The Finishing Touches to Your Dissertation

Like a 42km marathon, it can really feel good to know that the end of your dissertation is near. But like that marathon, there are still a few things to do to ensure you successfully cross that finish line. If not, you may find yourself requiring major revisions that will take up much more time than expected.

So take a look at some of these pointers so you finish your dissertation well.

1. Make sure your format is correct

You may think it absurd that there is so much emphasis on formatting; after all, the most important part should be how the paper was done and what were the results. However, as part of uniformity and professionalism, the university expects you to format your paper properly.

So ensure that you made the “minor” parts such as your Abstract, Acknowledgment, Appendix, Bibliography, and Table of Contents. Check the labels on your graphs and tables, and make sure your discussion references the right ones. Finally, confirm that you followed the correct style guide and that all sections in your paper adhere to the standard.

2. Incorporate your advisor’s feedback

As your mentor, it is always a smart move to ensure your advisor has had time to read and comment on each chapter of your dissertation before final submission. So do try to finish each milestone on time so your advisor has ample time to read.

As suggestions, you can choose to ignore them if you believe they conflict with your paper, especially if something major has been suggested. But since your advisor is more experienced, do consider the merit of what has been given.

3. Seek outside advice if necessary

Advisors are people too. Sometimes they are very swamped with work and cannot immediately critique your paper, especially if you keep missing the agreed-upon “deadlines.”

If that is your situation, you can try seeking feedback from peers or a third-party editor. The good thing about a peer is that he or she may give input free of charge. But the drawback is that they are just like you, so the quality of such comments may be suspect. Your peers may also be too busy working on their papers to thoroughly review yours.

If you get a recommended third-party editor (who views the strengths and weaknesses of your work as an advisor, not as a proofreader), the suggestions may have more weight. However, you will have to pay for such feedback, which won’t be cheap.

4. Get a proofreader

Whether you are a native speaker or not, when dealing with a 200-page dissertation, you still need a fresh pair of eyes to check your work. Although grammar checking programs are helpful, you will find that said programs cannot catch everything. So find a highly-rated proofreader to iron out the minor kinks in your paper.


Even though the end may be in sight, do not take any shortcuts just for the sake of finishing. Consider the points above so that your paper is the best that it can be.