Apply for coaching
Whether you’re at undergrad, masters or PhD, our free coaching can help you discover how to have more impact with your research and identify further resources.
Learn more about our coaching service
Are you writing a thesis or thinking about your PhD topic? If you’ve already explored our recommended research directions and found at least one direction you’re interested in, the next step is to apply for our coaching.
Considering or pursuing a PhD?
Coaching can help wherever you are in your PhD journey.
Wondering whether a PhD is right for you?
We'll help you think through the options you're considering.
Want help refining a great question?
If your coach thinks it's a good fit for you, they will connect you with experienced researchers who can help you refine your research question.
Searching for programmes, supervision or funding sources?
Find out about options you may not have considered that would be a good fit for you.
Applying to PhD programmes or funding?
Get advice on how to write a great application.
Looking for peer support and community?
Your coach can connect you with other aspiring researchers and invite you to our online student platform.
Writing an undergrad or master's thesis?
Coaching can help you discover how to have more impact with your research and connect you with further resources to help you get the most our of writing your thesis.
Looking for a topic to work on?
What topics would be a good fit for you? Should you aim to do impactful research now or later? Coaching can help you decide.
Want to build your research skills?
Find out about further resources that will help you write a great thesis.
Frequently asked questions
Our coaches can help in a number of ways. They can help you think through open questions you have about your studies and future career, suggest tools and resources that would be a good fit for you, connect you with researchers to support your further, and offer you advice on things like finding a PhD supervisor and applying for funding .
After you’ve written your thesis or dissertation, we can also help you get your research noticed, including by publishing it on our site.
We generally work with students who will be writing a thesis or dissertation (at undergraduate, masters or PhD level) or submitting PhD applications in the next six months, however if you don’t quite fit this criteria we still encourage you to reach out.
We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. We typically reach out to accepted applicants within 1 to 2 weeks of their applications. If you have a deadline that means you need to hear back sooner, please make a note of this in your application.
If you want your research to do as much good as possible – either directly by contributing to solving a pressing problem or by building skills so you can have a bigger impact later – we encourage you to apply for coaching.
We primarily coach students who are considering research careers, but if you plan to pursue a different career we still encourage you to apply.
We’ll assess your application on the basis of your interest in having a positive impact and our belief that we can offer you support. If for any reason we can’t offer you coaching, we will still offer you helpful resources.
A coaching session lasts 30 minutes. Your coach will start by understanding your goals and any open questions you have. They may then help you consider how you could increase the likely impact of your research, offer you further resources, connect you with other researchers or organisations, or advise you on topics such as applying for funding, finding a supervisor or choosing a research question that is a good fit for you.
After the first coaching session you’re likely to have lots of ideas and ways to get further support. However, many students appreciate meeting their coach for more sessions. Our coaches also stay in touch to provide ongoing guidance via email.
Yes – we still encourage you to apply. We recognise that your skills, qualifications and interests may mean that a different direction is a better fit for you, and the list of directions we feature on our site is not intended to be exhaustive.
However, we might not be able to help you as much as we could if you chose a research direction we recommend, as for these directions we have already found mentors, potential supervisors, research agendas and other useful resources to get you started.
We’re a nonprofit aiming to help students begin research careers that address pressing global problems. This means we particularly appreciate feedback about how we have helped you, to help inform our future applications for funding.
You can see all the services we offer on the homepage. As well as individual coaching, we provide help with finding supervisors and PhD funding , recommendations of research directions that are particularly likely to have a big positive impact, a newsletter of curated opportunities for early career researchers , and advice for beginning a successful research career .
Students we've advised
Apply for our coaching and the coach who is the best fit for you will support you in your journey towards an impactful research career.
Head of coaching.
Marie is the Head of Coaching at Effective Thesis and is responsible for managing the coaching services and our expert network. She holds a BSc in Neuroscience from UCL and is currently working towards an integrated MRes+PhD in Sensor Technology at the University of Cambridge. Her most recent research focused on developing low-cost sensors for the early detection of plant stress. Marie’s interests include alternative proteins and the food system, biosecurity, as well as community building. In her free time, Marie loves rock climbing, ice skating and cold water swimming, and she needs ideas for a new sport to try out!
Conor is a Coach at Effective Thesis. He enjoys helping talented students have a high positive impact through their thesis and study decisions. He enjoys discussing interesting impactful topics and encouraging and motivating people. He has a masters in neuroscience and a background as an educator, researcher, and coach within universities and the non-profit sector. He also enjoys throwing ultimate frisbees when he has time.
