Academic Support for Master's and PhD students

Our team at The Ultimate Proofreader are acutely aware of the importance of completing your Master’s dissertation and/or PhD thesis to as high as standard as possible. For this reason, we offer a range of services in addition to those of proofreading/editing. The purpose of this article is to detail these services and explain how we can help you achieve success in your academic endeavours.



One of the most challenging tasks in any thesis or dissertation is ensuring the required referencing style is used correctly and without error throughout your work. This includes both in-text citations and the reference list/bibliography at the end of your thesis/dissertation. Mistakes in referencing give the impression of a lack of professional aptitude and/or insufficient care in writing and checking your thesis. It is therefore essential to get it right, but doing so can be a long and laborious process. At The Ultimate Proofreader, we will go through every in-text citation and the entire reference list to ensure everything is in order. Whether you are using APA, Harvard, Chicago, OSCOLA, or any other system, we will make sure the requirements are fully met by checking for errors in punctuation, use of italics, inconsistent/incorrect use of &/and, the presentation of authors’ names, and whether the references are correctly alphabetised.



Another time-consuming task that is vitally important to perform is to ensure that your work is formatted correctly, consistently, and in accordance with the requirements of the particular referencing system you are using. This encompasses a wide range of technical features, such as fonts/font sizes, spacing between sections/paragraphs, indenting of paragraphs, formatting of headings/sub-headings, and, in particular, the correct presentation and labelling of all figures and tables. The latter frequently gives rise to errors such as incorrect italicisation (or lack of), headings in the wrong place (e.g. under rather than above figures), inappropriate punctuation, cramped and illegible text, and text/numbers that are incorrectly aligned. We will meticulously go through your work and identify and then correct all such errors. In some cases, it will not be possible to make such corrections as the tables and/or figures are imported and hence cannot be edited. In these instances, we will flag the errors using ‘comments’ bubbles and explicitly state what needs to be addressed and how. Our aim is to ensure examiners are not distracted or frustrated by unnecessary or careless mistakes, leaving them free to focus on the content of your work whilst being impressed by the level of academic professionalism on display.



Whilst writing your thesis and/or dissertation, you may need to include work that you have already published in a stand-alone paper. Your thesis/dissertation is also a public document, therefore it is essential to ensure that you do not plagiarise your own work (yes, this does happen) by simply copying text from an existing paper. However, rewriting your work in different words whilst retaining the correct meaning can be an extremely challenging task. This is where we can help. Our team of experienced paraphrasers will rewrite the specified task in clear, academic English, ensuring that it is of an equivalent standard, does not lose any of the essential information, and conveys exactly the meaning that was intended.


Scholarly Review

Although we will not necessarily be experts in your specialist field, our team of expert proofreaders and editors know what it takes to produce a high-quality thesis or dissertation. Accordingly, we will able to review your work from the standpoint of a supervisor or examiner and comment on the overall structure, coherence, and persuasiveness of your thesis. We will be able to identify any apparent omissions, inconsistencies in argumentation, excessive repetition, ambiguities and obscure references, lapses in academic style, and/or unsupported or dubious assertions in your work. When conducting such a review, we will not seek to rectify these issues but instead will flag them using the ‘comments’ tool and, where appropriate, make suggestions as to how to remedy them. We can also highlight areas where further explanation is required, such as in the introduction of certain technical concepts, or conversely, where too much explanation is given and the text is unnecessarily wordy or dense.


Checking the use of acronyms

One of the most common errors issues that arises when writing theses/dissertations concerns the use of acronyms. For instance, sometimes acronyms are used from the outset, leaving the reader mystified as to what they actually represent. Conversely, there are occasions where acronyms are never used, resulting in text that is too wordy and difficult to follow ‒ it also prevents the author from including what may turn out to be more important material purely so they can meet the word limit. Most commonly, students will tend to alternate between the use of acronyms and full names (e.g. the UN and the United Nations). The correct approach is to write the names in full on first mention, with the acronym in brackets, and then use the acronyms thereafter. When writing abstracts, however, acronyms should be avoided. We will therefore help to ensure acronyms are used correctly and appropriately throughout your work.



Contents tables and page numbering

Students often find it difficult to construct a detailed and accurate contents table. Thankfully, Microsoft Word will often do this for you, simply click on References on the toolbar and then select Table of Contents on the left-hand side. You can then choose from a range of formats, but will need to ensure that the style you opt for is appropriate for the referencing format you are using (e.g. Harvard, APA). We can help by checking this for you or even creating a contents table from scratch) and ensuring that the chapter headings and sub-headings are written and presented in the current way, along with the corresponding page numbers. The main advantage of using this feature in Word is that it allows you to automatically update your contents table, which means you can make as many edits and changes as you like in the text without needing to go through the painstaking process of manually updating the contents table (which also gives rise to the risk of errors).

However, although the page numbers are automatically updated, this will only work if you have numbered your pages correctly throughout your thesis/dissertation. Different institutions vary in their requirements, so you will need to check these. Often, some sections will need to be numbered differently, with initial sections such as the Abstract and Acknowledgments numbered using roman numerals and the remaining sections (usually the body of the text) numbered using 1, 2, 3, and so on. You can set this up by clicking on Insert on the toolbar and then selecting Page Number. This can be a tricky process, so we can help by advising you on this or actually setting up the page numbers for you. We can also set up appropriate Headers and Footers should you require them.


If you are struggling with any of the above aspects, or are worried that you may not have got things absolutely right when writing up your thesis/dissertation, than contact us today for a free quote at and we will help ensure your work is as perfect as it can be. 

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