Writing support services for doctoral candidates in German and English
For many doctoral candidates, working with a long, research-based text is the most challenging aspect of a doctoral degree process. To support them effectively and promote their future success, the Graduate Academy offers a range of writing-related services on an individual (i.e. one to one) or group (i.e. workshops and/or upcoming writing groups) for those writing in English or German.
Wissenschaftliches Schreiben auf Deutsch: Text- und Sprachberatung für internationale Doktorandinnen und DoktorandenThe program is tailored to both German and non-native German speakers who are writing their dissertations in German, usually in the humanities or social sciences. The program is funded by the STIBET program, within the DAAD.
The program is tailored to doctoral candidates at Heidelberg University from all disciplines who are writing in English. Because the English academic writing style differs significantly from the German, this service aims to help non-native English speakers produce texts that meet the linguistic and stylistic conventions distinct to Anglophone academic writing.
The purpose of both offers is to improve the writing and language competencies of doctoral candidates during different stages of their doctoral training. For an individual consultation, doctoral candidates may submit their own text passages, which are then revised and commented on by experienced German or English native speakers / scholars. Candidates then may attend a follow-up meeting, where the writing consultant would be willing to discuss the candidate’s errors and provide suggestions for improvement.
The feedback provided by the writing consultants is limited to linguistic issues only, i.e.
- and conventions of the respective language.
The consultation aims to identify typical errors which can be avoided in the later stages of writing.
The following aspects of the text will not be discussed:
- empirical rigor
Please be aware that the completed text passages (be they dissertation chapters or articles) should not be seen as final corrections.
If you are interested in using one of the services, please contact our language advisors:
- Wissenschaftliches Schreiben auf Deutsch:
- Academic writing in English:
When contacting one of our language advisors, please provide him/her with:
- The topic of your dissertation
- Your subject of study, supervisor, and department
- Progress/stage of your dissertation
- Your native language and nationality
We will then arrange a preliminary talk with you. Please bring a digital copy of your text (MS Word compatible format) to the meeting.
During this meeting we will:
- clarify your specific needs,
- discuss technical terminology or any other concerns that you have,
- define a time-frame for the feedback.
- The submitted text passage/s may not exceed 10 pages or 3.000 words.
- Only two different passages from a single text (i.e. up to two sections from a dissertation) may be submitted.
- Your text will be archived at the end of the semester and will be deleted from the Graduate Academy’s server after one year.
From March 2023, the English writing program within the Graduate Academy will offer 3 different types of workshops at the Graduate Academy.
For a detailed description and registration steps, see below:
Mastering the craft of writing is a core aspect of developing as doctoral students. This workshop provides a comprehensive view (and review) of helpful norms, rules and skills to help doctoral students improve their writing while gaining confidence in their capacity to exercise a foundation skill. As ‘expert writers,’ participants will be encouraged not just to write but also to align with readers’ expectations, and to avoid pretentious prose. Selected issues of grammar, vocabulary, and text structure are discussed in service of these topics.
- Identify and fix problems in your own long-form texts with respect to paragraph writing, coherence and unity;
- Make your writing more impactful and valuable;
- Address problems relating to grammar and (academic) vocabulary;
- Effectively proofread your own texts and incorporate feedback from your peers, teacher and doctoral advisor into your own text.
Do you feel stuck with your writing? Are you experiencing writer’s block? Do you feel that you are continuously using the same vocabulary and overly convoluted sentences? Does it seem like everyone else can write in a precise, rigorous, and direct manner except for you? The aim of this workshop is to give you practical tools to help you gain confidence and control in order to write in a clear, concise, focused, structured, and substantiated manner.
- Get you “unstuck” and to help you develop a writing “flow”
- Fine-tune texts with respect to logic, concision, and unity
- Make your writing more impactful and valuable
- Address problems relating to grammar
- Enhance your academic vocabulary
Feeling anxious about an upcoming international conference? Is public speaking one of your greatest fears? Unsure how you will sound in front of an audience of experts? The aim of this workshop is to help you plan and deliver an effective academic presentation in English. The workshop will be divided into two parts: Part 1: the nuts and bolts of an effective academic; Part 2: interactive and practice session with attention to both rhetorical devices and non-verbal communication strategies. The workshop’s ultimate goal is to help you gain a sense of comfort and confidence while presenting your research in public. Participants are encouraged to bring a sample presentation of their own for practice.
- Identify and review rhetorical and oral presentation strategies
- Develop confidence and poise for the effective delivery
- Help you develop your own presentation style
More information and contact:
We also offer workshops for writing your dissertation in German.
Registration for the second round (October to January) is now open.
When and Where? Meetings will take place on Wednesdays every two weeks from 9:15–12:15 at the Käthe Leichter Forum (INF 370).
The focused writing group in English will begin on October 18th. Register here
The focused writing group in German will begin on October 25th. Register here
What are the Graduate Academy focused writing groups?
A focused writing group is a community of 6-8 doctoral candidates who meet on a regular basis to work towards composing an academic text. Participants work on their own projects but do so within a peer-based environment and with the support of a team of tutors. The latter will assist each group over the course of three months with meetings taking place every two weeks. An individual as well as a group working space with power connections, wireless access, and basic office supplies will be made available for participants during each of the three-hour sessions.
What is in it for you?
- Obtain structured support
- produce ongoing writing towards specific goals and deadlines
- Write in a peer-based setting
- share and discuss work in-progress
- develop a “community” of academic writers in the interest of support, collegiality, and solidarity
- Receive specialised tutoring / guidance
- learn to apply strategies and focused exercises on selected topics related to academic writing
Who can participate?
The focused writing groups are open to PhD candidates from all faculties regardless of the stage of their research. However, the Graduate Academy’s writing support team will facilitate the formation of specific groups based on common goals, interests, and similar levels of advancement.
NEW!! Open office hours
We are again offering individual writing support services at the Graduate Academy during our bi-weekly “open office” hours. As with our writing workshops, the service is free to use for all registered doctoral candidates of Heidelberg University (as well as Medicine students at the University of Mannheim).
Please register in advance for a session of ca. 30 minutes via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). In order to make optimal use of this service, please contact S. Mukherjee at email@example.com, in advance with a list of themes which you would like to discuss. Alternatively you may also submit your own text passages as described in the general information section below.
For further questions, please contact S. Mukherjee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing consultations are currently offered by the following native speakers:
Stephanie Renger ist Klassische Archäologin und selbst Doktorandin, die seit mehr als 10 Jahren im Bereich wissenschaftliche Redaktion und Lektorat arbeitet. Diese mehrjährige Praxis ermöglichen ihr einen versierten Umgang mit der deutschen (Wissenschafts-)Sprache sowie ihrer grammatikalischen und stilistischen Regeln, Konventionen und Anforderungen. Aufgrund dessen ist sie damit vertraut, was in wissenschaftlichen Publikationen verlangt wird und worauf bei der Wissenschaftskommunikation geachtet werden muss. In ihrer Arbeit ist es ihr stets wichtig, konstruktives Feedback zu geben und nicht einfach nur „den Rotstift“ anzusetzen sowie die deutsche Wissenschaftssprache verständlich zu vermitteln.
S. Mukherjee is a former Alexander von Humboldt Fellow with +10 years of experience in mentoring advanced students in the ‘art and craft’ of academic writing. Mukherjee holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he conducted his doctoral work in political economy. He is the recipient of the Penn Lauder CIBER Research Grant, U.S. Department of Education’s Center for International Education and Research, the Judith Rodin Fellowship for distinguished work in the social sciences, and Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Teaching.