How much do you charge to edit a thesis?

The only way I can accurately answer this is by looking at a draft version of your thesis so I can see how much work it requires. A Master’s thesis might take me a few days; a PhD thesis might take me one to two weeks. If you email me the document as it stands, or at least a few chapters of it, I will edit several pages and send them back to you with an estimate of how long it would take to complete the job and how much it would cost. This will also allow you to ensure that you are happy with the level of editing. The sample edit is free; however, prepayment is required before work can commence on the full manuscript.

But what’s your typical charge?

Because I am asked this so frequently, I made a spreadsheet of all the theses I did in a year, excluding those from students with very poor English expression and those from students who had very limited IT/word processing skills, and came up with a mean of AUD $2500 for a thesis of 80,000 words requiring both formatting and copyediting. Please note that I don’t claim to be the cheapest, but I do pride myself on the quality and professionalism of my work.

What subjects can you edit?

A wide range! For example:

  • an academic book about sustainability in the primary science curriculum (formatted according to the requirements of Sense Publishers);
  • a PhD about learning Japanese kanji;
  • an MA about learning Welsh;
  • an engineering research dissertation about repairing concrete structures;
  • a journal article about family business;
  • a music PhD about an avant garde composer;
  • a peace studies PhD about the Solomon Islands’ Truth & Reconciliation Commission;
  • a medical PhD about assessing cardiovascular risk;
  • a PhD about women’s sexual difficulties while taking SSRI medications; and
  • a PhD about recruiting and retaining doctors in regional centres.

Why do you ask for payment in advance?

Unless payment is to be made via a university’s finance system, I ask students to pay in advance via a direct deposit into my bank account. I understand that this may worry some people, so I do a sample edit for free, and am happy to provide contact details of former clients who would be willing to vouch that I am diligent, hardworking, competent and trustworthy. I have a professional reputation to maintain, so it is in my interest to make sure clients are satisfied with my work. Consider the matter from the freelance editor’s point of view – what recourse does s/he have if the recipient of a professionally edited thesis does not get around to paying?

Can I change my booking date?

Yes, you can change your booking date. I realise it is difficult to know exactly when your thesis will be ready for editing, as often this depends not only on your schedule but also the schedule of the supervisor(s) giving you feedback. But at certain times of the year I get very busy and start turning new clients away, so I advise you to book in early and then change the date later if necessary. Please try to give me at least a week’s notice if you will not be able to send me your thesis by the date we had arranged, so I can juggle my commitments and we can negotiate a new date that suits both of us.

Do I just send you my Word document? What about my EndNote database?

There is too high a risk of your thesis becoming corrupted if it is edited with ‘live’ EndNote codes embedded in it. Before sending it to me, you should either change the citations to the {unformatted} form or convert them to plain text. If you choose plain text, any future referencing changes within the document will have to be done manually. If this is likely to be a problem (e.g., if you don’t have a close-to-final version of your text, or if you are using Vancouver style with consecutive numbering), choose Convert to Unformatted Citations instead of Convert to Plain Text. This deletes the reference list, but it will be regenerated when you later format the citations by choosing Update Citations and Bibliography. Please note that I can only edit citations and references when they are in plain text, but if you have been a careful EndNote user, you shouldn’t need me to edit them.

Will my thesis be ready for submission when I receive it?

No. You will need to step through each of my suggested ‘changes’ and consider whether to accept or reject it. You may also need to rewrite sentences or paragraphs based on the comments that I have made. You should allow time to do this when scheduling your submission date.