Writing Resources for GSAS Students
. . . at Harvard and Beyond
A. Resources at Harvard
1) Writing and Speaking Resources at Harvard University
This site gathers writing resources available across the FAS and contains information on writing prizes, counseling, and tutoring, as well as resource offices throughout Harvard.
2) The GSAS Writing Tutor
5) The GSAS Fellowships Office
Writing-specific resources at this site include:
3) The Bureau of Study Counsel is a resource for academic and personal development. Here students can improve study skills and strategies and talk about broader academic and personal concerns. The BSC offers a Dissertations Writer’s Support Group each semester to GSAS students. This is a six-session group in which dissertation writers share issues that both support and hinder the writing process. A half-hour informational meeting should be scheduled with Dr. Sunglim Shin or Dr. Niti Seth, 617 – (49)5-2581, for students who would like more information about the group.
4) Dudley House Writing Bootcamps
6) Writing Advice from Harvard Faculty
Writing a Persuasive Paper (PDF)
“How to Write a Paper for This Class” (containing useful information for writing in any discipline), by Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History
7) Writing Seminar Papers in the Humanities (PDF)
By Suzanne Smith, the GSAS Writing Tutor
8) Writing Guides
Intended for undergraduates, these guides for writing in specific disciplines and strategies for improving one’s essay writing, collected by the Harvard College Writing Program, could be valuable to every writer.
B. ACADEMIC WRITING – Resources
1) Writing Tips for PhD Students
Written for students of Economics, this document contains useful advice on writing scholarly papers that can be adapted to the needs of students in other disciplines.
Practical advice on a number of topics related to the dissertation
3) Research Strategies
This is for law school students, but it contains some good general advice on the importance of planning ahead and staying focused as you work on your paper.
4) Advice on Research and Writing
Advice on writing for computer scientists, including advice on mathematical writing.
5) Tips for Writing a Dissertation
Excerpts from Peter K. Hall’s “Helpful Hints for Writing Dissertations in Comparative Politics” [Political Science and Politics (December 1990): 596- 98], this site contains useful general-purpose tips on writing a dissertation, especially on the importance of crafting a compelling introduction and conclusion.
6) How to Find a Good Dissertation
Brief but thought-provoking remarks on finding a topic and research question for your dissertation; may be useful for students writing papers as well.
Advice on writing abstracts for papers.
8) The Six Evil Geniuses of Essay Writing
A humorous article on styles of poor writing, this article by Professor Charles King of Georgetown primarily addresses undergraduate papers, but graduate students may find his diagnosis pertains to their own writing as well.
9) Virtual Academic
Need a jargon-filled sentence that seems to say something smart without really saying anything at all? Try the “Write Your Own Academic Sentence” function from the University of Chicago Writing Program.
10) Editing Assistance
The following people have expressed interest in providing editing assistance with writing. There is a fee that will be determined in consultation with each editor. Those interested in working with people from this list should contact them directly via e-mail.
Former GSAS Staff
1) GSAS Fellowship Office
Provides a range of services to assist graduate students in their search for fellowship funding, as well as dealing with many issues related to professional development.
2) Scholarly Pursuits
A GSAS publication containing samples of winning fellowship proposals (pre-dissertation and dissertation), fellowship biographical essays, information on the student/faculty advising relationship, and a chapter on publishing work samples of curriculum vitae, résumés, and cover letters.
4) The Office of Career Services
In addition to offering guidance, resources and opportunities when students matriculate, OCS offers professional writing assistance as well, such as introductory letter writing, fellowship and graduate school essay writing, and converting CVs to résumés.
1) The Purdue Online Writing Lab
This site contains a wide selection of resources related to the grammar and mechanics of English. Click on the “English as a Second Language” link from the menu on the left hand side of the page. See especially the worksheet on using articles, and on verb tenses. Also contains links to pages containing ESL and grammar exercises.
2) The Elements of an American Essay
Written by Dr. Gordon Harvey, the article details basic features of essay writing in American academic settings.
3) Institute of Writing & Rhetoric – ESL
Useful general purpose advice on writing academic papers in English, as well as links to grammar websites (including the online ESL Café).
4) Guide to Grammar and Writing
This site provides tips on sentence structure and paragraph structure, as well as coherence and transitions in writing. See the menu under the heading “Paragraph Level.”
1) The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Anyone teaching Harvard’s undergraduates may use the Bok Center's services, which include semester-long programs for participants to learn and practice effective attention to student writing, advice on designing and grading writing assignments, tip sheets on responding to student writing, and resources for using writing in the classroom.
2) The Harvard Writing Project works with faculty and teaching fellows to develop effective ways of assigning and responding to student writing. The HWP has consulted with dozens of courses to foster better writing instruction throughout Harvard College. The HWP also collaborates with faculty and teaching fellows to develop writing guides tailored to specific courses or disciplines.