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If this article were a thesis[edit]

If this article were a thesis, it would be rejected and the canditate would be withdrawn from the program. It is so full of factual errors that the numerous grammatical and orthographical gaffes hardly matter. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:32, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

If your statement was a thesis, it would be rejected. Besides it being an opinion and of no help to actually improve the article, you didn't even sign it. If you find factual errors, you can fix them yourself. Not even listing a sigular factual error, much less providing any support that any factual errors exist, makes it clear that you are uncapable of making such revisions. --MahaPanta (talk) 15:03, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Famous thesis[edit]

Church-Turing thesis

--> This is of course nonsense. The word thesis has two meanings, and we must not illustrate a definition of meaning 1 with an example from meaning 2 ("an idea or theory that is expressed in a written statement" etc.). The question is, should we have one or two articles?

By the way, the plural is theses. --KF 01:50, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I agree; the Church-Turing thesis was certainly not a thesis in the sense used in this article. Michael Hardy 02:38, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)

A Thesis pertains to the essay, a thesis is the summary of the essay. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:16, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Defending a thesis?[edit]

The procedure for the examination of a thesis is wrong in the context of a UK PhD examination. The article should be changed to make it clear where the system described is applied. DMB 16:08, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Go right ahead, and please place new discussions at the bottom of the page, not the top. Exploding Boy 16:48, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
Most of that section duplicates material already covered in other articles such as Doctor of Philosophy (or perhaps it's doctorate) and should just reference those articles for the details. 121a0012 06:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

The final oral examination for a PhD thesis in the UK is substantially different from the procedure used in the US or in continental Europe. First of all, the exam is always held in private, unlike in the US or France where public exams are the norm. Second, there are normally only two examiners (one internal and the other external) and the final result is not announced to the candidate shortly after the exam is over. Instead, the two examiners write an exam report that is subsequently submitted to a graduate studies committee or board for a final decision. It may take a few days or even weeks for the candidate to know whether he/she will be granted leave to supplicate for the degree or not. In their report, examiners may:

  1. Recommend that the candidate be granted leave to supplicate for the PhD degree, but, in virtually all cases, only after minor revisions/corrections are made in the thesis. The candidate is normally expect to complete those revisions in a few weeks.
  2. Recommend that the thesis be referred back to the candidate for future re-submission as a PhD thesis and a new oral exam after major/extensive revisions, or, alternatively, accept it as a master's thesis as it stands, with no possibility of revision/re-submission.
  3. Recommend that the thesis be referred back to the candidate for re-submission after revisions as a master's thesis only.
  4. Outright fail the candidate with no degree awarded.

Recommendation (1) above is statistically by far the most likely outcome, but, unlike in the US, (2) is also known to happen to a handful of candidates every year. It is very unlikely though that a PhD candidate be downgraded outright to receiving a master's degree without the option of revising his/her thesis first and re-submitting it as a doctoral thesis. Likewise, outright failure (with no degree awarded) is extremely rare, though not entirely impossible. The rare cases when final failure or compulsory downgrading to a master's degree do occur tend normally to happen in the candidate's second oral exam. According to the Cambridge statistical data base, that happened in only less than 2.5 % of the final PhD exams in the academic year 2005-2006 (I also looked for Oxford data on the Internet, but was unable to find it). 20:38, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Defending a thesis?[edit]

In the article it states that dissertations are usually called research projects in UK undergraduate degrees. This isn't really accurate. Most universities use the term dissertation (Edinburgh, Durham, Warwick, Newcastle...). Research projects are usually only 20 credits whereas a dissertation is 40 credits. Most institutions, as far as I know, would require their undergraduates to complete a dissertation in their final year. hedpeguyuk 09:38, 15 April 2006 (UTC)


Due to the redirect of dissertation to this article, I have begun a sub-section on disserations, as, at least in the US, they have specific meaning. Kukini 16:37, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

"All professors are required to wear togas"[edit]

... Any source for this bizarre claim?

Kwi | Talk 19:47, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

It's vandalism. --MahaPanta (talk) 15:07, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Editing/sourcing on which is the preferred term in US[edit]

"In the majority of US doctoral programs, the term "dissertation" can refer to the major part of the student's total time spent (along with 2-3 years of classes), and may take years of full-time work to complete. At some universities, dissertation is the term for the required submission for the doctorate and thesis refers only to the master's degree requirement. At many others, the word thesis is used for both."

