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A thesis editor is a writing and editing professional who works with people who are writing papers such as theses and dissertations. Although it is academically unethical for a thesis editor to create any portion of the content of a thesis, she may help to copy edit the work, work to improve the writing style, and make suggestions to the student about restructuring areas of the paper. In some cases, an editor may suggest that more content or more research is required to round out the paper. These suggestions may be quite helpful, but should be reviewed with a thesis adviesr or trusted professor. Any added content and any new ideas that are brought to the paper, however, must be generated by the writer and not the editor.
It is common for a thesis editor to be well versed in a number of different thesis styles. For example, different branches of study require different kinds of formatting, structure, and notation. A thesis editor should be knowledgeable about these different styles and able to work within their parameters and requirements.
It is not necessary to hire a thesis editor before submitting a thesis or dissertation. Some people, however, who may believe that their research capabilities are stronger than their writing skills may find that it is helpful to hire someone to make sure that their ideas and research are as well-expressed as possible within the parameters of the thesis. Before hiring a thesis editor, it is important to find out if one's institution has rules or regulations about how and when an thesis editor may be employed by students. Also, it may be wise to ask for referrals from professors in one's program or from other students who are farther along in their thesis work as they may have advice on which thesis editors are best.
There are editors who are able to work on theses of many varieties. For example, there are editors who specialize in working with high school students who are writing some of their first long form papers. There are others, at the opposite end of the spectrum, who work exclusively on doctoral theses. While it is possible for a thesis editor to be able to work on both kinds of papers and everything in between, it is common for these writing and editing professionals to stick to one general area.