A formal or elaborate argumentative discourse, oral or written; a disquisition; an essay; a discussion; as, Dissertations on the Prophecies.
An exercise written for the award of a degree or diploma, on a topic determined by the student, after consulting the tutor, which involves an element of original research or extensive reading.
The independent project conducted by a graduate student after completing coursework and general examinations. The dissertation will vary in form and length depending on the discipline and the nature of the research project; it usually requires from one to three years to complete. The dissertation is supposed to show mastery of knowledge and research tools, and should contribute something new to the discipline in which it is written.