Current Year's Courses

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Graduate Centre for Academic Communication (GCAC) was formerly known as the Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS). GCAC ​offers a wide range of free non-credit courses throughout the academic year. Most of our courses have 12 hours of class contact time (two hours a week for six weeks), plus office hours and/or tutorials. ELWS offers five course sessions during the academic year, and each has its own registration date. In addition to classroom instruction, students receive individualized feedback on their written or oral work.​

Some of our courses are discipline-specific, while others target the different needs of native and non-native speakers of English. Our short courses build upon one another; this modular design enables students to create a program of study that will address their individual needs.

All students enrolled in a graduate degree program at U of T are eligible to register. Since demand exceeds supply, we request that students take any given course only once a year, with the exception of the proposal writing courses which may be taken in both the spring and the fall.​​​

To remain up-to-date on registration information, please join our Listserv.

current course schedule         registration & attendance policies

​​​​​Tentative 2017-2​018 S​​chedule​

The corresponding course titles and descriptions​ can be found immediately below the chart. Some courses are division specific, as indicated in the course title and/or description.  The d​ivisional breakdown is as follows: Division 1 - Humanities, Division 2 - Social Sciences, Division 3 - Physical Sciences, and Division 4 - Life Sciences.
Septembe​r

October/November

January

February/March

May

ACS

ACS

ACS

A​CS

ACS

ACS for IVGS

AW1

​ACS IVGS

AW1

AW1

AW for IVGS

AW2

AW IVGS

AW2

AW2

AW1

AW3

AW1

EDIT 1/2

AW3

AW2

EDIT 1/2

AW2

OPS NS

EDIT

EDIT 3/4

OPS NS

AW3

OPS NNS

OPS NS

OPS NS

OPS NNS

ISJ

OPS ProfMast

OPS NNS

OPS NNS

OPS ProfMast

OPS NS

RA 3/4

OPS ProfMast

OPS ProfMast

PRE 3/4

OPS NNS

PRE

PRE 1/2

TH 1/2

OPS ProfMast
TH 3/4
CIHR


 PRE 1/2
CIHR

 NSERC

 PRE 3/4
NSERC​

 SSHRC​

 

 RA 1/2

SSHRC​​

 

​​​​​Course Titles and Descriptions​​​

 

​​

ACS - Academic Conversation Skills (for non-native speakers of English)

This course is for non-native speakers of English who wish to improve their listening and speaking skills in order to communicate more effectively in an academic environment. If you have difficulty participating in class discussion or speaking to your classmates and professors, this course is designed to meet your needs. Over six weeks, participants will gain confidence as they develop their ability to engage in academic dialogue. Through a series of class exercises that require active student participation, ACS focuses on topics such as how to present your ideas orally, how to disagree respectfully, and how to manage conversations sensitively.

Course duration: 6 weeks.

​If you have any questions about the Academic Conversations Skills c​ourse, please contact Dr. Jane Freeman: ​jane.freeman@​utoronto.ca.

ACS - Academic Conversation Skills for IVGS (for non-native speakers of English)

Description will be posted shortly. Course duration: 6 weeks.​

If you have any questions about the Academic Conversation Skills course, please contact Dr​. Jane Freeman: jane.freeman@utoronto.ca.

RETURN TO SEPTEMBER ​SCHEDULE​​

AW​ - Academic Writing for IVGS (for non-native speakers of English)

Description will be posted shortly. Course duration: 6 weeks.

If you have any questions about which Academic Writing course is appropriate for you, please contact Dr. Peter Grav: peter.grav@utoronto.ca.

RETURN TO SEPTEMBER ​SCHEDULE

AW1 - Academic Writing 1: Focus on Essentials (for non-native speakers of English)

This class is designed for non-native speakers of English who wish to improve the overall quality of their academic writing. Students will learn to improve the formality of their writing; to make claims commensurate with their evidence; to create coherent paragraphs; to develop clear transitions; to enhance their academic vocabulary; to understand the correct use of verb tense in academic writing; and, overall, to see how academic writing in their new context may differ from writing they have done in the past. The goal of the course is to show graduate students some key strategies to improve their academic writing. This course is the first in our Academic Writing sequence; the second course—Academic Writing 2: Focus on Grammar—deals with grammatical issues and the third—Academic Writing 3: Focus on Style—tackles more sophisticated issues of style.

