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  • Writer's pictureLaura Schlater

Don’t Forget the Checklist!

I know how it is when you’re writing your dissertation: It’s hell. You don’t know what you were thinking, getting your Ph.D. You want to give up. (Believe me: I questioned my own sanity frequently. Who incurs that much student loan debt, only to put themselves through the worst torture imaginable?) Instead, you keep plodding on (small steps; you can do it!), submitting chapters to your chair, addressing his or her feedback, adding to the file, updating your references, resubmitting the chapters. With all this back and forth, it’s easy to lose sight of your dissertation’s structure.


Every university should have a checklist or rubric for you to follow. If you don’t have it—or don’t know anything about it—ask your chair. It’s vital! Without you checking all the boxes (quite literally), your committee members won’t approve your dissertation…which means an even higher tuition bill for you.


Most checklists will specify the sections you need to include, providing an outline for your dissertation. Usually you’ll have to populate the checklist with the pages on which the information can be found, as well provide as a brief summary (proof) to show you’ve actually fulfilled the requirement.


Unfortunately, I’ve seen far too many dissertations without completed checklists or, too often, no checklist at all. As an editor, I don’t mind populating your checklist for you—it’s second nature for me now—but expect me to return the file to you with sections you’ll need to add.


Of course, also make sure you’re using your university-approved template; every school’s is different. Finally, some chairs have specific requirements, too. When you send your dissertation to be edited, make sure to pass all these files on to your editor. It will streamline the process (and remember: streamline = less money out of your pocket).


As always, if you’re in need of a dissertation editor, I’m more than happy to help! Feel free to browse my website, including some testimonials, and get in touch to let me know how I can get your prospectus, proposal, or full dissertation to the approval stage quicker.

Photo by Chimene Gaspar on Unsplash

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