define: thesis

define: thesis

Define: thesis
APA Style
pl. -·ses·

    1. in classical Greek poetry, the long syllable of a foot
    2. in later poetry, the short or unaccented syllable or syllables of a foot
  1. a proposition maintained or defended in argument, formerly one publicly disputed by a candidate for a degree in a medieval university
  2. a formal and lengthy research paper, esp. a work of original research written in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree
  3. an unproved statement assumed as a premise
  4. in Hegelian philosophy, the initial, least adequate phase of development in dialectic

The masters thesis and doctoral dissertation are written documents that describe the graduate student’s research. The subject of the thesis/dissertation is chosen by mutual agreement between the student and major adviser, and must be approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee. There is no fixed length for the thesis/dissertation, although the Supervisory Committee should provide guidance on format and content.
Masters theses should reveal a capacity to carry on independent study or research and should demonstrate the student’s ability to use the techniques employed in their field of investigation. Doctoral dissertations should demonstrate technical mastery of the student’s field and advance or modify current knowledge. Dissertations should treat new material, find new results, or draw new conclusions; or it should interpret old material in a new light. It is expected that the research contained in the thesis/dissertation will be worthy of publication in appropriate peer-reviewed journals. Students are expected to prepare the manuscript(s) for publication prior to, or soon after, completion of their graduate program.

Here’s another definition that underlines some more important characteristics of a dissertation: “a substantial paper that is typically based on original research and that gives evidence of the candidate’s mastery both of her own subject and of scholarly method.”
Another useful clue is found in the Latin origin of the word – dissertation comes from a Latin word ‘dissertare’ = ‘to debate’.

Your thesis proposal will likely include terms that are not widely known outside of your discipline. These terms include particular theoretical constructs, formulas, operational definitions that differ from colloquial definitions, schools of thought and discipline-specific acronyms. This part of your proposal offers the reader a list of definitions of these terms.

  • How you define such terms could considerably affect how the reader understands your thesis
  • Be sure you use these terms in a consistent fashion throughout your proposal and thesis