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Dissertation is the name of a particular kind of writing. Originally, it meant something like 'essay', 'discussion of a subject' or 'discourse on a topic'. Nowadays, it has a technical sense in [[Higher Education}}: it means 'a longer assignment'.

  • For undergraduate students, this typically means an essay some three to five times longer (more words) than the normal assignment, undertaken in the final year of study.
  • OED gives as meaning [2.] b.: "spec. An extended scholarly essay, usu. based upon original research, submitted for a degree or other academic qualification". Dissertation' is usually the title of the piece submitted by MA students following the research path to the degree.
In Britain, the similar, but even more substantial, work submitted usually after three years for a doctorate is most often called a Thesis.