Skip to Main Content

Undergraduate vs. Graduate Level Writing

Undergraduate vs. Graduate Level Writing


There is no magic shift in writing abilities once you become a graduate student. Your writing skills are the same as they were when you graduated with your Bachelor’s degree. Yet the expectations are raised all the same. Therefore, it’s vital that you take the initiative and learn how to become a better writer.

Your skills may already be up to graduate level; however, there is always room for improvement. Writing is not only about communication. Writing is also the equivalent of thinking. Becoming a good writer means developing good critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well.

This Online Writing Resource Center (OWRC) will help walk you through some of the issues you may face at the graduate level. It will provide advice, but more importantly, it will also provide resources that you can use on your own to help you improve your skills.

How to Use this Guide

The pages in this guide are designed to assist you during your graduate career by covering specific topics related to academic writing in your field. It is recommended that you review the entire guide for general ideas about graduate level academic writing. Individuals pages should be reviewed in detail as needed. 

To navigate through the guide simply click the link of the topic you are looking form. You may also browse a list of topics at any time by returning to the Online Writing Resource Center main page.

It is recommended that you use these pages early in your graduate academic career and refer back to them as needed to answer questions regarding specific writing topics or to refresh skills related to writing. 

If at any time you need assistance please contact the University. For writing assistance please contact being sure to include your name, course, and what type of assistance you are seeking. If you need assistance with a research question, database or finding a specific resource for your research, please contact the Pfeiffer Library at


Because everyone’s dialect and language abilities are different, and those differences make us unique, it’s unfair to judge someone based on their grammar and mechanics. However, since the Renaissance and the development of dictionaries and English grammar books, most people have viewed English as having a “correct” form. Over the past century or so, we’ve adopted this mindset of “correctness” that has lasted to the present day and will not be going away any time soon. Therefore, as unfair as it is, you are judged on your written language skills.

As a graduate student, the expectations for your writing abilities has increased. While some classes may teach you how to write in certain genres, all courses will assume you have developed a sophisticated writing style with varied sentence patterns and minimal grammar and mechanic errors. If you still struggle with these kinds of writing tasks, you are responsible for learning these skills and seeking out help on your own.

There are a variety of books available to help you learn better grammar. They aren’t all boring. For example, here are a couple that are enjoyable to read and teach you skills at the same time:

  • Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T. O’Conner
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss

Additionally, Tiffin University subscribes to the full Grammarly software, accessible through the library’s databases (see “G” for Grammarly). You can upload your paper and get feedback on grammar and mechanic errors as well as plagiarism and style errors. For more information visit the Grammarly Tutorial courtesy of the Pfeiffer Library.

Lastly, you can seek out help through the Murphy Academic Support Center. Tutoring is available in a one-on-one format, and there are online options as well. For more information contact the University Academic Support Office located in the Murphy Academic Support Center or visit the University Academic Support homepage.