expand search

Academic Skills

A graduate student in the library

Academic Skills

Information for Graduate Students

As a graduate student, you are likely facing new academic challenges. The ideas about which you are reading, thinking, and writing are becoming increasingly complex, yet you need to find clear, concise, and engaging ways to express them. You are shifting from a focus on consuming information to a focus on producing and disseminating new knowledge and insights. You are expected to be fluent in the conventions of your discipline and to produce work that is free of grammatical and spelling errors.

Academic Skills works closely with graduate students to help them develop as scholars and writers as well as teaching assistants. We hope that you will take advantage of the many services that we can offer you.

Learn more:

Three Minute Thesis

The Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®)  presents Masters and Ph.D. students with the ultimate challenge: to explain their complex and highly specialized research and ideas to a general audience in just three minutes, using only one Power Point slide.

Three Minute Thesis Returns to Trent on March 26, 2019!

Applications to participate in 3MT 2018 will open on December 1, 2018 and close January 15, 2019. Find out whether you are eligible to participate and how to apply below! You can also check out our calendar of events, resources for preparing for the competition, and videos of previous years' prize winners.

Services for Graduate Students

Individual Appointments

Graduate students are welcome to book a free, confidential one-on-one appointment with an Academic Skills instructor. Appointments are available weekdays on Symons Campus and at Traill College.

Writing Conferences

You can book a free and confidential appointment to discuss any aspect of your writing. Academic Skills instructors can help you organize your ideas, outline, or upgrade your grammar skills. They can also look at partial drafts and comment on grammar, organization, and clarity.

Time Management for Graduate Students

Graduate work often involves long-term research and writing projects that have few check points along the way. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of what you need to accomplish and, as a result, to procrastinate your work. You can book an appointment with an Academic Skills Instructor to discuss time management problems and to create a project plan that will work for you.

Grant Applications and Personal Statements

Academic Skills provides several resources to help you as you write graduate school or grant applications. Academic Skills is not an editing or proofreading service, but our instructors can comment on the strength and clarity of your writing and organization.

We also work with the Career Centre to offer "Apply Yourself: Writing the Graduate School Personal Statement," a workshop that provides advice on what to include in personal statements as well as how to write them.


Winter 2019 Workshops

  • Time Management for Graduate Students (Friday January 25, 2019)
    • This workshop delves into the key principles of time management as well as the practical applications of these principles for graduate students. We will discuss how to engage in short and long term planning for academic scholarship, how to use the outline as a time management tool, and how to understand and avoid procrastination.
  • Presenting Your Research (Friday March 1, 2019)
    • This workshop will provide guidance on how to approach different types of research presentations including class presentations, conference papers, poster sessions, and even the two-minute conversational description of what your thesis is about.  We will discuss how to isolate main topics to be addressed, how to organize presentations, and how to become an effective public speaker.

Fall 2018 Workshops

  • Critical Reading at the Graduate Level (Friday Sept. 21, 2018)
    • Are you buried under a mountain of reading for your graduate courses or comprehensive exams? This workshop will explore how to read efficiently and effectively at the graduate level as well as present different methods of notetaking when reading for different purposes.
  • Writing at the Graduate Level (Friday October 19, 2018)
    • This workshop will discuss approaches to common writing assignments at the graduate level, from abstracts to literature reviews to papers. It will explore how to create, structure, and support arguments in graduate-level writing as well as review concepts of grammar and style.
  • Grammar for Grad Students (Friday November 16, 2018)
    • This workshop provides a refresher on central principles of grammar and style, from sentence structure and verb forms, to controlling voice and tone. It will examine how to identify and fix common errors as well as strategies for editing and proofreading.

Spring Write-In for Graduate Students - May 7-9 2019, Traill College

Make time for writing this spring. Learn more.

Services for Teaching Assistants

Referring Students

As a teaching assistant, you can refer students to Academic Skills for help with their math, reading, listening, writing, and grammar skills. Referrals can be made either by emailing acdskills@trentu.ca (please cc the student on the email) or by providing students with information about our services. Students can book appointments directly at www.trentu.ca/sep