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Specific Types of Writing

Concepts in Higher Education

Masters Theses

Difficulty

Theses and Dissertations

Graduate School Education

Masters Programs

Writing

Higher Education

How difficult is it to write a masters thesis?

26 Answers

Jason Eisner  

Jason Eisner , computer science professor at Johns Hopkins

[A2A] The first step is to convince someone to be your research advisor.  Commonly your advisor will work with you to find a topic, and will give you guidance in weekly meetings.  (See How to Do Research With a Professor .) 

The difficulty of the research itself will depend a lot on the chosen topic, but Id expect that you might spend 50% of your working time on the thesis research, over a period of at least a year.  A masters thesis is often about the same scope as a journal paper, although perhaps a bit longer (it may include more background and more description of extra experiments or ideas that didnt work out).

How hard is the writing?  A masters thesis is typically over 50 pages (double spaced).  If you are a good writer and you have previous experience writing 20-page papers in college, then this is just the next step up.  If not, then you may find it intimidating to organize a presentation of this length.

Overall, your question is something like "How hard is it to find a boyfriend/girlfriend?"  The answer will vary wildly depending on where you live, what kind of companion you want, how attractive you are, how much time you spend looking, etc. 

But its reasonable to ask demographic questions about the fraction of people who are in romantic relationships.  So, what fraction of entering masters students at your university actually do write a thesis?  Its probably easier to write a thesis at a university where many students actually do so: the departmental culture must support it and the standards must be reasonable.

Note: In my department, masters  students have the option to do a "project" rather than a "thesis."  This usually corresponds to publishing a paper with their advisor.   Publications are good and are motivating to the advisor as well; so most of our research masters students choose this option, rather than writing a thesis and then cutting it down into a publication.  (The term "thesis" suggests a long written document with a single author, whereas a "project" may have a somewhat shorter co-authored document, leaving more time for the student to write code and run experiments.)

Kenneth Andrews

Kenneth Andrews

Originally Answered: How can I write the best master thesis?

Writing a thesis is a unique experience and there is no general consensus on what the best way to structure it is. As a postgraduate student, you’ll probably decide what kind of structure suits your research project best after consultation with your supervisor as well as by reading other theses of previous postgraduate students in your university library.  There are also some Thesis & Dissertation Writing Service are there and you can make use of it to know more about thesis and dissertation and you can also see the examples.

A more conventional way of structuring a postgraduate thesis is to write it in the form of a book consisting of chapters. Although the number of chapters used is relative to the specific research project and to the course duration, a thesis organized into chapters would typically look like this:

  1. TITLE PAGE – The opening page including all the relevant information about the thesis.
  2. ABSTRACT – A brief project summary including background, methodology and findings.
  3. CONTENTS – A list of the chapters and figures contained in your thesis.
  4. CHAPTER 1 – BACKGROUND – A description of the rationale behind your project.
  5. CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW – A summary of the literature supporting your project.
  6. CHAPTER 3 – METHODOLOGY – A description of methodology used in your research.
  7. CHAPTER 4-6 – DATA ANALYSIS – A description of technique used in analyzing your research data.
  8. CHAPTER 7 – DISCUSSION – Main conclusions based on the data analysis.
  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY – A list of the references cited in your thesis.
  10. APPENDICES – Additional materials used in your research.

How do I improve my writing skills?

1. The best way of improving your writing skills is to finish the first draft of your thesis as early as possible and send it to your supervisor for revision. Your supervisor will correct your draft and point out any writing errors. This process will be repeated a few times which will help you recognize and correct writing mistakes yourself as time progresses.

2. If you are not a native English speaker, it may be useful to ask your English friends to read a part of your thesis and warn you about any recurring writing mistakes. Read our section on English language support for more advice.

3. Most universities have writing centers that offer writing courses and other kinds of support for postgraduate students. Attending these courses may help you improve your writing and meet other postgraduate students with whom you will be able to discuss what constitutes a well-written thesis.

4. Reading academic articles and searching for various writing resources on the internet will enable you to slowly adopt the academic style of writing and eventually you should be able to use it effortlessly.

Different universities have different guidelines on how to format your thesis, and it is important that you read these guidelines before submitting your thesis to avoid being penalized. Read your university’s guidelines before you actually start writing your thesis so you don’t have to waste time changing the format further down the line. However in general, most universities will require you to use 1.5-2 line spacing, font size 12 for text, and to print your thesis on A4 paper. These formatting guidelines may not necessarily result in the most aesthetically appealing thesis, however beauty is not always be practical, and a nice looking thesis can be a more tiring reading experience for your Postgraduate Examiner.

