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For other uses, see Thesis (disambiguation). Thesis_sentence_0

"Dissertation" redirects here. Thesis_sentence_1

For the novel, see The Dissertation. Thesis_sentence_2

A thesis or dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. Thesis_sentence_3

In some contexts, the word "thesis" or a cognate is used for part of a bachelor's or master's course, while "dissertation" is normally applied to a doctorate, while in other contexts, the reverse is true. Thesis_sentence_4

The term graduate thesis is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations. Thesis_sentence_5

The required complexity or quality of research of a thesis or dissertation can vary by country, university, or program, and the required minimum study period may thus vary significantly in duration. Thesis_sentence_6

The word "dissertation" can at times be used to describe a treatise without relation to obtaining an academic degree. Thesis_sentence_7

The term "thesis" is also used to refer to the general claim of an essay or similar work. Thesis_sentence_8

Etymology Thesis_section_0

The term "thesis" comes from the Greek θέσις, meaning "something put forth", and refers to an intellectual proposition. Thesis_sentence_9

"Dissertation" comes from the Latin dissertātiō, meaning "discussion". Thesis_sentence_10

Aristotle was the first philosopher to define the term thesis. Thesis_sentence_11

For Aristotle, a thesis would therefore be a supposition that is stated in contradiction with general opinion or express disagreement with other philosophers (104b33-35). Thesis_sentence_12

A supposition is a statement or opinion that may or may not be true depending on the evidence and/or proof that is offered (152b32). Thesis_sentence_13

The purpose of the dissertation is thus to outline the proofs of why the author disagrees with other philosophers or the general opinion. Thesis_sentence_14

Structure and presentation style Thesis_section_1

Structure Thesis_section_2

A thesis (or dissertation) may be arranged as a thesis by publication or a monograph, with or without appended papers, respectively, though many graduate programs allow candidates to submit a curated collection of published papers. Thesis_sentence_15

An ordinary monograph has a title page, an abstract, a table of contents, comprising the various chapters like introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and bibliography or more usually a references section. Thesis_sentence_16

They differ in their structure in accordance with the many different areas of study (arts, humanities, social sciences, technology, sciences, etc.) and the differences between them. Thesis_sentence_17

In a thesis by publication, the chapters constitute an introductory and comprehensive review of the appended published and unpublished article documents. Thesis_sentence_18

Dissertations normally report on a research project or study, or an extended analysis of a topic. Thesis_sentence_19

The structure of a thesis or dissertation explains the purpose, the previous research literature impinging on the topic of the study, the methods used, and the findings of the project. Thesis_sentence_20

Most world universities use a multiple chapter format : Thesis_sentence_21


  • a) an introduction: which introduces the research topic, the methodology, as well as its scope and significanceThesis_item_0_0
  • b) a literature review: reviewing relevant literature and showing how this has informed the research issueThesis_item_0_1
  • c) a methodology chapter, explaining how the research has been designed and why the research methods/population/data collection and analysis being used have been chosenThesis_item_0_2
  • d) a findings chapter: outlining the findings of the research itselfThesis_item_0_3
  • e) an analysis and discussion chapter: analysing the findings and discussing them in the context of the literature review (this chapter is often divided into two—analysis and discussion)Thesis_item_0_4
  • f) a conclusion.: which shows judgement or decision reached by thesisThesis_item_0_5

Style Thesis_section_3

Degree-awarding institutions often define their own house style that candidates have to follow when preparing a thesis document. Thesis_sentence_22

In addition to institution-specific house styles, there exist a number of field-specific, national, and international standards and recommendations for the presentation of theses, for instance ISO 7144. Thesis_sentence_23

Other applicable international standards include ISO 2145 on section numbers, ISO 690 on bibliographic references, and ISO 31 on quantities or units. Thesis_sentence_24

Some older house styles specify that front matter (title page, abstract, table of content, etc.) must use a separate page number sequence from the main text, using Roman numerals. Thesis_sentence_25

The relevant international standard and many newer style guides recognize that this book design practice can cause confusion where electronic document viewers number all pages of a document continuously from the first page, independent of any printed page numbers. Thesis_sentence_26

They, therefore, avoid the traditional separate number sequence for front matter and require a single sequence of Arabic numerals starting with 1 for the first printed page (the recto of the title page). Thesis_sentence_27

Presentation requirements, including pagination, layout, type and color of paper, use of acid-free paper (where a copy of the dissertation will become a permanent part of the library collection), paper size, order of components, and citation style, will be checked page by page by the accepting officer before the thesis is accepted and a receipt is issued. Thesis_sentence_28

