At the very onset of this article, we would like to make a clear declaration about the word dissertation and thesis. According to Douwe D. Breimer and his colleagues from the Leiden University, Netherlands, the thesis represents a research work that leads to a novel idea or concept and it is referred to the academic research work initiated for gaining a bachelor's or master's degree. On the other hand, these scholars also established that the dissertation represents a prolonged process of evaluation and discussion that is usually done to achieve a Doctorate or PhD degree. However, there are innumerable debates regarding this established concept of differing thesis from a dissertation. In any way, it is a matter of scope. The academic research work meant for a PhD degree has extensive scope research and analysis as against the academic research work meant for a Master’s degree. This is the reason that the PhD dissertations are much longer than the Master’s thesis. Even the PhD research gets more time than a Master’s thesis.
The difference between a Master’s thesis and a PhD Dissertations gets a different perspective in different Universities around the world. The major differences get marked in case of the perspectives as hold by the Universities of the United States (US) and the Universities of the United Kingdom (UK) & the European Union (EU). In the US, a thesis is shorter than a dissertation and is identified as a preliminary research initiative to a Master’s degree, whereas for the UK & EU, a thesis is an original piece of academic research that is needed to earn a PhD degree.
Moreover, in the US, a dissertation is original academic research that offers PhD degree, whereas, in the UK & EU, a dissertation is an extended part of the Master’s thesis with more research and in-depth analytical expansions.
As stated above the academic research papers like thesis/ dissertations for Master’s degree and PhD degree, differs drastically in terms of their scope. The core differences between Master’s & PhD dissertations can be noted in the following manner-
A student with PhD dissertations or theses, a student can apply for various other degrees and recognitions, which is not allowed for a Master’s thesis or dissertation.
Apart from the differences in their lengths, the Master’s & PhD dissertations differ in their analytical approach. A Master’s dissertation is less critical and evaluative in nature than a PhD dissertation. As a matter of fact, the PhD dissertation demands in-depth and ultimate ways of reasoning and justifications as against a Master’s dissertation.
Though both Master’s & PhD dissertations must be very much original in character and should be absolutely free from plagiarism, yet the Master’s dissertation must come up with a very new concept and idea. On the contrary, a PhD dissertation can be an extensive elaboration about pre-existing ideas and concepts, yet thrives to bring in a new light to the respective field of research.
The Research Statement in a Master’s dissertation is about making a declaration regarding the way of investigating the selected topic or issue. However, in a PhD dissertation, the Research Statement must give clear idea about your expectations and tentative results. This is the reason that most of the PhD dissertations opt to declare Hypotheses.
Though both Master’s & PhD dissertations need critical insight, yet the intensity of a PhD dissertation is more than a Master’s dissertation.
The layout of Master’s & PhD dissertations appear very similar, yet there are some minute differences. For your easy understanding, the detailed differences are mentioned below -
As for the structural differences between Master’s & PhD dissertations, it is actually a matter of personal choices and as per the requirements of the research work. The list noted below offers all the categorical needs of the Masters & PhD dissertations. Omissions and additions of certain sub-sections are much welcomed by the Universities.
From the aforementioned sections and sub-sections, the researcher can make choices as per the need of the research work. However, most of the sections mentioned above are mandatory as per the instructions given by the respective University.
The role and responsibility of the Academic Supervisor towards a student dealing with the Master’s dissertation or PhD dissertation are completely different. In the case of a student with a Master’s dissertation, it is the responsibility of the Academic Supervisor to give exclusive guidance. The student depends a lot on the Academic Supervisor it is under the supervision of the Academic Supervisor that a Master’s student comes to know about all the scopes and regulations related to the layout and structure of the academic research. The major contribution of the Academic Supervisor comes in when the Master’s students need to have a clear idea about the Research Methodology part.
On the contrary, in the case of a PhD student, the sessions with the Academic Supervisor is more about debates and critical discussions. The Academic Supervisor no longer assist the PhD student with eth structure of format of the work. The contributions are usually more intellectual and academic in nature.
The limitations while initiating Master’s & PhD dissertations are more about personal perception. For some scholars, it is a matter of just earning a degree, whereas for other’s it is about offering path-breaking domain to the respective research field and the determined subject.
However, irrespective of this context, the common limitations are noted in the process of data collection. The selection of Qualitative or Quantitative data makes the basic difference. The Quantitative data are structured data and hence are not much cumbersome. However, Qualitative data are basically unstructured data or in most cases semi-structured in nature and hence are expensive and time-consuming. Based on this limitation, it is important to understand that whether it is the Master’s dissertation or PhD dissertation, the concern of limitation is about the choice that the researcher makes for the research work.
Apart from that Master’s dissertation has the greatest limitation of being confined to a restrictive timeline and pages; whereas to a great extent, PhD dissertation is free from such limitations.