Middle English, lowering of the voice, from Late Latin & Greek; Late Latin, from Greek, downbeat, more important part of a foot, literally, act of laying down; in other senses, Latin, from Greek, literally, act of laying down, from tithenai to put, lay down
- 1a (1) : the unstressed part of a poetic foot especially in accentual verse (2) : the longer part of a poetic foot especially in quantitative verse
- b : the accented part of a musical measure : downbeat
- 2a : a position or proposition that a person (as a candidate for scholastic honors) advances and offers to maintain by argument
- b : a proposition to be proved or one advanced without proof : hypothesis
- 3: the first and least adequate stage of dialectic — compare synthesis
- 4: a dissertation embodying results of original research and especially substantiating a specific view; especially : one written by a candidate for an academic degree
A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. In some countries/universities, the word "thesis" or a cognate is used as part of a bachelor's or master's course, while "dissertation" is normally applied to a doctorate, while in others, the reverse is true.
The word dissertation can at times be used to describe a treatise without relation to obtaining an academic degree. The term thesis is also used to refer to the general claim of an essay or similar work.
A submission of the thesis is the last formal requirement for most students after the defense. By the final deadline, the student must submit a complete copy of the thesis to the appropriate body within the accepting institution, along with the appropriate forms, bearing the signatures of the primary supervisor, the examiners, and, in some cases, the head of the student's department. Other required forms may include library authorizations (giving the university library permission to make the thesis available as part of its collection) and copyright permissions (in the event that the student has incorporated copyrighted materials in the thesis). Many large scientific publishing houses (e.g. Taylor & Francis, Elsevier) use copyright agreements that allow the authors to incorporate their published articles into dissertations without separate authorization.
Failure to submit the thesis by the deadline may result in graduation (and granting of the degree) being delayed. At most U.S. institutions, there will also be various fees (for binding, microfilming, copyright registration, and the like), which must be paid before the degree will be granted.
Once all the paperwork is in order, copies of the thesis may be made available in one or more university libraries. Specialist abstracting services exist to publicize the content of these beyond the institutions in which they are produced.