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Graduate Student Writing Guide: Home

A guide to help students write at a graduate level.

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What's the Difference???

Undergraduate Writing

• Is mechanically correct.

• Is concise.

• Is clear though not necessarily interesting.

• May or may not demonstrate new ideas.

• Contains citations when required.

• Uses transition words and phrases.

• Exactly conforms to outside models of argumentation, such as the Toulmin method of legal argument or classical rhetorical theory.

• Is written for a general audience or for the teacher.

• Will, with revision, be presentable at an undergraduate conference or in a general- interest publication.

Graduate Writing

• Is mechanically skillful.

• Is concise though also nuanced.

• Is engaging, stylish, and interesting, and speaks with your own voice.

• Explores a topic or research question in an original way.

• Demonstrates extensive research.

• Has a strong organizational frame.

• The paper moves from point to point in the way you want your audience’s thoughts to move; structure grows out of content.

• Is written for a professional audience.

• Will, with revision, be publishable in a professional journal or presentable at a good conference.