Dissertation Editing Services: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re unsure about the quality of your dissertation writing, it’s best to get it reviewed by an expert editor. But you may have lots of questions about how this works. Do you need professional dissertation editing services? What process do they follow? What are the best dissertation proofreading services and how can you choose the right one for yourself?

In this article, we’ve answered all these questions and more. From checks to find out if a company is legit to your expected dissertation editing costs, we’ve covered it all. So without further ado, let’s get into it.  

What Are Dissertation Editing Services?

Dissertation editing services are professional services that help students refine their dissertations before submitting them. Companies that provide these services for students and researchers are also called “dissertation editing services”. Depending on the type of review, they check your thesis for coherence, clarity, syntax, grammar, and word choice.


While understanding professional editing services for dissertations, you may wonder how they work. These companies employ hundreds of academic editors from diverse fields. They use advanced software and a skilled team to assign each dissertation to an expert from the field. This way, you don’t have to waste your time hunting for a dissertation editor and you still get expert feedback.


But are dissertation proofreading and editing services really that important? Could you do without them?

Why Choose Dissertation Editing Services?

You should choose dissertation editing services because your dissertation is the most important academic text you’ll ever work on. It’s your responsibility to ensure that it’s written and formatted as perfectly as possible, and you will lose marks if there are errors in the document!


Plus, your dissertation is your original contribution to your field of study. It has to be the best reflection of your research, or it’ll undermine all your hard work. Due diligence in editing and proofreading your dissertation elevates its quality and conveys your sincerity to your work.


But why not edit your dissertation yourself? Well, there are several disadvantages of self-editing. There are even more advantages of dissertation editing services. So, what do dissertation editing services offer?


Dissertation editing services:

  • Catch the most minute errors you’ll likely miss, even with several reviews.
  • Improve the clarity and coherence of your writing.
  • Ensure accuracy in research methods, argument logic, and use of technical terms.
  • Offer expert feedback to improve your document further.
  • Elevate the overall impact and quality of your dissertation, helping you score higher.


But how does this process work? A dissertation is a lengthy document, so dissertation proofreading services take a layered approach.

Dissertation Editing Process

The dissertation editing process moves from macro-level edits to micro-level edits. So, document-spanning issues such as coherence and argument clarity are considered first. More specific issues such as grammar and spelling mistakes are fixed at the end to avoid repeated work. 


Depending on the scope of the editing step and the issues looked at, there are four major types of editing. They’re undertaken in a specific order, but various services may offer them in different formats.

Types of Dissertation Editing

The four types of dissertation editing are substantive or developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Does your dissertation need all four steps? Let’s take a look.

1. Substantive Editing

Substantive editing, also known as content editing or developmental editing, focuses on the content of your dissertation. It improves the structure and flow of the entire document, examining its clarity and coherence. 


A substantive editor:

  • Examines the logical development of your argument.
  • Ensures that your writing is clear and has a smooth flow.
  • Checks the validity of your methodology and data points.
  • Removes any ambiguous, redundant, or repetitive sections.
  • Ensures that your dissertation aligns with your research objectives.


The substantive editor will leave comments on the document, highlighting problematic areas and suggesting improvements. Since you’re the writer, you decide which comments to work on and which ones to ignore, if any. 

2. Line Editing

Line editing is a line-by-line edit that improves the clarity, flow, and effectiveness of your academic sentences. This is a more stylistic review, focusing on meaning, tone, and word choice than grammar or punctuation. So if you want to ensure that your dissertation is engaging, coherent, and well-written, you need a line editor.


A line editor checks your dissertation for the following:

  • Clear expression of the intended meaning
  • Word choice and sentence structure
  • Smooth flow between sentences and paragraphs
  • Consistency in tone and style
  • Pacing (sentence length, density of data, etc.)
  • Overt language errors (not the main focus)


This step is crucial for ESL students and researchers as well as anyone who’s unsure of their writing abilities. However, providers of dissertation editing services often combine line editing with copy editing, since both these steps address overlapping concerns.

3. Copy Editing

Copy editing for a dissertation is a meticulous process that focuses on the mechanical aspects of writing such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In its pure form, copy editing doesn’t pay much attention to stylistic or technical aspects of your writing. So, a copy editor will fix the language errors in a sentence but not inconsistencies in writing style or pacing.


