"Hello, my name is Minken from Guangzhou and I'm a big fan of the programme, Q and A of The Week, which is a really helpful programme for an English learner! Recently, I have been busy with my thesis and I find there are several words which have similar meanings, i.e. paper, thesis, and dissertation. I'm really confused about those three words. Could you explain the differences between them? Thanks!"
No matter which university you go to, you're bound to come across these words: paper, dissertation and thesis. Most likely you're doing one right now. So are there any differences between these academic words? Even though they are the same word in Chinese, they are different in the depth of research and the level of analysis.
The word 'paper' is American English. In British English we say 'essay'. Papers or essays are generally related to undergraduate degrees. The word 'thesis' is generally associated with the final piece of writing for a PhD student. A 'dissertation' is for a master's degree.
However, in the United States the reverse is true. The final doctorate paper is called a dissertation and the master's degree requires a thesis.
Yang Li took up a question by Minken and explains the difference between the words paper, dissertation and thesis.
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