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I have been a bit "haunted" by something that happened to me in graduate school. After submitting my MA thesis my advisor and the second reader corrected lots of typographical errors. I incorporated my advisor's corrections with no problem. However, there was a big problem when I tried to incorporate the second reader's corrections. I did the corrections and pushed the save button on my computer. However, unbeknownst to me the corrections did not save for reasons that I have never understood. Some days later my advisor called me into his office and mentioned that he had found lots of errors in the thesis. He checked the copy of the thesis that he had given me for correction and found that those corrections had, indeed, been made. Then he wondered out loud why the second reader hadn't "caught" the mistakes. But he never asked for the second reader's copy of the thesis. I went home checked the second reader's copy of the thesis and saw, to my horror, that the corrections had not saved. I stayed quiet and nothing came of this. I got my degree, but I have always wondered what could have happened if my advisor had discovered that the second reader's corrections had not been incorporated into my thesis. Under these circumstances could the thesis have been rejected?

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    I can't imagine rejecting a thesis because of unsaved corrections. The appropriate "penalty" would be that you have to make those corrections again and make sure they get saved (which I hope you did anyway). Sep 9, 2023 at 1:18
  • Thanks for responding.
    – Thomas Cox
    Sep 9, 2023 at 4:12

2 Answers 2

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It's done. You got your degree, and nobody got bent out of shape over the issue. It is time to move on and use your emotional and intellectual energy on things that can shape your future, rather than dwelling on the past!

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  • This doesn't answer the question, rather it says "you shouldn't have asked it". In my view this is rather the job of a comment than of an answer, if anything. Sep 8, 2023 at 13:44
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    A valid answer solves the actual problem of the asker although unbeknownst to him/her. It did. Thumbs up!
    – quantacad
    Sep 8, 2023 at 14:42
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I suggest making a corrected copy of your thesis publicly available, e.g. on your own webpage. You can mention that your copy corrects certain typographical errors in the original thesis. That way any interested reader can find their way to the best version of your thesis.

Errors creeping in through some kind of version control failure are extremely common. When we notice this, we correct it -- what else can we do? Also errors in theses are extremely common. Good for you that the errors you are talking about are typographical. I am a mathematician, and not long after I graduated I learned that one of the main results in my thesis is just false. (I mention this on my webpage and instruct people not to cite results of my thesis directly but rather use published sources.) Over the years a few other real errors were pointed out to me. Nevertheless I have had a successful academic career for the last 20 years. The parts of my thesis that got published were only published after much more thought and work on my part; they don't include any of the errors I or anyone else has ever found in my thesis. I think my story is pretty typical.

Once you fix what can be conveniently fixed, I really hope you can move on. I can virtually guarantee that no one else is still thinking about the typos in your master's thesis.

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  • Thank you so much for these thoughtful and sensitive remarks. I am most grateful.
    – Thomas Cox
    Sep 9, 2023 at 5:03

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