Feb 4, 2008 at 12:02 o\clock


Thesis (from Greek θέσις position) is an intellectual proposition. A thesis statement is the statement that begins a formal essay or argument, or that describes the central argument of an academic paper or proposition.

In academia, a thesis or dissertation is a document that presents the author's research and findings and is submitted in support of candidature for a degree or professional qualification.

The thesis is the main idea of one's research. The thesis or dissertation is normally the culmination of a candidate's research; submission of the thesis represents the completion of the final requirement for the degree being pursued. In certain faculties (such as fine or performance arts), the thesis may be a form of an artistic performance, a written work (of music, or of fiction, for example), or a painting or other artistic production. Such a work is often termed a "creative thesis."

The length of the thesis will vary depending on the specific degree. Theses submitted as part of the requirements for an undergraduate degree are usually much shorter than those submitted as part of a Ph.D. (or other research-oriented doctorate). Length may be calculated in number of words, number of pages, or, when the thesis is written in a character-based language (such as Chinese or Japanese), number of characters.

Theses are most often written in the main language of instruction at the university granting the degree, but students of languages and linguistics, or those undertaking research in foreign languages, are sometimes permitted to submit the thesis in the language studied. In some countries it is a requirement to include at least some material in an international academic language; originally Latin and at one time French or German, this nowadays almost always means English. In countries where English is the predominant language of academic work, especially in the sciences, for example in the Netherlands or Scandinavia, an entire thesis may be submitted in English.


Since the thesis is normally the culmination of the student's work on a particular degree, the writing typically begins when all coursework has been completed. Thesising is the process of researching and writing a thesis. In consultation with the primary supervisor, the student decides on a general topic and undertakes appropriate research. When a draft of reasonable completeness has been finished and approved by the primary supervisor, the thesis is submitted for examination.

For a higher degree such as a PhD, the examination usually includes an oral defense, described below. After the defense is completed and the thesis approved, copies are made available in the university library. In some countries, such as the Netherlands and Germany, a considerable number of copies are printed, and small publishing houses exist whose sole function is to produce thesis in this way. In other countries, such as USA and UK, only two or three copies are ever produced. In either case, the accepted thesis counts as an academic publication, that is, it is considered appropriate to cite in scientific literature.

Presentation style

A typical thesis has a title page, an abstract, a table of contents and a bibliography. Other components might include an introduction, materials and methods (in the case of scientific or technical thesis), results, discussion, acknowledgments, a dedication, indices and appendices, glossaries, lists of tables, images or figures, lists of abbreviations, and so on.

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