Course duration: 5 weeks. 

If you have any questions about which Academic Writing course is appropriate for you, please contact Dr. Peter Grav: peter.grav@utoronto.ca​ 


AW2 - Academic Writing 2: Focus on Grammar (for non-native speakers of English)

​This course is designed for non-native speakers of English who wish to improve the grammatical correctness of their academic writing and understand the way grammatical structures are used in academic writing at the graduate level. Students will learn to self-diagnose their most common grammatical errors, to apply the key grammatical rules learned throughout the course, to develop strategies to enhance grammatical correctness, and to identify resources for improving their grammar. Specific topic areas covered in the course include maintaining subject-verb agreement, minimizing article errors, using relative clauses correctly, avoiding punctuation errors, and clarifying incorrect or vague pronoun references.

Course duration: 5 weeks. 

If you have any questions about which Academic Writing course is appropriate for you, please contact Dr. Peter Grav: peter.grav@utoronto.ca 


AW3 - Academic Writing 3: Focus on Style (for non-native speakers of English)

​The most advanced in our Academic Writing sequence, this course is designed for non-native speakers of English who wish to improve the style of their academic writing. The course helps students use their existing linguistic sensitivity to answer a number of key questions. How do the stylistic tendencies of English differ from those of other languages? How can writers accurately describe the work and ideas of other scholars without losing the clarity of their own voices? What strategies can writers use to produce smooth, readable texts that guide the reader from sentence to sentence, from paragraph to paragraph, and from chapter to chapter? Academic Writing 3: Focus on Style assumes that students already understand the essential attributes of academic writing at the graduate level and that they already have a solid command of English gramm​ar. It is therefore strongly recommended that students take this course only after they have completed Academic Writing 1 and 2.

Course duration: 5 weeks. 

If you have any questions about which Academic Writing course is appropriate for you, please contact Dr. Peter Grav: peter.grav@utoronto.ca 


CIHR - Writing CIHR Proposals 

This three-week course is open to students who are applying for CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) Master’s and Doctoral Research Awards. In three two-hour classes, we will examine the specific features of successful grant proposals and bring to light common errors that lead to bad proposals. As well, we will be looking at examples of winning proposals. Students are expected to work on their own draft proposals, and individualized feedback will be available to course participants. While several of the concepts examined will also be of relevance to students applying for an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), the focus of the course is on writing an effective CIHR proposal. (Check with your department regarding your eligibility to apply for funding through CIHR and/or OGS.)

Course duration: 3 weeks.​

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional ​Skills program.​​​

​If you have any questions about the CIHR c​ourse, please contact Dr. Peter Sabatini: peter.sabatini@utoronto.ca​.

EDIT 1/2 - Becoming a Better Editor of Your Own Work (Divisions 1 and 2)

For native speakers of English in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

​Editing is a vital skill for graduate students. Most academic writers struggle to produce reader-worthy first drafts; becoming a better editor is what allows us to transform our early efforts into effective final drafts. Skill as an editor also helps us to revise our documents for different purposes. This four-week course is designed to introduce graduate students to a range of strategies for improving our own texts. We will look at strategies for correctness, clarity, concision, and coherence. Classes are practical and focused on issues that are commonly found in graduate student writing; students will also have an opportunity to meet with the instructor and receive feedback on their own work. Note: This section of the course is designed for graduate students working in the humanities and social sciences.

Course duration: 4 weeks.

If you have any questions about the Becoming a Better Editor course, please contact Dr. Rachael Cayley: rachael.cayley@utoronto.ca.

EDIT 3/4 - Becoming a Better Editor of Your Own Work (Divisions 3 and 4) 

For native speakers of English in the Physical and Life Sciences.

