A dissertation...?

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A dissertation...?

Unread postby Cloud Strife » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:28 pm

I have a question for those who know what exactly a dissertation, or more commonly known as a senior thesis, is. I'm just a sophomore in college and I would like to know what it is. Do all senior college students need to do one? And what are the benefits of getting yours approved? If there is any website that talks more about this, please point it out! Thanks for your time.
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:16 am

In the US, a senior thesis is a long research paper you write in your senior year. Some programs require it for graduation, some don't. You usually enroll in a self-study course where you work one-on-one with a professor in the area of interest that you picked, or a small class where everyone is working on a senior project. Some programs require you to do an oral presentation of your paper at the end. Choosing to do a senior thesis when there is a choice can assist you tremendously if you plan to do further research or apply to a graduate program. It's a good piece of work to showcase your ability to do research and write, and graduate programs often require a writing sample or two for admissions.

A dissertation usually refers to a research project written up as part of a PhD program. It may reflect several years of work and is usually book-lengthed (mine was 260 pages; my dad's was 600). It is usually reviewed by a panel of experts, who may conduct an oral exam on it at the end (called a "dissertation defense"--mine was a measly 1.5 hours but I have friends who endured 3+ hours of grilling by experts in the field--a routine in some places).

In Europe, the term "dissertation" is generally used for undergraduate and master's level projects, while "thesis" is used for the doctoral work.
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby SunXia » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:04 pm

Yeah a dissertation can be done at normal degree level, having to around 15'000 words of your own origianl work that has to be a topic that is not veyr broad but incorporates a certain set of mini-topics that has to be backed by actual primary evidence and such, not just "Well he said this so I agree I rock!!"
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:05 pm

What Lady Wu said, definitely. Some colleges use the SIP (senior independent project) which can take various forms depending on your academic discipline (can be a paper - as in the sciences or philosophy - or, in the humanities, a documentary video or a stage performance or a novella). Also, the grad programme in public policy / international affairs I'll be enrolling in soon will have a 'capstone project' in place of a thesis or a dissertation - in which one takes on a policy problem, does all the relevant research and then prepares a thorough set of policy prescriptions which are then presented to and reviewed by actual professionals in the field.
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby agga » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:53 am

I majored in psychology in college, and the senior thesis was a requirement for the Bachelor of Science degree (I wasn't really aware of it at the time.. slid through with the apparently easier Bachelor of Arts).

In grad school we had the option of turning in a Master's thesis or a research portfolio to mark the halfway point to the PhD - I did the portfolio. I wrote a dissertation (~250 pages) for my PhD, took about a year to complete.
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:32 pm

Perhaps I should create a separate thread, but this has made me very interested to know what you all got your degrees in. I myself merely obtain an Bachelors of Science in Political Science and never was required to present a dissertation. I am now pursuing a JD degree.
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:35 am

Shikanosuke wrote:Perhaps I should create a separate thread, but this has made me very interested to know what you all got your degrees in. I myself merely obtain an Bachelors of Science in Political Science and never was required to present a dissertation. I am now pursuing a JD degree.

BA (Honours) Linguistics, minor Chinese
MA Linguistics
PhD Linguistics

Going back for a Masters in Counselling Psychology or MEd in Special Education or something.
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby Kong Wen » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:19 am

BA (Double Honours) English & History (wrote a thesis for each, ~40pp each?)
MA English Lit. & Theory (Postcolonial) (wrote thesis, 120pp)
PhD English Lit. & Culture Studies (working on dissertation now)
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby agga » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:02 pm

BA psychology
MA, PhD (experimental) psychology
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Re: A dissertation...?

Unread postby Ranbir » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:41 pm

Wait, agga...I thought you said you were a scientist? :(
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