I see no sourcing for any of these non-numeric quantities, but in the generally understood meaning of "majority", if one were to break down the first sentence further, "some" should apply to the last sentence and "many" should apply to the middle sentence. Johnd39 13:41, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Congratulations Dr. X[edit]

The article states that "[...] in the event of a successful defense the candidate's supervisor will often greet the candidate with the words, Congratulations, Doctor X. At this moment a bottle of champagne is often produced." I wonder where that came from. I've been to several Ph.D. defenses in the US and I can attest that the practice mentioned in the article is far from universal, not least because a thesis is submitted only in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Even if the defense is successful, the candidate still needs a few days or weeks to make the necessary changes/corrections that are normally required by the committee before the final (archival) version can be submitted for formal approval by the Dean of the school/college to which the candidate is affiliated as a student. As for the "bottle of champagne", that is obviously not an institutional practice in the United States, but rather a private form of social celebration that should not be mentioned in an encyclopedic article. 12:36, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Some Minor Vandalism in the Headings for the Canada and US sections[edit]

I took care of it. Rather self-explainitory. "Canada" was changed to "Canada Rules bitches", and "US" was changed to "US bites cheese nips". Lovely. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:31, 6 March 2007 (UTC).

UK practice[edit]

A few stand out here:

One examiner is an academic from the candidate's own university department (not any of the candidate's supervisors) and the other is an external examiner from a different university.

Generally true but not necessarily universal. The University of London has normally had a system whereby the internal examiner comes another college within the university and the external from outside, but from recollection there have been cases of two externals or an internal from the same college - usually because the college is the one in the university covering the field. I've heard of other practices elsewhere so should the above be presented as a hard and fast rule.

...the examination is strictly in private

This may be UofL practice but I've heard that in theory anyone (at least within the university) can attend but in practice no-one else ever does.

...supervisors generally only attend if they feel their student is likely to fail...

Any proof on this? Some supervisors will attend all, others will attend if they feel their presence will help the candidate's nerves, others have various reasons. Are we mindreading? Timrollpickering 22:51, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

A few additional points on this, from the point of view of the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton.
The External Examiner doesn't have to be an academic, they can be from a commercial company who do research in a similar field. Likewise, the internal examiner can be from another department, although they would always be from the same University.
As for the part about supervisor attendance, certainly it is normal practice here for the supervisor to attend. I can remember one instance of a supervisor being consulted during a viva, after a student was unable to answer a question. Further to this, I would suggest that a good supervisor would never allow a student to submit a thesis or viva if they thought they would fail, indeed it is normal practice for us to have one or two journal publications which (almost) guarantees the candidate passes in most cases - hence,
"...not least because there is a real chance of a candidate failing at this stage."
is not really accurate in our case.
The problem here, I suppose, is that there is a lot of variability in terms of what happens in a UK Doctorate viva. The current article is written from the point of view of one university/department.
McMullet (talk) 11:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Differentiating topics[edit]

I just removed a tag that suggested that this article should be merged with 'Thesis statement', but I agree that some changes need to be made. In my opinion, two different topics are being dealt with here, which should be treated separately:

  • Thesis statements – a term used to describe the argument(s) made in a particular text;
  • Theses and dissertations – terms used to describe an original, substantive piece of research that is produced as part of the requirements for a (usually advanced) degree. In some countries, a 'thesis' is written at the Master's level and a 'dissertation' at the Doctoral level; in others, the reverse is true.

Accordingly, I propose the following course of action:

  1. 'Thesis statement' and 'Thesis' should remain separate articles;
  2. References to the 'thesis statement' sense of the term 'thesis' should be removed from this article;
  3. This article should be retitled 'Thesis or dissertation', with both terms redirecting here;
  4. The main division in this article should be between Undergraduate, Master's, and Doctoral level projects, as the terms 'thesis' and 'dissertation' can apply to any of these three, depending on the country of study. – SJL 01:54, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Good ideas all. Thesis statement already exists, and it seems the relevant info has been moved from this article, which has been renamed Dissertation. Exploding Boy (talk) 16:58, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Removed from article[edit]

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Quebec, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland the oral defense is known as a soutenance, in Germany as a Kolloquium or Colloquium: an expert in the field, often from another university, is appointed who will present the dissertation, subject it to a critical examination and discuss it with the author. In the context of the disputation, the critical examiner is termed the opponent, and the author of the dissertation the respondent. The dissertation has to be generally available in its final or at least in a preliminary published form a few weeks before the disputation (3 weeks in Sweden), which is open to the public; after the opponent is finished, anyone present is allowed to ask critical questions (anyone who does is called an "opponent ex auditorio"—an opponent from the auditorium). The final grade is decided after the disputation in a meeting between the opponent and a grading committee of three or (sometimes) four people. In theory, also the points raised by opponentes ex auditorio affect the grade. It has happened that such opponent has caused the committee not to pass the respondent, although this would be quite extraordinary nowadays.

