Writing Resources for Graduate Students

Submitted on March 15, 2021

By Elizabeth Labiner

Writing can be a very fraught academic and professional activity. A person might feel they’re a strong writer, and so have trouble accepting constructive criticism. A person might be worried their writing isn’t as good as it ought to be, and therefore feel anxiety about letting others see it. Regardless of where a graduate student falls on that spectrum, there are a number of resources on campus to help make writing -- whether a seminar paper, a grant application, or the dissertation -- as polished as possible. 

The Think Tank Writing Center

The Writing Center emphasizes peer collaboration in order to help writers grow over the course of their career at UArizona through consultations, workshops, and events. The Writing Center offers a number of options to graduate students, including peer tutoring with graduate student tutors, free Zoom sessions, free Feedback Loop sessions for asynchronous feedback, and one-on-one appointments with professional staff for a fee. During each session, tutors get acquainted with the student’s writing, answer questions, identify patterns, make recommendations, and help the student come up with a plan for moving forward. Tutors can serve as a second set of eyes on personal statements, application essays, lab reports, theses, dissertations, resumes, creative writing, and even professional emails. The Writing Center also collaborates with other campus organizations on workshops exclusively tailored to graduate students’ needs. 

Writing Skills Improvement Program (WSIP)

WSIP provides writing support services to aid students in developing writing skills in order to achieve their writing goals. WSIP’s Writing Specialists are professional teachers, tutors, and editors who work with writers at every skill level and in all disciplines. The free resources provided by WSIP include weekly drop-in tutoring, bi-weekly individual and group tutoring, workshops, online writing rooms, online resources, and the Graduate Writing Institute, a three-week program for graduate students from all academic disciplines comprised of writing workshops, boot camps, individual tutoring, and small group tutoring. Fee-based services include custom workshops, editing services, and job-market preparation. 

The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center

The SALT Center is an academic support program that provides services to UArizona students with learning and attention challenges. The resources they offer include: weekly meetings with a Student Support Specialist who can assist with and coach the student through aspects of the writing process such as time management, scheduling writing blocks, selecting a writing space, and organizing their work for a writing task; tutoring for more focused support on specific writing tasks like research, idea generation, outlining, and revising; individual appointments, drop-in support, and asynchronous writing feedback; consults with an Academic Intervention Coordinator for in-depth writing support; and technology coaching for software such as speech-to-text, Zotero citation management, and apps to minimize technology distractions. For information about SALT Center admission as a graduate student, our services, and fees, please contact Daniel Linden, Director of Student Services, at dlinden@arizona.edu.

Graduate Center

The Graduate Center offers a wide variety of writing support services to graduate students, often in conjunction with other units on campus. The resources and opportunities are free and are facilitated by writing experts with PhDs. Support services include the Summer Fellowship Application Development Program for students applying for graduate-level funding,  Writing Efficiency Sessions (WES) for students working to improve their writing productivity, ABD to PhD Dissertation writing workshops, Preparing for Faculty Job Application workshop series to offer guidance on writing unique portions of faculty job applications, individual feedback on and assistance with writing job materials from our Career Counselor, and a wealth of online resources, including a calendar of events for our writing programs and our campus partner programs.

Additionally, the Graduate & Professional Student Council offers resources, which include academic and professional development tools and workshops. 

Some academic units and colleges on campus offer excellent writing-support programs, so students should investigate those avenues as well as the umbrella campus-wide programs.

One of the most important elements to remember when seeking writing support is that the people and services across campus units are here to help create the best version of your written work, and it’s never too early to seek their expertise!