Policy has been developed by the Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies collaboratively with the council of Australian Societies of Editors.


Professional editors need to be clear about the extent and nature of help they offer in the editing of research students' theses and dissertations. Academic supervisors of research students also need to be clear about the role of the professional editor as well as their own editorial role. This policy has been developed primarily to give guidance to professional editors. It also provides a guide for academic supervisors. This document has been developed with close attention to the current Australian Standards for Editing Practice (ASEP).  Academic supervisors are encouraged to become familiar with this very useful publication. 

Proof-reading and editing of research theses and dissertations

It is expected that the academic supervisors of research higher degree students will provide editorial advice to their students. This type of advice is covered in Standards C, D and E of ASEP:

  • Standard C, Substance and Structure
  • Standard D, Language and Illustrations 
  • Standard E, Completeness and Consistency.

Students may use a professional editor in preparing their thesis for submission, but they should discuss this with their principal supervisor and provide the editor with a copy of this policy before they commence work.

Professional editorial intervention should be restricted to:

  • Standard D
  • Standard E

Where a professional editor provides advice on matters of structure (Standard C), exemplars only should be given. Material for editing or proofreading should be submitted in hard copy. In electronic copy it is too easy for the student to accept editorial suggestions without thinking about their implications. When a thesis has had the benefit of professional editorial advice, of any form, the name of the editor and a brief description of the service rendered, in terms of Australian Standards for Editing Practice, should be printed as part of the list of acknowledgements or other prefatory matter. If the professional editor's current or former area of academic specialisation is similar to that of the candidate, this too should be stated in the prefatory matter of the thesis. The Australian Standards for Editing Practice is available at The Institute of Professional Editors Limited (IPEd).