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Research Paper Writing for International Graduate Students (GAS 610)

Course Description

This course, which is designed for PhD students throughout the University whose native language is not English, primarily explores the expectations of academic writing in the USA, and the features that make academic discourse and argumentation unique. This is done by analyzing sample texts, papers in the students' own disciplines, and the students' own writing. Second, through in-class and homework tasks, students practice language skills and specific academic research and writing skills, so that the features of academic writing become clearer. Finally, students are given guidance as to general intelligibility in written English (grammar, clarity, coherence, etc.).


The course makes principal use of a textbook: Academic Writing for Graduate Students by John Swales and Christine Feak. This guide provides tasks based on authentic, disciplinarily diverse texts that deal with many of the common areas of academic writing.


Weekly writing assignments are given throughout the first half of the term.  These short assignments build upon the skills taught in class and students are free to adapt the topics to their own disciplines and areas of interest. During the second half of the term, the students choose a topic for their final writing project.  They can combine this project with a paper that they are working on for another course.  In the second half of the semester, work on the final paper will be the main focus of the class, which will take the form of individual conferences. The aim of the individual conferences is to negotiate meaning, rather than to simply edit the paper.

Course Times 

GAS 610 is offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. It usually meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00-10:30 AM.


Registration is by permit only and can be completed by contacting Ms. Elizabeth Gillstrom at