Random question: Are the thesis or dissertation more important than other research projects completed during your time in grad school? I'm talking about from an internship/post-doc/faculty recruitment position, since obviously they are necessary steps for the degree. Basically, I'm going to be running what is essentially a pilot study that will lead to a larger, more interesting study I will run afterwards. That larger, more interesting study may or may not serve as a dissertation depending on my interests at the time, results of the pilot study, whether or not I think I can get funding for it (since I'm determined to get a grant for my dissertation), etc. The pilot study would be more than substantial enough to count for a master's thesis (could actually probably fly as a dissertation too). Its just geared towards establishing a new experimental paradigm that I will later expand upon to ask more theoretically interesting questions. However, if what I officially designate as a thesis is more than just an arbitrary tag on one of many research projects, I'd obviously prefer it to be a larger, potentially higher impact study. Thoughts?