Just because dissertation copy editing is mechanical doesn’t mean it has a narrow scope, though. A copy editor checks not only writing but also graphic elements, formatting style, and referencing. A copy editor undertakes the following tasks:

  • Correcting errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence construction.
  • Ensuring proper sentence structure with subject-verb agreement.
  • Making the text clear and readable.
  • Checking the use of technical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms.
  • Reviewing the labeling, formatting, relevance, and overall fitness of tables, figures, and images.
  • Ensuring that the dissertation follows the prescribed style guidelines (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Reviewing in-text citations and entries on the reference list; cross-checking them for accuracy and missing details.
  • Checking for overall consistency in the document (formatting, word choice, and style).
  • Undertaking a basic review of the page layout.


As you can see, a copy editor plays a crucial role in removing several kinds of errors from your dissertation. Compared to this, a line editor’s review seems smaller in scope. So, most dissertation copy editing service providers combine it with line editing. They correct language errors and add comments for stylistic improvements.

4. Proofreading

Dissertation proofreading is the final review that highlights any errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. It looks only for surface-level mistakes, such as typographical or language-related errors. So, it’s like copy editing in a sense but with a smaller scope.


Proofreading removes any lingering errors that may distract readers or undermine your hard work. It may seem like a minor step, but it’s an essential quality check and your last defense against any superficial errors. You should proofread your dissertation once all other editing steps are complete to avoid rework.


Proofreading highlights the following errors in your dissertation:

  • Spelling mistakes and typos
  • Punctuation errors
  • Any obvious grammar errors
  • Incorrect abbreviations and acronyms
  • Errors in labeling or formatting tables and figures
  • Referencing errors
  • Problems with page formatting (such as improper margins and missing headers)


Since a dissertation proofreader has to catch such minute errors, proofreading is a painstaking and detail-oriented task. Dissertation proofreading services hire trained experts to undertake this step, saving you time and effort.

What Is Dissertation Referencing?

Dissertation referencing is the process of adding references to your dissertation. While researching, you’re bound to use information from a variety of sources, all of which you must credit in your thesis. Whether you follow the MLA style or APA format, you must add and correctly format your in-text citations and reference list entries.


Professional dissertation editors and proofreaders don’t usually undertake this step for you. They may fix one or two incorrect or missing citations, but they don’t write your reference list for you. If any APA dissertation editing services undertake this task, they may charge an additional price.

What Is Dissertation Formatting?

Dissertation formatting is the process of formatting your pages and text according to the style guidelines prescribed by your university. This is usually the MLA format for humanities students, APA format for STEM students, and Chicago style for students of business and history. Incorrect formatting in your dissertation may result in a lower score.


Like referencing, an editor does not undertake dissertation formatting for you unless as a separate task. Some companies do offer dissertation referencing and formatting services in addition to editing and proofreading.

Choosing an Editing Service: What to Look For

Now that you know what dissertation editing is, why it’s important, and how it works, it’s time to find out how to choose an editing service. There are several dissertation review services out there, old and new. Older firms have experience but are often more expensive, while newer companies are more affordable but aren’t well-known. So what signs should you look for?

1. Reviews and Recommendations

Personal recommendations from your peers or seniors are the best method when choosing an editing service. If a company has worked for them, it probably understands the requirements of your subject or university. Some universities also have tie-ups with doctoral dissertation editing services, so you should check if yours has one.


The next step is to check the company’s online reviews. Even a quick look at the reviews will give you a good idea of a company’s strengths and weaknesses. You can then make a more informed choice based on these testimonials.


Shortlist a few editing services from this initial check and refine that list as you find out more about them.

2. A Helpful but Realistic Support Team

All good editing firms have a support team that communicates your requirements to the editing team. The support staff also helps you place your order and guides you through the editing process. Ideally, the person communicating with you should be friendly, confident, and knowledgeable, but not pushy.


If you’re being rushed into placing an order or being offered dubious discounts, you should proceed with caution. So, make sure that the support team knows what they’re doing and can be relied upon. You should also remember to be very clear about your requirements and priorities in your document. This will help them target those issues in your dissertation and you won’t have to ask for any revisions.

3. Transparency and Confidentiality

Dissertation editing services must be transparent about their editing process and measures to ensure document confidentiality. At the end of your first call with the company, you should have clarity about the people who will work on your document and the process they’ll follow. If you can’t be sure of this, ask the support team for clarification. If you don’t get a satisfying answer, it’s probably best to avoid working with that particular service.


