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Graduate Writing Workshops

Through the fall and winter semesters, Writing Support offers workshops that all University of Calgary students can attend. These workshops are designed for students entering or enrolled in a graduate program.

Graduate coaching program

The Graduate Coaching Program supports students during the dissertation or thesis writing by pairing them with peers who have completed the process. The program aims to increase student confidence and motivation through the writing process by providing various kinds of support, such as the following.

  • Regular meetings as a form of sustained mentorship (Every two weeks to every month)
  • Time management and project management skills
  • Strategies to address potential difficulties and challenges through the writing process
  • Knowledge and referrals to various services across campus

Students who are interested in the program, as either a participant or as a graduate academic peer, should contact

Writing at the graduate level series

Attend a session in person or online! These five 90-minute workshops will help students in graduate programs develop key writing skills and strategies. To register for the online course, students will need to sign in to D2L (available through My U of C) and then select the “My Tools” function, followed by “Self-Registration.“ This will open up a list of self-registering courses, from which students can select Graduate Writing Certificate. Students who complete all five workshops within a two-year period are eligible for a certificate of participation.

Getting started: Writing at the graduate level

Graduate degrees offer new challenges along with new opportunities. This workshop encourages graduate students to reflect on how their past academic experiences can help them take on these new challenges. Throughout the workshop, students are asked to identify their skills and consider how they might be adapted for the graduate experience. The workshop concludes with strategies for developing regular writing habits. Throughout the workshop, students are provided with a variety of approaches, which they can then apply to their specific discipline. Key features of the workshop are inventorying existing skills, understanding different forms of motivation, and developing a writing habit.

Academic integrity and using sources effectively

At the graduate level, sources are used to clarify a future project, by discussing theory, methodology, or background information on a particular topic. Throughout the workshop, students are provided with a variety of approaches, which they can then apply to their specific discipline. The workshop also discusses various sentence structure patterns useful for summarizing research while avoiding plagiarism. Key topics covered in the workshops are note-taking and reading strategies for writing effective summaries of scholarly articles, definitions of plagiarism and ways of properly paraphrasing research, and common sentence patterns used to discuss existing research or literature.

Strategies for developing research proposals

This session provides strategies on developing appropriate research questions, conceptualizing information surrounding a topic, and selecting a project scope that matches your time frame. While noting differences across disciplines, this workshop discusses strategies students can use to begin the planning and drafting of a research proposal. Key features of the workshop include developing preliminary research questions, creating coherence between parts of the proposal, and revising for errors that prompt confusion or misreading. Please note that this session does not provide information related preparing proposals for scholarship/ funding applications.

Strategies for writing literature reviews

A literature review is more than a series of summaries. While each discipline's literature varies, all disciplines expect a literature review to present a synthesis of current knowledge. This workshop focuses on strategies and approaches that all students can use to organize their literature, draft their review, and revise their review. Key features of the workshop include effectively gathering a body of research, criteria for selecting literature, and approaches for organizing literature reviews.

Revising and editing

Most students review, rewrite, and edit their documents (often more than they like to admit). This workshop will help students structure their revision process to become more effective at revising their documents. The workshop addresses various writing processes to help students become attuned to where they are most likely to make mistakes. Students are also encouraged to develop their own revision checklist, based on their experience with their own writing, as the workshop covers organizational, sentence-level, and surface level errors.

Strategies for reflective writing

Reflective writing is a way of connecting experience with ideas and linking the theoretical and practical aspects of learning. In this session, we will consider models for this genre of academic writing, some of its unique features and stumbling blocks along the way. Come prepared with an experience to write about, as you will have a chance to practice some reflective writing strategies. Students will come away with a renewed appreciation of how learning is informed through experience.  

Critical thinking and scholarly writing 

This workshop will help students understand the structure of academic argumentation through claims, evidence and warrants. We will also consider a few critical thinking themes that form the blueprint for all academic writing. These include critiquing a position based on context/point of view, strength of evidence, flaws in reasoning and underlying assumptions. Students will have a chance to connect these themes to their own research.   

Strategies for writing scientific research reports

This session provides students with strategies for writing scientific research reports. Students will learn the purpose of each report section and how to logically organize and present information and arguments. This workshop will also provide students with general guidelines for paragraph structure for the Introduction and Discussion sections to clearly and succinctly contextualize, convey and support scientific research. 

These workshops have been endorsed by My GradSkills.

Other graduate writing workshops and support

Graduate writing boot camps

Want to jump into your thesis and dissertation writing? Planning to finish it this semester? Sign up for a Writing Boot Camp session. Writing Boot Camp offers a quiet sunny space in the TFDL with plenty of plugs. It is BYOC (bring your own computer). These sessions are only open to students writing an honours, masters, or doctoral thesis.  Bring your laptop, set a goal, and write for three hours. No procrastination allowed!

Strategies for writing graduate scholarships and other applications

This workshop looks at strategies for writing statements of purpose, statements of intent and other documents typically associated with scholarship and program applications. The workshop highlights potential idea and organization strategies. The last part of the workshop focuses on perception management, particularly issues of style and tone. Students who attend can bring copies of their documents and get some structured peer feedback.

The principles of effective writing

Not all graduate writing ends up in a thesis destined to be read exclusively by experts. This workshop will teach you how to write for any audience—non-academic ones in particular. Key components of the workshop include using rhetorical principles for effective writing, becoming attuned to audience expectations for different genres of writing, and designing documents for inattentive readers.

Writing for and speaking to non-academic audiences

Increasingly funding bodies are interested in the dissemination of research outside academia. This workshop features a panel of distinguished faculty who will share their knowledge and experience in engaging the public in their research. Learn how to find non-scholarly venues to present your research and why engaging the public is important for your scholarly career. Please note that this workshop is typically offered early in the winter semester and during Grad Success week.

Writing academic publications that get published

Have you ever wondered what journal editors are looking for? Get the inside scoop on publishing in peer-reviewed journals. This session will feature a panel of distinguished faculty who will share their knowledge and experience in academic publishing. Hear their thoughts on academic publishing from a journal editor’s perspective, including what stops a paper from making it to peer-review and what kinds of writing engage reviewers. Please note that this workshop is typically offered early in the winter semester and during Grad Success week.

Register for a workshop or boot camp

Registration instructions

Request a certificate

Writing Support

Taylor Family Digital Library 3rd Floor

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

* Hours differ for drop-in consultations

Contact info

Asher Ghaffar
Coordinator, Writing Support Services