Caroline McGiver

Caroline McGiver

A thesis is the most important write up in a researchers life. Writing a thesis proves very difficult for most students. They may carry out research with ease; but writing the research document in the form of a thesis is something they cannot seem to do with ease. Students face different kinds of difficulties in writing a thesis. Let us checkout the linguistic aspects of students difficulties in writing a thesis.

The linguistic aspects of students difficulties in writing a thesis will include problems mainly with grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and spelling. Academics is set on some quality and standards which all academic writings must follow. It is a great challenge for most students to be able to write in good, grammatical English. A student into his school should first master the structure of the language he studies. A good amount of dedication, hard work and patience are needed for the same. A write up with perfectly grammatical language is intelligible to all; but a thesis in a poorly grammatical language will make things disastrous in academics. Learning the rules of a language and mustering the ability to write it without grammatical errors should be the target of every student across the levels of education.

All these difficulties are concerned with the linguistic aspects. When all these exist together in a place the outcome will be drastically disheartening. A research document submitted for the highest degree should be perfect in all respects. This indicates how important revision and modification of drafts are in research. A thesis, by default, has to undergo multiple rounds of revision before it gets a green signal by a research supervisor. In order to write a high impact thesis these linguistic difficulties must be resolved on an individual basis.

Jacob Ethan

Jacob Ethan , PhD Doctor of Philosophy Degrees & Masters Programs, Anna University, Tamil Nadu, India (2013)

Well, what is so difficult in writing a Master’s thesis ? You have heard people say that it is not an easy journey. Writing a Master’s thesis is the most challenging activity that you will be ever facing in your academics. It will be something that requires your commitment, lets you answer questions in a convincing manner, and that which paves way to a process of exploration.

You have to hunt various sources, find an interesting topic, write in a meticulous manner, and ensure that there is originality in the content. Besides, you should also make sure that you contribute to the existing body of knowledge. But the good news is that once you get the fundamentals right, then it is half battle won.

There is some academic approach required to write a good thesis. It is not like writing your college essay. You have to come out of writing in a personal manner, flowery words, and informal writing. Moreover, it is a big challenge for students to write in perfect English. The requirements of the universities may also be strict and the student may find it difficult to cope with it.

The student should remember that a thesis should use the right words at the right place. Notwithstanding, the words should also be in a flow. A student who is not good in vocabulary will also find it difficult to write a thesis.

The student should also motivate himself/herself to do thorough research and reading. When the student goes through various papers, he/she will get an idea of the kind of language applied in a Master’s thesis.

A literature review is an important section of your Master’s thesis. Instead of just citing references, you should interpret the literature. You should also encapsulate the literature within the context of your study.

One of the main difficulties in your Master’s thesis journey is lack of good support from the supervisor. A good supervisor should keep contact with all the students and provide comprehensive support.

The thesis journey also has its ups and downs. Ensure that you don’t write too fast or too slow but maintain a balance. Most of all, though you are writing an academic piece, enjoy writing it. All the best!

Know More Information Visit: Tutors India Email: [email protected]

Chandraprakash Gupta

Chandraprakash Gupta , Researcher at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (2012-present)

Writing thesis depends on two things

  1. Converting your thoughts into words and typing that (this depends on person)
  2. Efficiently using software capability to reduce time (This is a part where we can improve a lot during period in which we write thesis).

I can guide you on 2nd factor and if you follow best practices you can save days and even weeks in formatting, automating certain task so that further editing/addition/modification will require less time say, you have inserted addition figure in you thesis, then figure number (along with its references in text) of the figure that follows it will change. This can be done automatically with 1 click, if you do it properly other wise you have to manually change it. And believe me there are lot of thing that can be automated in word to save time and energy for more important tasks of writing thesis etc.

These video will definitely help you to write Thesis in most efficient way and in least time. My friend didn’t listen to me and had to pay price in terms of time and effort required for regular editing which could have been done automatically in word like changing figures no/referred figure, bibliography, typing equation, making table of content and all others things that could be automated. This video technique will help you not only now but in your future carrier and I bet you will save lot of time (days) by doing things intelligently.

