Differences between a thesis and a non-thesis Master's

Differences between a thesis and a non-thesis Master's
Mazen Safi Date : 26 Apr 23

A master's thesis is part of scientific research written under the supervision of a faculty member in any of the specializations offered by a university. As a general rule, a master's thesis should be publishable as a single essay, although it may be longer than a typical essay. The researchers who choose to prepare a master's thesis rather than a bibliographic article are often interested in pursuing higher studies and conducting further research, such as Ph.D. research.

Turkey has more than 200 universities that offer master's programs, whether Thesis or Non-thesis. These universities are among the best public or private universities in Turkey, and some compete with international universities.

Find a Topic for a Master's Thesis

Research students interested in preparing a master's thesis should search for potential topics during their academic classes. They also should find a faculty member willing to supervise them.

مميزات الحصول على درجة الماجستير

Master's Committee

The Master's Committee consists of 3 faculty members, one of which could be external (outside the university). The university may assist in forming this committee. The supervisor is the student's primary reference during the master's thesis preparation. However, the researcher must always contact the committee members, especially before the thesis submission time.

How Long is a Master's Thesis?

The number of thesis words should range from twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand and not exceed thirty-five thousand words (about 100-130 pages), excluding the list of references. However, the number of pages may vary according to the type of research, the scientific material, and the method of results analysis. The duration of thesis writing often takes two semesters.

Advantages of Obtaining a Master's Degree

  • Obtaining a decent financial return, prestigious social position, and career progression
  • The ability to access academic and research centers and institutions
  • conducting in-depth research and training in scientific and practical fields
  • Active participation in scientific conferences
  • Increasing the opportunities to secure a job abroad
  • The possibility of continuing the higher studies and applying for Ph.D. programs
  • The ability to publish thesis results and practical experiments as research papers in international conferences and journals

Questions to be Answered before Choosing the Type of Master's Program

Before choosing the type of master's program (Thesis or Non-Thesis), the researcher is advised to answer the following questions, which form his roadmap:

  1. What motivates me to apply for a master's degree?
  2. What are my career goals?
  3. Where do I see myself in 5 to 10 years?
  4. What are my post-graduation plans?
  5. Do I want to learn in a classroom, or do I want to become more independent?
  6. Am I interested in exploring more about research?
  7. How much writing do I can handle in my program?

Difference between Thesis and Non-Thesis Master's Programs

All students who want to obtain a master's degree (thesis and non-thesis) should conduct research or project work. Both master's programs offer a quality education to help you excel and obtain excellent knowledge. However, the following are the key differences between the two master's programs:

Thesis Master's Program

If you plan to pursue a Ph.D. and conduct further research, a thesis masters program is your best option, as applying to Ph.D. programs requires you to obtain a master's degree with a thesis in most cases.

In this program, students conduct an extensive research project

  • This research work will span over several semesters
  • The students should write a thesis following the scientific approach. The thesis should contain a high scientific contribution that could be published.
  • This program is for students who seek to conduct further research or apply for Ph.D. programs.
  • The thesis is a project to be submitted upon completing the master's program.
  • The thesis should present the ability of the researcher to think critically and intensely discuss a specific topic.
  • Unlike traditional research, the student dives into academic research during the thesis preparation and explores many concepts while preparing his thesis.
  • The researcher in this program studies and looks over the work of other researchers to get guidance, compare his results with them and prove his stated hypothesis, theory, or concept.
  • Most of the research work presented in the thesis is attributed to the student who prepared the thesis.
  • Students in the thesis master's program should expect more reading and writing to obtain the correct information and expand their knowledge.

Non-Thesis Master's Program

  • There will be no need to conduct an extensive research project
  • It is more flexible to obtain a master's degree in this program
  • This program is designed for students who do not need a huge deal of research training
  • It focuses more on training courses where students get involved in project works and learning environments that help them to expand their knowledge in a specific field.
  • Training courses are generally centered around building the student's research, data collection, analysis, and writing skills to help them become more successful in their future careers.
  • Students of this program will attend an additional 6 hours of elective courses compared to thesis students.
  • Students have to carry out advanced project work without preparing a thesis.
  • If you seek professional work, the non-thesis master's program option is more suitable.
  • Students in these programs must write a large report explaining their conducted practical project, which is less involved than the thesis.
  • The practical research project conducted to obtain a non-thesis master's degree is not likely to be published.
  • The non-thesis master's program focuses more on assignments, group and individual projects, and exams.
  • It also focuses on helping the students to gain and improve skills.
  • If the researcher is creative and an expert in group projects and tasks, obtaining a non-thesis master's degree is the best choice and more efficient for gaining and maintaining the acquired knowledge.

