Copy Edit Dissertation

Academic Editing

Kathleen Kline has been providing academic editing services for over 30 years, assisting students, authors, and instructors in a number of capacities: from mechanical and grammatical proofreading and APA editing to providing extensive editing services to those with greater needs (e.g., nonnative speakers and students with learning disabilities or other writing difficulties). Kathleen works with some students throughout the entire dissertation-writing process; others, she helps prepare the final draft. She is also available for consultation and writing workshops. Her book, Confessions of a Dissertation Editor: Real-Life Stories and Practice Guidance, is available through or directly from her e-store at

Kathleen is also available for presentations and lectures. For more information, click on the "Presentations" tab above.



The following special rates apply to Argosy University students who only need an approved editor to sign off on their dissertation:

$650 flat fee per 100-page dissertation, including preliminary pages, references, and appendices (prorated based on actual number of pages): proofreading for errors and APA adherence. Please note that this rate is based on the assumption that the dissertation has been approved by the dissertation committee and only requires light proofreading and APA review.

$250 flat fee per 100-page dissertation, including preliminary pages, references, and appendices (prorated based on actual number of pages): a cursory review of dissertation that requires no additional revisions. Please note that this rate is based on the assumption that the dissertation has been approved by the dissertation committee, and the document has already been carefully proofread for errors and APA adherence.


Standard Rates

Dissertation and thesis editing costs are based on per-page estimates, which vary significantly, depending on the needs of the writer. The following chart provides a general guide. Estimates are based on a 1-2 hour review and sample edit of document to be edited.

Technical Editing (using track changes):
readability, flow, organization, academic voice, word choice

20-60 mpp*

APA adherence, grammar, formatting, punctuation

10-20 mpp*

General formatting:
margins, pagination, headings, block quotes, references

1-3 hours

Preparation of preliminary pages:
title page, signature page, acknowledgements, dedication, table of contents, list of tables/figures, abstract

1-3 hours

Producing the final hard copy

1-2 hours

Tables (per table)

10 minutes to 1 hour

*Minutes per page


The Process of Working With an Editor 

There are a number of preliminary steps involved in working with an editor. These steps allow the client to sample the editor’s work before entering into a contractual agreement and also allow the client to get a sense of how the editor can help in the dissertation-writing process. At the same time, before deciding to work with a client, the editor must have a sense of the client’s writing style and level of proficiency, as well as any specific issues with which the client may need assistance.

1.   Review document and submit a sample edit. First, you e-mail Kathleen your document—even if it is not yet ready for editing. Kathleen will spend 1-2 hours editing a few pages using track changes, after which she will return it to you so that you (and your advisor, if appropriate) can review her work. For this service, Kathleen charges $150.00. If you choose to work with her, this cost may be subsumed within the editing cost if no other changes are made to these pages. If you do not decide to work with Kathleen, you will still come away with a good representation of how to improve your dissertation with pointers for correct APA usage.

2.   Estimate based on review. In addition to being an excellent way for you to review Kathleen’s work before you commit and sign a contract with her, this sample edit is also the basis of her contract, as it allows her to make a fairly accurate estimate of the time she would need to do the work. The cost is based primarily on minutes per page (mpp), which depends upon the extent of editing required or desired to produce a high-quality finished product. Additional charges would include formatting and preparing the front pages (per your school’s specifications), including the table of contents and list of tables and figures; providing the overall formatting; editing the reference list; and formatting tables, as well as consultation time.

3.   Proposed contract. Along with the sample edit, Kathleenwill also send you a proposed contract. The primary aspects of the contract are (a) the costs involved broken down into per-page text editing, reference list editing, preparing the front pages, etc.; (b) payment terms; (c) Kathleen’s promise to you to do the best job she possibly can based on her 25+ years of experience; and (d) date of completion.[1]

4.   Cost negotiations, if necessary. If the estimated cost is beyond your budget, you may wish to discuss ways to lower the cost within the scope of the project.[2] Occasionally, Kathleen offers her clients extended payment terms.

Some examples of cost are as follows:

Example 1:

A 50-page dissertation proposal that is in fairly good shape but needs APA editing and a careful proofreading might take 15 minutes per page (mpp; 50 pages x 15 mpp = 750 minutes or 12.5 hours). Additional costs might include initial consultation (1.0 hour), preparing preliminary pages (0.5-1.0 hour), preparing table of contents (0.5-1.5 hours), and editing the reference list (0.5-4.0 hours). Total time: 15.0-20.0 hours @ $85.00/hour = $1,275.00-$1,700.00.

