Graduate Services: FAQ

There is no charge for our services, which are generously supported by the Office of Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts.
Graduate students can come in for up to four individual consultations per month. There is no limit on the number of workshops or retreats a graduate student may attend. Graduate students may participate in one writing group per semester.
We hope graduate writers will bring us anything and everything! We offer support for seminar papers, Master’s theses, and dissertations, but we also work with all other sorts of projects, including: fellowship and grant applications, book reviews, teaching philosophy statements, dissertation acknowledgement pages, draft responses for qualifying exams, and emails to editors. If it’s a genre we’re not familiar with, we’ll draw on our in-house library and our colleagues to learn about it.
Our Graduate Peer Consultants are postdoctoral fellows and advanced graduate students in a variety of fields of study. They are experienced academic writers and are trained in non-directive, non-evaluative consultation techniques. To learn more, visit our Meet the Consultants page.
UWC consultants are trained to work with writers across disciplines. We emphasize practices that benefit writers from all fields and backgrounds, including pre-writing, revision, editing, managing time, and building professional work habits. At the same time, we recognize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to successful writing: conventions vary by discipline, genre, and the expectations of your audience (such as your thesis committee, journal editor, or hiring committee). We work with each writer to clarify those conventions. To do so, we refer to the resources in our in-house library, models of successful work in your field (such as an article from the journal where you hope to publish or a past dissertation directed by your advisor), and other sources of writing support at UT.
Yes, we frequently work with writers for whom English is not a first language. For additional support, click here to learn about academic writing assistance through UT’s International Office.
No, consultants do not edit or proofread drafts. Instead, we ask questions about your writing/revision goals and help you learn ways to meet those goals independently. For example, if you want to focus on improving grammar and punctuation, a UWC consultant can read a portion of your draft, identify main areas to focus on in revision (such as run-on sentences or comma usage), and work with you to practice sample revisions in those areas, using our handbooks and online resources for reference. Our goal is not to “fix” your draft, but to equip you with strategies that you can use to revise the draft yourself and continue using in future writing projects.

If you are interested in hiring an editor, we recommend searching Austin Freelancers or the national Editorial Freelancers Association (not affiliated with the UWC). For general guidance on copyediting services, we recommend Professor Wendy Laura Belcher’s overview: how to hire and work with an academic copyeditor.

 

 

No, we can only work with drafts during consultations. Consultants can review up to 8 pages of writing during a consultation.
Yes. Upon request, the UWC offers consultations in Reduced Distraction Rooms.
Yes. Click here to learn more about accessibility at the UWC.
At this time, all UWC Writing Groups are interdisciplinary. Advisors and peers within your department can offer feedback and guidance specific to your field, but UWC Writing Groups focus on practices that are common to writers across disciplines, including sustained writing, time management, and goal-setting.

In our interdisciplinary Peer Workshop groups, you’ll have the opportunity to exchange questions and constructive comments on drafts with readers outside of your field. This approach provides valuable preparation for sharing your writing with interdisciplinary audiences, such as hiring committees and grant proposal reviewers.

If you’re interested in forming your own group, among friends or in your department, the UWC’s presentation on Starting a Writing Group can help you get started. For more information on group availability, or to request a presentation visit, please contact Sara Saylor at sarasaylor@gmail.com.

We employ graduate students from all departments as consultants. Our consultants receive initial and ongoing training in consultation techniques, including training for working with English Language Learners (ELL). They also participate in activities that develop their professional skills, such as research, community outreach, public speaking, and editing for publication. To learn more about working with us, visit our Jobs page.
The UWC has online resources for academic writers of all stages, including presentationsvideos, and handouts that cover everything from grammar to citation styles. Presentations developed specifically for graduate students include
Transitioning from College to Graduate Writing and
The Dissertation Genre and Professional Writing Habits.

Recommended Resources Beyond UT:
  • Purdue OWL  – general writing/revision resources, including exercises in grammar and citation.
  • Navigating the PhD  – workshop series at Michigan State University’s Writing Lab, which addresses writing and other common grad student concerns (such as managing time and building professional relationships).