Phd thesis or dissertation


University definitions

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If you want to order bound paper copies of your document, you may do so through the UW Copy Centers or through ProQuest. For questions about the following, contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services at uwgrad uw. For questions about the following, contact the UW Libraries at uwlib-etd uw. Support the Graduate School. About What Is Graduate Education? UW Graduate School. Upcoming Events Upcoming Events. The thesis used to be 40—60 pages long, but has been reduced to 20—30 pages in new Bologna process programmes. To complete Master's studies, a candidate must write magistrsko delo Master's thesis that is longer and more detailed than the undergraduate thesis.

The required submission for the doctorate is called doktorska disertacija doctoral dissertation. In pre Bologna programmes students were able to skip the preparation and presentation of a Master's thesis and continue straightforward towards doctorate. In Sweden, there are different types of theses.

The undergraduate theses are called uppsats , sometimes examensarbete , especially at technical programmes. After that there are two types of post graduate theses, licentiate thesis and PhD dissertation. A licentiate degree is approximately "half a PhD" in terms of size and scope of the thesis.

Swedish PhD studies should in theory last for four years, including course work and thesis work, but as many PhD students also teach, the PhD often takes longer to complete. The thesis can be written as a monograph or as a compilation thesis , where the introductory chapters are called kappa , literally coat. Outside the academic community, the terms thesis and dissertation are interchangeable. A wide range of supervisory arrangements can be found in the British academy, from single supervisors more usual for undergraduate and Masters level work to supervisory teams of up to three supervisors.

In teams, there will often be a Director of Studies, usually someone with broader experience perhaps having passed some threshold of successful supervisions. The Director may be involved with regular supervision along with the other supervisors, or may have more of an oversight role, with the other supervisors taking on the more day-to-day responsibilities of supervision.

In some U.

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At most universities, dissertation is the term for the required submission for the doctorate, and thesis refers only to the master's degree requirement. Thesis is also used to describe a cumulative project for a bachelor's degree and is more common at selective colleges and universities, or for those seeking admittance to graduate school or to obtain an honors academic designation.

These projects are called "senior projects" or "senior theses"; they are generally done in the senior year near graduation after having completed other courses, the independent study period, and the internship or student teaching period the completion of most of the requirements before the writing of the paper ensures adequate knowledge and aptitude for the challenge. Unlike a dissertation or master's thesis, they are not as long and they do not require a novel contribution to knowledge or even a very narrow focus on a set subtopic.

Like them, they can be lengthy and require months of work, they require supervision by at least one professor adviser, they must be focused on a certain area of knowledge, and they must use an appreciable amount of scholarly citations. They may or may not be defended before a committee but usually are not; there is generally no preceding examination before the writing of the paper, except for at very few colleges. Because of the nature of the graduate thesis or dissertation having to be more narrow and more novel, the result of original research, these usually have a smaller proportion of the work that is cited from other sources, though the fact that they are lengthier may mean they still have total citations.

Specific undergraduate courses, especially writing-intensive courses or courses taken by upperclassmen, may also require one or more extensive written assignments referred to variously as theses, essays, or papers. Increasingly, high schools are requiring students to complete a senior project or senior thesis on a chosen topic during the final year as a prerequisite for graduation. The extended essay component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme , offered in a growing number of American high schools, is another example of this trend.

Generally speaking, a dissertation is judged as to whether or not it makes an original and unique contribution to scholarship. Lesser projects a master's thesis, for example are judged by whether or not they demonstrate mastery of available scholarship in the presentation of an idea.

The required complexity or quality of research of a thesis may vary significantly among universities or programs. 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.

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. 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. An additional oral exam may take place after the dissertation is completed and is known as a thesis 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.

Comparison of Dissertation and Thesis

The result of the examination may be given immediately following deliberation by the examiners in which case the candidate may immediately be considered to have received his or her 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.

At most North American institutions the latter two verdicts are extremely rare, for two reasons. First, to obtain the status of doctoral candidates, graduate students typically write a qualifying examination or comprehensive examination, which often includes an oral defense. Students who pass the qualifying examination are deemed capable of completing scholarly work independently and are allowed to proceed with working on a dissertation. 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.

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. 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.

Very rarely, the thesis may be awarded the lesser degree of M. Phil Master of Philosophy instead, preventing the candidate from resubmitting the thesis. 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. In the case of a master's degree by research the thesis is usually examined by only two examiners.

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

Cornell University Graduate School

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. 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.

Honours and Master's theses sometimes require an oral defense before they are accepted. In Germany, a thesis is usually examined with an oral examination.

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Finding a Thesis or Dissertation | UGA Libraries

This applies to almost all Diplom , Magister , master's and doctoral degrees as well as to most bachelor's degrees. However, a process that allows for revisions of the thesis is usually only implemented for doctoral degrees. There are several different kinds of oral examinations used in practice. 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.

In contrast, the Rigorosum is not held in public and also encompasses fields in addition to the topic of the thesis. The Rigorosum is only common for doctoral degrees. Another term for an oral examination is Kolloquium , which generally refers to a usually public scientific discussion and is often used synonymously with Verteidigung. In each case, what exactly is expected differs between universities and between faculties.

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


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


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The choice of examiners must be approved by the university senate. 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. An oral viva is conducted after the examiners have submitted their reports to the university. 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.

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.

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