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Our Favorite Writing Resources for Grad Students

UL Grad School -- 07/29/2020

Even those who love writing will be challenged by the demands of producing written work during graduate school. From papers and essays to the major undertaking that is a thesis or dissertation, you’ll be upgrading your writing skills by necessity.

Luckily, there are more writing resources than ever before to support grad students.


We know your tolerance for adding yet another book to your to-do list may be limited. But the motivation, strategies, and time-saving tidbits in our favorite writing books for grad students are well worth your time.

How to Write a Lot by Paul Silvia employs practical strategies to help you structure your time effectively and avoid costly pitfalls. For an academic, having it all means writing it all — and Silva’s recognition that you also need to have a life outside of schoolwork is sure to resonant with overloaded grad students.

The Productive Graduate Student Writer by Jan Allen is a veritable A-Z of tips and tricks for getting your writing done and staying motivated. If you’re anxious about writing or struggle with procrastination and perfectionistic tendencies, this book is for you!

Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day by Joan Bolker uses positive reinforcement and field-tested strategies to make the entire thesis-writing project an enjoyable challenge. Completing a dissertation will be hard work no matter what, but Bolker makes the process as painless as possible.

Complete Your Dissertation or Thesis in Two Semesters or Less by Evelyn Hunt Ogden is a practical and to-the-point guide that will help you approach the dissertation or thesis writing process with confidence and a healthy dose of perspective. Learn to tackle the challenge head-on and keep your diploma in sight.


When you’re short on sleep and juggling multiple projects, these grammar tools will keep your work top-tier and coherent.

Grammarly is a free online writing assistant that can be integrated with basically any online platform to help with everything from email composition to thesis writing.

Grammarly’s automated grammar checker and plagiarism detection capabilities will give you peace of mind. Grad school is full of stressors, but the integrity of your writing shouldn’t be one of them!

Sentence Sense is an interactive learning platform that teaches various grammar topics by taking you through practice writing and self-evaluation exercises. Tips for non-native English speakers are also included.

Washington State University professor Paul Brian’s Common Errors in English Usage website is an expansive listing of common word usage errors that native English speakers make. Even fastidious grammarians are likely to learn something new.


A great number of style guides are in use across academic disciplines. Make sure you know where to turn for questions regarding textual arrangement and style—including the presentation of footnotes or endnotes and the manner in which references are cited.

The MLA and APA style guides can be accessed online courtesy of the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The Chicago Manual of Style Online and Turabian Style Guide are also just a click away.

You’ll need to choose a citation tool to track PDFs, citations, and bibliographies, but the benefits of each one aren’t always obvious. Dupré Library has created a handy comparison of the popular Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote Online platforms.

University Support

The University Writing Center offers easily accessible tutoring for graduate students working on theses and dissertations. Assistance is also available for those working on a paper or essay for a course. Learn more about what the Writing Center offers and how to make an appointment.

Let's get writing!