Thesis coaching and editing

coaching - isolated text in wooden building blocks

For the past few years, I have been helping PhD students finish! It’s the most satisfying work.

And the topic range would amaze you!


Let’s see, for starters: classical music, town planning, eco-philosophy, sustainability, urban design, traffic planning, film, cultural studies, engagement with children, surrogacy, online dating….

I was trained as a high school English teacher.

But when I went in a high school for my student teaching from 1963 to 1965, I looked about fifteen.

And I felt about fifteen.


Student teacher aged 20!
Student teacher aged 20!

I did not have the discipline for it — as the eighteen-year-old boys quickly figured out when this young woman of twenty tried to “discipline” them in senior English.

But I do know my colons from my semicolons.

I find that many students who come for a final “edit” actually need a bit of moral support with their editing.

Supervisors are busy people these days and universities are run at a fast, commercial pace.

Having an outsider who knows — in general terms — what a thesis or dissertation should contain — and is willing to provide support and editing assistance seems to work wonders.

None of my “clients” have had their examiners require major rewrites.

Some received numerous bouquets, offers of publication and co-authorship, encouragement and heaps of support from examiners.


I was blessed with great supervisors and I learned a lot in the process.


One of my PhD supervisors cried when I read her a passage of my thesis. I was in the final stretch. I was exhausted and out of time and money. I looked up and she was crying! What a blessing! Right there in her office.


I will never forget that, Patsy!


I try to give the students I help that kind of caring and close attention, even though I am not their supervisor.


Wendy Sarkissian assisted me with the editing stages of my PhD thesis on sustainable urban design and walkability (2011, Curtin University, Rediscovering Urban Design through Walkability: An Assessment of the Contribution of Jan Gehl). I am happy to say that my thesis was well received. Wendy was very helpful in facilitating the clarification, organisation and expression of my ideas. Anne (Annie) Matan, PhD, Curtin University, 2011.


Wendy Sarkissian professionally edited my PhD thesis, which is  entitled “The  Making of a Cultural Moment:   Mel Gibson’s Passion Goes to the Movies”.   I undertook this  through Macquarie University’s Department of Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies.   I formally submitted  the thesis  in November 2011 and received my degree in April 2012.   The thesis passed with no changes required.   I have worked with Wendy for many years, and I believe that some of my best writing has been edited by her.   I recommend her services unreservedly. Don Perlgut, PhD, Macquarie University, 2012.


Wendy came on board as both an editor and what I  refer to as conceptual revision  – to iron out  theoretical  and paradigmatic crinkles – at a  point in my candidature that was timely and critical.  Her detail,  care and thorough revision  were instrumental in  my submitting  and gave me the self-confidence that what I was doing was indeed worthy of a PhD. Renee Storer-Newman, PhD. Curtin University, 2011.


Wendy was an invaluable help in finishing my PhD thesis – I certainly couldn’t have done it without her. Nothing was too much trouble and it really felt like having a third supervisor. Mark Gasser, concert pianist, PhD candidate (submitted July 2013), Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University.


I am delighted to offer a grateful testimonial regarding the fine work that Dr. Wendy Sarkissian did in editing my thesis, Streets of Clay: Design and Assessment of Sustainable Urban and Suburban Streets”. Wendy’s brilliant suggestion that I develop of conceptual model to represent the key findings of my thesis research provided the missing ingredient I needed to complete the work. Her keen eye for the meaning of the research was invaluable to me in successful completion of a research thesis that necessarily comprised a great amount of detail. Wendy is superb at asking the meaningful questions. Kudos to Dr. Sarkissian on her excellent thesis guidance! Joseph Kott, PhD, Curtin University, 2011.


In early 2011, Dr Sarkissian edited my thesis “The Emergence of Sustainability Culture and the Sustainability Practitioner”. I consider myself lucky to not only have in Dr Sarkissian an excellent editor, but also a subject expert who offered great insights into my material: in effect, she was a late-draft supervisor as well as an editor. Dr Sarkissian delivered  the right blend of structural advice, critical opinion and encouragement, all done in timely fashion and with good humour.  
I can unreservedly recommend Dr Wendy Sarkissian as a thesis editor. Matthew Parnell, PhD, Murdoch University, 2011.

Wendy, your huge and generous heart, attention to detail, courage to say the hard to say, thoroughness, encouragement and capacity to swiftly and agilely juggle the needs of my project with your many other commitments have been nothing short of monumental. In the closing stages of this project, I have discovered not only a mentor and astute guide, but also a visionary, colleague and friend whose zest for life has been instrumental in the triumph of this work. I honour the bandicoots, the white gums, the wallabies, the curlews, the creeks, and Ovid’s Tristia for bringing us together. I can now step forth from this project largely because of your tireless efforts that have been nothing short of locomotive.

For bringing to the kitchen table of sustainability your tenacity and affection, I say to you: Namaste. Paul Pul©, , PhD, Murdoch University, 2013.


 Everyone needs support at such times!


If you need help with a thesis, no matter what the topic, just contact me: [email protected]