Editing research theses

Editors can assist students in preparing their Honours, Master’s or PhD theses for submission. To carry out such work, an editor does not have to be a specialist in the discipline or field covered by the thesis.

In response to concerns about issues relating to authorship, fairness and the relative responsibilities and roles of academic supervisors and professional editors, Guidelines for editing research theses on editing theses have been developed collaboratively by the Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies and the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd). Although the guidelines focus specifically on the editing of higher-degree theses, they can be used for editing any student work to be submitted for assessment.

By setting limitations on the level of editing that professional editors can provide, the guidelines aim to ensure that the integrity of students’ work is not open to challenge. Before handing over a thesis for editing, students should consult with their principal supervisor and present the editor with a copy of the guidelines. Editors should make supervisors and students aware of their existence and enforce their principles.