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Dissertation – The Complete Guide

Source: Grace Beverley

Dissertation or a thesis is a document that is submitted in support of a candidate in an academic degree or for any personal qualification of an individual with the respective author’s research and findings details. Thesis or Cognate word is used in Bachelor’s or in Masters Degrees, but the term Dissertation is mainly used in a doctorate degree. The quality of the study for Thesis or Dissertation can vary from country to country or each university will have their own set of quality syllabus as well as the time period also varies from country to university.

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Dissertation Meaning

The Dissertation is a document that is submitted in support of a candidate in an academic degree. The amount of time and quality of the study for Dissertation can vary from university to country depending upon the subject. A dissertation can also be termed as Thesis, but Thesis and Cognate word are used in Bachelors’s and Master’s degree, and Dissertation word is mainly used in a doctorate degree.

Some more definitions of Dissertation are as follows:

The dissertation is a subject which an individual chooses for herself. It is a kind of evidence which the candidate gives for his/her degree.

The dissertation is a long piece of writing on any particular subject, specifically one which is done in order to gain a degree at any college or university.

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Dissertation Topics

There are more than 200 topics students can choose to study their Thesis. The topics are not only from a certain field or stream such as Art and Commerce, but students can also study Mathematics, Physics, Natural Science, etc. Some of the popular topics are Economics Dissertation Topics, Medicine Research Topics, Humanities Research Topics, Business and Administration Topics, Social Science, etc.

Some more topics are listed below:

  1. Geography Dissertation
  2. Sociology
  3. Dissertations in Computer Science
  4. Psychology
  5. Philosophy of Design
  6. Political Economy
  7. Nursing Dissertation
  8. Occupational Therapy
  9. Mental Health Research
  10. Linguistics Dissertation

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Dissertation Format

There is a separate format or structure for a Dissertation for submission. Many of the universities and colleges may have their own structure but the most common format used includes Ordinarily English Language, Length of the pages should be appropriate and the sections should also be divided very carefully while writing, the Page size should be similar, the gap between margins is very necessary, Fonts and point sizes should also be a point of consideration.

Some of the detailed information related to Dissertation Format is as follows:

  • Page length should be 100 to 300 at the most.
  • Dissertations should be divided into chapters, sections, divisions, subdivisions for better understanding.
  • Page size should be at least 8½ by 11 inches.
  • The 1-inch gap between the margins.

Dissertation Sample

From keeping a 1-inch distance between the margins to having an extraordinary command over the English language, the Dissertation is thus very difficult. Each and every little thing while studying and writing should be kept in mind to earn this document. Every year more than 1200 students study for a Dissertation or Thesis in order to know more about their interesting subject and to find something new.

One of the example or sample of the Dissertation is attached below:

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Difference between Thesis and Dissertation

We can differentiate between a dissertation and thesis on the following grounds

  • A dissertation is submitted towards the completion of any doctoral study program while a thesis marks the successful end of a master’s degree.
  • A dissertation must be of upto 10000 words or more while a thesis isn’t that long and can be written in under 4000 – 5000 words
  • A Dissertation may include new discoveries and observations while a thesis only proves that the candidate has holistic knowledge of the topic but no new inventories are made. 
Used in Masters and in Bachelor Degree.Used mainly in Doctoral Degree.
Project which marks the end of a program.Dissertation is put when the study is completed for any program.
Sort of research papers.Not completely like research papers.
Knowledgeable about the information.Can provide new knowledge and theory and practice.

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Dissertation Project

In a Dissertation project, students are expected to select a topic of their choice and are asked to make a project about that topic. Students need to write about their detailed findings and issues and motive and give an extraordinary reason for choosing the topic for the project. Research projects are very important as sometimes these projects go for months and years till the student is not able to find or discover something new.

Some of the major points are:

  • Background information should be given about the project.
  • The value of the research should be specifically noted down.
  • The aims and objectives of the project should be written down in the detailed form.
  • Students need to clarify the focus of their study.