Example 2:

A 100-page completed dissertation that needs textual editing as well as APA formatting might take Kathleen 30 minutes per page (30 mpp x 100 pages = 50.0 hours). Additional time may include initial consultation, preliminary pages, table of contents, reference list, and formatting tables. This may add 3.0-5.0 hours to the total time needed to complete the dissertation, bringing the total to 50.0-55.0 hours. Total time: 50.0-55.0 hours @ $85.00/hour = $4,250.00-$4,675.00.

5.   Meeting. After steps 1-4 have been completed, Kathleen usually meets with her clients in person. This meeting is important for two reasons: First, because of the importance of this document, Kathleen believes it is important to establish a good connection with your editor. Second, it gives her the opportunity to ask you further questions (and for you to ask questions of her) and get a better understanding of your needs and your project. This meeting may also be conducted on the phone or through Skype. 

6.   Payment terms. A 50% retainer is requested at this meeting. The final payment is due when the work has been completed and before Kathleen e-mails the final edited document to you. Kathleen usually receives this payment through PayPal, and once she has been notified that a payment has been made, she then e‑mails the document to you.

7.   Continual availability. Once you receive the document from Kathleen, you should feel free to call or e-mail any questions you might have. In fact, once you have become her client, you should always feel free to call with questions, and unless a substantial amount of time is required, Kathleen will not charge for this time.


[1]  Kathleen also makes two important statements in the contract: (a) her goal is to offer you the highest quality of editing possible; however, at the same time, (b) she cannot guarantee that the edited document will be completely error free or that it will completely satisfy your dissertation committee. You need to carefully read the edited document before turning it in to your committee members.

[2]  This might include a hard-copy edit wherein you input the changes yourself. Another possibility is a sample chapter, after which Kathleen creates a list of specific errors that she notices in your document as well as notes for correct APA usage. In minimizing editing costs, you may also wish to purchase Kathleen’s book, Confessions of a Dissertation Editor: Practical Guidance and Real-Life Stories. The purpose of the first part of the book is to help students identify common errors in APA formatting and academic writing so that they will either be able to go it alone without the need of an editor or need less of her time to create the final document. Kathleen’s book can be purchased through Kathleen’s web site:

Dissertations are science; stories are art. Dissertation editors worth your time and money will have a deep appreciation for both.

A dissertation is more than a journal of your research. It's a story that begins with a problem or question, has characters in the form of primary research and evidence, includes analysis of the characters and your unique interpretation of this analysis, and concludes with answers to the questions with which your story began.

What quality dissertation editing looks like

The quality of editors is the most important attribute that separates dissertation services. An editor must understand the research process and reasons why dissertation committees approve or reject a PhD student's paper. Quality editing services employ people who understand and apply this perspective during edits. Editors are the key ingredient that separates good from great dissertation writing.

For example, any copy editor with an English degree can make your writing grammatically correct. But, will they ensure facts are adequately presented to back your analysis? Will they ensure your sources are cited? Will they guarantee your paper follows the dissertation structure: abstract, acknowledgments, table of contents, introduction, discussion, analysis, findings and conclusion, references, and appendices? Will they understand the intent of each section of the paper and make sure your content supports the intent? Will they ensure your document is a pleasure to read and something you can be proud to present?

I saved months on the editing process of my dissertation. They are an exceptional editing service that is current with APA and academic dissertation standards. I highly recommend Gramlee to any doctoral student.

Aaron G.Dissertation: Smart Buildings Design Theory

My dissertation was nominated for a departmental award. My chair and committee were impressed with the quality of my work. Thank you for the excellent service!

Latrecha S.Dissertation: Self-advocacy and Motivation of Students with Physical Disabilities

Every member of my committee said that it was one of the best, most well-written dissertations they had read. I could not have done it without Gramlee.

John W.Dissertation: Kant and the Non-Spatiality of Things in Themselves

After 10 months and numerous revisions by other companies, Gramlee's editors were able to get me to the next step in my doctoral study process within 48 hours! First-class service.

Leroy D.Dissertation: Cyber Security Training for the Department of Defense

I successfully defended my dissertation and your staff played a HUGE role in my success. The editor's notes and suggestions were very comprehensive and constructive.

Thank you for your assistance, editing, and advice. I couldn't have done it without Gramlee!!!

