Thesis / Project / Dissertation

General Information

What is a Thesis?

The California Code of Regulations: Title 5 Education, Section 40510 defines a thesis as:

The written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished project [product] evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation.

What is a Project?

The California Code of Regulations: Title 5 Education, Section 40510 defines a project as:

A significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and rationale. It is described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project’s significance, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendation.

Projects can be done alone or in collaboration with other students.

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is the major research project normally required as part of the work for a doctoral degree. Dissertations are expected to make a new and creative contribution to the field of study, or to demonstrate one's excellence in the field.

The California Code of Regulations: Title 5 Education, Section 40511 states:

The dissertation shall be the written product of systematic, rigorous research on a significant professional issue. The dissertation is expected to contribute to an improvement in professional practices or policy. It shall evidence originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale.