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: 

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

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
  • Journal articles

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 intensive writing environment
•    A quiet, comfortable writing space
•    Accountability with peer support
•    Productive dialogue about writing processes
•    Light refreshments 

Currently we are hosting virtual retreats over Zoom!!  

Our next retreat is July 6 - 10.  

Email for information or to register for a retreat.   

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.

Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration

  • 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. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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.