​Editing is a vital skill for graduate students. Most academic writers struggle to produce reader-worthy first drafts; becoming a better editor is what allows us to transform our early efforts into effective final drafts. Skill as an editor also helps us to revise our documents for different purposes. This four-week course is designed to introduce graduate students to a range of strategies for improving our own texts. We will look at strategies for correctness, clarity, concision, and coherence. Classes are practical and focused on issues that are commonly found in graduate student writing; students will also have an opportunity to meet with the instructor and receive feedback on their own work. Note: This section of the course is designed for graduate students working in the physical and life sciences.Course duration: 4 weeks.

Course duration: 4 weeks.

If you have any questions about the Becoming a Better Editor course, please contact Dr. Rachael Cayley: rachael.cayley@utoronto.ca.​​

ISJ - Introduction to Science Journalism

This course is designed for graduate students with an interest in the communication of science in the news media. Science journalists play a key role in the public understanding of science by reporting on the results and implications of scientific research. The guiding principles and basic techniques of science journalism will be explored through examples from print and broadcast media and through exercises in class. The focus will be on how science becomes news, where science journalists find their stories, how they conduct interviews and assemble information and then translate the complexities of current research into plain language for a mass audience. The course will consider the changing relationship between science and journalism in an online news environment driven by social media. Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on their written work.

Course duration: 5​ weeks.

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate St​udies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

If you have any questions about the Introduction to Science Journalism course, please contact ​Dr. Jane Freeman: ​jane.freeman@​utoronto.ca.

 

NSERC - Writing NSERC Proposals

​This three-week course is open to students who are applying for NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Postgraduate scholarships (PGS M and PGS D). While several of​ the concepts examined will also be of relevance to students applying for an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), the focus of the course is on writing an effective NSERC proposal. (Check with your department regarding your eligibility to apply for funding through NSERC and/or OGS.) Each week during the two-hour lecture, the instructor will examine the specific features of good and bad proposals. Students are expected to work on their own proposals and to submit them in class for feedback. Feedback is available to course participants through written comments on students' draft proposals and through individual consultations.​

Course duration: 3 weeks.

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate ​Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

If you have any questions about the ​​Writing NSERC Proposals​ course, please contact Dr. Daniel Newman: ​daniel.newman@​utoronto.ca. 

OPS (NS) - Oral Presentation Skills (for native speakers of English)

Does the thought of standing in front of an audience to present your work make you nervous? Would you like to present your ideas more clearly and more confidently? If the answer to these questions is yes, then this course is for you. In this course, you will receive guidance on various aspects of presenting, such as how to structure presentations, to design visual aids, to manage nerves, and to handle the question period. You will have a valuable opportunity to learn from the presentations of others and to practice what you learn in front of an informed and supportive audience of your peers. As a member of that audience, you will be able to practice active observing to further improve both your listening and presenting skills. Students will have the opportunity to receive a digital recording of their own presentation. Please note that this course will not address the specific linguistic needs of non-native speakers of English.

Course duration: 5 weeks with an optional tutorial in the sixth week.

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program. 

​If you have any questions about the Oral Presentation Skills course, please contact Dr. Rachael Cayley​: ​rachael.cayley​@utoronto.ca​.​

​​

OPS (NNS) - Oral Presentation Skills (for non-native speakers of English)

Does the thought of standing in front of an audience to present your work make you nervous? Would you like to present your ideas more clearly and more confidently? If the answer to these questions is yes, then this course is for you. In this course, you will receive guidance on various aspects of presenting, such as how to structure presentations, to design visual aids, to mana​ge nerves, and to handle the question period. You will have a valuable opportunity to learn from the presentations of others and to practice what you learn in front of an informed and supportive audience of your peers. As a member of that audience, you will be able to practice active observing to further improve both your listening and presenting skills. Students will have the opportunity to receive a digital recording of their own presentation.