Our Expert Network
Our coaches can connect you to researchers from our network of over 100 experts, who can help you find the most important open questions in your field.
Philip Trammel is a research affiliate at the Global Priorities Institute at Oxford University. He advises students on applications of economic theory to global priorities research.
Cassidy Nelson is Co-Lead of the Biosecurity Research Group at the Future of Humanity Institute. She advises students on health security, biosecurity and pandemic prevention.
Vanessa is a research associate at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. She advises students in mathematics, computer science and other quantitative degrees interested in human aligned artificial intelligence research.
David Denkenberger co-founded and directs the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED). He has 65 peer-reviewed publications and is the third most prolific author in the field of existential and global catastrophic risk.
Maxime is a co-founder and chief executive officer of the Simon Institute for Longterm Governance. Max advises students in political science, behavioural sciences, mathematics and physics interested in improving political decision making.
Parendi Birdie is the Head of Brand Strategy at Mission Barns. She advises students who are interested in both technical and non-technical areas of the field of cellular agriculture.
David is the Principal Research Manager at Rethink Priorities and a research fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University. David advises students interested in moral psychology and empirical social science.
There are many other researchers and collaborators for whose support we are very grateful.
Stay in touch
Are you interested in applying for coaching or to our other services in future? Stay in touch and get our quarterly updates by signing up to our newsletter!
Your Very Own Dissertation Coach
Get plain-language, actionable advice and detailed feedback through every chapter of your dissertation or thesis.
We’ll help you:
~ Find a high-quality, original research topic ~ Write a convincing research proposal ~ Craft a comprehensive literature review ~ Design a rigorous research methodology ~ Analyse your data and present your findings
Here's how we help you.
1-on-1 Dissertation & Thesis Support
Whether you’re just starting out on your research journey and need help choosing a topic and developing your proposal , you’re in the thick of a literature review or methodology chapter , or you’ve already written your first draft – we’re here to help.
In addition to providing 1-on-1, hands-on support with every chapter, we can also assist with survey data collection , transcription , coding and even editing and proofreading. Simply put, we provide you with everything you need to craft a top-notch dissertation or thesis.
Friendly, Plain-Language Coaches
The Grad Coach team translates complex ivory-tower academia into plain-language, actionable advice, to ensure you’re always moving forward. Our team includes award-winning, locally and internationally published academics from the London School of Economics (UK), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (US) , the University of Cape Town (SA) and the University of Pretoria (SA).
Most of our coaches are former dissertation and thesis supervisors, markers, course designers and lecturers , so they have an in-depth understanding of exactly what university markers want.
Online, On-Demand, On-Time
Getting help from your dissertation coach couldn’t be easier. You can book live coaching sessions or offline content reviews in seconds by using Grad Coach’s online booking system . You can also email your coach any time you need – simple.
All live coaching sessions are hosted using interactive whiteboard video conferencing technology and are recorded for you, so you can focus on the learning and asking questions, rather than frantically taking notes of every word.
Chat With A Friendly Coach, Today
Prefer email? No problem - you c an email us here .
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most popular coaching-related questions we're asked.
How does coaching work.
Working with Grad Coach means you get a dedicated, highly qualified research specialist to help you through any stage of your research.
Whether you just want a little initial guidance to make sure you're headed in the right direction, or you want hands-on, ongoing support throughout your entire research journey, your coach will be there for you whenever you need help.
Your dedicated coach will work with you using three channels: live sessions, content reviews and email support.
Live Coaching Sessions
A live coaching session is a real-time online meeting (audio or video) with your coach. In these sessions, you can discuss anything you need assistance with. For example, you might discuss topic ideas, how to structure your next chapter, how to undertake a specific analysis, etc.
A content review is an offline review, where you send your document to your coach and they’ll meticulously review it at the scheduled time. They will provide extensive commentary within the document (including what’s wrong, why it’s problematic and how to correct it), and then email it back to you (see an example here ). If you want to have a call in addition to the content review, you can do that too.
In addition to these two options, you can also email your coach at any time to ask any questions you have, so you'll never be left feeling unsure.
How is this different from a university-allocated supervisor?
There are a few key differences:
A university-allocated supervisor can only spend a limited amount of time with each student and their support is usually limited to a certain amount of time per section of content. Also, support is often limited to one or two formats (e.g., email).
Conversely, we provide unlimited , multi-channel, on-demand support . You can book a live coaching session anytime you need to, get your work reviewed as many times as you like (see an example here ) and drop us an email whenever you have a question or concern.