They don’t have official LaTeX suport, but you can do almost 99% of what LaTeX can do and much more that LaTeX cannot do

  1. Heading (h1, h2, ….) Formatting office report / scientific papers – Intro + Heading
  2. Numbering figures, table and equations with automatic numbering and further auto updation Formatting MS office report / Journal papers – Numbering Figure / Table
  3. Typing Equations in word is now as easy as it is in LaTeX. Please see Word Equation Editor short cuts which is as powerful as LaTeX math equation editor , How to type equation in MS Office quick and easily: Similar to LaTeX , Latex in Word: Use latex shortcut for equation typing in MS Word and save time 80% of time and this video also Word Equation Editor short cuts which is as powerful as LaTeX math equation editor
  4. For referencing/citation you can use word in-build feature or use mendeley which is free add on for word and better than onenote, Tired of importing, inserting and managing reference citation? Do all this in just 1 click.
  5. Typing accents in word How to use equation editor in MS Office (similar to LaTeX): Accents
  6. Greek symbols like LateX ( \alpha, etc) How to use equation editor in Ms Office (similar to LaTeX): Shortcut for typing Greek symbols

Overall report/paper writing similar to LaTeX (in terms of easy, fast and simple) see Automated formatting in Ms Word document for Journals, Papers, Magazine etc

Anup Kalia

Anup Kalia , Research Staff Member at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center NY

Well, it depends on the following options.

1. Work with a PhD student. Typically, professors encourage new students (pursuing MS) to work with their PhD students. For example, you may be asked to develop a component that will contribute to a PhD students thesis work. In such cases, its easier to write and defend an MS thesis since you will receive a constant attention from the PhD student as well the professor.

2. Work on an old article. Sometimes professors might ask you to work on an old article that might have been rejected years ago. In such cases, you might have to put more effort since you may or may not get the overall direction how to pursue the work further. But, you should be glad that you dont have to start everything from scratch.

3. Work on a new topic proposed by your adviser. If your adviser proposes an MS thesis topic for you, I guess it should be okay to pursue. This is because your adviser must have thought ahead how much effort is required to pursue the topic.

4. Coming up with your own topic. This might be difficult since you never know how much time it would to pursue and provide substantial results.

Moreover, you should pursue a topic that might end up getting accepted as a journal or a conference paper. Thus, 1 and 2 should be okay to do so but 3 and 4 will make the things slightly difficult.

Anjishnu Bandyopadhyay

Anjishnu Bandyopadhyay , PhD Student in Experimental Particle Physics from University of Bonn

I submitted my masters thesis last month. If you havent written a paper before its difficult and overwhelming. You learn a lot during your masterss thesis.

The first step is to find a topic which interests you. Find the professor(s) who is(are) on that topic. A masters thesis is the first proper research experience you get, its great if its a fulfiiling one. Ask your seniors about the relevant supervisor(s) you want to apply to. For the detailed topic dont choose a topic which is totally new. I think the aim of your master thesis is to learn the way research is done in that field. You can contribute significantly only after you learn that. That can be done in your PhD but dont be over-ambitious with the impact of your master thesis work.

For the writing part assume that a good final year undergraduate is reading your thesis. Write in a manner that such a student understands what you write. Your masters thesis should be self-contained. To you certain topics may seem trivial but for someone outside your sub-field those things may be highly non-trivial.

Jose Sigarua

Jose Sigarua , Student

Originally Answered: How can I write the best master thesis?

Hi

Take a look at –> Home – pen.camp

Academic Papers at their Finest

Unique, custom papers crafted by experts.

Creative, original and perceptive essays

Research papers with insightful analysis

Dissertations built on expert knowledge

Vivid PowerPoints to enrapture your audience

A versatility that can tackle any homework

"Our team offers professional writing assistance to students across the globe. From high-school essays to PhD dissertations, we ensure that every paper you need is done to the highest standards of academia."

They are the best – trust me.

Academic Papers at their Finest –> Home – pen.camp

In other languages

En español: ¿Qué tan difícil es escribir una tesis de maestría?
En français : Est-il difficile décrire une thèse de maîtrise ?
Auf Deutsch: Wie schwierig ist es, eine Masterarbeit zu schreiben?
This page may be out of date. Submit any pending changes before refreshing this page.
Hide this message .
Quora uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more

Specific Types of Writing

Concepts in Higher Education

Masters Theses

Difficulty

Theses and Dissertations

Graduate School Education

Masters Programs

Writing

Higher Education

How difficult is it to write a masters thesis?