Course duration: 5 weeks with an optional tutorial in the sixth week​.​​

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

​If you have any questions about the Oral Presentation Skills course, please contact Dr. Rachael Cayley​: ​rachael.cayley​@utoronto.ca​.​​ 

OPS (ProfMast) - Oral Presentation Skills for Professional Master's Students

This course is designed for professional Master’s students who want to be more effective speakers in their professional contexts. During the course we will consider the following topics: strategies for managing nerves, for handling difficult questions, and for designing effective slides, designing presentations for a range of audiences, decoding cultural assumptions in multicultural, multidisciplinary teams, and preparing for job interviews. Unlike ELWS’s other sections of Oral Presentation Skills, which focus largely on preparing lengthy research presentations for thesis defences and conference presentations, this section of the course will focus on short presentations of various types that will be chosen to reflect the professional contexts of the students in the course.​​

Course duration: 5 weeks with an optional tutorial in the sixth week​.

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

If you have any questions about the ​​Oral Presentation Ski​lls​ course, please contact Dr. Rachael Cayley: rachael.cayley@utorontoca.

PRE 1/2 - Prewriting Strategies for Developing and Organizing Your Ideas (Divisions 1 and 2)

For students in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

This course is designed for graduate students who are conducting research towards a PhD or Master’s degree in the humanities or social sciences. In order for a research paper to be clear to readers, it must first be crystal clear in the mind of its author. Whether you are writing a course paper, a journal article, or a thesis, this course will help you clarify in your own mind the content and structure of your argument before you begin to write. Participants will be introduced to a range of strategies for developing and organizing their ideas – strategies such as organizing notes through key words, outlining, diagramming, use of Aristotle's Topics, etc. – and will be encouraged to consider which strategies work best given their own learning styles. Drawing on techniques from classical rhetoric, the course will give students the chance to practice strategies for investigating and organizing ideas at both the pre-writing and mid-writing stages.

Course duration: 4 weeks.​

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

If you have any questions about the Prewriting Strategies​ course, please contact Dr. Jane Freeman: jane.freeman@utoronto.c​a.

PRE 3/4 - Prewriting Strategies for Developing and Organizing Your Ideas (Divisions 3 and 4)

For students in the Physical and Life Sciences.

This course is designed for graduate students who are conducting research towards a PhD or Master’s degree in the physical or life sciences. In order for a research paper to be clear to readers, it must first be crystal clear in the mind of its author. Whether you are writing a course paper, a journal article, or a thesis, this course will help you clarify in your own mind the content and structure of your argument before you begin to write. Participants will be introduced to a range of strategies for developing and organizing their ideas – strategies such as organizing notes through key words, outlining, diagramming, use of Aristotle's Topics, etc. – and will be encouraged to consider which strategies work best given their own learning styles. Drawing on techniques from classical rhetoric, the course will give students the chance to practice strategies for investigating and organizing ideas at both the pre-writing and mid-writing stages.​​

Course duration: 4 weeks.​

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

If you have any questions about the Prewriting Strategies​ course, please contact Dr. Jane Freeman:​ jane.freeman@utoronto.ca.

RA 1/2 - Understanding the Research Article: Reading towards Writing

For students in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

What are the typical “moves” made in the opening section of a Research Article? How do you use the words and work of others to support your arguments without losing your own voice? How do you introduce and incorporate a theoretical framework? Is speaking in the first person appropriate? What strategies are at play in an article’s conclusions? These are typical questions for those who wish to publish their work in scholarly journals. While graduate students spend a great deal of time reading research articles, when it comes to writing them, they often have difficulty following the example of what they have read. This course is designed to help graduate students write research articles by increasing their familiarity with the established forms of articles published in their own discipline. Through class discussion and close readings of articles drawn from representative fields of study, we will analyze discourse strategies in order to answer the above questions and more. The course will also consider technical writing issues, such as what verb tense works and strategically using the passive or active voice. Students will also receive feedback on the research papers that they themselves are writing.​

Course duration: 4 weeks with an optional tutorial in the fifth week.

This course is suitable for students engaged in writing non-experimental research articles. If you have any questions about whether this course is appropriate for you, please contact Dr. Peter Grav for clarification: peter.grav@utoronto.ca.

