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Writing Support

The Graduate School offers writing support for students in partnership with the Thompson Writing Program and English for International Students. Resources include academic courses, a dedicated writing space, individual writing consultations, and additional support for international students. Students can also take advantage of online resources to support their development as writers.

Courses

Through The Graduate School's partnership with the Thompson Writing Program, graduate students can enroll in classes that support them in developing as writers. Below you'll find the current list of course offerings.

GS 805 Writing in the Natural Sciences (1 credit)

The Graduate School, in collaboration with the Thompson Writing Program, offers a 1-credit course in academic writing support for Ph.D. students engaged in research projects. The seminar course addresses genres of scientific research writing, structure and function of research reports, grant proposals, introductions and literature reviews, and presenting results, among other topics. The course earns 2 RCR credits. Priority is for advanced PhD students in the natural sciences with specific research writing projects/needs. For a permission number, Ph.D. students should contact the instructor, Dr Cary Moskovitz (cmosk@duke.edu), with a brief description of their research writing project.

Instructor: Dr. Cary Moskovitz, Associate Professor of the Practice, Thompson Writing Program
Offered beginning Fall 2016
Next offered Spring 2019 (tentative)

Questions? Contact Dr. Hugh Crumley, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, at hugh.crumley@duke.edu. Note: this writing class is not part of the Certificate in College Teaching and does not fulfill English for International Students (EIS) requirements.

GS 810 Grant and Fellowship Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences (1 credit)

The Graduate School, in collaboration with the Thompson Writing Program, offers a 1-credit course in grant and fellowship writing for PhD students in the humanities and social sciences. The course addresses funding opportunities, the structure of grant proposals and fellowship applications, effective writing for an interdisciplinary audience, writing methods, and editing and revision strategies. This writing-intensive course requires all students to prepare a fellowship or grant application over the course of the semester, with regular deadlines for written work, and requires multiple revision stages to incorporate feedback from peers and instructor. This class is best suited for PhD students in their third and fourth years. For a permission number, PhD students should contact the instructor, Dr. Eliana Schonberg (eliana.schonberg@duke.edu), Director of the TWP Writing Studio and Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Thompson Writing Program.

Instructor: Dr. Eliana Schonberg, Director of the Thompson Writing Studio and Assistant Professor of the Practice, Thompson Writing Program
Next offered Fall 2018 (Thursdays, meeting biweekly, 10:05-12:35)
Offered beginning Spring 2017

Questions? Contact Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development, at melissa.bostrom@duke.eduNote: this writing class is not part of the Certificate in College Teaching and does not fulfill English for International Students (EIS) requirements.

Students in last year's GS810 course discuss their experience and takeaways:

Other Duke Courses and Resources

MGM 702: Papers and Grant-Writing Workshop introduces students to grant and fellowship writing in the biomedical sciences. Offered in fall. See the full description on the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology course listing site.

BIO 706: Grant Writing provides hands-on instruction for preparing grant proposals; preparation and revision of an NSF-format proposal; evaluation and critique of proposals prepared by fellow class members.

The Pratt School of Engineering offers scientific and technical writing courses for doctoral students each semester. Learn more on the Pratt Science Writing Workshops website.

School of Medicine doctoral students can participate in the annual Gopen Writing Seminar "Writing from the Reader's Perspective" sponsored by the SOM Office for Faculty Development. The three-part seminar series is generally held in October/November, with registration announced 6-8 weeks before the event. Learn more from the OFD website.

If your department or program offers a course or regular workshop series on writing, please contact grad-profdev@duke.edu to request that it be listed here.

 

Writing Spaces

Graduate Student Writing Lab and Consultant

Grad Student Writing Lab

The Graduate School partners with the TWP Writing Studio to provide the Grad Student Writing Lab—a dedicated writing space for graduate students—three days a week. Students can work alone or as part of small writing groups on their dissertations and other writings.

The lab is held from 9:00 a.m. to noon and alternates between East and West Campus. On Tuesdays, it is in Murthy Digital Studio (Bostock 121). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, it is in Bivins 207.

The Graduate School supports a graduate student Writing Studio consultant on hand during lab hours. The consultant can provide brief, issue-based consultations; serve as an active listener or reader; and collect ideas about future workshops or programs that the lab might provide. The consultant also can support writing groups outside lab hours, if needed.

 

Writing and Research Space in Perkins Library

The Duke University Libraries recognize how important it is for doctoral students to have a quiet, dedicated space that they can leave and return to as they work on their doctoral research. To help meet that need, the Libraries staff have made available the Doctoral Research Space (DRS) in the Perkins Library. The room is open and accessible to registered students anytime Perkins Library is open. It is a large, shared office space for writing and research, intended to be a quiet, controlled-access scholarly workspace for Duke doctoral students.

Upon entering the room, students who have registered may choose any unoccupied desk and work as long as they wish in relative quiet. Registered students will have exclusive access to the space and an adjacent support room with equipment such as an e-print terminal, scanner and desktop computer with Adobe suite. Registered students will also have access to an individual mobile locker (mobile storage unit) or static locker, offering a secure place to leave their materials when they are not working in the room.

Learn more and sign up for DRS access

 

Individual Writing Consultations

Through a partnership with the Thompson Writing Studio, all students in The Graduate School can work with highly educated writing consultants through individual writing consultations. Consultants help at any stage of the writing process – from brainstorming and researching to drafting, revising, and fine-tuning a final draft. The Thompson Writing Studio asks that graduate students limit themselves to scheduling one appointment per week and come for any additional appointments on a walk-in basis. Graduate School students can schedule an appointment online and learn what to expect from a writing consultation.

 

Support for International Students

In addition to the resources listed above, students whose first language is not English may take advantage of classes and services available through the English for International Students (EIS) program. For more information, visit the EIS website.

Questions? Contact Dr. Brad Teague, Assistant Dean and Director, English for International Students, at brad.teague@duke.edu.

 

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity Resources

Duke's institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) provides access to a Dissertation Success Curriculum, complemented by an accountability forum. The 14-Day Writing Challenge is another structured accountability program for any kind of writing. The NCFDD Library provides archived versions of many past webinars on writing as well.

Find information about how to claim your Duke membership to NCFDD here, and read a post by recent alumna Christina Davidson on the value she found in NCFDD as a graduate student on the Professional Development Blog.

Other Online Resources

  • Cornell University Graduate School's Productive Writer monthly newsletter is free and open to all graduate students, whether they're writing writing papers, proposals, theses, or dissertations.
  • Writing in the Sciences, a Coursera course offered through Stanford University, taught by Dr. Kristin Sainani, Associate Professor of Health Research and Policy
  • The ETS Writing Mentor, available at mentormywriting.org, is a free Google Docs add-on that uses natural language processing (NLP) to provide feedback on your writing. Graduate students may find its functionality particularly useful for identifying claims in your writing and showing whether they are supported by evidence.
  • Academic Coaching & Writing, a for-profit business, periodically offers free webinars on topics of interest to graduate student writers.