is required. But if you don’t have plans to get a Ph.D., you may bypass the thesis writing at some schools and still get a master’s degree.
In Europe, the papers have the opposite sense. To get the Ph.D., you write a thesis while a dissertation is simply taking part in broader postgraduate research work.


When comparing these types of papers, we must remember that both types are laborious and require a lot of dedication. These aren’t regular papers like you used to write in undergraduate school. You need planning and a complex strategy to accomplish a thesis or dissertation successfully. A master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation is a very serious undertaking.

Doctoral dissertation and master’s thesis

When it comes to the difference between these two terms let’s notice the following facts:

  • First of all it’s about the volume. If a thesis contains a hundred pages, a doctoral dissertation is usually two or three times larger. So, if a thesis can be compared to an academic research paper, then writing doctoral dissertation means writing a scholarly book.
  • But the main difference lies in the way that research and making statements are employed in these papers. For a master’s thesis, you need to research previous works on your subject, create a hypothesis and assemble evidence to support it. It’s your time to show your level of knowledge and your ability for logical and critical thinking. But writing doctoral dissertation is a much more serious task. A real science work, where you’ll need to create your own theories based on authentic, primary research in your field.

What guidance can we give for those who plan to successfully finish a thesis or to complete a dissertation?

  • Leave extra time for writing and editing. The first draft is never perfect. Be prepared to make changes in your paper.
  • Never plagiarize. Check your work for plagiarism to be sure you don’t get in a bad situation by mistake.
  • Always keep a notebook close by to write your ideas in. While working on such a complicated task as writing doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis, it’s hard to remember all the thoughts that you come up with. Make notes on every small idea to ease the writing.
  • Proofreading and editing. It can be really exhausting, so delegate this work for professional editors that will not only check it for style and grammatical issues but also rate the overall level of the content. Most experts recommend finding a good professional editor in advance.