In the master's program that I am enrolled in, there are two options before graduating: either to complete the thesis or to do a project. I thought of doing the thesis, and maybe if I can find a topic that can be continued for a PhD program, use it for my dissertation in the future. Most of my peers are opting for the project. My question is: does it matter in the long run what I do?

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    could explain what is the difference between thesis and project please? I always considered the master thesis is typically a long project. – YYY May 14 '16 at 16:17
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    @Surb: At least in engineering discplines, the distinction typically seems to be the focus. A thesis is often rather research-oriented. The goal at the end of the, say, six months or whatever time frame is given, is to produce the thesis document. Technical artifacts created (if any are created at all!) are at best instrumental to producing the thesis and its findings. A project, in contrast, is ofyen more technology-oriented. The main product is the usable artifact, while any written documentation mostly just supports or recapitulates the actual development activity. Of course, specifics ... – O. R. Mapper May 14 '16 at 17:14
  • ... or interpretations at the OP's institution might deviate from this. – O. R. Mapper May 14 '16 at 17:14
  • @O.R.Mapper Thank you for the detailed explanation. I get it now.. – YYY May 14 '16 at 18:14

It depends on your goal (and, to a degree, your subject area). If your goal is to do a PhD and enter academia, you will most likely be better served by the thesis as it will most likely prepare you better for doctoral research and dissertation especially in terms of research design, qualitative and or quantitative methods, and understanding of the related academic literature in your field.

By contrast, if your goal is to go into industry, in many fields, you may be better served by doing a Master's project in collaboration with an industry partner such that your project work can be applied directly in practice. Your project work will improve your skills related to producing outputs that are valuable to your industry of focus and will help broaden your network of industry contacts which can be quite useful to your career.

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  • Thank you, my goal is to get into academia. My field is computer science. – JKJ May 14 '16 at 21:09
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    I would strongly recommend thesis. The only exception would be if the PhD program you are considering entering states that it prefers projects, but few do. Research the entry requirements of a few PhD programs at institutions that interest you and go with that. Good luck! – Mekki MacAulay May 14 '16 at 21:19

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