Writing Resources

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
GSAS offers individual consultations to graduate students working on their own writing, including dissertations. Students may come at any stage of their writing for one-hour conferences with a specially trained tutor. All consultations are free and confidential. Appointments are held in the Teaching Fellows Room at Dudley House. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


3) The GSAS Fellowships Office 
Fellowships Director, Dr. Cynthia Verba, offers individual counseling as the centerpiece of her fellowship and professional services. Fellowship advice includes: feedback on drafts of fellowship proposals and strategies for clearly articulating the significance of the fellowship project. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 Writing-specific resources at this site include:

Publishing Scholarly Works (PDF)
Advice on publishing journal articles, book reviews and book chapters. Excerpted from Scholarly Pursuits.


4) The Bureau of Study Counsel 
To support graduate students in their writing process, the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC) offers individual counseling, workshops and discussion groups, and handouts. Students can meet with a counselor to develop strategies to write more effectively, manage their time and energy, work with their advisers, and deal with writer’s block. The BSC offers workshops and discussion groups related to the writing process, such as Getting Started Writing Papers, Time Management, Procrastination, and Dissertation Writers’ Support Group. For a list of current workshops and discussion groups, please go to bsc.harvard.edu; workshops are also available upon request by a department. In addition, students are welcome to browse handouts on writing on the BSC website or in the Cranium Corner, a library of handouts at the BSC at 5 Linden Street. Example of handouts include, among others, “A Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing,” “Writing Things Down Before Writing Things Up,” and “Twenty Tips for Senior Thesis Writers (and other writers, too).” For more information, contact the BSC at 617-495-2581 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


5) Dudley House Writing Bootcamps
Need a weekend dedicated to your dissertation or finishing an article? The Dudley House literary fellows offer a no-excuses bootcamp several times a semester. They provide a quiet setting, breakfast and lunch, caffeine, and the opportunity to consult the GSAS writing tutor. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information.


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


Publication, Publication (PDF)
Advice on writing publishable papers by Gary King, Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor, Department of Government

Useful Things to Know About PhD Thesis Research
Article written by H.T. Kung, William H. Gates Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering


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.






 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.


2) Dissertations
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.


7) Abstracts
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.

GSAS Students
Marissa Grunes – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phoebe Braithwaite – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Former GSAS Staff
Paula Szocik – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Other Editors
Ursula DeYoung – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Margaret Stevenson – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  












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. 


3) Writing Fellowship Proposals: The Predissertation and Dissertation Stage Proposal (PDF)


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) 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).


3) 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.