Deleted sentence claiming electronic versions of theses are called ETDs. It was stated as if fact or mainstream opinion, but I've never heard this usage and only reference was a wiki book on "Electronic Thesis Documents", hardly an authoritative reference. Smells like a weasel to me. (talk) 22:52, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Misses the point[edit]

It is my understanding that a degree is granted to those who demonstrate that they are improving their field of study. I don't think the fact that the proposal needs to be formatted in a certain way should be the focus of this article. The article really needs to talk about the reason of having a thesis/dissertation requirement in the first place from the point of view of academia. Kmill (talk) 04:34, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

This article does seem weird from an encyclopedia point of view. Rather than being stuff about dissertations as information for just about everybody, this is more like information and advice for people planning on writing/submitting a dissertation. But that almost seems like a complete re-write. Cretog8 (talk) 04:56, 6 June 2008 (UTC)


In this section, it explains that the word "Thesis" perse this is the very complicated part of the project section where you must have to take long more time. You cannot easily get the answers what you want to have. Visit —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:47, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

=== ...what? (talk) 21:54, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Thesis Statement Should Be Separate[edit]

This article is about a specific type of document but "thesis" which redirects here is a specific type of statement in a document. Why isn't there an article on that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheRealdeal (talkcontribs) 17:08, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

I suspect we are dealing with editors using popular definitions, and probably a bit of US cultural bias, too. I wrote "dissertations" for both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The "thesis" was, as you say, a statement made at the beginning of the dissertation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

The word thesis (in the US and maybe elsewhere) is common shorthand for "thesis paper" (or report/document/etc) meaning a paper written about a thesis (statement). In the US, it's essentially synonymous with dissertation, but usually used for Master's level and sometimes undergraduate dissertations, whereas usually the dissertation is used for PhD documents, and very rarely for Master's or undergraduate documents. In common use, it has come to mean that the thesis paper is a lesser version of a dissertation. (talk) 22:58, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

References to some web sites providing Information regarding Thesis, how to write thesis, what is thesis?[edit]

Thesis Reference[edit]

There are many website that can provide a good data about thesis, like what type of thesis and how to write thesis. 1. [1] 2. [2]

I'm pretty sure that the general reference to Carleton University at is actually supposed to be a reference to the "How to Organize Your Thesis" article at This second site receives 300-400 hits per day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:17, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Structure paragraph[edit]

A paragraph is recurrently being pushed by User:Garyrendall purportedly about "dissertation structure". Problems are:

  • The only source cited is a howto book
  • The information in the paragraph looks quite like a howto (even if not clearly presented as such)
  • The paragraph is an obviously incorrect generalization: not all dissertations have 100-200 words abstracts, and the percentages cited look suspiciously arbitrary (5% discussion?).

I would like to know more in detail what the cited book says about that, if the book can be considered a reliable source and what is the best way to present the information eventually. --Cyclopiatalk 00:13, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Dissertation structure[edit]

I'm not sure what the problem is here. You say 'The only source cited is a howto book'. This is a 250pp book published by the top publisher in the field and written by an education professor. The fact that it has 'How to' in the title is immaterial. You say 'The information in the paragraph looks quite like a howto (even if not clearly presented as such)'. Why shouldn't it be presented in these terms? This is precisely what inquirers to this page will surely be wanting. You say 'The paragraph is an obviously incorrect generalization: not all dissertations have 100-200 words abstracts, and the percentages cited look suspiciously arbitrary (5% discussion?)'. You have cited wrongly from the edit I put in: I did not say '5% discussion'. Check it. I said '25% discussion and 5% conclusion'. You should not be editing if you cannot read and report accurately. And it is not an 'obviously incorrect generalization' to say that dissertations have 100-200 word abstracts. Nearly all will conform to this expectation. It has to be succinct, to be presentable on one page. Check it with any university. No abstract longer than 200 words would be acceptable (even for War and Peace). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Garyrendall (talkcontribs) 11:05, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

The point is, my misquoting of 5% vs 25% notwithstanding, that these look suspiciously like arbitrary figures that seem to come from a book which, as far as I can tell, gives advice on how to write a dissertation, not a statistical study on how dissertations are factually made. I can be wrong of course, but the whole thing looks suspicious and I'd like to see the book pages, if possible, claiming that. It looks suspicious because, you see, I've written a couple of dissertations in my academic career and both of them for example had two pages long abstracts, and it was like that because my academy asked that. Also, I am highly doubtful that dissertations in the humanities actually have a strict "Design/methodology - Findings - Analysis" structure. Basically the whole paragraph seems to me an incorrect generalization, but again, I would like to have access to the relevant part of the source you're using, to see how it is worded and what it effectively says. --Cyclopiatalk 12:44, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Cyclopia. This encyclopedia strives to present the world-wide situation. If you seriously think that no university in the whole wide world accepts dissertations with abstracts over 200 words long, you probably have not thought about the variety of academic practices around the world. --MPorciusCato (talk) 18:25, 25 October 2009 (UTC)


