Writing Support

In academics, thinking, reading and writing are inextricably bound together. Therefore, the ability to write clearly is crucial to your success in both developing your thoughts and communicating them to others. In fact, such analytical skills and methods -- rather than a particular body of knowledge -- are the focus of our interdisciplinary program.

However, we understand that many Graduate Liberal Studies students have been away from academic writing for some time or have undergraduate experience that included little or no writing. To assist students in developing the academic writing skills necessary for successful graduate study and to support students seeking to refine already well-developed writing skills, the GLS Writing Consultant offers private consultations as well as seminars and workshops.  

Check the Writing Formats, Advice and Resources page for detailed writing advice and links to internet writing resources, as well as the GLS essay and documentation formats.

GLS Writing Consultant

Dr. Kent Wicker, the Graduate Liberal Studies assistant director, who teaches the “Self in the World” core course, also serves as the writing consultant for all students enrolled in the program. 

  • Dr. Wicker offers a variety of workshops and Evening Writing Seminars designed to increase your confidence and skills in graduate-level thinking, reading and writing.
  • He is also available for individual writing consultations. These in-depth consultations can involve anything from argumentation and analysis to basic grammar or organizational issues. You can send a draft for Dr. Wicker to analyze ahead of time, or meet to talk, brainstorm and strategize.  

To schedule a consultation, email Dr. Wicker (kent.wicker@duke.edu) or call the GLS office (919-684-3222). He would like to receive drafts at least 48 hours in advance of any meeting, with additional time for drafts over 20 pages -- but don't hesitate to send what you have when you have it, and he will do what he can.

International students should note that Dr. Wicker does not have training in English as a Second Language, but that ESL support is available through the English for International Students program of the Graduate School. 

Duke's Thompson Writing Program

The Thompson Writing Program is now available to all Duke students.  Support includes individual consultations at the TWP Writing Studio, as well as a variety of writing workshops and courses designed for graduate students.

English for International Students

EIS offers more than just courses: international students can also ask for individual writing or presentation consultations.  

GLS Peer Writing Support Groups

Students in these small groups (typically 3-4 people) share writing and ideas, and keep each other on track and motivated.  The group decides what format it would like to follow -- whether sharing work in progress every two weeks or meeting for some shared writing time at regular intervals. 

If you are interested, contact Kent at kent.wicker@duke.edu with a schedule of times when you are available to meet with a group, and your preference for the sort of writing group you would prefer.  Kent will then compare your information with the other students who are interested in order to determine times when groups might meet.  (Be generous in listing your available hours, because it is often difficult to find a time that overlaps for 3-4 people.)  Writing groups typically form during the first three weeks of the semester, but you can request to be in a group at any time.

Evening Writing Seminars

Kent Wicker regularly offers brief (75-minute) single-evening writing seminars on a variety of writing topics.  These seminars can help you maintain and expand the writing skills you learned in the core course.

GLS Academic Support Workshops

The Master's Project Planning Session (required)

This information and planning session is designed both to clarify the logistics of the Master's Project proposal process and to help students explore Master's Project possibilities. Students will learn what a MALS Master's Project is, what a successful Master's Project proposal looks like, and how to prepare for the Project in general.  We recommend that students attend this session during the fifth or sixth course; attendance is required prior to submitting the Master's Project proposal. Reservations are required.

The Master's Project Proposal Workshop

Each semester, the Graduate Liberal Studies writing consultant offers a workshop for anyone planning to submit a Master’s Project proposal.  Students can get advice from the writing consultant and from fellow students on their draft proposals, and on the general shape of their proposed Projects.  Participation in this workshop can greatly increase the chance that a proposal will be approved.

The Master's Project Seminar (required)

The Master's Project Seminar is the classroom component of LS 850, the Master's Project. It meets at least twice a semester to help Master's Project students share ideas, discuss methods, plan strategy and make full use of GLS resources. The second session includes readings from Master's Projects in process.