Academic Editing

Kathleen Kline has been providing academic editing services for over 35 years, assisting students, authors, and instructors in a number of capacities: from mechanical editing, proofreading, and adherence to an academic style guide, to providing more extensive copyediting 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 general guidance. Her book, De-Stressing the Dissertation and Other Forms of Academic Writing: Real-Life Stories and Practice Guidance, is available through at

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

Standard Rates

Academic editing costs for dissertations, theses, and other academic documents are primarily 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.

Mechanical/technical editing (using track changes):
Punctuation, grammar, usage, spelling, proofreading for mechanical errors, style guide adherence, references

   10-25 mpp*

More comprehensive editing for content, readability, flow, organization, academic voice, word choice, design, and style 

   20-45 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


How Kathleen Works With Dissertation Clients 

There are a number of preliminary steps involved in working with Kathleen on your dissertation (or other academic document). These steps allow you to review Kathleen's editing of your dissertation before entering into a contractual agreement. In addition, you will learn about the levels of editing available as well as other ways that Kathleen can assist you with the dissertation-writing process (e.g., helping with references, giving guidance on rules of style and formatting). At the same time, Kathleen must have a sense of your writing style and level of editing needs, as well as any specific issues with which you may need assistance.

1.   Review document and submit a sample edit. First, you e-mail your document to Kathleen—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 the sample edit to you so that you (and your advisor, if appropriate) can review her work. For this service, Kathleen charges $200.00. If you choose to proceed, this cost will be subsumed within the contract cost if no other changes are made to these edited pages. If you decide not to go forward, you will still come away with a good representation of how to improve your writing with pointers for correct style guide 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 may be added for formatting the text and/or tables, preparing the front pages (per your school’s specifications), including the table of contents; providing overall formatting; editing the reference list, and consultation time.

3.   Proposed contract. Along with the sample edit, Kathleen will 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 35+ years of experience; and (d) time line and 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 and only needs mechanical editing—including a careful proofreading, formatting, and review for style guide adherence—might take 15 minutes per page (50 pages x 15 mpp = 750 minutes or 12.5 hours). Additional costs might include initial consultation (1.0 hour), preparing preliminary pages (1.0-2.0 hours), preparing table of contents (0.5-1.5 hours), and editing the reference list (0.5-4.0 hours). Total time: 15.5-21.0 hours @ $85.00/hour = $1,317.50-$1,785.00.

Example 2:

A 100-page completed dissertation that needs more extensive copyediting, including formatting and style guide adherence, 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, footnotes, and formatting tables. This may add 2.0-10.0 hours to the total time needed to complete the dissertation, bringing the total to 50.0-55.0 hours. Total time: 50.0-60.0 hours @ $85.00/hour = $4,250.00-$5,100.00.

5.   Meeting. After steps 1-4 have been completed, Kathleen sets up a meeting. 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 payment has been made, she then eā€‘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 style guide usage.

To minimize editing costs, you may also wish to purchase Kathleen’s book, De-Stressing the Dissertation and Other Forms of Academic Writing: Practical Guidance and Real-Life Stories. This book provides guidance and advice on academic editing, working with the mechanical aspects of dissertations (e.g., formatting), and working with a style guide. To purchase this book, click on the "my book" tab.