The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences recognises that written communication and critical thinking are essential attributes that graduates of our postgraduate programs should possess.

In 2013-2014, the Faculty ran two reviews of language support provided to PG students. These reviews identified a need to:

(i) provide more tailored assistance to PG coursework students, and
(ii) invest in early diagnosis of language support needs among incoming Postgraduate students.

In order to deliver on these identified needs, the Faculty has introduced and redesigned a range of language support programs for Postgraduate coursework and research students. These initiatives are open to all students enrolled in Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate degrees, but may be especially useful to those returning to academic study after a long hiatus, or whose previous study has been conducted in a language other than English, or who want to improve their written communication skills in order to get the most out of their PG coursework study experience.

These initiatives, delivered by the Faculty’s Writing Hub, comprise three integrated, parts:

For Postgraduate Coursework Students

FASS Diagnostic

The diagnostic helps commencing PG students determine whether they can benefit from enrolling in a Unit of Study designed to enhance the written communication skills needed to succeed Arts and Social Sciences disciplines at PG level.

The diagnostic, which is comprises a mini-essay, is available online through the Faculty’s Blackboard portal, and takes approximately an hour and half to complete. The diagnostic is not a “test”; it is simply a means to assess the written communication abilities of incoming PG students with a view to directing them to the most appropriate language support resources in the Faculty.

Commencing Postgraduate coursework students are automatically enrolled into the diagnostic and typically sit it in the week before semester starts. This gives them the opportunity to enrol in any of the Faculty’s for-credit language support units of study if required.

Academic contact:

Support for Academic English and Critical Literacies

The Faculty offers two Postgraduate units of study which are appropriate for international students whose first language is not English, or anyone wishing to improve their academic writing, academic presentations, and critical reading and thinking.

These units of study are highly recommended for students needing additional support as well as those who may be returning to University after an extended break from study.

Non-award support for Postgraduate students

  • Students can book drop-in sessions with Student Writing Fellows.
  • Thesis writing courses (see below): two 14-week non-award courses available to FASS HDR students.

Introduction to Thesis Writing

Next offered in Semester 2, 2014

Introduction to Thesis Writing is a course designed to support postgraduate research students in their second semester of candidature. Fundamental aspects of thesis writing such as the research proposal, literature reviews and sections of chapters are introduced. The course will be particularly useful for students who need to develop their English language proficiency and/or their understanding of the requirements of English thesis writing.

Applications to register interest in the next session of this course are now open, and will close on Monday 7 July 2014. Applications must be made on students' behalf by their supervisors or Departmental postgraduate research co-ordinators.

Writing a Thesis Chapter

Next offered in Semester 1, 2015

The sequel to Introduction to Thesis Writing, Writing a Thesis Chapter is a designed to further develop the writing and English language skills of postgraduate research students in their second year of candidature. Topics to be covered include: developing the argument of the thesis, developing literature reviews and theoretical frameworks, writing substantive and results chapters, writing about methodology, writing discussions and conclusions; and preparing a conference/thesis abstract.