What is a Dissertation? Defined for Students

The Ph.D. dissertation is the final step towards earning a doctoral degree and it is the culmination of years of hard work and research dedicated towards a specific discipline. It’s a sense of pride for many students and is a respected symbol that defines a person and identifies him as an expert in the field.

“So, What is a Dissertation, and Do I Need to Write One?”

Not all disciplines require a doctoral dissertation to complete the discipline’s graduation requirements. But there are many disciplines (e.g., biologists, medical doctors, environmentalists, etc.) that do require the completion of said project as a landmark separating academic study to scholarly study. This answers the second part of this question. You’re still wondering “what is it?”
A dissertation requires you to conduct research and analysis on a topic of your choice that must first be approved by your advisor. It must be original and “push the envelope” of scholarly work in your field. It will be submitted and reviewed by your advisor and his or her peers (usually 4 to 6) and they will decide whether or not you have achieved the doctoral-level through the work.

“Please Define Dissertation for Me?

Okay, a bit more into the dissertation definition. A dissertation can be anywhere between 80 to 150 pages depending on your topic. It’s a formal document with predefined sections including an introduction, literary review, discussion, results, and conclusion among a smattering of other sections that are sometimes required. The Ph.D. dissertation is something that defines the breadth of your academic interest and work. It challenges you to conduct original research to make a valuable contribution to the discipline so that contemporary and future researchers can build upon your work.

“It Sounds Like It’s Too Hard to Deal With.”

To this point, you’ve likely worked hard for several years and to not complete a Ph.D. dissertation might be something you will regret for the rest of your life. You will never have to work on this project on your own. Students meet with advisors regularly, sometimes as much as twice a week to go over material and brainstorm ideas. While the dissertation should be original work, not one academic will fault you for getting assistance when needed. The internet has made it much easier to search, identify, and request materials from universities all over the world. Numerous professional writing services are ready to help whenever you need it.

Doctoral Dissertation: A Conclusion

The doctoral dissertation is considered the “capstone project” for a reason: it is a culmination of your intellectual experience as a student. It defines all the knowledge you have acquired to that point and reasonably predicts all that you can accomplish. Working on a dissertation is not necessary for some programs but for others, it represents a journey that separates a student from a professional. Check out our other articles on dissertation writing. We’ve got plenty of tips, resources, and guides to help you through each phase of the project.