However, strict standards are not always required. Thesis_sentence_29

Most Italian universities, for example, have only general requirements on the character size and the page formatting, and leave much freedom for the actual typographic details. Thesis_sentence_30

Thesis committee Thesis_section_4

The thesis committee (or dissertation committee) is a committee that supervises a student's dissertation. Thesis_sentence_31

In the US, these committees usually consist of a primary supervisor or advisor and two or more committee members, who supervise the progress of the dissertation and may also act as the examining committee, or jury, at the oral examination of the thesis (see Thesis defense). Thesis_sentence_32

At most universities, the committee is chosen by the student in conjunction with their primary adviser, usually after completion of the comprehensive examinations or prospectus meeting, and may consist of members of the comps committee. Thesis_sentence_33

The committee members are doctors in their field (whether a PhD or other designation) and have the task of reading the dissertation, making suggestions for changes and improvements, and sitting in on the defense. Thesis_sentence_34

Sometimes, at least one member of the committee must be a professor in a department that is different from that of the student. Thesis_sentence_35

Role of thesis supervisor Thesis_section_5

The role of the thesis supervisor is to assist and support a student in their studies, and to determine whether a thesis is ready for examination. Thesis_sentence_36

The thesis is authored by the student, not the supervisor. Thesis_sentence_37

The duties of the thesis supervisor also include checking for copyright compliance and ensuring that the student has included in/with the thesis a statement attesting that he/she is the sole author of the thesis. Thesis_sentence_38

Regional and degree-specific practices and terminologies Thesis_section_6

Thesis examinations Thesis_section_7

One of the requirements for certain advanced degrees is often an oral examination (called a viva voce examination or just viva in the UK and certain other English-speaking countries). Thesis_sentence_39

This examination normally occurs after the dissertation is finished but before it is submitted to the university, and may comprise a presentation (often public) by the student and questions posed by an examining committee or jury. Thesis_sentence_40

In North America, an initial oral examination in the field of specialization may take place just before the student settles down to work on the dissertation. Thesis_sentence_41

An additional oral exam may take place after the dissertation is completed and is known as a thesis defense or dissertation defense, which at some universities may be a mere formality and at others may result in the student being required to make significant revisions. Thesis_sentence_42

Examination results Thesis_section_8

The result of the examination may be given immediately following deliberation by the examination committee (in which case the candidate may immediately be considered to have received their degree), or at a later date, in which case the examiners may prepare a defense report that is forwarded to a Board or Committee of Postgraduate Studies, which then officially recommends the candidate for the degree. Thesis_sentence_43

Potential decisions (or "verdicts") include: Thesis_sentence_44


  • Accepted/pass with no corrections.Thesis_item_1_6


  • The thesis is accepted as presented. A grade may be awarded, though in many countries PhDs are not graded at all, and in others, only one of the theoretically possible grades (the highest) is ever used in practice.Thesis_item_2_7


  • The thesis must be revised.Thesis_item_3_8


  • Revisions (for example, correction of numerous grammatical or spelling errors; clarification of concepts or methodology; an addition of sections) are required. One or more members of the jury or the thesis supervisor will make the decision on the acceptability of revisions and provide written confirmation that they have been satisfactorily completed. If, as is often the case, the needed revisions are relatively modest, the examiners may all sign the thesis with the verbal understanding that the candidate will review the revised thesis with their supervisor before submitting the completed version.Thesis_item_4_9


  • Extensive revision required.Thesis_item_5_10


  • The thesis must be revised extensively and undergo the evaluation and defense process again from the beginning with the same examiners. Problems may include theoretical or methodological issues. A candidate who is not recommended for the degree after the second defense must normally withdraw from the program.Thesis_item_6_11


  • Unacceptable.Thesis_item_7_12


  • The thesis is unacceptable and the candidate must withdraw from the program. This verdict is given only when the thesis requires major revisions and when the examination makes it clear that the candidate is incapable of making such revisions.Thesis_item_8_13

At most North American institutions the latter two verdicts are extremely rare, for two reasons. Thesis_sentence_45

First, to obtain the status of doctoral candidates, graduate students typically write a qualifying examination or comprehensive examination, which often includes an oral defense. Thesis_sentence_46

Students who pass the qualifying examination are deemed capable of completing scholarly work independently and are allowed to proceed with working on a dissertation. Thesis_sentence_47

