Theses in Asian dramas are not actually theses

They are in 99% of cases scientific articles. To some this distinction doesn’t mean much, but to me the difference is huge.

Thesis is a document though which one is candidating themselves for a degree. If that degree is a Doctorate (PhD), then the thesis is called a disertation.

Mostly when medical doctors, scientists and engineers are writing “theses”, they are in fact writing manuscripts which will, when published, become articles.

And to put those two terms in a relation, in order to become a candidate for a PhD in natural sciences, one often has to publish several scientific articles and then write a thesis which will summarize the work of those articles and expand the scientific discussion in a broader context.

Once you hold a doctorate degree, you no longer write theses, but manuscripts/articles.


I just watched Romance of the Little Forest and distinctly recall them talking about publishing articles.

I have heard that culturally China requires published articles for some degrees (eg MD) that for the US, my home country, would not have similar requirements. Apparently it’s not a great idea because medical degrees are stressful enough without having to do original research and it seems to result in a lot of bad research and vanity publishing.

But I’m struggling to think of a viki drama that has mentioned non-degree students writing “theses” meaning published articles. Could it be a translation error? Maybe an issue of a different culture using overlapping words?


Unfortunately, that particular syndrome is ubiquitous, spanning all scientific disciplines.

A medical doctor would at some point need to write a few articles and one thesis if they want to gain a PhD after their medical studies. But that is one thesis per one person in their entire lifetime.

Places where I’ve seen they use this term wrongly (that I could think of right now): It’s Okay That’s Love, Hospital Playlist, You Are My Glory. An indication of misuse of the word thesis is when medical professors are forcing their junior staff of doctors to write theses (even in plural!) for them.

And that brings to mind 11 years ago an oldtimer at viki reminded me that when we are writing drama subtitles we are not writing a dissertation!