Supervisors often communicate in complex “ivory tower academic-speak” that is difficult to understand and not particularly actionable. Students often struggle to make sense of their supervisor’s advice and feedback, due to this language barrier and experience gap.
Conversely, we provide you with plain language, actionable advice and feedback, with lots of examples and analogies to help you grasp concepts as quickly and easily as possible.
A safe, confidential space
The supervisor-student relationship is a tricky one to navigate, as the supervisor is often the first/primary marker or will be assessing you in some way. This creates an awkward dynamic, where it can feel somewhat risky to ask certain questions or propose ideas.
Conversely, your dedicated coach is your “partner in research” and there are no power dynamics. We create a 100% safe, comfortable space for you to ask questions, learn and grow. No question is a "stupid question".
Combined research expertise
Your supervisor will generally be allocated based on your area of research (your topic), not your methodology. This means that oftentimes (not always) they are not methodology experts and cannot provide the best possible guidance regarding your research design.
Conversely, the Grad Coach team consists of methodology experts across the spectrum of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. While you'll usually only work with one dedicated coach, you'll have access to the combined knowledge pool, which means you'll get the best possible advice.
How is coaching different from editing and proofreading?
Editing and proofreading services focus purely on language, formatting and technical presentation requirements, such as referencing. In other words, the focus is on the language , not the content itself. As a result, a dissertation can be perfectly edited and proofread but still fail, as the content itself is poor.
With coaching, on the other hand, the focus is on content . In other words, we focus on the quality of the research itself. For example, we look at things like:
- Is the research topic well-defined and justified?
- Are the research aims, objectives and research questions well-articulated and aligned?
- Is the literature review comprehensive, integrative and well-structured?
- Is the methodology well-considered and executed?
- Is the analysis sound and do the conclusions make sense?
Simply put – coaching focuses on the things that earn the majority of the marks . Additionally, we do offer a separate editing and proofreading service to polish the document once the content is finalised.
Is coaching allowed by universities?
Yes . In fact, many universities refer students to us and some institutions even use our content (articles and videos) as part of their curriculum.
We provide dissertation coaching to help you improve the quality of your work. Importantly, all work must be your own – we do not write for you . While there are organisations that will cross this ethical boundary, we refuse to engage in any activity which may be considered academic misconduct.
WARNING - If you are considering any academic writing service, please be aware that the use of such services can lead to expulsion or even revocation of your degree years after the fact. Many websites offering such services provide extremely low-quality work that is unlikely to pass and some websites are outright scams preying on desperate students.
What's included in the (free) initial consultation?
The purpose of the initial consultation is for us to assess your specific situation , needs and wants, and then e xplain how we can help you .
Please note that the initial consultation is not a coaching session. Naturally, we cannot provide accurate guidance without first having a sound understanding of your project, and we need to charge for such services.
Why should I work with Grad Coach specifically?
There are a few factors that distinguish Grad Coach from the alternatives:
On-demand, online service
Grad Coach was built to give you the help you need, whenever you need it, wherever you are. You can book live audio/video sessions, get your written work reviewed and sent back to you, or just drop your coach an email whenever you have a question. 1-on-1, hands-on help is always just a click away.
Friendly, plain-language coaches
At Grad Coach, our goal is to bring academia "back down to earth". While our coaches have over 100 years of combined experience within academia (including dissertation supervision, marking and lecturing), we always aim to simplify the content as much as possible, using plain language, actionable advice and feedback. You can download a sample content review here to see this in practice.
More than just coaching - a one-stop-shop
In addition to our flagship dissertation coaching service, we also provide a suite of time-saving services such as interview transcription, qualitative coding, survey design, statistical testing, editing and proofreading. This means you get everything you need under one trusted roof. You can visit the services page to learn more about our full offering.
An accredited, award-winning operation
We take our work seriously, which is why we're accredited by the Tutors' Association UK and subscribe to their extensive code of ethics. We've also won multiple awards, including " Best Dissertation Coaching Service 2021 " (AI International), " Best Dissertation & Thesis Coaching Specialists 2020 " (MEA) and " Top 50 Student Blog " (Feedspot). To date, we've supported over 1000 students with private dissertation coaching and approximately 1.5 million students with video lessons.
To learn more about Grad Coach and the team behind it, visit the “About Us” page .
Which universities and degrees do you support?
