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I am doing my Ph.D. in mathematics and did not have my thesis carefully proofread before submission (which is definitely a mistake that I wish to correct). My thesis was approved after submission and I am now preparing for the oral defense.

Now as I reread my thesis in detail, I found that there are too many typos (probably more than five per page). Some are negligible, but some are essential. For example, I wrote "<" instead of "less than or equal to") in the conclusion of a proposition. Another example is that I quoted a wrong theorem number in a proof. I even wrote a same lemma with the same proof twice. One referee complains about the misprints in his/her report, but s/he still considers the thesis tolerable as a whole. But now I feel all those careless typos very annoying and they make the thesis much less readable.

Now I am seeking suggestions on what I should do. Should I correct all known typos and give each committee member a copy of the revised thesis on my defense? Is there any other thing that I can do right now?

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Talk to your advisor.

When I defended, my committee came back with a number of such corrections to be made. I made them and they signed off. Then the thesis editing office took the document and came back with even more corrections. I made those, and eventually they signed off. Trust me, you aren't the first to deal with this problem, and likely not the first that your advisor has seen.

  • Talk to your advisor. — I'm not sure I agree that the advisor is the right person to talk to in this particular case. At my school, we had a dissertation editor who would be the more appropriate person to ask. There are times to ask your advisor some questions, but then there are other times when you should be able to figure out who to talk to without having to get your advisor in the loop. – Mad Jack Jul 1 '15 at 17:12
  • @MadJack The stated (first) question was: Should I correct all known typos and give each committee member a copy of the revised thesis on my defense? I would think the advisor would be much better equipped to answer that compared to a dissertation editor. – mikeazo Jul 1 '15 at 17:34
  • Yes, I see your point, but I'm not sure an advisor would care either way; I know that mine wouldn't have. – Mad Jack Jul 1 '15 at 18:07
  • @MadJack agreed 100%, I would also guess that the committee won't care. If they've already read it, they won't reread. If they haven't read it and the OP gets them an updated copy, they will probably read that instead. – mikeazo Jul 1 '15 at 18:21
  • I agree (+1, by the way). – Mad Jack Jul 1 '15 at 18:23
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My institution is clear that they will not make corrections after the final submission :( If it is before your defense, then go ahead and make the corrections and resend to the committee members!

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