Dissertation Report

Students are expected to create a report on the project or study topic which they choose. There is a different structure for the report under Dissertation which needs to be followed by each and every student. Students are expected to discover something new out of the reports for better understanding in the future. Thus projects are needed to be considered very seriously as they lead on to reports and report findings are very much needed under Dissertation.

Some of the major points are:

  • Objectivity should be mentioned in detail.
  • Conclusion and findings should be mentioned in detail.
  • The language or literature should be in a basic form.
  • The research will be the main section where students need to elaborate on their ideas about the report.

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Architecture Dissertation Topics

Architecture is one of the most common streams and one of the most popular fields students are opting for. Thus architecture has also its roots and also has new boundaries and limits which are still to be discovered by brilliant minds. There are many students who take Architecture has their subject while completing their Dissertation. Learning about buildings and their roots has a different kind of shrill. There are many topics that are covered under Architecture Dissertation such as Gothic Styles, New possibilities for an architect, etc.

Some of the major points are:

  • Students can choose from airport functioning to designing an airport under architecture.
  • The projects and research reports mostly will be field projects as site visits are very important for the students.
  • There is directed research and a final degree project assigned to every student at the end of the year in their curriculum for better knowledge.
  • Some of the interesting topics under Architecture Dissertation are Heritage Museums, Development of waterfront property, Cinema and Theatre architecture, Skyscraper Design, etc

Basic Structure to Construct a Dissertation

A dissertation can be the longest piece of writing a student may have to write ever! Though we choose the topic to study for ourselves the whole process of analyzing the existing theories, researching new outcomes, drawing out conclusions, marking points to prove them, and writing the whole process out can be very hectic.

When you carry out your research under a recognized institute, you’re given a sample layout of what your dissertation must look like. However, for your reference, we’re providing some basic things that must be included in a dissertation.

Title Page

Firstly, a title page containing information like what topic have you chosen for your research, your name, name of the institution under which you carry out your studies, etc must be included.


The acknowledgment page includes the name of people or organizations who have helped and inspired you in one way or the other to perform the research. This is a personal page for the writer in which she/he mentions the sources of motivation and assistance that led her/him to this milestone of achievements.

Table of Contents

This page is like a window to the whole dissertation material. It gives the reader an insight into the matter and what possible stuff she/he could expect in their further reading of the dissertation. 

List of figures, tables, and abbreviations

This contains the list of figures, tables, and abbreviations used throughout the written material. This information is provided beforehand so as to reduce the complexity in the main text.


Next up is the introduction page which obviously holds the introduction of the topic. This includes the prelude of the main body, the purpose of writing, the results to be drawn and the conclusions to be made at the end of the dissertation.

Theoretical framework and methodology

This section is the core of your writing material and thereby contains the main context of the dissertation in detail. Each and every step is explained thoroughly with a lot of information and inference on the topic a candidate chooses. This has to cover around 60% – 80% of the total dissertation.

Results and conclusions

Results and conclusions finally get us towards the ending of the main research by providing us with the important highlights and inference drawn throughout the study. It also gives details about the new discoveries and observations made by the student( if any ).


Under this section, we find the references used by the researcher during her/his research. References such as books, articles, online websites, or other sources are to be mentioned for the sake of completion of the dissertation. This marks the formal ending of writing a dissertation.

Writing style and specific format may vary depending on the institution, so it is advisable to seek information beforehand in this regard. This would help you save time and make your dissertation effective.


✅ What is a dissertation at university?

Sometimes known as a thesis (in some countries, this term is used only for the final assignments of Ph.D. degrees, while in other countries ‘thesis’ and ‘dissertation‘ are interchangeable), a dissertation is a research project completed as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree

✅ How many pages is a dissertation?

On page length basis, around 30-40 pages. The doctoral dissertations are generally around 50,000 words or more. That means, 100 pages or more

✅ Is a dissertation hard?

When you’re writing a dissertation, one of the mostdifficult intellectual tasks a person can do, commitment to the writing process is far more important than genius

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About the Author

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world’s # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing verticals for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

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