Writing Support News

Whether you're starting your studies at the University of Toronto or returning to a program of study, you're wise to seek out the support that's available for learning writing. We offer many resources to help you handle the written work that's expected in your program—but it's up to you to `find the exact ones you need. Here's an overview of the resources available to you.

Announcement: The University of Toronto's Jack McClelland Writer-in-Residence for 2014-15 is award-winning novelist and short-story writer Shani Mootoo. Check the English Department website for more information about signing up for her seminar in the spring.

Writing courses:

Courses that focus explicitly on writing are available in various faculties. They are designed to match the types of writing done in specific areas of study. Visit our page on courses to find out more about the full range of writing courses available to you.

  • First-year students in Arts and Science on the St. George campus, for instance, may sign up for First-Year Seminar courses. Many of these small classes offer chances to get practice in writing and personal feedback from instructors.
  • Arts and Science students in any year may sign up for ENG100H (Effective Writing). Look under "English" in the Arts and Science timetable.
  • Arts and Science students may also take courses in the Writing and Rhetoric program. These courses are open to students in all colleges.
  • Students in Arts and Science interested in Creative Writing can sign up for one of three courses in Victoria College's Creative Expression and Society program offering opportunities to develop skills in creative writing in a workshop setting. Students must apply. Applications will be available starting April 1st.
  • Students at Scarborough may take one of several credit courses in English as a Second Language, focusing on analyzing and practicing the ways language is used for academic purposes. To find out more about the courses and the procedures for enrollment, visit the Center for Teaching and Learning page of the UTSC calendar.
  • Students at Mississauga may sign up for courses in the Professional Writing Program. Starting with a course in Expressive Writing, this unique program takes students towards careers as editors, journalists, and professional writers.
  • Students in Engineering will also meet several required and optional courses tailored for their professional needs at all levels of study. They are coordinated by the Engineering Communication Program.
  • Graduate students can choose from a wide array of non-credit courses on academic writing and speaking offered by the Office of English Language and Writing Support at the School of Graduate Studies. Study the online listing and plan to register early when you have chosen the exact right course for you.

Writing centres:

Writing Centres are U of T's key resource for individualized writing instruction. They're provided by your faculty as part of your academic program - not as remedial services, but as co-instruction alongside courses in the disciplines. Instructors in writing centres offer personalized instruction to help you improve your skills in planning, drafting, and revising academic work. Bring your work-in-progress from any course, and it will serve as material for this instruction. Whether you know you need improvement or are building up your proficiency for a career involving writing, whether you're a first-year student or a graduate student completing your Ph.D. dissertation, you are eligible to work with a writing centre in your own faculty. One tip: be sure to make appointments well ahead of time. Most writing centres will be open in the first week of classes. Check here for contact information.

Note: You may book an appointment either by visiting the writing centre home page in your college or faculty or simply by visiting the common online booking system. Just follow the instructions on the welcome page. You will find links taking you to all centres that you are eligible to use.

Group Instruction:

There are a number of workshop series on writing and study skills offered at U of T. They are all open to the U of T community.

  • The St. George campus college writing centres provide a campus-wide series of academic skills workshops, entitled Writing Plus. These workshops provide help on basic study skills, the academic writing process, and types of academic essays. They are free, and all U of T students may attend. Workshops are on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and Saturday mornings. At the start of both fall and term, Writing Plus also offers a series of two-hour workshops on writing admissions letters.
  • The Academic Success Centre offers lectures and workshops on general study skills. All U of T students may attend. Lecture topics include Time Management & Student Survival, Reading & Note-Taking, Memory & Concentration, Dealing with Procrastination, and Giving Oral Presentations. No Registration is required. Workshops are between one-and-a-half and two hours, and they require registration. Topics include Exam Preparation, Get Reading! Get Writing! and Know Your Learning Style.
  • The SGS Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS) offers workshops on topics such as Writing a Thesis or Grant Proposal, Writing Literature Reviews, Improving the Flow of Your Writing, and Writing Lab Reports. No registration is required, and all members of the U of T community are welcome to attend.
  • U of T Libraries offers workshops on research and study skills. Open to the U of T community. Choose the workshops that interest you and register online.

English Language Learning (St. George Campus):

The Faculty of Arts and Science's English Language Learning program helps multilingual students gain confidence in using English at a university level. During the first 6 weeks of the fall and winter terms, Arts and Science students may participate in Reading eWriting, an online method for improving scholarly reading and writing. During the first 5 weeks of the fall and winter terms, students may also participate in the Communication Café, a series of interactive language activities which develop presentation and discussion abilities.

In spring and late summer each year, students may enroll in an 8-day non-credit course, ELL010H1F, Intensive Academic English. The course is specially designed for multilingual students who want to improve their scholarly reading, academic writing, speaking, oral presentation, and listening abilities. It is suitable for students in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

To learn more, visit the ELL website.

English Language Development (UTSC):

The English Language Development Centre at UTSC offers programs to help students develop the level of oral and written academic communication skills they need to succeed at university. The suite of programs consists of the Café series (Communication Café, Vocabulary Café and Discussion Skills Café), the Personalized Academic Reading and Writing through Email (RWE) and seminars. These programs are offered all three semesters. Students can explore the Café series and decide which combination of modules from the Communication Café, Word Play, Vocabulary Café, and Discussion Skills Café series would best meet their needs. Sign up on the Intranet to register for a specific session.

Students are also encouraged to take Academic English Health Check, a confidential service that supports students.

To find out more about all activities offered during the year by the English Language Development Centre, visit the ELD web site.

Online advice:

Online advice is a hallmark of U of T writing instruction. Make the most of the material about academic writing created especially for U of T students. You'll find a wealth of advice files answering common questions among students at U of T.


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