The second way one uses the word "thesis" is in reference to a major paper that one writes as a capstone for his or her bachelor's or master's degree. Whereas term papers are projects that last one term, theses are projects that last several terms. Theses are usually much, much longer than term papers, often stretching past two hundred pages. Perhaps counterintuitively, however, theses often cover much more specialized topics than term papers. For example, one may write a term paper on Herman Melville for a literature survey course, but one would be much more likely to write a thesis on homosexual symbolism in Herman Melville's Moby Dick or on some other extremely specific aspect of one of Melville's novels. In fact, one could write an entire thesis on a single paragraph of Moby Dick . The goal of a thesis is to expound fully one's opinion on a given subject and to confront and exhaust all the opposition to that opinion. Therefore, one usually specializes his or her thesis topic almost to the point of absurdity.
If a dissertation is judged unsatisfactory by either of the examiners, the staff of the Institute may in its discretion recommend either (1) that the dissertation be resubmitted with such changes as may have been indicated by the examiners, or (2) that the dissertation be sent to a special panel of outside referees for re-examination, if the decision is challenged, or (3) that a new thesis be submitted within three years. In any case, the recommendation must be approved by the Dean of GPS. If the dissertation has been passed by the External Examiner, a final oral examination is held on the subject of the dissertation and subjects intimately related to it.