Graduate Writing Instruction Across the Disciplines

Hello All,

I'm beginning a project that attempts to explore (and starts to define) graduate writing instruction as it is occurring across the disciplines. I'll be conducting a few local interviews, but I'd first like to see what's been written and who might already have experience with this topic. I thought I might call on the expert knowledge of the WPA members as a first resort. Can anyone suggest notable sources that cover this topic? Is there any notable scholarship that takes a WAC approach to graduate student writing instruction?

Many thanks in advance!



HI Justin:

I'd be very interested in seeing what you get from this. I'll paste in a resource list a colleague compiled for a one-day dissertation workshop we did -- she mostly found "how-to" literature, though, not scholarship ABOUT.


Gary Sue Goodman
Assistant Director, Writing Across the Disciplines
UC Davis University Writing Program

A Short List of Resources for Graduate Writers

Dissertation Guides
Roberts, Carol M. The Dissertation Journey. London: Sage Publications, 2004. (Education, Social

Bolker, Joan. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising,
and Finishing your Doctoral Dissertation. New York: Owl Books, Henry Holt and Company, 1998. (Relevant to some degree to all fields, particularly useful for those in Humanities)

Holtom, Daniel, and Elizabeth Fisher. Enjoy Writing Your Science Thesis and Dissertation: A step by
step guide to planning and writing dissertations and theses for undergraduate and graduate science students. London: Imperial College Press, 1999.

Rudestam, Kjell Erik, and Rae E. Newton. Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to
Content and Process. 3rd edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2007. (Social Sciences)

Science Writing
Day, Robert. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. 5th ed. Oryx Press: Phoenix, Arizona, 1998.

Matthews, Janice R., John M. Bowen, and Robert Matthews. Successful Scientific Writing: A Step-by-
Step Guide for the Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Penrose and Katz. Writing in the Science: Exploring Conventions of Scientific Discourse. 2nd edition.
New York: Pearson/Longman, 2004.

Academic Writing for Nonnative Speakers of English
Swales, John M., and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: A
Course for Nonnative Speakers of English. 2nd edition. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Handbooks and Writing Guides
Cook, Claire Kehrwood. Line by Line: How to Improve Your Own Writing. New York: Houghton
Mifflin Co.

Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. 6th edition. New York: Bedford Books/St. Martin’s Press.

Strunk, William Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: MacMillan.

Williams, Joseph. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace. Latest edition.
Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman, and Company.
UC Davis Resources
Graduate Writing Fellows,

On-line Resources

Dissertation Newsletters
The ABD Survival Guide Newsletter:
Information about the ABD Survival Guide Newsletter (which is free) and other services from E-Coach (many of which are not free).
ASGS: Welcome to Doc-Talk

Miscellaneous Advice Purdue University’s on-line writing lab offers help with a variety of writing issues including grammar, style, and documentation. Well organized and easy to use, it works like an on-line handbook.
Advice on Research and Writing:
Lots of links on writing, public speaking, dissertation management, burnout, and more.
How to be a Good Graduate Student DesJardins, Marie:
This essay talks about several phases of the graduate experience, including the dissertation. She discusses some helpful hints for staying motivated and doing consistent work.
Survival in the Academy:
A project of the University of Indiana Computer Science Department, this page offers some general advice for graduate students. The ABD section of the website includes research findings about ABD students, and helpful advice for avoiding the "ABD blues." It also includes a very helpful section on women's graduate experiences and a useful section on assistant professors' experiences.
Back to Dissertation Basics:
A reprint from ASGS (the Association for the Support of Graduate Students), this article talks about the skills required for the completion of a doctoral dissertation. The homepage for ASGS offers other links and an archive of articles and advice.


Tanya Bakhmetyeva (History) and I (interdisciplinary, emphasis on linguistics) are writing a book specifically aimed at graduate writing instruction across the disciplines. Our first chapter, which brings in the voices of scholars across the disciplines, lays out a hopefully not too reductive set of principles of academic writing; subsequent chapters, which are based on extended interviews with writing teachers from different disciplines, provide case studies that demonstrate how the principles translate into classroom strategies. We've sent the text to publishers, but I'd be happy to send you a few chapters if you think it might be helpful. I can be reached at