Study - Navigating Your Academic Studies


No graduate student is an island, and no graduate degree is achieved without the advice of your colleagues, supervisor, and support services. Although you alone are responsible for your academic studies, you are strongly encouraged to ask questions as well as for help throughout your program. With the following resources, you will be able to get the academic support you need to navigate your way through graduate school.

Accessibility and Accommodation

Campus Map of Western University
This mapping resource has been developed by the Geography Department's Cartographic Section.

Learning Accessibility – 519-661-2147 
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) offers students access to the Adaptive Computing Technology Centre, the Learning Opportunities Lab, the Access Lab, and the Examination Centre.

Physical Accessibility – 519-661-2147
SSD offers Western’s Accessible Transportation Service (WATS), which partners with Donnelly Transit Limited. WATS is for travelling among university locations only, including between campuses.

Academic Accommodation
The University accommodates students with disabilities, subject to not compromising the academic integrity of the course or program. The student informs the Graduate Chair of his/her disability after receiving a written "Offer of Admission". The Student Development Centre's Services for Students with Disabilities office (SSD) assesses the disability and special needs and advises the Graduate Chair on the appropriate remedy. Where the recommended relief entails an extraordinary expense or special equipment, students who are eligible for OSAP may receive support from an Ontario Ministry Bursary Fund that is administered by SSD and the University's Student Financial Services. If there is still need, SSD should contact the program. If the program cannot provide the relief, SSD should contact the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies who will review the case with all interested parties to seek remedy.

Change of Registration
Requests for a Change of Registration are completed through the Graduate Student Web Services Portal.


Academic Integrity

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) has developed an online, mandatory academic integrity module for incoming graduate students. This short module is designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and resources to abide by academic principles during your graduate career and to help combat scholastic offenses.

It will cover the basics of academic integrity and academic dishonesty, detail specific scholastic offences, and explain the ways that Western University detects and deals with offences. It will also present case studies for you to consider. When you are finished with the module, you will be required to complete a 10-question quiz designed to evaluate your knowledge of academic integrity.

Effective January 2013, all new graduate students are required to complete this module in order to progress to the following term. You have an unlimited number of opportunities to pass the module, and no penalties or records exist due to failed attempts. Eligible students can access the module in the Graduate Student Web Services Portal. Instructions regarding access and how to complete the quiz will be emailed to you the first week of your first term.

At Western University, we support innovative scholarship, quality teaching, and respect for ourselves, our work, and the work of our colleagues. Academic integrity reflects and supports these principles and values, and is a cornerstone of scholarly work.  As such, it should continuously ground and inform our learning, research, writing, publishing, and teaching. Finally, this course will also provide you with some additional resources that you may find useful should you have questions or concerns about academic integrity and how to ensure that you are meeting the standards of Western University. For more information, please visit Graduate Regulations – Section 4.


Academic Reading, Research, and Writing Strategies

Learning Skills
Learning Skills offers workshops on Reading Strategies for graduate students and international students roughly once a term. These workshops focus on approaches to reading academic material, including skimming, scanning, and careful/analytical reading as well as strategies to cope with large volumes of reading and issues involving reading in a second language.

Learning Skills also offers a workshop on Library Research Skills for Graduate Students. In this workshop, students will learn about advanced search strategies and specialized databases, tri-agency open access requirements, different means for disseminating research, and online tools for time management.

Check their Registration page for workshop dates.

The Writing Support Centre (WSC)
The WSC developed GradWRITE workshops and seminars to assist graduate students to meet the specific demands of academic and professional writing. Their seminars cover a variety of topics including proposals, applications, essays, reports, and dissertations. These workshops and seminars are held in Western Student Services Building (Room 3134) each term. Check their Registration page for dates.

Each year, the WSC also hosts a GradWRITE Conference that includes panels on good graduate writing, writing strategies, academic publishing, as well as grant and technical writing. This upcoming year’s conference will be held on March 10, 2017.

The WSC also provides Graduate Writing Handouts on writing abstracts, posters, grant proposals, manuscripts, and writing in general


Dissertation Writing Workshops and Services

The Teaching Support Centre (TSC)
The TSC offers Future Professor Workshops on various topics ranging from teaching, publishing, and navigating graduate school. Some years, the TSC offers a talk on “Getting it Done: Strategies for Finding Focus and Overcoming Procrastination in Grad School”. See their website to find out what talks are offered for the upcoming year. Registration for these workshops can be found online.

The Writing Support Centre (WSC)
The WSC offers a graduate-specific workshop on writing your thesis/dissertation. Registration for this workshop can be found online. It is usually offered once a term. Attending the WSC’s GradWRITE Conference will also offer you support strategies on sitting down and writing your dissertation.

Dissertation Writers' Retreat
The Dissertation Writers' Retreat is a joint initiative of SGPS, SOGS, and the Writing Support Centre, designed to provide Western PhD candidates in year 4 or above with dedicated time and space for intensive writing. By providing you with a comfortable, encouraging, and distraction-free space, as well as support and advice from expert writing counsellors, we will give you the opportunity to remove yourself from daily distractions and time demands to focus exclusively on dissertation writing. The Dissertation Writers' Retreat is specifically for writing your dissertation; it is NOT for conference presentations, course essays, book reviews etc. Dates for upcoming retreats will be posted on the SPGS and WSC websites.  Registration for this workshop can be found online.

Weekly Thesis Writing Time
Inspired by feedback from the Dissertation Writers’ Retreat, this initiative is dedicated to providing a comfortable, distraction-free space conducive for graduate student thesis writing. This weekly program offers Western Doctoral and Master's students, who are currently writing their thesis/dissertation, an internet-free three-hour block of time in a beautiful setting to focus exclusively on writing. Currently, the initiative is hosted in the Graduate Student Silent Study room in Weldon Library (Rm. 439H). Registration for these writing times is overseen by SGPS and distributed via mass email.

To volunteer to help run one of these sessions, contact the SOGS VP Student Services. The success of this program is dependent on graduate students!

Graduate Writing Lab
The WSC's Grad Lab (Western Student Services Building, Rm. 4130a) is a dedicated space for graduate students and postdoctoral schools. Graduate students are welcome to use the area from Monday-Thursday (10am - 4pm). Graduate students are also welcome to reserve this space for academic uses such as seminar or study groups on Fridays. Be sure to sign in when you arrive, and contact Douglas Campbell to reserve the room on Fridays.

Psychological Services
Psychological Services offers a Laura Evans Psycho-Educational Lecture Series on Procrastination and Perfectionism. Although it is not specific to the dissertation writing process, this presentation can offer you strategies for coping with your academic writing, particularly your dissertation. Registration for this series can be found online.

The Grad Club
The Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) owns the Grad Club, which is now often being used for informal thesis writing either in the Board Room, which anyone can book for free or at reserved tables. To book space at the Grad Club, contact the Grad Club Manager.