26 Answers

Jason Eisner  

Jason Eisner , computer science professor at Johns Hopkins

[A2A] The first step is to convince someone to be your research advisor.  Commonly your advisor will work with you to find a topic, and will give you guidance in weekly meetings.  (See How to Do Research With a Professor .) 

The difficulty of the research itself will depend a lot on the chosen topic, but Id expect that you might spend 50% of your working time on the thesis research, over a period of at least a year.  A masters thesis is often about the same scope as a journal paper, although perhaps a bit longer (it may include more background and more description of extra experiments or ideas that didnt work out).

How hard is the writing?  A masters thesis is typically over 50 pages (double spaced).  If you are a good writer and you have previous experience writing 20-page papers in college, then this is just the next step up.  If not, then you may find it intimidating to organize a presentation of this length.

Overall, your question is something like "How hard is it to find a boyfriend/girlfriend?"  The answer will vary wildly depending on where you live, what kind of companion you want, how attractive you are, how much time you spend looking, etc. 

But its reasonable to ask demographic questions about the fraction of people who are in romantic relationships.  So, what fraction of entering masters students at your university actually do write a thesis?  Its probably easier to write a thesis at a university where many students actually do so: the departmental culture must support it and the standards must be reasonable.

Note: In my department, masters  students have the option to do a "project" rather than a "thesis."  This usually corresponds to publishing a paper with their advisor.   Publications are good and are motivating to the advisor as well; so most of our research masters students choose this option, rather than writing a thesis and then cutting it down into a publication.  (The term "thesis" suggests a long written document with a single author, whereas a "project" may have a somewhat shorter co-authored document, leaving more time for the student to write code and run experiments.)

Kenneth Andrews

Kenneth Andrews

Originally Answered: How can I write the best master thesis?

Writing a thesis is a unique experience and there is no general consensus on what the best way to structure it is. As a postgraduate student, you’ll probably decide what kind of structure suits your research project best after consultation with your supervisor as well as by reading other theses of previous postgraduate students in your university library.  There are also some Thesis & Dissertation Writing Service are there and you can make use of it to know more about thesis and dissertation and you can also see the examples.

A more conventional way of structuring a postgraduate thesis is to write it in the form of a book consisting of chapters. Although the number of chapters used is relative to the specific research project and to the course duration, a thesis organized into chapters would typically look like this:

  1. TITLE PAGE – The opening page including all the relevant information about the thesis.
  2. ABSTRACT – A brief project summary including background, methodology and findings.
  3. CONTENTS – A list of the chapters and figures contained in your thesis.
  4. CHAPTER 1 – BACKGROUND – A description of the rationale behind your project.
  5. CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW – A summary of the literature supporting your project.
  6. CHAPTER 3 – METHODOLOGY – A description of methodology used in your research.
  7. CHAPTER 4-6 – DATA ANALYSIS – A description of technique used in analyzing your research data.
  8. CHAPTER 7 – DISCUSSION – Main conclusions based on the data analysis.
  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY – A list of the references cited in your thesis.
  10. APPENDICES – Additional materials used in your research.

How do I improve my writing skills?

1. The best way of improving your writing skills is to finish the first draft of your thesis as early as possible and send it to your supervisor for revision. Your supervisor will correct your draft and point out any writing errors. This process will be repeated a few times which will help you recognize and correct writing mistakes yourself as time progresses.

2. If you are not a native English speaker, it may be useful to ask your English friends to read a part of your thesis and warn you about any recurring writing mistakes. Read our section on English language support for more advice.

3. Most universities have writing centers that offer writing courses and other kinds of support for postgraduate students. Attending these courses may help you improve your writing and meet other postgraduate students with whom you will be able to discuss what constitutes a well-written thesis.

4. Reading academic articles and searching for various writing resources on the internet will enable you to slowly adopt the academic style of writing and eventually you should be able to use it effortlessly.

Different universities have different guidelines on how to format your thesis, and it is important that you read these guidelines before submitting your thesis to avoid being penalized. Read your university’s guidelines before you actually start writing your thesis so you don’t have to waste time changing the format further down the line. However in general, most universities will require you to use 1.5-2 line spacing, font size 12 for text, and to print your thesis on A4 paper. These formatting guidelines may not necessarily result in the most aesthetically appealing thesis, however beauty is not always be practical, and a nice looking thesis can be a more tiring reading experience for your Postgraduate Examiner.