Loretta T.Dissertation: A Phenomenological Study of the Homework Practices in the Self-Contained Special Education Classroom

Copy editing versus proofreading

If there is a single piece of advice that you take from this page, it's this: choose a dissertation editor who copy edits and not just proofreads. Make sure whoever you choose understands the difference. Choose a dissertation editing service that copy edits and not just proofreads. The difference matters, especially when your research is at stake.

Gramlee's editing dissertation services

Gramlee guarantees your paper will not be rejected for reasons related to structure, writing, documentation, or linguistic professionalism. Here is a list of things we edit for:

  • Grammar
    • Spelling
    • Punctuation
    • Subject/verb agreements
    • Tense consistency
  • Stylistic elements
    • Word or phrase redundancy
    • Wordiness
    • Active versus passive voice
    • Brevity and eliminating sentences that add no value
  • Tone and cultural sensitivity
    • Keeps locale and subject matter in mind
    • Ensures your writing does not invade political and cultural sensitivities
  • Diction and appropriate language for your subject and audience
  • Organization
    • Sentence structure
    • Proper use of paragraphs
    • Logical layout and sequence of paragraphs
    • Table of Contents, List of Figures/Charts/Tables, Abstract
  • Documentation and citations
    • Ensure that you credit others’ ideas and do not accidentally present as your own
    • Proper format for citations
  • Adherence to the style required by your institution
    • APA
    • MLA
    • CMS
    • Others (too many to list)
  • American English or British English (we can edit for either)
  • Overall flow and readability of the dissertation





What our service cannot do

We stand behind our doctrine on ethics. Here are things we cannot do with dissertations:

  • We cannot create content for you. We are not a service that writes dissertations.
  • We cannot conduct research or summarize your research.
  • We cannot guide you about your field of research.
  • We will not edit a paper that we feel has been purchased from a dissertation writing service.

Our dissertation process and how to start

Our editing process looks like this.

  1. Email us a draft of your dissertation.
  2. We will review your paper and provide an estimate of time and cost. Your writing style is a major factor in determining the time required and types of edits we will need to make. Beware of estimates from other services that give you a per-word quote without reviewing your entire dissertation.
  3. If you decide to proceed with Gramlee, we will email an invoice that you can pay online using Credit Card or PayPal.
  4. We will begin editing. Upon your request, we can also send you a revised version of the first 10,000 words. We want your feedback about our editing approach with your paper. Doing this early allows us to adjust our strategy if needed. This transparency also gives you a window into our editing process.
  5. The senior editor will complete their edits and email you a final revised dissertation. We use the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word so you can see every change and comment.
  6. You will always have access to our editors afterwards in case you have questions.

Our editors can manage up to 4,000 words per day. Experience shows us that exceeding this threshold leads to editing fatigue and deterioration in quality. Yes, you guessed right: services that promise lightning-fast edits are in business to maximize profits over a quality final product that you will be proud of.

To get started, please email us with your paper attached. We will give you an estimate within twelve (12) hours.

The work was perfect. The staff really cared about me and my paper. They took the time to contact me with any questions and wanted to make sure I was happy. I have bookmarked Gramlee for my future editing needs.

Chris M.Dissertation Topic: Education Reform using Common Core Standards

I know my dissertation wasn't easy to edit. You were consistent and sharp. My voice is preserved, and my research is now clearer and more presentable. I have a deep appreciation for you!

Mr. AlazriDissertation Topic: Marketability of Tourism Small Business

I saved months on the editing process of my dissertation. They are an exceptional editing service that is current with APA and academic dissertation standards. I highly recommend Gramlee to any doctoral student.

Aaron G.Dissertation Topic: Smart Buildings Design Theory

After 10 months and numerous revisions by other companies, Gramlee's editors were able to get me to the next step in my doctoral study process within 48 hours! First-class service.

Leroy D.Dissertation Topic: Cyber Security Training for the Department of Defense

The editor's notes and suggestions were very comprehensive and constructive. Your company clearly stated what I could and could not expect from an editing service. Thank you for your services.

Loretta T.Dissertation Topic: A Phenomenological Study of the Homework Practices in the Self-Contained Special Education Classroom

The edits really helped with clarity and accuracy. The comments were both helpful and encouraging. Thank you for all your help!

Ann A.Dissertation Topic: Displacement, Religious Radicalisation, and the Role of Education in Palestinian Terrorism, and the Transferrable Implications for Global Terrorism

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