phd thesis editing books

Working With a Thesis Editor

Are you a Masters student or a PhD student looking to hire a thesis editor? Here is some information and things you should think about to make the editing experience as easy as possible for both you and your editor.

The Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) has some information on their website for thesis supervisors and students. However, IPEd’s resources focus on what to do after an editor has been engaged rather than the process of engaging an editor in the first place. This article focuses on the latter.

What does a thesis editor do?

IPEd has guidelines that set out the kinds of things a thesis editor can and cannot do. You should familiarise yourself with these guidelines. Your university may also have policies or guidelines that must be followed when graduate students engage third-party editors for their work. You should locate and familiarise yourself with these as well.

When should I contact a thesis editor?

Ideally, around 4 months before you want to have your thesis edited. Editors are often booked up weeks or sometimes months in advance and you need to allow enough lead time to ask for quotes, choose a thesis editor and have your thesis edited.

What’s the best way to contact an editor?

Email is usually the best way (we prefer email as well). Your email should include your name, the title and subject area of your thesis, the word count, the type of editing required and the submission date.

Once you engage an editor, you should provide a Word copy of your thesis, a brief for the editor, style sheet and referencing style guide.

How much will I be charged?

Thesis editor rates vary from company to company, but the market rate for a 75 000 word thesis is right around $2500. Some thesis editing companies will offer a discount to graduate students (we get limited budgets and thesis prep reimbursements are limited). That said, you should still expect to pay at least $1000 for a 75 000 word thesis.

A quote for less than that should make you wary about the quality of the editing work.

How do I write an editing brief?

IPEd has a resource on writing an editing brief. You should include one with your instructions to your editor and you must think through what you want your editor to do and not to do.

Be mindful of the IPEd Guidelines and any relevant university policies when deciding what to ask you editor to do.

How long will it take to edit my thesis?

You should budget for a two to three week turnaround for a proper and detailed edit of a 75 000 thesis. In a pinch, an editor may be able to get it back to you in a week.

The editor will probably send you back a Word document with track changes and any comments. A PDF of your edited thesis will also be provided.

You will need to have enough time to work through all of the changes your editor proposed. Build in about a week to review all the suggestions.

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