Caroline McGiver

Caroline McGiver

A thesis is the most important write up in a researchers life. Writing a thesis proves very difficult for most students. They may carry out research with ease; but writing the research document in the form of a thesis is something they cannot seem to do with ease. Students face different kinds of difficulties in writing a thesis. Let us checkout the linguistic aspects of students difficulties in writing a thesis.

The linguistic aspects of students difficulties in writing a thesis will include problems mainly with grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and spelling. Academics is set on some quality and standards which all academic writings must follow. It is a great challenge for most students to be able to write in good, grammatical English. A student into his school should first master the structure of the language he studies. A good amount of dedication, hard work and patience are needed for the same. A write up with perfectly grammatical language is intelligible to all; but a thesis in a poorly grammatical language will make things disastrous in academics. Learning the rules of a language and mustering the ability to write it without grammatical errors should be the target of every student across the levels of education.

All these difficulties are concerned with the linguistic aspects. When all these exist together in a place the outcome will be drastically disheartening. A research document submitted for the highest degree should be perfect in all respects. This indicates how important revision and modification of drafts are in research. A thesis, by default, has to undergo multiple rounds of revision before it gets a green signal by a research supervisor. In order to write a high impact thesis these linguistic difficulties must be resolved on an individual basis.

Jacob Ethan

Jacob Ethan , PhD Doctor of Philosophy Degrees & Masters Programs, Anna University, Tamil Nadu, India (2013)

Well, what is so difficult in writing a Master’s thesis ? You have heard people say that it is not an easy journey. Writing a Master’s thesis is the most challenging activity that you will be ever facing in your academics. It will be something that requires your commitment, lets you answer questions in a convincing manner, and that which paves way to a process of exploration.

You have to hunt various sources, find an interesting topic, write in a meticulous manner, and ensure that there is originality in the content. Besides, you should also make sure that you contribute to the existing body of knowledge. But the good news is that once you get the fundamentals right, then it is half battle won.

There is some academic approach required to write a good thesis. It is not like writing your college essay. You have to come out of writing in a personal manner, flowery words, and informal writing. Moreover, it is a big challenge for students to write in perfect English. The requirements of the universities may also be strict and the student may find it difficult to cope with it.

The student should remember that a thesis should use the right words at the right place. Notwithstanding, the words should also be in a flow. A student who is not good in vocabulary will also find it difficult to write a thesis.

The student should also motivate himself/herself to do thorough research and reading. When the student goes through various papers, he/she will get an idea of the kind of language applied in a Master’s thesis.

A literature review is an important section of your Master’s thesis. Instead of just citing references, you should interpret the literature. You should also encapsulate the literature within the context of your study.

One of the main difficulties in your Master’s thesis journey is lack of good support from the supervisor. A good supervisor should keep contact with all the students and provide comprehensive support.

The thesis journey also has its ups and downs. Ensure that you don’t write too fast or too slow but maintain a balance. Most of all, though you are writing an academic piece, enjoy writing it. All the best!

Know More Information Visit: Tutors India Email: [email protected]

Chandraprakash Gupta

Chandraprakash Gupta , Researcher at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (2012-present)

Writing thesis depends on two things

  1. Converting your thoughts into words and typing that (this depends on person)
  2. Efficiently using software capability to reduce time (This is a part where we can improve a lot during period in which we write thesis).

I can guide you on 2nd factor and if you follow best practices you can save days and even weeks in formatting, automating certain task so that further editing/addition/modification will require less time say, you have inserted addition figure in you thesis, then figure number (along with its references in text) of the figure that follows it will change. This can be done automatically with 1 click, if you do it properly other wise you have to manually change it. And believe me there are lot of thing that can be automated in word to save time and energy for more important tasks of writing thesis etc.

These video will definitely help you to write Thesis in most efficient way and in least time. My friend didn’t listen to me and had to pay price in terms of time and effort required for regular editing which could have been done automatically in word like changing figures no/referred figure, bibliography, typing equation, making table of content and all others things that could be automated. This video technique will help you not only now but in your future carrier and I bet you will save lot of time (days) by doing things intelligently.

