Undergraduate And Master’s Dissertations – Key Difference For Students

Regardless of the level of your studies, you have to write a dissertation. Just like one dissertation cannot be similar to another, undergraduate and master’s dissertations are also not similar to each other. Both dissertations are different in a number of factors. Do you know about the differences that exist between them? Most probably not, because if you knew, you would not be here reading this article. Well, you have come to the right place to know about the key differences between undergraduate and master’s dissertations. In today’s post, we will explore all the differences in detail. So, let’s get started with the topic straight away.

Key differences between undergraduate and master’s dissertations

Many students think a dissertation is a dissertation, whether it is written by an undergraduate or postgraduate student. Well, such students are absolutely wrong in their claim. There are some obvious and big differences between undergraduate and master’s dissertations. A brief description of all those key differences is as follows:

1. The difference in the level

The first and the most obvious difference that exists is in the level of studies. Everyone knows that the undergraduate level is one step below the postgraduate level. It is the undergraduate students who write undergraduate dissertations. In the same way, it is the postgraduate students who write master’s dissertations. The postgraduate level of study is one step above the undergraduate. Hence, this is the first difference that lies between both dissertations.

2. The difference in word count

Another obvious difference is the difference in the word count of both dissertations. Being a dissertation of the lower level, an undergraduate dissertation contains fewer words than a master’s dissertation. Typically, this dissertation ranges between 8000 to 15000 words. Fifteen thousand words are the upper limit of an undergraduate dissertation. In the meantime, the word count of a master’s dissertation is way too much compared to its counterpart. A normal postgraduate dissertation’s word count ranges between 15000 to 50,000 words, depending on the broadness of the research topic.

3. The difference in originality

The third difference between undergraduate and master’s dissertations is the difference in originality. Originality means discussing the original ideas which are not borrowed from another researcher’s dissertation or thesis. At the undergraduate level, the teachers do not pay much attention to originality because their only aim is to let students go through the research process. On the other hand, teachers are very strict about originality in the case of a master’s dissertation. Being an important research, the teachers want students to craft original research in which all the ideas are original, not borrowed from other researchers. Crafting such a dissertation is not easy; therefore, students can always consider the option of masters dissertation help online.

4. The difference in the marking criteria

A huge difference also lies in the marking criteria for undergraduate and master’s dissertations. The marking criterion for undergraduate dissertations is not very rigorous and strict. At this level, the teachers only check whether the student has followed all the rules and regulations provided and the relevancy of the information to the dissertation topic. In contrast, the marking criterion for a master’s dissertation is way too strict. The teachers check the dissertation for its relevancy, originality of the ideas, and, most importantly, plagiarism.

5. The difference in methods used

Another major difference between undergraduate and master’s dissertations lies in their methodologies. An undergraduate dissertation, being the basic level dissertation, does not use advanced methodologies and methods. The student who writes such a dissertation relies on simple and traditional techniques to study the research problem. On the other hand, a master’s dissertation requires the use of advanced methods or statistical techniques. For example, it may ask you to use multi-regression analysis, which is an advanced form of simple regression.

6. The difference in proposal requirement

Lastly, there is also a difference in the proposal requirement of both levels of dissertations. Teachers do not require a research proposal from the students who are enrolled in an undergraduate degree. Writing a proposal for an undergraduate dissertation is not required by any university in the world. However, this is not the case with a master’s dissertation. Universities and teachers ask students to formulate a research proposal and get its approval before the commencement of the actual research. Hence, a postgraduate dissertation has a research proposal requirement.


Hopefully, this guiding post about the key differences between undergraduate and master’s dissertations has been able to shed light on the actual differences. It is important to note that the differences mentioned above are only the key differences. There are many other differences that exist between both dissertations. Hence, along with reading these differences, also pay attention to the ones which are not mentioned here. Good luck with your dissertation writing.

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