I noticed that Wikipedia has not captured the Capstone process anywhere. A Capstone project is similar to a thesis or dissertation and used in place of them for many Masters programs. Here is some more information about it - and here is a link to the DU capstone repository -

I think it is a valid process to be added to this page. THDju (talk) 15:55, 2 March 2010 (UTC)


Correction: "dissertação" is the name used to MSc thesis while "tese" is the name used for PhD thesis

Article title[edit]

This seems very odd. Shouldn't it be one or the other, with redirects as appropriate? When is the three-word term "Thesis or dissertation" ever used? Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:11, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Hmm, that seems like a very valid objection, I wonder why I hadn't noticed that myself. Wiki-practice is that an article should have one name only, any other synonyms or related terms should be redirects. The next step from here would be to establish which of the terms that should be the article name. "Thesis" or "dissertation"? --Saddhiyama (talk) 12:28, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
How about Thesis (document) - to differentiate it from "thesis" meaning "central principle of an argument"? Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:15, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
In the absence of further discussion, I've moved the article. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:00, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Spelling synonyms of the word for the topic.......[edit]

-- (talk) 03:04, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

UK practice - Is the examination before or after submission to the university?[edit]

The article current says:

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

I don't know how "normal" this is, but it was certainly not the case at University College London for a Ph.D. thesis. The thesis had to be officially submitted to the registrars department, who then posted copies to the examiners.

Does anyone know the shortest Ph.D. thesis that has been awarded? I recall an ex-colleague, who himself had a Ph.D, telling me he know of Ph.D thesis of X pages. I can't recall what X was, but I think it was about 25. He is dead now, so I can't ask him. My own was 250 pages (see, which I don't think is that untypical. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drkirkby (talkcontribs) 15:27, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Unles the writer mens "submitted as a bound/finished work", it is *not normal to have the viva before the thesis is submitted, otherwise what would the examiners ask about? And the section about the no. of words in a UK thesis is way off (my personal experience). bigpad (talk) 21:54, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Thesis committee[edit]

I don't know what the article is on about in the section "Thesis committee". The whole concept is completely alien to me!

The statement "The committee members are doctors in their field" makes no sense. My own supervisor (Professor David Delpy who is now the Chief Executive of EPSRC) does not have a Ph.D. himself, but had supervised many Ph.D. students and had been an examiner for countless Ph.D students. Prof. Delpy did get a D.Sc, but that was after he was a Professor. I'm sure it's normal for examiners to have Ph.D's, but I know it's not a requirement in the UK. Drkirkby (talk)


Thesis are also required for undergraduate courses (not all of them, only the ones with curriculum oversaw by the education ministry(?)) They usually go by the name trabalho de conclusao de curso TCC, trabalho de graduacao interdisciplinar TGI. and requires the same rigorousness as a phd thesis, just not required to be about original research as the phd one would.

will not update the page as my english for academia terminology is a joke. as you can see on the paragraph above. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:09, 11 December 2011 (UTC).

Australian sport article help[edit]

The two/three reviewers… my understanding based on listening to my university is you have two to four examiners. You're required to have two but if you get three or four, it means things will likely be sped along if one of those reviewers should take an extensively long time to finish or something happens that makes it difficult for them to review. --LauraHale (talk) 22:49, 17 January 2012 (UTC)


I don't know how to edit links, but the first link at the bottom section of the page has been vandalized. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:37, March 24, 2012‎

Sorry but I'm not seeing it. Can you please be more specific? ElKevbo (talk) 23:29, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Word Length[edit]

"Individual departments and faculties set thesis word lengths. Theses in the humanities and social sciences are typically 8,000–10,000 words,[citation needed] with theses in the sciences being roughly half that length[citation needed]. The length of an undergraduate or master's dissertation varies considerably, but is almost always between 6,000 and 25,000 words."

Do you not see how a thesis (postgrad) being 10,000 words seems silly when a dissertation (undergrad) can be up to 25,000 words?

Moreover, I know from first-hand experience that a scientific thesis is not "half the length" of a humanities/social sciences thesis. If it were, I would've finished writing months ago. These are unsubstantiated claims and need to be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:49, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).