As a requirement for an advanced university degree, the dissertation is usually the last requirement a candidate fulfills for a doctorate. Probably its most salient characteristic is that it is a unique product, one that embodies in some way the creativity of the author—the result of research and of original thinking and the creation of a physical product. Depending on departmental tradition, some dissertations are expected to be solely originated by the candidate; in others, the topic (and sometimes the approach as well) is given by the major professor. But even in the latter case, the candidates are expected to add something of their own originality to the end result.

This description of some relatively common features of the dissertation requirement applies primarily to higher education ...

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