They don’t have official LaTeX suport, but you can do almost 99% of what LaTeX can do and much more that LaTeX cannot do

  1. Heading (h1, h2, ….) Formatting office report / scientific papers – Intro + Heading
  2. Numbering figures, table and equations with automatic numbering and further auto updation Formatting MS office report / Journal papers – Numbering Figure / Table
  3. Typing Equations in word is now as easy as it is in LaTeX. Please see Word Equation Editor short cuts which is as powerful as LaTeX math equation editor , How to type equation in MS Office quick and easily: Similar to LaTeX , Latex in Word: Use latex shortcut for equation typing in MS Word and save time 80% of time and this video also Word Equation Editor short cuts which is as powerful as LaTeX math equation editor
  4. For referencing/citation you can use word in-build feature or use mendeley which is free add on for word and better than onenote, Tired of importing, inserting and managing reference citation? Do all this in just 1 click.
  5. Typing accents in word How to use equation editor in MS Office (similar to LaTeX): Accents
  6. Greek symbols like LateX ( \alpha, etc) How to use equation editor in Ms Office (similar to LaTeX): Shortcut for typing Greek symbols

Overall report/paper writing similar to LaTeX (in terms of easy, fast and simple) see Automated formatting in Ms Word document for Journals, Papers, Magazine etc

Anup Kalia

Anup Kalia , Research Staff Member at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center NY

Well, it depends on the following options.

1. Work with a PhD student. Typically, professors encourage new students (pursuing MS) to work with their PhD students. For example, you may be asked to develop a component that will contribute to a PhD students thesis work. In such cases, its easier to write and defend an MS thesis since you will receive a constant attention from the PhD student as well the professor.

2. Work on an old article. Sometimes professors might ask you to work on an old article that might have been rejected years ago. In such cases, you might have to put more effort since you may or may not get the overall direction how to pursue the work further. But, you should be glad that you dont have to start everything from scratch.

3. Work on a new topic proposed by your adviser. If your adviser proposes an MS thesis topic for you, I guess it should be okay to pursue. This is because your adviser must have thought ahead how much effort is required to pursue the topic.

4. Coming up with your own topic. This might be difficult since you never know how much time it would to pursue and provide substantial results.

Moreover, you should pursue a topic that might end up getting accepted as a journal or a conference paper. Thus, 1 and 2 should be okay to do so but 3 and 4 will make the things slightly difficult.

Anjishnu Bandyopadhyay

Anjishnu Bandyopadhyay , PhD Student in Experimental Particle Physics from University of Bonn

I submitted my masters thesis last month. If you havent written a paper before its difficult and overwhelming. You learn a lot during your masterss thesis.

The first step is to find a topic which interests you. Find the professor(s) who is(are) on that topic. A masters thesis is the first proper research experience you get, its great if its a fulfiiling one. Ask your seniors about the relevant supervisor(s) you want to apply to. For the detailed topic dont choose a topic which is totally new. I think the aim of your master thesis is to learn the way research is done in that field. You can contribute significantly only after you learn that. That can be done in your PhD but dont be over-ambitious with the impact of your master thesis work.

For the writing part assume that a good final year undergraduate is reading your thesis. Write in a manner that such a student understands what you write. Your masters thesis should be self-contained. To you certain topics may seem trivial but for someone outside your sub-field those things may be highly non-trivial.

Jose Sigarua

Jose Sigarua , Student

Originally Answered: How can I write the best master thesis?

Hi

Take a look at –> Home – pen.camp

Academic Papers at their Finest

Unique, custom papers crafted by experts.

Creative, original and perceptive essays

Research papers with insightful analysis

Dissertations built on expert knowledge

Vivid PowerPoints to enrapture your audience

A versatility that can tackle any homework

"Our team offers professional writing assistance to students across the globe. From high-school essays to PhD dissertations, we ensure that every paper you need is done to the highest standards of academia."

They are the best – trust me.

Academic Papers at their Finest –> Home – pen.camp

In other languages

En español: ¿Qué tan difícil es escribir una tesis de maestría?
En français : Est-il difficile décrire une thèse de maîtrise ?
Auf Deutsch: Wie schwierig ist es, eine Masterarbeit zu schreiben?

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Researching and Writing a Masters Dissertation

by Mark Bennett

All Masters programmes include some form of extended individual project. Research-focussed programmes, such as an MRes, may include multiple independent research components, whilst taught courses usually culminate with a substantial research task, referred to as the Masters dissertation or thesis. The advice in this article is designed with the dissertation component of a taught programme in mind, but will also apply more generally to comparable projects forming part of a research degree.

