Doctoral ceremony at Leiden University (7 July 1721).

A thesis or dissertation[1] is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings.[2] 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.[3] The term graduate thesis is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations.[4]

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.

The word "dissertation" can at times be used to describe a treatise without relation to obtaining an academic degree. The term "thesis" is also used to refer to the general claim of an essay or similar work.


The term "thesis" comes from the Greek θέσις, meaning "something put forth", and refers to an intellectual proposition. "Dissertation" comes from the Latin dissertātiō, meaning "discussion". Aristotle was the first philosopher to define the term thesis.

"A 'thesis' is a supposition of some eminent philosopher that conflicts with the general opinion...for to take notice when any ordinary person expresses views contrary to men's usual opinions would be silly".[5]

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

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Tesis
Bân-lâm-gú: Lūn-bûn
français: Thèse
한국어: 학위논문
Bahasa Indonesia: Tesis
latviešu: Tēze
Bahasa Melayu: Tesis
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဘွဲ့ယူစာတမ်း
Nederlands: Scriptie
日本語: 卒業論文
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Diplom ishi
português: Tese
саха тыла: Дипломнай үлэ
Scots: Thesis
Simple English: Thesis
سنڌي: ٿيسز
slovenčina: Diplomová práca
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Traktat
svenska: Examensarbete
Tagalog: Tesis
українська: Дипломна робота
粵語: 論文
中文: 论文