Welcome to Scholar's Desk !

Dissertation vs Thesis: Understanding the Differences

The terms “Dissertation” and “thesis” are often used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct meanings, especially within the context of academic research. Let’s break down the difference between these two terms.

A thesis is typically a research document that a student prepares as a requirement for a master’s degree. It involves conducting original research on a specific topic and presenting the findings in a structured manner. A thesis aims to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study. Think of it as an in-depth investigation into a specific research problem.

On the other hand, a dissertation is a more extensive and comprehensive research project that is usually required for a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D. or an equivalent. It involves a significant amount of independent research and a deeper exploration of a specific research area. A dissertation goes beyond the scope of a thesis and often requires original contributions to the field, such as new theories, methodologies, or empirical evidence.

In simpler terms, a thesis is like a smaller, focused research project done at the master’s level, while a dissertation is a more extensive and in-depth research project conducted at the doctoral level.

Both the thesis and dissertation involve conducting research, reviewing existing literature, and presenting one’s findings. However, the key difference lies in the academic level at which they are completed and the scope of the research project.

Also, the usage of these terms can vary between different countries and academic institutions. In some regions, the term “thesis” may be used for both master’s and doctoral level research projects, adding to the confusion. It’s always advisable to consult the specific guidelines your academic institution to ensure clarity on the terminology.

Dissertation vs Thesis: Understanding the Differences

How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

Writing a dissertation proposal is an important step in the process of pursuing a doctoral degree. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you write a dissertation proposal:


  • Provide an overview of the research topic and its significance.
  • Clearly state the research problem that your study aims to address.
  • Justify the importance of your research and explain its potential contributions to the field.

Literature Review

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of relevant literature to demonstrate your understanding of the research area.
  • Summarize key theories, concepts, and findings related to your topic.
  • Identify any gaps or controversies in the existing literature that your research intends to address.

Research Objectives

  • Clearly state the specific objectives or research questions that your study will address.
  • Ensure that your objectives are clear, specific, and aligned with the research problem.


  • Describe the research design and methodology you plan to employ to achieve your objectives.
  • Explain the type of data you will collect (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) and the sources of data.
  • Outline the sampling strategy, data collection techniques, and data analysis methods you will use.
  • Discuss any ethical considerations and explain how you plan to address them.

Significance and Expected Outcomes

  • Clearly explain the potential significance of your research and its expected contributions to the field.
  • Discuss the potential practical applications or implications of your findings.
  • Highlight any innovative or novel aspects of your research.


  • Create a realistic timeline or schedule for the completion of different stages of your research project.
  • Include milestones, such as data collection, analysis, and writing, to help you stay on track.

Resources and Budget

  • Identify the resources, such as equipment, software, or access to databases, that you will need to complete your research.
  • Estimate the budget required for your research project, including any potential funding sources or grants you plan to apply for.

Limitations and Challenges

  • Discuss any potential limitations or challenges that you anticipate in your research project.
  • Address how you plan to mitigate these limitations or overcome challenges.


  • Summarize the main points of your proposal and reiterate its significance.
  • Emphasize the potential impact of your research and its contribution to the academic field.


  • Provide a comprehensive list of the references cited in your proposal following the appropriate citation style.

In summary, a well-written dissertation proposal demonstrates your readiness to undertake a significant research project. It showcases your understanding of the research area, your ability to design and execute a rigorous research methodology, and your potential to contribute new knowledge to the field.

Get Started !