Another important aspect of dissertation editing is confidentiality. Almost all editing services have their editors sign NDAs at the time of joining, so you shouldn’t worry about that. One thing to look for, however, is the security measures the company undertakes to protect your document from outside threats. This includes 192-bit or 256-bit encryption methods, which are popularly used by dissertation editing companies.

4. Free Work Sample

Always ask for a sample edit. Editing companies don’t usually offer a sample edit unless you approach them with a major document. Since a dissertation qualifies as such, any firm worth its name should be good to offer you a one-page or 300-word free edit.


This sample edit will tell you a lot about a company’s work ethic, quality of edits, and professionalism. If you’ve shortlisted a few companies, the sample edit is probably the most reliable metric to base your final decision on. However, company policies keep changing and some established firms may have stopped offering sample edits. In this case, you’ll have to decide based on the three factors listed above.

5. A Good Offer

The final consideration is one for your pocket. Getting dissertation editing help can get expensive, and most companies understand the financial constraints on students. So, you’re likely to find big discounts during the dissertation season. If waiting that long isn’t an option for you, don’t hesitate to ask the support staff!


Once you have a quote from a few companies, compare their pros and cons and you’ll be able to choose the best dissertation editing service for you.


Be sure to enquire about the company’s revision policy. If you’re unhappy with the edit, you should be able to receive a partial or full refund. Most editing services offer one or two free revisions, so make sure to use those and get the best version of your document!


Now that we know how to choose a dissertation editing service, what are some well-known firms that fit the bill? Let’s take a look.

The Top Dissertation Editing Services of 2024

Of the many premium dissertation editing services out there, some stand out as the best of the best. In this list, we’ve considered quality of services, pricing, turnaround time, and editorial team. So, here are the best dissertation editing services of 2024:


1. Scribbr

An established name in academic editing, Scribbr is particularly popular among college students due to its online tools and resources. Their expertise and experience don’t come cheap, but you can rest assured that your dissertation will be well-edited. The best thing is that you can ask them to focus on certain aspects of your document.


If you know that your writing isn’t clear or that your structure needs to be refined, you can opt for the relevant checks. These come with a hike in price but may be helpful for those who have received targeted feedback from professors before. After all, structure, cohesion, and clarity are important factors that affect your overall grade.


Scribbr can return your edited dissertation in 12 hours to 7 days. At around $835 for a 15,000-word dissertation, however, dissertation editing with Scribbr will cost you a pretty penny.

2. Cambridge Proofreading

Cambridge Proofreading has been offering dissertation editing services for over 11 years. They employ more than 300 academic editors, all of whom are native speakers from the US and UK. Their system deletes all documents after 15 days of closing an order, which helps keep your dissertation confidential.


Cambridge Proofreading has expertise in editing dissertations from diverse fields, from astrophysics to philosophy. Recently they’ve also launched a service where they humanize AI-generated text. This is an additional boost for many students, helping them get more work done in less time.


Their dissertation editing process is fairly straightforward, but they stand out in terms of pricing. They charge dissertation editing rates of $28.90 per 1,000 words for a 24-hour delivery and $25.90 per 1,000 words for a 48-hour delivery. In terms of both the cost and turnaround time, this is excellent!

3. Scribendi

Scribendi was established in 1997, making it one of the oldest top dissertation editing companies. They have a separate approach to ESL writers, paying more attention to those documents. With 287 editors working at the firm, they should be able to pair you with an expert from your field.


Sribendi has ISO certification and prioritizes customer satisfaction. They can deliver your document in as little time as four hours! This isn’t feasible for longer documents like dissertations, however. For example, they can deliver a 15,000-word dissertation in 48 hours to 7 days. Their price range for this is $558–$615, putting them on the slightly expensive side of things.


You can use their dissertation editing service to refine not only complete theses but also dissertation and thesis proposals.

4. TrueEditors

Although a relatively newer company, TrueEditors is a robust and affordable dissertation editing service. They have more than 155 academic experts onboard from a diverse range of academic disciplines. The best thing is that their edit also includes dissertation referencing, dissertation formatting, and a plagiarism check!


TrueEditors offers five prices depending on the time duration. They can deliver your edited dissertation in 48 hours, but the price will be higher. If you opt for a delivery time of ten days, however, the price will be much lower.


