Master Thesis or Master’s Thesis?

The correct term to refer to a thesis produced for a master’s degree is master’s thesis. E.g., “His master’s thesis focused on mosquito biting patterns.” The term master thesis is less common, and some regard it as incorrect. However, you can also interpret it as the primary thesis.

The correct grammatical version is master’s thesis. Furthermore, this version is far more common than the version without an apostrophe.

  • I wrote a master’s thesis in less than a month

You need the apostrophe to show that the thesis belongs to the master in the same way you need the apostrophe to say that the student belongs to the master’s program when you write:

  • Master’s student

Furthermore, you will see people using the term master thesis, which is incorrect if you want to say the thesis belongs to the student.

However, the problem with the term master thesis is that it can be grammatically correct, but only if you interpret the word master as an adjective describing the thesis.

Therefore, instead of being a thesis belonging to the master’s program, it becomes the master, as in main, primary, or principal.

  • He wrote a master thesis on the social impacts of inflation.

Now you have learned the basics regarding the correct version of master’s thesis. Keep reading the rest of the page to learn more about how you can avoid making mistakes with master’s thesis and master thesis.

Master’s Thesis

The term master’s thesis is the correct version to state the thesis belongs to the master’s student.

To indicate possession of the thesis by the student, you need to include an apostrophe to create a singular possessive.

Take a look at these examples to see how to correctly use master’s thesis:

  • Her master’s thesis helped her secure a job with the government.
  • His master’s thesis focused on the impacts of climate change in coastal regions.
  • She received high praise from her professors for the originality of her master’s thesis.
  • The research he conducted for his master’s thesis was later published in a renowned scientific journal.
  • After months of hard work, she finally submitted her master’s thesis to the university’s review committee.

Furthermore, you do not need to use a capital letter for master’s or thesis.

Master Thesis

The term master thesis is a little tricky because it can be correct and incorrect.

Firstly, to indicate that the thesis belongs to the master’s student, which is a noun, using master thesis is grammatically incorrect. You need to use the apostrophe in the sentence to indicate ownership.

However, although this is the case, some people still use the version without an apostrophe for the same purpose.

  • Incorrect: She is presenting her master thesis this afternoon.
  • Correct: She is presenting her master’s thesis this afternoon.

Secondly, if you interpret the word master as an adjective, then you could, in theory, say:

  • She just finished writing a master thesis on pollution.

In the example above, you can interpret the word master as a synonym for primary.

Finally, if you write the full name of a degree program, you need to use Master with no apostrophe and a capital letter.

  • He wrote a Master of Science thesis on bacterial infections.

You will see in the above example that Master has a capital letter and thesis does not. This is because we are referring to the master’s program in full, but we refer to the thesis in a general sense.

However, in some cases, such as on the front cover, you also need to capitalize thesis.

  • The front cover of my thesis says Master of Arts Thesis in big, bold letters.

Masters Thesis

The term masters thesis is incorrect because it is missing the apostrophe that shows that the thesis belongs to the master’s student.

  • Incorrect: The masters thesis was written extremely badly.
  • Correct: The master’s thesis was written extremely badly.

Without the “s” at the end of master, there are some circumstances in which it can be correct without an apostrophe. However, with the “s” included, it is wrong to omit the apostrophe.

Masters’ Thesis

The term masters’ thesis is wrong because the thesis belongs to either a master’s student or a master’s degree. Therefore, using the plural possessive form rather than the singular possessive is incorrect.

  • Incorrect: Her masters’ thesis was the best I have ever read.
  • Correct: Her master’s thesis was the best I have ever read.

In addition, if you want to mention multiple theses, you should use the plural form of thesis:

  • I have to grade four master’s theses this weekend.
  • The university library has copies of all the master’s theses from the past decade.
  • Among the master’s theses I’ve read, hers had the most compelling arguments.
  • The department will showcase excerpts from this year’s top master’s theses during the annual seminar.

That’s all we have for you today! By the end of this article, all your doubts about how to use the word master’s thesis correctly should be cleared out.