Principles and Practice of Writing for Graduate Students

What is GC 512?

  • GC 512 provides students with the principles and practices to write according to the conventions of academic English and to communicate with specialist and nonspecialist audiences. The course was designed for doctoral students who have completed at least 32 credit hours in their PhD program.
  • During the fall and spring semesters, we offer one section for STEM students and one section for students in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In the summer, we endeavor to offer one “mixed” section (STEM and non-STEM combined). While we occasionally experiment with a relaxation of the 32-credit-hour requirement, students who have completed all/most their coursework and who have a significant writing project underway benefit the most.


How do I register?

The student’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) must approve and recommend registration to the Graduate College. (The DGS sends Benn Williams the student’s name, UIN, NetID, department/program name, and # of credit hours completed.) The Graduate College reviews recommendations and approves based upon space and need. For this course, the instructor CANNOT provide the registrations overrides — only the Graduate College can. Enrollment for each section is capped at 18.
Using “Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory” grading, this 3-credit-hour elective may or may not be used towards degree requirements. Consult your graduate program’s Director of Graduate Studies. The course may be repeated for credit, space permitting.

When does GC 512 meet?

Spring 2021 sections:
  • STEM section (CRN 40746): Wednesdays, 3:30-6:20 pm
  • Arts, humanities, and social sciences (CRN 39467): Thursdays, 3:00 – 5:50 pm

Course learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

1. write according to the conventions of academic English

  • at the sentence level: use various types of clauses, make appropriate verb choices, avoid needless complexity and jargon
  • at the paragraph level: write clear topic sentences, employ smooth transitions within paragraphs, and create coherence across paragraphs

2. use a writing process prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, submitting to successfully complete academic writing assignments

3. identify strengths and weaknesses in a text

4. create effective posters and/or PowerPoint presentations

5. communicate effectively with specialist and nonspecialist audiences


Benn E. Williams

Fellowships and Awards Coordinator & Coordinator of GC 512

601 S. Morgan St., 633 UH, 192, Chicago, Illinois 60607