I'm sorry, I can't. Because of my company's schedule, I can only take one thesis at a time. If business is particularly slow, I may be able to get your thesis back to you within three weeks, but not faster.
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? Lori Straus, who has been editing dissertations and theses for Canadian students since 2017, answers those questions below.
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.)
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 $0.034/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. I'll explain many of the reasons behind my corrections, will often reference the style guide so you can be sure I'm following the one you need to follow, and will give you personalized writing advice. In addition, I'm happy to meet with you for an hour after I return your thesis to answer any questions. You can read more about my services farther down.
No. This has to do with a core requirement your school places on your work: it must be your work. For it to be your work, you need to understand the reason behind every word in your thesis. Writing is not everyone's strength. I know it can feel especially tiring at this point in your academic journey, but you need to hold on just a little longer and make sure you understand why I believe each change needs to happen.
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.
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.
Many of the PhD theses I’ve edited have had thousands of errors. I’m helping you get rid of those. I'll fix everything from italicized commas between italicized words (those commas shouldn't be in italics) to ensuring your point of view is consistent. In addition, as a professional, I also pay for professional software that will help me catch more mistakes than the human eye can.
Not to scare you, but your thesis will be uploaded to your university's library for posterity's sake, and the whole world will be able to access it. My M.A. thesis from January 2002 is there. (To point out the obvious: that's over 20 years ago.)
I’m most certainly reading your PhD thesis as I edit it. Software can only help so much, and generative AI (the big controversy these days) is not appropriate for a thesis or dissertation.
For example, software 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 may use ProWritingAid, but I always use PerfectIt after I've read through your thesis or dissertation and made my corrections. If you work fast, you can take advantage of their free trials. Please take their advice with a grain of salt. Just because software highlights an error doesn’t mean you have an error.
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'll create your tables and chapters using Word's 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, when you make changes to your thesis after your defence but don’t know how to work with Word’s formatting features or automatically generate a table of contents for your PhD thesis, you could find yourself in Word hell. (Sorry—that's the most accurate 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.
I can edit PhD theses in the humanities and social sciences that follow MLA and APA style guides. If your thesis follows the Chicago Manual of Style, I can't edit for the specifics of Chicago citation style, but I can refer to the guide for general style elements like comma usage, capitalization, etc.
Contact me at least eight weeks before you need your thesis back. Here’s why:
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 after that.
If you contact me with fewer than eight weeks' notice, I may still be able to take it, but a surcharge may apply.
I’ll read through the body of your thesis and correct for style, grammar, punctuation, and in-line formatting (e.g., in-line citations, italics, and capitalization). If your wording doesn't support your argument, I'll point that out, too. I will also check for adherence to APA or MLA style. The rate for this is $0.034/word. (That's 3.4¢/word, not 34¢/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 lay out your thesis, edit your heading and tables/figures formatting, and similar. (But I will check for spelling and capitalization errors in your headings, captions, etc.) 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:
Then ask! Please use the contact form in the footer to send me details about your thesis:
If you send me that information upfront, it'll make our communications more efficient.
I'm the only one at Lori Straus Communications who edits theses and dissertations, so you'll be working with me.
And I look forward to working with you!
Phone (New York/Toronto): (519) 503-7098
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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