We can provide coaching for a wide range of dissertations, theses and research projects/assignments at Bachelors , Honours , Master's and Doctoral -level degrees, especially (but not limited to) those within the social sciences.
Importantly, our expertise lies in the research process itself , especially research design, methodologies and academic writing – rather than specific research areas/topics (e.g. psychology, management, etc.). In other words, the support we provide is topic-agnostic , which allows us to support students across a very broad range of research topics.
If you’re unsure about whether we’re the right fit, feel free to drop us an email or book a free initial consultation .
Can I get a coach that specialises in psychology/marketing/etc.?
As we mentioned previously, our expertise lies in the research process itself , especially research design, methodologies and academic writing – rather than specific research areas/topics (e.g., psychology, management, etc.).
Simply put, the support we provide is topic-agnostic , which allows us to support students across a very broad range of research topics. That said, if there is a coach on our team that has experience in your area of research, as well as your chosen methodology, we can allocate them to your project (depending on availability).
Can I work with multiple coaches at once?
No. We work on a 1-on-1 basis, where each client has a dedicated coach assigned to their project, to ensure that they receive the highest possible quality of service.
How much does coaching cost?
Since our coaching services are completely custom-tailored for each student, they are billed on a time basis (as opposed to a project basis). This allows you to engage as much or as little as you want, with no long-term commitments or tie-downs.
The hourly rate itself depends on whether you purchase single hours or a discounted package. Please visit the pricing page for more information.
Do you have any testimonials or reviews?
Yes - you can view our Facebook and Trustpilot reviews here . You can also read about our accreditations and awards here .
Will my work be treated confidentially?
Absolutely. Your work will be treated completely confidentially and will not be shared with any third parties, nor published anywhere. We can sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) if you wish. Once you have completed your project, we can delete all content from our servers.
Do you offer other services?
Yes, in addition to dissertation coaching, we provide a suite of time-saving services , including:
- Interview transcription
- Qualitative data coding
- Survey design and hosting
- Statistical testing (SPSS & R)
- Editing and proofreading
If you have any other requirements, feel free to contact us to discuss them.
Can you write (or rewrite) sections for me?
No - all writing must be your own. We can hold your hand throughout the research process, but we cannot write for you as that would constitute academic misconduct.
WARNING - If you are considering any academic writing service, please be aware that the use of such services can lead to expulsion or even revocation of your degree years after the fact. Many websites offering such services provide extremely low-quality work that is unlikely to pass, and some websites are outright scams preying on desperate students.
English is not my first language (ESL student). Can you help me?
Yes , we can. In fact, many of our students are international ESL students. We can assist both with the academic aspects (e.g. coaching) and the English communication aspects (e.g. editing and proofreading).
My work is due in the next few days. Can you help me?
It’s not ideal, but we will do our best to help. Please email us or book an initial consultation as soon as possible.
Can you help me apply for a degree programme?
If your application requires a research topic or proposal (as is common for Master's and PhD applications), we can assist with that aspect of the application. However, if you require admissions-specific advice and guidance, that is not our area of expertise.
Please book a free initial consultation with us to discuss.
I still have questions…
No problem. Feel free to email us or book an initial consultation to discuss.
Still have a question? No problem - feel free to email us or book a consultation .
What Our Clients Say About Dissertation Coaching
I started using Grad Coach for my dissertation and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for them, I would have really struggled. I would strongly recommend them – worth every penny!
Grad Coach is like a guardian angel. The value I derived from the guidance and coaching when writing my thesis was second to none. I’m forever grateful to Grad Coach.
Grad Coach gave me really good feedback that enabled me to submit my dissertation proposal early and get immediate approval. I would recommend Grad without hesitation.
Not convinced? Read more reviews and testimonials here .
Kickstart Your Research, Today
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Your coach will start by understanding your goals and any open questions you have. They may then help you consider how you could increase the likely impact of your research, offer you further resources, connect you with other researchers or organisations, or advise you on topics such as applying for funding, finding a supervisor or choosing a ...
1-On-1 Dissertation Coaching & Thesis Coaching - Grad Coach Your Very Own Dissertation Coach Get plain-language, actionable advice and detailed feedback through every chapter of your dissertation or thesis. We’ll help you: ~ Find a high-quality, original research topic ~ Write a convincing research proposal ~ Craft a comprehensive literature review
Revised: 03.02.2022 Effective: Catalog Term 2022-40 Master of Science in Sport Management (M.S.) Coaching and Athletic Administration Thesis Cognate 2022-2023 Degree Completion Plan