Is a dissertation different from a thesis? Conversely, is it a wordplay used in academia? In this article, the similarities, differences, and the need to convert a dissertation to a thesis project or journal article would be explored. To begin with, both papers have similar structures – they contain an introduction, literature review, body, conclusion, reference, and appendix. Both are research carried out as part of graduation completion, they test the academic proficiency in the education sector,and lastly, both papers are results of studies.

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is a practical work carried out by a student to prove their expertise in a specific field. This domain of research is mainly carried out during a Ph.D. program or Doctorate study; courtesy of the aforementioned, it is a lengthy piece of work and quite daunting. It is chosen from the students’ interest and is unique to that student. Dissertations are considered one of the hardest constituents in concluding one’s degree. There are primarily two types of dissertation, namely: Empirical, which deals with the collection of data to synthesize a hypothesis, while the other is Non-empirical, which includes the objection against existing data. Completing a dissertation is a mark of excellence by a student. The component may include but not limited to the following- the Title page, Acknowledgement, Abstract, Table of Contents, List of Figures and Tables, Abbreviation, Glossary, Introduction, Theoretical Framework, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, Reference list, Appendices, Editing and Proofreading, checklist, and free Lecture slides. 

What is a Thesis?

A thesis is a prerequisite element for a student to be eligible for graduation predominantly during undergraduate or postgraduate studies. A thesis is carried out by researching many papers of similar interest with the topic. It is carried out to ascertain a conclusion to a variety of research questions to prove or disprove the hypothesis brought forward.

Why Convert a Dissertation to a Thesis Project?

Converting a dissertation to a thesis project could have several benefits- one, it is a great way to start a career as a writer; other, it is a starting point for a thesis project. The reasons to convert is based largely on their differences which include the following-

A thesis has a limited length, an average of 100-150 pages, while a dissertation is lengthier and cannot be limited to a certain length as in a thesis. Success in a thesis is hinged on how accurate observations and research analyses are executed, while dissertations are deemed successful as long as the researcher has prior knowledge about the particular field of study. Success in a written thesis is when the research materials and observations are executed. On the other hand, dissertations are deemed successful from the standpoint of the uniqueness of research and the potential of the researcher.

A thesis emphasizes the researchers’ field of interest and what research materials have reported on it, while a dissertation conveys the prowess of the researcher in a field. A thesis is a study report and is proof of the field of interest of an individual, and a dissertation is proof that the individual is capable of dealing in a certain field. It is also used to check the independent working skills of a researcher.

Converting a Dissertation to a Thesis Project

Converting to a thesis project from a dissertation must meet the academic requirements for a thesis project, and it is advisable for the thesis to be reviewed by selected members. The lengthiness of the dissertation should be reduced to conform to the thesis project guide limits. It can be carried out by paraphrasing but not distorting the meaning or original intent of the paper or selecting and repurposing parts of the thesis. The introduction of a dissertation should be concise to maintain key topics, expunging irrelevant research questions, or synthesizing the questions.

The length of the literature must be within the thesis project writing limit; therefore, converting a dissertation to a thesis involves research that is concrete, comprehensible, and with all clarity. The review section should be compressed for clarity, conciseness, and clarity; to the dissertation converted. All findings presented in the discussion must be clear and concise, this is, by providing an interpretation of the results: “What are the lessons to be learned from the research?”

Converting to a thesis report would suggest that the discussion section is crisp without the repetition of results; instead, the findings should have citations in the literature. Furthermore, discuss how the findings expand known or previous objectives or research questions; briefly present ways future studies can build upon the research; and address limitations to the study. The thesis project converted should contain relevant and a recent number of citations and the acceptable format used.

In conclusion, various schools with different programs have specific guidelines for what a thesis and a dissertation should contain alongside its structure verification from the institution to ensure compliance with the rules. 

  1.  [Accessed 4 December 2021.]
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  3. Priya Chetty on (30 November 2011) Difference between thesis and a dissertation


Victory Udoh-King is an Architecture creative by profession. She is interested in the built environment, and also in the becoming of an architect best suited for the challenges arising from an evolving world. She loves contemporary jazz and architecture shows.