Why this course

Editing cutting-edge scholarly research that will change the world is one of the most rewarding careers out there. Introduction to Professional Academic Editing is a self-paced, online course for those who want to build an academic editing career. Focused on the humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplines, this course teaches you how to help academic authors write and publish fantastic work. Whether you’re a freelance editor seeking more academic clients, an academic wanting to transition to an editorial career, or an in-house press editor keeping your skills sharp, this course can help you ensure your authors’ work shines.


  • 1

    Welcome to the Course

    • A Message from Your Instructors

    • How to Take This Course

    • Before You Begin

  • 2

    The Academic Publishing World

    • Academic Publishing Roles

    • Editing Scholarship

    • Peer Review

  • 3

    Starting Your Edit

    • Asking the Right Questions

    • Prepping Files

    • Editorial Triage and Priorities

  • 4

    Developmental Editing I

    • What Makes a Good Text?

    • Argument and Arc

  • 5

    Developmental Editing II

    • Engagement with Sources

    • Dissertation to Book Revisions

  • 6

    Copyediting I

    • Style Sheets and Style Manuals

    • The Politics of Grammar

  • 7

    Copyediting II

    • Anatomy of a Citation

    • Troubleshooting Copyedits

  • 8


    • Working with Authors

    • Phrasing Your Edits

  • 9

    Professional Development

    • Editing Tools

    • Editing Communities and Training

    • Scholarly Communities and Training

  • 10

    Next Steps

    • Congrats!

    • Resource Library

    • Before You Go

Meet your instructors

Dr. Cathy Hannabach and Sarah Grey

Hi, we’re Dr. Cathy Hannabach, founder and CEO of Ideas on Fire, and Sarah Grey, founder and president of Grey Editing. As longtime professional academic editors (Cathy is also a former professor), we have edited thousands of books, journal articles, chapters, and digital projects in fields like gender and sexuality studies, anthropology, disability studies, film, political science, and communication. We created this course because we noticed a dire lack of training options for folks wanting careers in academic editing—a specialty that requires both professional editing training and an extensive understanding of academic publishing and knowledge production. We distilled our professional academic editing experience and expertise into this course to help you build a thriving academic editing career and get more great scholarship into the world. Come join us!
Professional Academic Editing - Cathy Hannabach wearing a grey shirt and sitting in front of a laptop; Sarah Grey wearing a black and white dress leaning against a desk

Stay relevant in the new editing landscape

Since its creation in 2017, hundreds of students have worked their way through this course and used its content to expand their editorial businesses, make the leap into full-time editing, and have the confidence to specialize and demand what they’re worth. And then COVID-19 happened. Throughout 2020, we have worked with editors and academics who are now scrambling to find plan B and want to build an editing business that will be relevant in the new economy—whatever that ends up looking like. We completely revamped the course content and structure to meet this new context. The course reflects transformations in the editorial landscape since the original version, including COVID-19-related changes to academic publishing, new editing tools, style-manual updates, the pivot to online learning, and socially distant conferences and training opportunities.
Professional Academic Editing - Image collage: Person edits by hand on paper, person works at a desk computer, parent holds a baby on their lap while working on a laptop, person meets with others via video chat

Course format

When you enroll you get immediate access to all course content. Tailor the course to your needs by working at your own pace.

  • 19 Videos

    Instructional videos teaching key academic editing skills, processes, and workflows

  • 19 transcripts

    Full video transcripts with time stamps

  • 19 slide decks

    Downloadable slide decks that complement the videos and further explain key concepts

Frequently asked questions

  • When is the enrollment period for the course?

    The course is always open for enrollment. You can join any time.

  • How do I access the course materials?

    The course is hosted on the online educational platform Thinkific (what you're currently using to read this). To access course materials after you enroll, log into your Thinkific account and navigate to the course page.

  • How long do I have access to course materials?

    You have lifetime access to the course, including all future course updates and versions.

  • Are there graded assignments?

    No. The course is entirely self-paced and self-administered so there are no graded assignments. You can work through the lessons with the order and pace that makes the most sense for your needs.

  • Is there a certificate of completion?

    Yes. Once you complete all the lessons, you will be able to download a customized completion certificate with your name, date of completion, and the title of the course.

  • Is this course ever taught live?

    The course as a whole is not currently taught live but you can often catch our related workshops at ACES, SfEP, EFA, and other editing conferences. Want us to teach an online workshop for your organization or campus? Drop us a line at general@ideasonfire.net.


Lifetime access to the course, including all future course updates and versions

Get started building your academic editing career