Dissertation Writing

Generally, expectations for Master’s theses and Doctoral dissertations are different. The difference between both papers is based on the expected level of discovery and contribution to existing literature on the research topic. Whereas Doctoral dissertations are expected to contribute significantly to literature related to a particular research topic, a Master’s thesis can focus on innovation through incremental improvements or the application of known theories to a new area.

Examples of Dissertations:

What is an acceptable dissertation in your field? How is it organized, and what parts does it have? Your advisor may be the best person with whom to discuss these and related questions. You might also take a look at successful dissertations by people from your program or field in the library's digital dissertation collection. Or look up The Graduate School's Best Dissertation Award winners. Keep in mind that these dissertations were the result of much thought and diligent work over time, just as yours will be.


Learn more:

Dissertation templates & instructions: 1, 2, 3

Dissertation Writing Retreat

PhinisheD: Billed as "a discussion and support group for those trying to finish their dissertations and theses, and those who have been there," this site has loads of resources. Includes a virtual retreat section in the forums (requires log on). Not affiliated with UMN.

Gradshare is a free networking site where graduate students can answer each other's questions, or get advice provided in Gradshare's experts section.

All-But Dissertation Survival Guide: A monthly e-newsletter for dissertation writers. Not affiliated with UMN.

Online writing consultations offered by the Center for Writing; you might ask them to help you develop a writing schedule.

Mary McKinney's Successful Academic E-Newsletter: Advice for graduate students and new faculty from a dissertation coach who's also a clinical psychologist. Not affiliated with UMN.

You might form an online writing group with people you know and trust to discuss your work.