Second, since the thesis supervisor (and the other members of the advisory committee) will normally have reviewed the thesis extensively before recommending the student proceed to the defense, such an outcome would be regarded as a major failure not only on the part of the candidate but also by the candidate's supervisor (who should have recognized the substandard quality of the dissertation long before the defense was allowed to take place). Thesis_sentence_48

It is also fairly rare for a thesis to be accepted without any revisions; the most common outcome of a defense is for the examiners to specify minor revisions (which the candidate typically completes in a few days or weeks). Thesis_sentence_49

At universities on the British pattern it is not uncommon for theses at the viva stage to be subject to major revisions in which a substantial rewrite is required, sometimes followed by a new viva. Thesis_sentence_50

Very rarely, the thesis may be awarded the lesser degree of M.Phil (Master of Philosophy) instead, preventing the candidate from resubmitting the thesis. Thesis_sentence_51

Australia Thesis_section_9

In Australia, doctoral theses are usually examined by three examiners although some, like the Australian Catholic University and the University of New South Wales, have shifted to using only two examiners; without a live defense except in extremely rare exceptions. Thesis_sentence_52

In the case of a master's degree by research the thesis is usually examined by only two examiners. Thesis_sentence_53

Typically one of these examiners will be from within the candidate's own department; the other(s) will usually be from other universities and often from overseas. Thesis_sentence_54

Following submission of the thesis, copies are sent by mail to examiners and then reports sent back to the institution. Thesis_sentence_55

Similar to a master's degree by research thesis, a thesis for the research component of a master's degree by coursework is also usually examined by two examiners, one from the candidate's department and one from another university. Thesis_sentence_56

For an Honours year, which is a fourth year in addition to the usual three-year bachelor's degree, the thesis is also examined by two examiners, though both are usually from the candidate's own department. Thesis_sentence_57

Honours and Master's theses sometimes require an oral defense before they are accepted. Thesis_sentence_58

Germany Thesis_section_10

In Germany, a thesis is usually examined with an oral examination. Thesis_sentence_59

This applies to almost all Diplom, Magister, master's and doctoral degrees as well as to most bachelor's degrees. Thesis_sentence_60

However, a process that allows for revisions of the thesis is usually only implemented for doctoral degrees. Thesis_sentence_61

There are several different kinds of oral examinations used in practice. Thesis_sentence_62

The Disputation, also called Verteidigung ("defense"), is usually public (at least to members of the university) and is focused on the topic of the thesis. Thesis_sentence_63

In contrast, the Rigorosum is not held in public and also encompasses fields in addition to the topic of the thesis. Thesis_sentence_64

The Rigorosum is only common for doctoral degrees. Thesis_sentence_65

Another term for an oral examination is Kolloquium, which generally refers to a usually public scientific discussion and is often used synonymously with Verteidigung. Thesis_sentence_66

In each case, what exactly is expected differs between universities and between faculties. Thesis_sentence_67

Some universities also demand a combination of several of these forms. Thesis_sentence_68

Malaysia Thesis_section_11

Like the British model, the PHD or MPhil student is required to submit their theses or dissertation for examination by two or three examiners. Thesis_sentence_69

The first examiner is from the university concerned, the second examiner is from another local university and the third examiner is from a suitable foreign university (usually from Commonwealth countries). Thesis_sentence_70

The choice of examiners must be approved by the university senate. Thesis_sentence_71

In some public universities, a PhD or MPhil candidate may also have to show a number publications in peer reviewed academic journals as part of the requirement. Thesis_sentence_72

An oral viva is conducted after the examiners have submitted their reports to the university. Thesis_sentence_73

The oral viva session is attended by the Oral Viva chairman, a rapporteur with a PhD qualification, the first examiner, the second examiner and sometimes the third examiner. Thesis_sentence_74

Branch campuses of British, Australian and Middle East universities in Malaysia use the respective models of the home campuses to examine their PhD or MPhil candidates. Thesis_sentence_75

Philippines Thesis_section_12

In the Philippines, a thesis is followed by an oral defense. Thesis_sentence_76

In most universities, this applies to all bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees. Thesis_sentence_77

However, the oral defense is held in once per semester (usually in the middle or by the end) with a presentation of revisions (so-called "plenary presentation") at the end of each semester. Thesis_sentence_78

The oral defense is typically not held in public for bachelor and master oral defenses, however a colloquium is held for doctorate degrees. Thesis_sentence_79

