Dissertation, Thesis, and Academic Editing

You have spent years researching and writing a dissertation that you must submit to your committee for review and/or to the graduate school for publication.  Congratulations! The bulk of work is behind you! What I can offer is careful proofreading and editing to give you the peace of mind that you have communicated your thoughts clearly, have cited all of your references, have conformed to the style guidelines, and have dotted the proverbial i’s and crossed the proverbial t’s.

Our conversation begins here. In order to help me help you, first consider your ultimate goal for this dissertation. That decision will dictate how thoroughly you need your document reviewed. Do you wish, for example, to submit the dissertation in whole or in part to an editor for publication consideration?—or to a hiring committee in support of a job application? If you do not see a tangible application of your work to your career path, do you nonetheless want a very polished piece of writing befitting the investment of time you’ve already committed to the project? (Keep in mind that once your dissertation has been digitally published by the university, it could attract a national—indeed, an international—audience, and your readers will be anonymous to you.) Perhaps you do not plan to use your dissertation and will not lose sleep thinking about how well it reflects on you or your scholarship: you merely need a grammatically-flawless, sound dissertation that conforms to the university’s style guidelines in order to get it accepted and to get your degree.

Having considered your goals for the dissertation, next read the categories below, which will guide you in setting the parameters for the type(s) of proofreading and editing you would like. Place a check beside the services you request. Feel free to include any comments or clarifications that will be useful to me. Thanks in advance for the time you invest up front to help tailor my work to meet your needs and expectations and to make this process go smoothly and expeditiously.

Basic Proofreading

  • Check for basic grammatical soundness at the sentence level (including spelling, punctuation, and typographical errors).
  • Check that all quotations and references are cited.
  • Check that the citations are in the correct order.
  • Check that citations conform to current MLA Style guidelines.
  • Check that the document’s formatting conforms to the university’s current style guidelines (including ordering, the Table of Contents, margins, font type and size, spacing and indentation, pagination, footnotes and endnotes, tables and figures, appendices, and bibliography).

Proofreading for Style

  • Check for consistency of voice and style.
  • Check for organization, structure, and flow of argument.
  • Mark phrases or sentences where the meaning is unclear.
  • Mark instances of unintentional repetition.
  • Mark places where a transition is needed or is insufficient.
  • Mark places where quoted material could be integrated more smoothly.
  • Mark places where sentence variety could be improved to make the prose more smooth and clear.

Proofreading for Content

  • Mark places where my argument strays.
  • Mark inconsistencies within my argument.
  • Mark places where my argument could benefit from more support.
  • Check the accuracy of my quotations. (You will need to provide copies of the original sources.)


  • Suggest rewording where wording is unclear.
  • Suggest stronger, active verbs, where helpful.
  • Suggest an effective transition, where needed.
  • Suggest ways to condense, where requested.
  • Suggest reorganization, where needed.
  • Suggest how to better integrate quoted material, where needed.


  • Pen and ink notation on the page and an in-person discussion
  • Electronic editing using Track Changes and Comment Bubbles with a typed summary of problematic trends

Writer’s Self-Assessment

If there are issues about your writing in general that you are worried may be reflected in your dissertation, note them.

Trial Period

Within an agreed-upon time frame (no more than 72 hours), I will have completed a section of the dissertation (anywhere from 10 pages to a chapter), which I will submit to you, along with a log of the time I worked on it. At that point, you can evaluate the quality and speed of my work and have the opportunity to fine-tune your requests from the menu above (adding or withdrawing services), or decide to end the contract. You will only be charged for the time worked.


I charge $65/hr for editing and for personal consultation.  While I cannot estimate up front how much time it will take to proofread and edit your dissertation, the trial period will give you a sense of the quality and speed of my work.