English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a difference between thesis and dissertation in a British academic context? I saw that thesis was more used at Masters level while dissertation at PhD level but would like a confirmation.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by simchona, aedia λ, Daniel, kiamlaluno, Jasper Sep 24 '11 at 19:18

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

In my region, we would use thesis for all levels, and dissertation specifically for doctoral work. I have never seen dissertation used for a BA degree. – Kit Z. Fox Sep 23 '11 at 14:40
'Thesis' has meanings that 'dissertation' doesn't have. A proposition, for one. – Barrie England Sep 23 '11 at 14:40
Interesting. I wrote a thesis, not a dissertation, for my Master's. Maybe it's a BrE/AmE split? – Kit Z. Fox Sep 23 '11 at 14:45
I really can't see why this has been closed as being able to "be definitively and permanently answered by a single link..." - my answer was accepted and I cannot find a definitive link, everything is contradictory (hence why I haven't expanded on my answer). – neil Oct 5 '11 at 20:54
Here in the UK they're interchangeable in common usage. I submitted dissertations for both my BA and MSc, though I always thought thesis has a more academic ring to it. – 5arx Aug 13 '12 at 11:03
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As FumbleFingers says, the British usage is the opposite. I would see the difference being that a dissertation is the discussion of a subject, as would be appropriate for Bachelors, and possibly Masters whereas a thesis is a proposition based on new research as required for a Doctorate.

share|improve this answer
This is the usage with which I am familiar – Jodrell Sep 23 '11 at 16:55
Thanks, I would appreciate some authoritative usage examples, if any exists. For instance Cambridge engineering school uses both: www-h.eng.cam.ac.uk/help/tpl/textprocessing/ThesisStyle I will take this as an answer if no additional information though. – Vladtn Sep 23 '11 at 19:28

dissertation is normally for PhD only, and a thesis is used both for Masters and PhD.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.