Writing Training

Pharm 502 (Introduction to Scientific Communication)

This course introduces graduate students to many essential scientific communication skills, including writing. Beginning with the relatively easy task of learning to search the literature over the Internet and ending with the challenges of writing an NRSA proposal (e.g., F31) fellowship application and giving a short seminar, each student will develop confidence in both written and spoken scientific communication. Class meetings alternate between presentations by local experts on various topics and student presentations of their work in progress. In-depth analysis of student writing and presentation skills is provided in class by the instructor, by other students working in small groups, and by guest scientists. Over the course of the semester, students select topics of choice and complete a series of assignments engaging them in writing a research plan for grant proposals. Trainees complete the semester with having a polished and revised proposal representing a personalized high-quality product that is presented both orally and in written form to the rest of the class. Finally, each student participates in mock study sections to constructively evaluate the work of other peers.

PIBS 721 (Professional Research Presentation)

PIBS 721 builds skills in written, visual, and oral communication, focusing mainly on professional scientific presentations. Students will create an elevator pitch, abstract, poster, 90-second “data blast,” and 15-minute talk describing their own research. Students will present their work to their peers and will give and receive constructive feedback.

PIBS 722 (Writing and Publishing Scientific Manuscripts)

A semester-long writing course for PhD students, particularly during their third year or beyond. In order to participate, students must have a project that is ready to be written up into a manuscript. By the end of the course, students will have a polished manuscript ready for submission.

There are numerous opportunities to improve one’s writing skills at the University. The Sweetland writing Center offers workshops on writing as well as peer mentoring and peer tutoring. Students receive one on one feedback on their first manuscripts or other written material. The University of Michigan School of Public Health offers a writing lab to help students writing their first manuscript as long as they are mentored by SPH faculty. MiSciWri is a student group co-founded by a BGP student whose primary goal is to write for the general public. Members peer review and edit each other’s work.