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GEC Policies

Due to the limited nature of the GEC staff, and to the typical length and advanced level of graduate student writing, the policies listed below have been put in place so that GEC editors can work with as many students as possible, complete editing jobs in a timely manner, and maintain the highest standards of work. These policies are subject to change.

Who can use the GEC

  • All SU and ESF graduate students may use the GEC.
  • Unfortunately, the GEC is not open to undergraduates, faculty, or staff.

Eligible requests (All requests are on a first-come, first-served basis)

  • Editors’ priority is to edit theses, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters (one chapter at a time). 
  • Short documents related to professional academic life, even if they are under 10 pages, such as conference proposals, conference papers, job or PhD program application cover letters, teaching statements, etc. (For help with CVs, please visit Career Services in the Schine Center)


Turn-around time

  • Your paper should be submission-ready when you complete a request form (or very soon after). We will no longer reserve editing time for students who do not have drafts ready at the time of contact.
  • Editing takes time. Four days is the minimum turn-around time for any paper of any length, including the initial communication necessary to get started. This is particularly true for first-time clients.
  • A 10-page document will take at least 4 business days to be returned to you and at least an additional day for each 10 pages thereafter. (For a 20-page paper, allot 5 days; for a 50-page paper, allot 8).
  • The above calculations are for the amount of time an editor needs to work with a document that is submission-ready. If there are excessive errors, or organizational issues within the paper, it will take additional editing time, in which case your editor will let you know and adjust the return date accordingly.
  • If there is not enough time between the receipt of your request and your due date, GEC editors will let you know. 

Other limitations 

  • Faculty approval: If your document is degree bearing, you must email your advisor/instructor informing him or her that you’ve contacted us. We will not edit until we see this email. 
  • Multiple submissions: We will only accept one request from you at a time.
  • Dissertations and theses: In order to serve as many students as possible, the GEC no longer accepts complete dissertations or theses in one request. Editors will accept chapters or sections one at a time; when the first chapter is returned, you may send a request for the next. We will make every attempt to keep you working with the same editor throughout the process, but we cannot guarantee this.
  • Availability: Based on workload and available hours, editors may limit the amount of work they accept for editing, or they may have to distribute that work over a period of time. For example, during busy times, especially near the middle or ends of semesters, editors may only be able to accept a portion of the requests that come in. 
  • Type of assistance needed: The GEC primarily provides graduate students with editing/proofreading services. Students who are in need of assistance during the early planning or drafting stages of their work, or who are interested learning more about such aspects of writing as grammar and usage, should set up an appointment with the Writing Center. 
  • Disciplinary variation: GEC staff members are skilled editors, however, specific disciplinary conventions, such as formatting preferences, varying citation conventions, and field-specific terminology may be beyond an editor's knowledge. In these cases, students will be referred back to their professors/academic advisors for further counsel. 

Academic integrity

  • The GEC aims to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. To this end, while the editors will make recommendations to improve the readability, fluency, and grammatical and mechanical clarity of your writing, both the content and the language of your work are understood to be your own. Editors will make every effort to retain the meaning of your sentences through any suggestions that they make; whether or not these suggestions are accepted is the decision—and responsibility—of each writer. 
  • Any suspected academic dishonestly, including plagiarism or poor or incomplete citation practices that could lead to a charge of plagiarism, will be brought to a student's attention immediately. In most cases, these issues will be resolved between the editor and the student, though in some cases more consequential steps, such as referral to the University Judicial Board or to an academic advisor, may be taken.