A thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. It is also a final academic paper that documents the results of a demonstration project or research that indicates the student’s mastery of the program material. The term, “thesis” is used for part of a bachelor or master’s course, while “dissertation” is normally applied to a doctoral level learning. Since a thesis or dissertation is by nature a research project, students writing a thesis or dissertation will follow the same steps outlined in conducting research.
The benefits of thesis or dissertation writing to students are similar to that of conducting research. Some universities require successful completion of a comprehensive exam prior to thesis or dissertation writing. Once finished writing their thesis or dissertation, students are subjected to an oral examination before an examining committee of professionals in their field just prior to its submission to the university. This oral exam is known as a thesis or dissertation "defense," which at some universities may be a mere formality and at others, may result in the student being required to make significant revisions. In some universities, a thesis or dissertation may be designated as a capstone project needed towards student’s successful degree completion.