Proofreading Your Thesis

Interested in proofreading your thesis?

Here are some basic recommendations to take into consideration when looking for someone to proofread your thesis. For a more in-depth guide, see our article on finding the best dissertation proofreaders. You may also be interested in our guide to how to proofread a thesis.

If you’re not yet at the proofreading stage and are looking for help to draft the first copy of your thesis, take a look at our guide to writing a thesis statement.

Proofreading Your Thesis: Basic Recommendations


It’s your responsibility to plan the thesis-writing process appropriately to give adequate time for someone to proofread your work. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to proofread 80,000 words. As a general rule, give yourself a minimum of two weeks before the submission date. Ask your proofreader for an estimate of the time needed if you are unsure.


Good proofreaders are transparent about their prices and typically charge by the number of words rather than the number of hours. Look for a dissertation proofreading service that offers transparent pricing.

Proofreading is a professional service, and prices could be more than you anticipate. Additionally, it’s critical that you negotiate the date(s) by which you need your work returned and obtain written quotes because charges are frequently higher for quick turnaround periods (e.g., 24 hours will cost much more than one week). Paying your proofreader promptly and at the agreed-upon rate is important.

Work that needs to be done on your thesis

You should try to give your proofreader a finished draft of your thesis so they can work on the entire document.

Chapter-by-chapter proofreading is an option if you are unable to deliver the full text.

Organization is key; after all, you will be writing, editing, and polishing many aspects of your thesis at the same time. Additionally, you should strive to get the most comprehensive draft of your thesis or chapter(s) reviewed in order to reduce the likelihood that you will introduce new errors if you need to rewrite any sections after the proofreading has been completed.

Understand that proofreading is not editing

Some universities do not allow their students to submit professionally edited essays. For instance, take a look at the London School of Economics’ guidelines on editorial help.

In essence, proofreading is the process of going through a manuscript and pointing out errors so the author can fix them themselves. During the editing process, the editor goes through a given document and corrects all the structural, grammatical, and punctuation errors. However, the writer is credited with the edits. Before you engage your dissertation proofreader discuss your expectations and requirements.

It is entirely up to you to decide how to deliver your thesis, both in terms of substance and format. Proofreaders shouldn’t be utilized as a shortcut to finishing or improving your thesis; however, they may offer detailed suggestions you can choose to follow or ignore.

Read our guide to is proofreading essays cheating for insights into what universities have to say on this matter.

After you have finished proofreading your thesis, you may wish to rewrite it to create several different versions for publication. Take a look at our guide to rewriting a thesis for more help.

Finding someone to proofread your thesis

There are a large number of proofreaders out there. You will encounter differences in both the price and the calibre of the services they offer. Start by seeking suggestions from friends or coworkers. You can also explore online service providers, but avoid websites that specialize in essay writing.

Questions to ask a proofreader

  • What experience do you have with proofreading doctoral theses?
  • Could you show me a sample of your work?
  • Do you have any endorsements from prior customers?
  • What is the cost of editing an 80,000-word thesis?
  • Do you tack on extra fees for quick turnaround times?
  • How many customers do you have right now? Will you have time to proofread my writing?
  • Do you offer revisions?

Proofreading Your Own Thesis

Learning how to proofread your own work is a crucial skill. Here are some top tips for proofreading your own thesis. You may find our free printable proofreading checklist useful.

1. Read what you have written aloud.

Speaking aloud causes your reading speed to slow down, making it easier to detect mistakes. Text-to-speech programs can read the text for you, allowing you to objectively listen to the content. You can get more great ideas on tools that can help you write better essays and dissertations in our guide to essay hacks.

2. Don’t proofread your thesis until you’ve completed writing and revising the full document.

If you make significant modifications during proofreading, even within individual sentences, you are still in an artistic, creative state and not a scientific mode.

3. Make sure there are no potential disruptions or sources of distraction.

Close the door, turn off the TV, radio, and music, log off of social media and email, and hide your phone. If you have to leave the computer entirely, print your document.

4. Ask someone to proofread your thesis for you

If you are not in a position to hire a professional proofreading service, ask a friend to proofread your thesis for you. This peer editing checklist may come in handy.

5. Focus on a word at a time as opposed to proofreading your full thesis

Don’t read the full document on a holistic level; instead, consider each sentence in detail. Pay attention to your grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Try reading the text backwards, a sentence at a time.

6. Perform multiple passes to catch different types of mistake

Verify the grammar and punctuation on one pass, the spelling on another, and the format on yet another. Create a thesis proofreading plan and stick to it.

7. Keep track of the mistakes you commonly make

Even the most seasoned writer occasionally confuses the words their, they’re, and there with too, two, and to. I tend to write carelessly when I’m pressed for time or trying to write quickly. Not a major issue. That’s the whole purpose of proofreading.

Make a quick note of the mistakes that you seem to make again and again, and screen the whole document for that issue using the “Find and Replace” function.

8. Identify and double-check all facts, dates, quotes, tables, references, text boxes, and anything repeated or outside the main text.

Concentrate on one element of your writing at a time or a few related elements.

9. Perform a final format check.

Theses and dissertations need to follow a distinct structure, including the spacing between paragraphs, text wrapping, indents, spaces above and below a list of bullet points, spaces between subheadings and text, and other elements. You can read more in our guide to APA formatting.

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