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Dissertation vs Essay – A Complete Guide to Understanding The Difference

Published by at January 26th, 2023 , Revised On October 9, 2023

A dissertation and essay are required in order to graduate from college. Essays are typically used to demonstrate that a student has learned the material covered in their class, while dissertations are used to prove that the student has done more than skim through the material.

Dissertation committees usually require at least one dissertation paper from every student who completes their degree. Essays and dissertations can also be used as an entrance exam into graduate school.

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is a research document that lays out your analysis of a particular topic. It often includes an introduction, a literature review, data analysis, and conclusions. Because the goal of a dissertation is to provide original scholarly work, it must be well-researched and well-organized.

What is an Essay?

Essays are a unique form of writing that requires much thought and analysis. They can be used to explore an issue or to argue a point. Essays can be on any topic, but they are generally longer than other types of writing and are more likely to use examples.

Dissertation vs Essay: What’s the Difference?

There are many differences between dissertations and essays. Essays are typically shorter and focus on a specific topic. Dissertations, on the other hand, can be much longer, covering a wide range of topics.

Additionally, dissertations often require more research than essays. Dissertations may be submitted to colleges as either original work or a reprint of an earlier article or book.

A dissertation is an exhaustive examination of a specific topic, while an essay is more like exploring a topic. Dissertations typically require more research than essays and may also be longer. The focus of a dissertation may be narrower than that of an essay, and the writing may be more rigorous. Finally, dissertations are typically submitted to a peer-review process, whereas essays are not usually subject to such evaluation.

How Can ResearchProspect Help?

ResearchProspect writers can send several custom topic ideas to your email address. Once you have chosen a topic that suits your needs and interests, you can order for our dissertation outline service which will include a brief introduction to the topic, research questions, literature review, methodology, expected results, and conclusion. The dissertation outline will enable you to review the quality of our work before placing the order for our full dissertation writing service!

Thesis Statement 

An essay must have a clear and concise thesis statement. A dissertation may include a thesis statement, but it is not required.


The purposes of an essay can differ from those of a dissertation. Essays are typically used for academic writing, while dissertations are used for research papers. An essay may be written for personal enjoyment or academic purposes, such as earning a degree. A dissertation, on the other hand, is typically used to obtain a degree or to win a scholarship.

The essay is to communicate information and ideas, while the purpose of a dissertation is to explore a specific topic in depth. 

Writing Style

There are some important differences between these two types of writing. For example, essays typically require less research than dissertations. Additionally, essays often use more informal language, while dissertations are usually written in scholarly prose. 


The language of an essay is often conversational and less formal than the language of a dissertation. While both types of writing require strong research skills, the tone and style of an essay will be more personal, while that of a dissertation may be more objective.


There are many factors to consider when determining the length of a project. Essays are generally shorter than dissertations. The average essay length is 2,000-2,500 words, while the average dissertation is 10,000-15,000. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. 

Some research papers are shorter than 2,000 words, and some dissertations exceed 15,000. Therefore, it is important to determine your project’s specific word count requirement to maintain appropriate writing standards.

The main difference between these lengths is that an essay is typically shorter and aims to communicate information quickly. At the same time, a dissertation is longer and seeks to explore a complex topic in depth. 

While there is no set rule on how long an essay should be, it is generally helpful to keep your paragraphs short so that readers can easily follow your argument. Additionally, use concise language and avoid flowery descriptions to keep your essay on target.


Essays are typically divided into paragraphs that flow together, while dissertations may be more detailed and have more subsections.


Both types of papers require proper citation formatting.


In order to write effectively, it is important to research your topic thoroughly.


Essays are written in various personal, formal, and scholarly voices.

Need Help in Writing an Essay or Dissertation? 

If you have trouble writing an essay or dissertation, don’t hesitate to seek essay help. There are a number of professional writers who can help you get your work done more effectively and efficiently. 

ResearchProspect is one of the best essay and writing companies in the UK. They provide high-quality essay and dissertation writing services that meet your needs and expectations. Their experienced writers have the knowledge and skills to produce quality essays and dissertations. 

They understand that your time is valuable, which is why they offer a wide range of affordable options at reasonable prices. So, contact them today to learn more about their unique dissertation or essay writing services – we believe you won’t be disappointed!

Frequently Asked Questions

An essay is shorter, typically around 1500-5000 words, while a dissertation is a long-form academic work, often 10,000 words or more, with original research and in-depth analysis.

About Ellie Cross

Avatar for Ellie CrossEllie Cross is the Content Manager at ResearchProspect, assisting students for a long time. Since its inception, She has managed a growing team of great writers and content marketers who contribute to a great extent to helping students with their academics.