Although the master’s thesis for most students is usually only two years (often just one year) after completing the bachelor’s degree, there are fundamental differences between the dissertations. For example, while a bachelor’s thesis for students of the humanities is only an advanced study project, the master’s thesis has completely different standards. The significantly more complex Master’s thesis differs significantly from a Bachelor’s thesis. In any case, this must be taken into account when planning the project. We highlight for you the most important differences between Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis.
The bachelor thesis is the first scientific work – here are naturally less stringent claims than a master’s thesis
The bachelor thesis is used in most study programs primarily to check whether the student has learned and internalized the principles of scientific work and is able to apply them to an example. Most examination regulations – especially in the humanities subjects – provide for the bachelor thesis a length of about 30-40 pages. This limitation, in combination with a processing time of mostly 6-8 weeks, of course, the bachelor thesis already a certain content restriction.
Many universities, in particular the faculties in the field of electrical engineering, computer science and mechanical engineering, who usually welcome graduation projects in cooperation with companies, are therefore often skeptical about bachelor theses. Because with these a very close coordination with the university supervisor is absolutely essential, because with the student still no profound experience with the scientific work exists. In contrast, other supervisors see bachelor projects as being particularly suitable for close cooperation with industry because they can solve small-scale problems that are often of interest to companies. On the other hand, at this point in time, of course, students do not have much experience with work in a corporate context, which can be a hindrance to the implementation of the project.
In contrast to the bachelor thesis, the master thesis as a scientific thesis is already a serious contribution to research
While the basics of scientific work have been laid in the bachelor’s program, the master’s program already offers the opportunity to specialize for most students. Due to more flexibility in the curriculum many lectures can be chosen according to individual interests. This focus on study also makes it possible for the current research to be dealt with in these lectures. The level of the courses is necessarily higher. So when the Master’s thesis is written in a specialization area, the topics are already so special that you are often already at the limit of active research.
It is not without reason that many students go directly into the position of a research assistant right after completing their master’s thesis. The Master’s thesis can therefore be considered in many respects as a “letter of application” for active research. Accordingly, the demands on such a work, of course, very different nature, as in a bachelor thesis. A structured literature research, which is often sufficient in the social sciences for a bachelor thesis, only represents the foundation for a master’s thesis. Just because 80-120 pages are usually available for editing, a master’s thesis is considerably more substantial and offers versatile possibilities for detailed elaboration. As a possible relevant contribution to academic research, it goes without saying that the topic of the thesis can have a novelty. It is also often this novelty, the students in the choice of topic for a master’s thesis difficulties. Because the chosen methodology must at least promise new insights that advance science in a certain way. This requires a good understanding of the open research questions and the possible approaches in order to close something in these “research gaps” with their own research contribution.
Conclusion: What are the differences between bachelor thesis and master thesis?
Of course, the scope of a master’s thesis (80-120 pages) is the biggest difference to the bachelor thesis (30-40 pages). But the higher number of pages is simply the result of a much more sophisticated, in-depth scientific approach to an academic topic. As a qualification work for an academic career, of course, the master’s thesis must fulfill other requirements. After all, the master’s thesis, as a final scientific work, is the preliminary stage of a scientific collaboration at the chair. As a result, other assessment tools are being developed and an active contribution to science must be made. An own data collection as well as own measurement series are therefore essential, while this is often not required in a bachelor thesis – depending on the topic. At most colleges and universities, there are good preparatory seminars that discuss in detail both the scientific work and the extent of the final theses.