What Is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation?

A thesis or dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for an or professional qualification presenting the author's and findings. In some contexts, the word "thesis" or a cognate is used for part of a or course, while "dissertation" is normally applied to a , while in other contexts, the reverse is true. The term is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations. Dissertations and theses may be considered to be .

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Library – Graduate School

Welcome to the Thesis and Dissertation Information page! The items below are offered to assist students beginning their research and completing theses or dissertations. Much of the information has been taken from the Thesis & Dissertation Guide which is being revised. Doctoral students should also consult their program handbooks for specific forms.


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A complete, step-by-step, practical overview of the process of writing successful theses and dissertations

People interested in your work can find, read and downoad the full text of your work from the ETD (Theses and Dissertation) collection from anywhere in the world, without passwords, fees or interlibrary loans. Some students may opt to for 1 year.


As a candidate for a research degree you may submit your thesis or dissertation to The Graduate School using the system. The Graduate School will verify that the formatting requirements have been met and will send an electronic copy of your document to your Special Committee for final approval. Approved theses and dissertations are sent to the Olin Library for printing, binding, and cataloging. You can order extra copies from Olin Library to keep or share.The major difference between theses and dissertations is the depth of research that each project requires. While a good thesis makes a significant, unique contribution to its field, the task of creating a dissertation demands that the student strike out into an area that the discipline has not yet fully explored. Therefore, while a thesis may require some primary research, a dissertation will probably require a great deal of it. Primary research will vary from field to field; in science disciplines, such research may take the form of running experiments, whereas in the humanities it may consist of an extensive amount of interpretive thought so that one may make and defend new conclusions about the chosen subject. In both theses and dissertations, the student should thoroughly document any primary research, offering the data in an appendix to the thesis or dissertation if necessary.