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

RA 3/4 - Understanding the Research Article: Reading towards Writing

For students engaged in experimental and population-based research​.

​What are the typical “moves” made in the Introduction section of a Research Article? Should you integrate your discussion with your results? How do you get readers to see the importance of your work? How much explaining should you do in your methodology section? These are typical questions for those involved in experimental research who wish to publish their findings. Graduate students spend a great deal of time reading research articles; however, when it comes to writing them, they often have difficulty following the example of what they have read. This course is designed to help graduate students engaged in experimental work write research articles by increasing their familiarity with the established forms of such articles. To do so, we will analyze the discourse strategies of articles that follow the basic pattern for reporting empirical research: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRAD). The course will involve class discussion and close readings of articles drawn from representative fields of study. The course will also consider technical writing issues, such as what verb tense works for each section and strategic use of the passive or active voice. Students will also receive feedback on the research papers that they themselves are writing.

Course duration: 4 weeks with an optional tutorial in the fifth week.

This course is suitable for students whose work involves experimental research, that is, students from the physical, life, or social sciences who need to write articles that more or less follow the IMRAD format. If you have any questions about whether this course is appropriate for you, please contact Dr. Peter Grav for clarification: peter.grav@utoronto.ca.

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

SSHRC - Writing SSHRC Proposals (Humanities and Social Sciences)

This 3-week course is designed for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who are applying for SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) Master’s Scholarships or Doctoral Awards. While several of the concepts examined will also be relevant to students applying for an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), and OGS applicants are welcome to register, the focus of the course is on writing an effective SSHRC proposal. (Check with your department regarding your eligibility to apply for funding through SSHRC and/or OGS.) The course will examine specific features of good and bad proposals and provide students the opportunity to see sections of winning SSHRC proposals and to submit their own draft proposals for feedback. Feedback will be available to course participants through written comments on students' draft proposals and through individual consultations.

Course duration: 3 weeks.

Subject to attendance and work submission requirements, this course may be used for credit in the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Professional Skills program.

If you have any questions about the Writing SSHRC Proposals​ course, please contact Dr. Peter Grav: peter.grav@utoronto.ca​.

TH 1/2 - Thesis Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Divisions 1 and 2)

​Writing a thesis is often an unprecedented challenge in the life of a graduate student. This course is designed to assist students in the humanities and social sciences who are encountering common problems in writing and structuring their theses. Over five weeks, we will consider how to approach and construct the various components of a thesis. In particular, we will look at the essential aspect of a thesis: articulating your own contribution. We will also discuss some useful strategies for productivity during the thesis writing process. Throughout, the emphasis will be on writing and on strategies to avoid common structural problems. Examples from completed theses will be used to clarify issues related to the structure and function of each section of a thesis; students will also have an opportunity to meet with the instructor and receive feedback on their own work. All graduate students who are currently writing their theses in the humanities and social sciences are welcome to enroll. ​

Course duration: 5 weeks.

If you have any questions about the ​​Thesis Writing​ course, please contact Dr. Rachael Cayley: ​rachael.cayley@utoronto.ca.

TH 3/4 - Thesis Writing in the Physical and Life Sciences (Divisions 3 and 4)

Writing a thesis is often an unprecedented challenge in the life of a graduate student. This course is designed to assist students in the physical and life sciences who are encountering common problems in writing and structuring their theses. Over five weeks, we will consider how to approach and construct the various sections of a thesis: introduction, literature review, method, results, discussion, and abstract. In particular, we will look at the essential aspect of a thesis: articulating your own contribution. We will also discuss some useful strategies for productivity during the thesis writing process. Throughout, the emphasis will be on writing and on strategies to avoid common structural problems. Examples from completed theses will be used to clarify issues related to the structure and function of each section of a thesis; students will also have an opportunity to meet with the instructor and receive feedback on their own work. All graduate students who are currently writing their theses in the physical and life sciences are welcome to enroll.

Course duration: 5 weeks.​

If you have any questions about the ​Thesis Writing course, please contact Dr. Rachael Cayley: ​rachael.cayley​@​​utoronto.ca.