Portugal Thesis_section_13

In Portugal, a thesis is examined with an oral defense, which includes an initial presentation by the candidate followed by an extensive questioning/answering period. Thesis_sentence_80

North America Thesis_section_14

In North America, the thesis defense or oral defense is the final examination for doctoral candidates, and sometimes for master's candidates. Thesis_sentence_81

The examining committee normally consists of the thesis committee, usually a given number of professors mainly from the student's university plus their primary supervisor, an external examiner (someone not otherwise connected to the university), and a chair person. Thesis_sentence_82

Each committee member will have been given a completed copy of the dissertation prior to the defense, and will come prepared to ask questions about the thesis itself and the subject matter. Thesis_sentence_83

In many schools, master's thesis defenses are restricted to the examinee and the examiners, but doctoral defenses are open to the public. Thesis_sentence_84

The typical format will see the candidate giving a short (20–40-minute) presentation of their research, followed by one to two hours of questions. Thesis_sentence_85

At some U.S. institutions, a longer public lecture (known as a "thesis talk" or "thesis seminar") by the candidate will accompany the defense itself, in which case only the candidate, the examiners, and other members of the faculty may attend the actual defense. Thesis_sentence_86

Russia and Ukraine Thesis_section_15

A student in Ukraine or Russia has to complete a thesis and then defend it in front of their department. Thesis_sentence_87

Sometimes the defense meeting is made up of the learning institute's professionals and sometimes the students peers are allowed to view or join in. Thesis_sentence_88

After the presentation and defense of the thesis, the final conclusion of the department should be that none of them have reservations on the content and quality of the thesis. Thesis_sentence_89

A conclusion on the thesis has to be approved by the rector of the educational institute. Thesis_sentence_90

This conclusion (final grade so to speak) of the thesis can be defended/argued not only at the thesis council, but also in any other thesis council of Russia or Ukraine. Thesis_sentence_91

Spain Thesis_section_16

The former (DEA) lasted two years and candidates were required to complete coursework and demonstrate their ability to research the specific topics they have studied. Thesis_sentence_92

From 2011 on, these courses were replaced by academic Master's programmes that include specific training on epistemology, and scientific methodology. Thesis_sentence_93

After its completion, students are able to enroll in a specific PhD programme (programa de doctorado) and begin a dissertation on a set topic for a maximum time of three years (full-time) and five years (part-time). Thesis_sentence_94

All students must have a full professor as an academic advisor (director de tesis) and a tutor, who is usually the same person. Thesis_sentence_95

A dissertation (tesis doctoral), with an average of 250 pages, is the main requisite along with typically one previously published journal article. Thesis_sentence_96

Once candidates have published their written dissertations, they will be evaluated by two external academics (evaluadores externos) and subsequently it is usually exhibited publicly for fifteen natural days. Thesis_sentence_97

After its approval, candidates must defend publicly their research before a three-member committee (tribunal) with at least one visiting academic: chair, secretary and member (presidente, secretario y vocal). Thesis_sentence_98

A typical public Thesis Defence (defensa) lasts 45 minutes and all attendants holding a doctoral degree are eligible to ask questions. Thesis_sentence_99

United Kingdom, Ireland and Hong Kong Thesis_section_17

In Hong Kong, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the thesis defense is called a viva voce (Latin for "by live voice") examination (viva for short). Thesis_sentence_100

A typical viva lasts for approximately 3 hours, though there is no formal time limit. Thesis_sentence_101

Involved in the viva are two examiners and the candidate. Thesis_sentence_102

Usually, one examiner is an academic from the candidate's own university department (but not one of the candidate's supervisors) and the other is an external examiner from a different university. Thesis_sentence_103

Increasingly, the examination may involve a third academic, the 'chair'; this person, from the candidate's institution, acts as an impartial observer with oversight of the examination process to ensure that the examination is fair. Thesis_sentence_104

The 'chair' does not ask academic questions of the candidate. Thesis_sentence_105

In the United Kingdom, there are only two or at most three examiners, and in many universities the examination is held in private. Thesis_sentence_106

The candidate's primary supervisor is not permitted to ask or answer questions during the viva, and their presence is not necessary. Thesis_sentence_107

However, some universities permit members of the faculty or the university to attend. Thesis_sentence_108

At the University of Oxford, for instance, any member of the University may attend a DPhil viva (the University's regulations require that details of the examination and its time and place be published formally in advance) provided they attend in full academic dress. Thesis_sentence_109

Submission Thesis_section_18

See also Thesis_section_19


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