Writing support for graduate students
Individual Writing Consultations
Like undergraduate students, graduate students are entitled to three consultations per term. The main difference is that while undergraduate students meet with a student tutor, graduate students always see a writing professional with a graduate degree in English or professional writing.
When we work with graduate students, we strive for a collaborative approach in which the student shares knowledge about his or her area of expertise, while the writing centre professional offers feedback on rhetorical strategies and academic writing practices. We understand that graduate students are on the way to becoming experts in a specialized subject area, but that they face a steep learning curve: they have to move from writing just to fulfill the requirements of an assignment or course, towards writing as a participant in a wider research community.
Our goal is to help you learn what you need to know to ensure your writing is at a professional level. We have worked with students for a variety of purposes and in a range of genres, including the following:
- Grant proposals
- Thesis proposals
- Chapters of a thesis
- Course assignments
- Major research papers
- Formal lab reports
- Journal articles
- Conference proposals and papers
- Pre-entry performance tests
- Seminar presentations
- Applications for graduate school
We also offer general advice about writing—text organization, effective sentence structure, and grammar.
Check our brochure for graduate student writing supports.
Scholarship (Grant) Writing Support
Are you writing an OGS, SSHRC, or NSERC research proposal? We offer a highly-acclaimed series of presentations, the Scholarship Proposal Workshops, to help you write successful scholarship proposals. Plan to attend one and then consider also making an appointment with the graduate writing consultant for personalized feedback on your proposal. It's hard work preparing a scholarship application -- we can help make the proposal less intimidating.
We also have a wealth of information about scholarship writing -- see scholarship writing resources.
Support for TAs
If you are a TA, you are welcome to make an appointment to discuss marking, assignment development, or incorporating writing instruction into your tutorials. We can support you in a variety of ways:
- Show you how to recognize and correctly name common grammar errors so that you can identify them in students’ papers
- Give advice about developing effective, engaging assignments that will encourage critical thinking from your students
- Recommend handouts and resources that will allow you to teach your students about academic writing
- Help you find out more about discipline-specific writing conventions in the subject you teach
TAs should also see our handout Marking and Grading: A Writing Centre Handout for TAs.
Graduate students are encouraged to check out our list of recommended writing resources specifically for faculty and graduate students. You can also access all of our handouts online and browse our online writing resources section.
Here are some other resources you might be interested in:
The Graduate Writing Kit (University of Ottawa)
Writing a Thesis or Dissertation (Learner Associates/Michigan State University)
Writing a Thesis Proposal (University of Ottawa)
You should also visit the Writing Centre, where we have many helpful books on writing in particular disciplines. Some of these resources will be relevant for your own use, and some will be valuable for your students if you are a TA.
Graduate students are welcome and encouraged to attend any of the workshops in our university-wide workshop series. Many graduate students can benefit from attending these workshops to become conscious of the rhetorical, sentence-level choices available to them as writers. Are you confident enough about your writing?