How do the content and expectations of a Masters dissertation differ from an undergraduate dissertation?

You can think of your Masters thesis as a bridge between undergraduate study and higher level postgraduate degrees such as the PhD, which are awarded following the completion of an extended research programme over several years.

Therefore, depending on your subject area, a postgraduate dissertation may not look all that different to its undergraduate equivalent. You’ll usually be expected to produce a much longer piece of work, but the essential nature of the task won’t be unfamiliar to you if you’ve already completed a research project for your Bachelors degree. After all, one of the purposes of an undergraduate dissertation or final year project is to prepare you for more extensive research work as a postgraduate. That said, there are some important differences between the two levels.

One of the most obvious new challenges stems from the greater length of the postgraduate thesis. In order to more comprehensively answer your overall research question, you are likely to be expected to identify and individually examine specific issues or areas of your topic. This can be a bit like producing a series of shorter pieces of work, similar to those required by individual modules, but with the further requirement that they collectively demonstrate and support a broader set of conclusions.

This more involved structure will give you the space to investigate your subject in greater detail than is possible at undergraduate level, but it will also challenge you to be effective at internally organising your work so that its individual components function as stages in a coherent and persuasive overall argument. This will also have an impact on your research process if the individual topics within your overall project require you to access separate sources or datasets and to plan around their availability.

The other significant difference between undergraduate and postgraduate work concerns the expectations of you as a researcher. Your undergraduate dissertation will have given you a chance to prove the competence you have developed in your subject area by undertaking an independent and research task, demonstrating an ability to comprehend and analyse new material for yourself. As a postgraduate you will do all of this again, but you will also be expected to establish and assert your own critical voice as a member of the academic community associated with your field. This will involve proving that you are not just capable of analysing and critiquing original data or primary source material, but are also aware of the existing body of scholarship relating to your topic and can situate your work as an original contribution to or reflection upon this. So, if you’ll excuse the pun, a ‘Master’s’ degree really is about achieving ‘mastery’ of your particular specialism and the dissertation is where you’ll demonstrate this: showing off the scholarly expertise and research skills that you’ve developed across your programme.

How does supervision work for a Masters dissertation?

As a Masters student at the dissertation stage you’ll usually be matched with an academic within your institution who will be tasked with guiding your work. This might be someone who has already taught you, or it may be another scholar whose particular research interests and expertise align well with what you want to do. You may be able to request particular supervision, but taught postgraduates are more likely to be assigned supervisors by their department.

Specific arrangements with your supervisor will vary depending on your institution and subject area, but they will usually meet with you at the beginning of the dissertation period to discuss your project and agree a suitable timetable for its undertaking. This timetable will probably set dates for subsequent discussions and progress checks, including the submission of draft chapters or sections and the receipt of feedback.

Though your supervisor is there to help and advise you, it is important to remember that your dissertation is a personal research project with associated expectations of you as an independent scholar. As a rule of thumb, you can expect your supervisor to read each part of your dissertation once at the draft stage and to offer feedback. Most will not have time to look at lots of subsequent revisions, but may respond favourably to polite requests for exceptions (provided their own workload permits it). Inundating your supervisor with emails or multiple iterations of draft material is best avoided; they will have their own research to manage (as well as other supervision assignments) and will be able to offer better quality feedback if you stick to an agreed schedule.

How is a Masters dissertation assessed and examined?

On most courses your dissertation will be assessed by an external examiner (as well as additional members of faculty within your university who haven’t been responsible for supervising you), but these will read and critique the work you submit without personally questioning and testing you on it.

Though this examination process is not as challenging as the oral defence or ‘viva voce’ required for a PhD thesis, the grading of your Masters dissertation is still a fundamental component of your degree. It will usually be worth around 60 credits – a third of the total 180 credit value for a UK Masters – and will therefore play a key role in determining your final result. On some programmes the result awarded to a student’s dissertation may also determine the upper grade-band that can be awarded to their degree. For more information on the grading process for UK Masters degrees see our guide to Frequently Asked Questions about Masters study.

Where can I find out more?

You can find more information on the dissertation requirements for individual Masters programmes by looking at the entries for courses in the FindAMasters database . For some extra help and advice on the Masters dissertation experience and help with managing your research, see our selection of useful tips .

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