Aside from editing and proofreading a dissertation, TrueEditors also offers:

  • Paraphrasing & Rewriting
  • Content Writing
  • Translation

These additional services are especially useful to ESL students, who may struggle to express their ideas as eloquently in English.

5. Enago

Enago employs highly qualified editors and proofreaders to work on your dissertation. They offer dissertation editing services in two packages: Thesis Essentials and Thesis Pro. The Thesis Essentials package is limited to grammar, punctuation, academic style,  and expert commentary. You can get thesis formatting, reference formatting, plagiarism check, and one revision with this package as add-ons.


The Thesis Pro package includes everything in Essentials but adds a clarity check, structure check, and advanced commentary. Reference formatting and one revision round are free with this package. If you’re not sure about editing with Enago, you can get their sample edit of 200 words. They only offer this if your dissertation is over 10,000 words.


This overview of the best dissertation editing services must have given you an idea about the process and pricing. But let’s take a closer look at the average dissertation proofreading cost.

How Much Does it Cost to Edit a Dissertation?

It can cost between $400–$850 to edit a dissertation of 15,000 words. However, the cost of dissertation editing varies based on document length, complexity, and your requirements. Undergraduate and master’s dissertations, for instance, will be about 8,000–15,000 words long. PhD dissertations, on the other hand, can reach about 80,000–100,000 words in length, which hikes up the price dramatically.


Similarly, a specialized structure and quality check is likely to add a few hundred dollars to the editing cost. If you want the editing service to handle referencing and formatting on top of that, the cost will increase. The cost of dissertation editing is directly proportional to the amount of work the editor undertakes.


It’s always best to edit and proofread your dissertation a few times yourself and get an initial review from your instructor. You can then look for PhD dissertation editing services based on their feedback. If you know exactly what you need an editor to do, you’ll have to pay only for the essentials.

How Can I Get a Dissertation Editing Quote?

You can get a dissertation editing quote by visiting a company’s website. Most online dissertation editing services have their pricing readily available on their web pages. You can simply type the word count of your dissertation and get a tentative figure. Some companies ask you to upload your dissertation before offering a quote.


If you’d like to know more about a company and their style of work, you can reach out to their support team. These days, most companies have chatbots on their website and you can use them to get in touch with the team. This is a better way to get a quote since you can tell them your requirements and obtain a much better offer.

Can I Get a Discount on Dissertation Editing Services?

Yes, you can definitely get a discount on dissertation editing services. Almost every editing company will offer you a 5% to 10% discount on your first order. Some also have student discounts of up to 15%. Plus, most companies have offers going on throughout the year, such as Black Friday, Holiday Season, and Easter discounts.

If you’ve been working on your dissertation in advance, you’re likely to have a document ready when one of the big offers comes around. If you’re in a time crunch, though, you’ll probably have to make do with a 10% discount.


How Long Does it Take to Proofread a Dissertation?

It may take anywhere from 12 hours to 7 days to proofread a dissertation. If you pay for a premium dissertation editing service, they may even deliver the proofread document in a few hours! But less turnaround time usually means more expensive services. So, the time it takes to proofread a dissertation largely depends on your editing budget!

Do Dissertation Editing Services Offer Error-Free Dissertations?

Yes, dissertation editing services offer error-free dissertations—that’s their purpose! This doesn’t mean that no error can bypass an editor; such a claim would be impossible to live up to. However, dissertation editing and proofreading services undertake several reviews to find and remove as many errors as they can. This, in turn, almost always leaves your document completely error-free!

Is it Safe to Send a Dissertation for Editing Services?

Yes, it’s completely safe to send a dissertation to editing services! It is not only academically ethical but expected that you get your dissertation professionally edited. Editing companies undertake several measures to protect your document, from encryption methods to NDAs. Rest assured, your dissertation is safe in your editors’ hands!

What Types of Documents Can You Use Dissertation Editing Services For?

You can use dissertation editing services for complete theses and dissertations as well as partial drafts. Some services also consider thesis and dissertation proposals under dissertation editing services.

Who Will Be Editing My Dissertation?

An editor with expertise in your subject who matches your editing requirements will edit your dissertation. Since dissertation editing services are legally obligated to protect the identities of their editors, you can’t interact with them firsthand. You can, however, request the support staff to pair you up with a specific type of editor.

-Isabell S.


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