شروط دراسة الماجستير في تركيا

Structure and Details of the Thesis Master's Program


  • It contains a brief introduction with the research questions
  • It also has a data collection and analysis method


  • It states the context of your research question.
  • It also highlights the present knowledge and literature review in addition to the thesis question


  • It should state and discuss other available research about the same topic.
  • It presents the research method and analysis:
  • It also should present the study population, sample, and location.

Results and Data

  • This section is where you present the results of the data analysis for the studied topic.
  • This section should present your comprehensive understanding of the topic and precisely answer the research question to satisfy the supervisor and internal and external committee members.


  • This section will extensively discuss your findings in clear language.
  • You can compare your results with the findings of other studies to support a claim.


  • In this section, you must draw your conclusion briefly about the studied topics.
  • Keep the highlighted points short and precise.

Pros of Non-Thesis Master's Program

  • It affords a flexible and structured learning experience for researchers.
  • The researcher does not spend more time and effort on scientific research skills
  • It does not require conducting an extensive research project or writing a lengthy report
  • The researcher acquires adequate writing skills
  • It helps the researcher to build competitive skills in critical thinking
  • It leverages the researcher's ability to speak in front of the public, supervisors, and committees.

Cons of Non-Thesis Master's Program

  • The student may not be recognized as qualified.
  • Business owners may find difficulty in assuring that the graduates have good communication and critical thinking skills.
  • The researcher will not be able to publish his research work in reputed scientific journals.
  • It is challenging to acknowledge the novelty of the conducted scientific research.

Similarities between Thesis and Non-Thesis Master's Program

  • In both thesis and no-thesis programs, the master's degree is to be awarded upon completion of the program.
  • The project requires a deep understanding of the research problem in both thesis and non-thesis programs.
  • The thesis and no-thesis programs address specific research questions.
  • Academic writing skills and a scientific research methodology are essential for thesis and non-thesis master's programs.
  • Ethical practices must be adhered to at all stages of data collection and documentation of scientific research.
  • Plagiarism is not acceptable, and intellectual property rights must be preserved.
  • Both thesis and no-thesis programs require analytical skills to support results.
  • Both programs require extensive editing and reading of critical evidence before final submission.

Eligibility Criteria for Studying Master's in Turkey

The eligibility criteria for studying a master's program in Turkey differ from one university to another. Each university has its conditions and criteria, but they all adhere to the general conditions of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK). Moreover, there are particular admission requirements for international students.

Generally, a bachelor's degree is the mandatory prerequisite for admission. Some universities may require an English or Turkish language proficiency certificate according to the registered specialization and the medium of instruction.

Duration for Studying Master's in Turkey

The duration of master's programs in Turkey varies according to the type of program (thesis or non-thesis). Detailed information on the duration of these programs is given as follows:

Thesis Master's Program in Turkey

  • The program duration ranges from one and a half to two years with four semesters.
  • Two of the four semesters are for the theoretical courses
  • The remaining two semesters are for writing refereed scientific research (thesis) under academic supervision.
  • Most Turkish universities allow students to extend their study studies an additional year (two semesters) at most.
  • Some students may take more time to complete their studies. However, this is relative to the effort given by the student.

Non-Thesis Master's Program in Turkey

  • The duration of the study is one year with three semesters
  • The researcher does not need to write a thesis

Required Documents to Study Master's Program in Turkey

  • Personal Photograph
  • Passport copy
  • Academic Personnel and Graduate Education Exam (ALES) results for the students with bachelor's degrees from Turkish universities.
  • A copy of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GSCE), translated into Turkish and certified
  • A detailed statement of secondary school grades
  • A copy of the bachelor's degree
  • Turkish language proficiency certificate (TÖMER), English language proficiency (TOEFL) (depending on the type of master's program), or the results of the language test conducted by the university you wish to study at.
  • Letter of recommendation (two) from professors who taught the student during undergraduate study.
  • These letters are required for admission in most universities

  • Curriculum vitae (CV), written according to the criteria set by some universities.


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