Science Writing Workshops

From grant proposals to peer reviewed publications, writing is a critical career skill for PhD candidates. As part of an ongoing professional development effort focused on doctoral students, Pratt offers these scientific and technical writing courses for doctoral students each semester. 

2017-2018 Workshops

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Writing Workshop

Open to Pratt Graduate Students Eligible for the NSF GRFP

The Pratt School of Engineering highly encourages graduate students to submit proposals for prestigious competitive fellowships, such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. To assist you with your submissions, the Pratt School offers a six-week writing workshop (1.5 hrs./wk.) with a special focus on preparing your NSF GRFP proposals. Over five weeks, you will draft, critique, revise, and polish proposals. You will learn concrete strategies for making your writing as clear and cohesive as possible, from individual sentences to paragraphs to overall organization.

Workshop Details

  • Dates:  Tuesdays – Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Oct. 3
  • Time:  8:15 – 9:45 a.m.
  • Location: 216 Hudson Hall
  • Credit: 1
  • Enrollment limit: 35
  • Course Number: Special Topics: Pratt NSF Writing Workshop – EGR 790-01
  • Registration:  Go to DukeHub

General Science Writing Workshop:  Making Texts Clear and Concise

Open to Pratt PhD Students Only

This workshop is a series of five 1.5-hour workshops designed to help make your writing as clear and strong as possible. Workshop topics will include clarity, conciseness, cohesion, organization, common errors, and “putting it all together” in research proposals and scientific papers. You’ll develop a toolbox of strategies for crafting, evaluating, and revising texts. Throughout the workshop, text examples will come directly from participants’ own writing. As a participant, you will be asked to submit writing samples in advance.

The fall workshop begins Oct. 17, 2017, and the spring workshop begins Jan. 30, 2018.

Workshop Details

  • Course Number: Special Topics: Pratt PhD General Science Writing Workshop – EGR 790-02
  • Location: To be determined
  • Credit per workshop series: 1
  • Grading: S/NS
  • Enrollment limit: 25
  • Time:  8:15 – 9:45 a.m.
  • Fall 2017 Dates: Tuesdays – Oct. 17, 24, 31 and Nov. 7 and 14
  • Spring 2018 Dates:  Tuesdays – Jan. 30 and Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27
  • Registration:  Go to DukeHub

Instructor Bio: Elizabeth Paley

The course instructor is Elizabeth Paley, who led academic writing workshops for six years at the Duke Writing Studio before branching out on a freelance basis; she has taught numerous science-writing workshops at Duke and the University of Freiburg in Germany since 2010. She holds an MS in Astronomy and a PhD in Music Theory, and has been published in a variety of venues, including The Astrophysical Journal, Nineteenth-Century Music, and The Chronicle for Higher Education.


For more information about these workshops, please contact Sara Faust at