Of course, there are people who love to learn, but is pursuing such passion foolish? Presumably, passion for knowledge is the fuel for pursuing an advanced degree. Actually, obtaining a Ph D can often have less to do with learning and more to do with jumping through the appropriate hoops.
Fewer students strive to learn as much as possible simply for the sake of learning.
Is their primary objective to obtain a degree as expediently as possible, or is it to learn?
These two goals are not always mutually exclusive, and with genuine curiosity and perseverance, independent learning is possible.
We present them in the context of engineering and science, but they apply to the humanities and arts as well.
They are intended primarily as advice for students entering graduate school with the intent of going on to work in industry or academia.
One difference between a thesis and dissertation is that theses are usually required for a master's degree and dissertations are usually required for doctorate degrees; however, this isn't always true.
Some master's degree programs don't require a thesis or dissertation at all.
Rather, the objective, in the US system, at least, is a high grade-point average that yields an employment opportunity that, in turn, yields a high salary.
Ultimately, the name of the game has become profit, and this game has new rules.