PhD Thesis Editing Services
It’s been four (or more?!) years now, and you’re close to submitting your PhD thesis to your committee. Do you submit it as is? Or do you hire a professional editor who offers PhD editing services? I answer those questions below.
What Does an Editor Do?
An editor reads through your thesis and corrects it for any spelling, grammar, punctuation, or style issues. This includes ensuring your thesis follows the style guide for your subject. Talk to your supervisor and your university’s writing centre to get another opinion on whether or not you should hire an editor. (That being said, an honest editor will tell you upfront if you really need them.)
What Does It Cost to Have My PhD Thesis Edited?
Prices vary, and you should shop around. For example, you’ll likely find English graduate students who will edit your thesis for you for $20 or $30 an hour. A professional editor will charge much more.
To edit your PhD thesis, I charge $0.02/word + HST (GST if you live outside Ontario). For this rate, I work through your thesis sentence by sentence to improve your style, grammar, punctuation, and flow. You can read more about my services farther down.
Will My Thesis Be 100% Error Free?
The only way to come as close as possible to an error-free thesis is to hire several editors. Even then, a typo or two may still squeak through. We’re human, so we occasionally miss an error.
Then Why Am I Paying You in the First Place?
The PhD theses I’ve edited have had thousands of errors in them. I’m helping you get rid of those. In addition, as a professional, I also pay for professional software that will help me catch more mistakes than the human eye can.
Software? So, You’re Not Reading It?
I’m most certainly reading your PhD thesis as I edit it. Software can only help so much. For example, it may not pick up conventional speech patterns that have no place in a thesis. (Hyperbole is a common one.) It also won’t notice if you’ve changed point of view. For example, if you refer to yourself as “the researcher” throughout most of your thesis but occasionally use “we,” editing software won’t catch that.
If you’d like to avoid the cost of professional PhD editing services and want to use the software yourself, you absolutely can. I use ProWritingAid and PerfectIt. If you work fast, you can take advantage of their free trials. Please take their advice with a grain of salt. Just because an app highlights an error doesn’t mean you have an error.
Do Your PhD Editing Services Include Formatting My Thesis?
No. My experience with offering this service has been mixed and my formatting a thesis has sometimes caused frustration on the student’s part. Let me explain.
Because I write and edit for a living, I used Word’s formatting features and will create your tables and chapters using its automated processes. This has several implications for you.
If you use a very old copy of Word, for example, you may not be able to open the document. In addition, you will definitely have to make changes to your thesis after your defence. If you don’t know how to work with Word’s formatting features or how to automatically generate a table of contents for your PhD thesis, then you could find yourself in Word hell. (Sorry–that’s the most descriptive way to explain what happens. It’s worse than the Blue Screen of Death.)
If you’re familiar with Word’s formatting features, formatting your thesis shouldn’t take more than a few hours. You can save yourself some money that way. If you’re unfamiliar with them, use the time that I’m editing your thesis to learn them. You’ll find many tutorials online, but also ask at your university’s writing centre.
(If you need to submit your thesis in APA format, ask your supervisor if you can have heading levels 3-5 on separate lines: Word is a pain to work with if you have to follow APA heading formatting exactly.)
What Subjects Do You Edit In?
I can edit PhD theses in the humanities and social sciences that follow MLA and APA style guides. If your thesis follows the Chicago style guide, I can’t edit for the specifics of Chicago citation style, but I can refer to it for general style elements like comma usage, capitalization, etc.
How Long Does It Take to Edit a PhD Thesis?
Contact me at least six weeks before you need your thesis back. Here’s why:
- Week 1: Contact me to discuss the particulars of your PhD dissertation. Book your time by the end of this week. I’ll send you a contract that outlines my responsibilities and yours.
- Week 3: Submit your thesis to me by the end of this week.
- Weeks 4-6: I’ll spend 1-2 hours a day editing your thesis during this time. I use Track Changes in Word so you can see every change I suggest. During this time, learn Word’s formatting features and go party for a bit.
Give yourself at least a week after this process to review my edits and read over your thesis one more time. When you hire a professional editor to review your PhD thesis, your job isn’t done: you still need to review the edits yourself and ideally read through your thesis once more.
If you contact me with fewer than six weeks’ notice, I may still be able to take it, but a surcharge may apply.
Can’t I Just Click on “Accept All Changes”?
I will answer this question with an emphatic no. You have to stand behind every word in your thesis. This is why you’re allowed to hire out editing of your PhD thesis but not the actual writing. Your PhD thesis must be your work.
What Do You Include in Your PhD Editing Services?
I’ll read through the body of your thesis first and correct for style, grammar, punctuation, and in-line formatting (e.g., in-line citations, italics, and capitalization). I will also check for adherence to APA or MLA style. The rate for this is $0.02/word.
There are a few things I won’t do: I will not re-arrange any portion of your thesis, because you’ve spent a very long time setting up your argument and presenting your findings. If I move elements around, not only will that result in more work for you, but it can also alter your argument. I also won’t edit your References/Works Cited section, table of contents, or appendices. Instead, trade these with a friend and save yourself the money.
Get in writing from your professional editor that copyright for the edits to your PhD thesis transfers to you upon payment (or a similar, fair condition). You need to own the copyright on those edits. With me, you do (upon complete payment).
Professional editors will have different procedures. Here are mine:
- I will send a contract that outlines our duties to the project and explains transfer of copyright and payment. If you agree to everything, sign it.
- Pay a 50% deposit to book your time.
- Submit your thesis by the agreed-upon date. If you submit late, a 15% surcharge will apply.
- When you receive the final edits and approve of them, I’ll send you an invoice for the remainder. (If the final edits are good enough for you to submit your thesis to your committee, I’ll assume you’ve approved of them if you haven’t emailed me your approval.)
Have More Questions?
Then ask away! Call or email me and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.