Graduate Students

The Center for Excellence in Writing has proven to be a powerful resource for graduate students.

Writing Consultations for Graduate Students

Feel free to come in with specific questions, for a brainstorming session, or to request feedback on a specific aspect of your work.  While we may not have a consultant in your discipline, sometimes a thoughtful outside reader can provide you with a valuable perspective about the clarity of your work.  There are times when just talking it out with a peer can help you unknot the inevitable tangles in your project.   

We can help you with a wide variety of writing projects including:  

Even though I had a rather difficult and exclusive topic, he took the time to understand necessary concepts in order to approach the essay.

The CEW helped me a lot in both my dissertation and drafts of my journal papers.

  • Course papers
  • Dissertations
  • Theses
  • Proposals
  • Job application materials
  • Conference Presentations
  • Group Projects
  • Journal articles

Check out our Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration resources below, or jump to our Graduate FAQ at the bottom of this page!

Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration!

Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration.

Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration is a collaboration between The Graduate School and The Center for Excellence in Writing. It includes dissertation retreats, workshops on productive writing strategies, and an article series. Our goal is to bring community, support, and shared wisdom to dissertation writers across UB.

Dissertation Retreats

Our Dissertation Retreats, co-sponsored by The Graduate School, help you to make bursts of significant progress toward completion of major projects.

Dissertation Retreats are five day, focused, writing events

Retreats are not instructional workshops. Rather, they provide an opportunity for intensive writing and accountability with peer support.  Each writing day is framed by productive dialogue about writing processes.  

Currently we are hosting virtual retreats over Zoom!!   

Upcoming Virtual Dissertation Retreat: Set aside dedicated writing time with community support and accountability to jumpstart your progress into the holidays.   

December 14 – 18.  9am – 1pm daily.

Email to register.

I would participate in this every day until my dissertation was complete, if it was available.

I like the retreat for hearing the collective struggles and successes of the group. It makes me feel part of a community of writers.

Productive Writing Workshops

Upcoming Workshops:  "Taking Control of Your Dissertation Process" -- share and discuss productive writing strategies including time management, mindset, environment and social support for keeping up your writing momentum and hitting your deadlines.  

Friday, October 23.  3pm – 4:30 pm
Saturday, November 13.   11 am – 12:30 pm.

Email to register.

Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration article series

  • 9/14/20
    Write Through is a series of articles highlighting the processes of writers who found their way through the dissertation process in a timely fashion. While everyone's process is unique, we hope you'll carry away some productive ideas and feel a little less isolated as you hear the voices of individuals who've been where you are and emerged triumphant in their dissertation journey. 

Current Write Through Article: Taking Control of Your Dissertation Process

Taking Control of Your Dissertation Process  

“There are many paths to the same goal. The experiences and hardships you have are seeds for your growth.”    -- Jeeyoung Min, PhD in CISL, 2019  

    If there is one thing we have learned over the years here at the Center for Excellence in Writing, it is that no demographic group at the University engages more intensively with the writing process than the dissertation writer.  Through our own dissertation writing experiences, our interviews with successful dissertation writers, and our regular discussions of common dissertation roadblocks and challenges during dissertation retreats, we have gained a rich sense of the complexity of the dissertation writing experience.  In these discussions, certain themes have emerged, and we often hear end stage dissertators expressing sentiments like, “I wish I’d known this earlier in my dissertation process.”  We want to gather up these themes and spend some time focusing on each in turn to provide some food for thought to others entering the dissertation stage.  We know that writing a dissertation takes more than individual genius -- a whole matrix of physical, psychological, social, and environmental factors leads to successful dissertation completion. So, in upcoming editions of the Write Through series, we will be focusing on thematic topics related to the dissertation writing process. Acknowledging the uniqueness of each writer, each discipline, each dissertation project, we seek to identify some commonalities, share some strategies, and raise issues for contemplation that will help you to navigate through the significant process that is the dissertation.  Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s also a huge developmental experience, and if you embrace it, you will maximize the growth and transformation the process has to offer.  We suggest a mindful and reflective journey through the dissertation writing process, and the earlier you get proactive, the more momentum you will achieve.  

    So what are some of the themes that we will be exploring?  Well, topics such as scheduling your writing time, maintaining focus and mental clarity, a productive mindset for dissertation writing, the role of social interaction and community in your writing process, environmental facets of the dissertation writing process, the quirky habits of successful dissertators, and more!  And if you miss the Writer Profiles, don’t worry, expect another inspiring story in January!  

Want more?  Also consider taking part in our Workshops and Dissertation Retreats!  .  Here’s what to expect in the Fall of 2020:

Upcoming Virtual Workshops:  “Taking Control of Your Dissertation Process” 

    Friday, October 23.  3pm – 4:30 pm  

    Saturday, November 13.   11 am – 12:30 pm.  

Upcoming Virtual Dissertation Retreat:

    December 14 – 18.  9am – 1pm daily.

Email to register for any of these events. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about our Graduate level writing and consultations services. If you can't find an answer to your question here, please reach out to us at

Who are your consultants?

We employ MA and PhD level consultants from a variety of disciplines.  Our graduate consultants are successful writers in their disciplines and also may have coursework in composition pedagogy and/or experience teaching writing. 

Please note:  We employ both undergraduate and graduate level consultants.  If you are a graduate student, be sure to select a consultant at the appropriate level (designated as M.A. or PhD.)

Do you have a consultant in my discipline?

We may, but we may not.  Because of their experience with writing instruction and focus on language, many of our consultants are from English.  We are always looking to diversify our consultant pool, but it is impossible to represent every discipline.  You should not expect that your consultant be an expert in your content area.   Our consultants are, however, very good at helping you gain perspective on the writing process, evaluating and discussing the rhetorical elements of texts, providing thoughtful and sensitive readings of your work, as well as helping with stylistic and grammatical elements of texts.   Sometimes it is not an expert that you need, just a thoughtful reader with whom to “talk it out.”

What should I do to prepare for my session?

While we can look at an electronic version with you on your laptop, many consultants prefer working with a hard copy that can be easily viewed and that you can mark up during the session.  So, if you can, bring a hard copy along with any specific questions or areas of concern.  You will direct the agenda of the session.

My paper is very long. Will we be able to get through it in one session?

Our sessions are generally around 45 minutes long, so there is only so much that can be covered in that time.  If your paper is very long, decide which portion or portions you want to focus upon.   You can schedule follow-up appointments as needed.

English is not my native language, and this is making graduate study very difficult. How can you help me?

The CEW is a great place for international students because working one-to-one with a native speaker who understands the process of language acquisition is perhaps the most efficient way to grow as a writer.  Improving proficiency in written English is a long journey, so many international students choose to schedule regular, ongoing appointments.  As an added benefit, working one-to-one with a native speaking peer gives you excellent conversational practice as well!

May I drop off my dissertation to have it edited?

The CEW is not an editing service.  If the editing phase is a stumbling block for you, you may want to consider hiring an editor for the final stages of your writing process.  The GSA also has an editing service that is paid through your student fees.